'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
ENVIRONMENTAL GREENING OR MORAL PREENING?
Recently I’ve noticed that many email messages sent to me include little notes at the bottom, which say something like: “Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.” Some of the notes even have a cute little image of a green tree next to the reminder. You can almost hear the little tree pleading, “Oh please, I beg you, don’t kill me!”
When I see little notes like this, my first impulse is to print out 20 copies of the email. But let me say something very important right now—in case any agents of the Greenhouse Gas-tapo might be reading this column: I have never, ever actually acted on my impulses. I swear, I usually never print out email messages at all, and if I do need a paper record, I always print out only one copy. Please, please, don’t put my name on the secret Environmental Enemies List. I promise to bow down before the Great and Powerful Gore. Oh please, I beg you, don’t kill me!
OK, I think I’ve groveled enough. By this point, whichever green-shirted storm trooper is assigned to scan the newspaper each morning for environmental offenders has moved on to another article. (Possibly “Hints from Heloise,” who at this moment and unbeknownst to her is being listed in a Haters of the Planet database because she advises people to write thank-you notes—on actual tree-killing paper!)
So I think it’s safe to talk openly now. First, let me say I am not a fan of pollution nor the wasting of precious energy resources. I’m enough of an environmentalist to know that it’s simply wrong if your home consumes, say, 20 times the energy of the average American home, or if you spend most of your time flying around the world in a private jet for the purpose of scolding others about their carbon emissions.
I want clean air and clean water and the efficient use of energy just as much as the next guy. (As long as the next guy isn’t a government-authorized carbon trader, who has a vested interest in having people consume lots and lots of energy since he’ll make lots and lots of money selling carbon credits.)
It’s just that I don’t like being told what to do by holier-than-thou “experts.” The minute some arrogant elitist or celebrity tells me that I HAVE to do something to save the planet, I instinctively want to turn on all the lights, buy an SUV, and light a bonfire in the backyard. I don’t do any of those things, of course, because I’m not made of money. Even if I am skeptical about whether climate change is caused by human activity, I am and always will be a cheapskate.
It seems to me the “greening of America” is really the “preening of America.” That is, the people doing most of the squawking about saving the planet are a bunch of moral preeners, who get a kick out of showing off just how environmentally conscious they are, while looking down their noses at those of us who are ignorant “fossil fools.”
Unfortunately, it’s hard to swim against the tide of popular hysteria. If you think the terms “Greenhouse Gas-tapo” and “green-shirted storm trooper” are merely witty phrases from a nit-witty columnist, just wait. If history has taught us anything, it’s that when self-anointed elitists decide the rest of us need to do something—“for our own good”—they don’t hesitate to employ the full and coercive power of the government to do it.
In the meantime, feel free to print 20 copies of this column.
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