I attended the very first Earth Day celebration and thereafter committed to being a good steward of our planet as a respectful and careful consumer who recycles, reuses, and repurposes in any way possible. My "Getting Real" prose poem was written in a rush of despair the morning of 2010's
autumnal equinox after hearing it would reach 100° in the Louisville metro area that day. Alternative titles considered were “If the Shoe Fits” and “Get Your Gloat On;” but whatever it’s called, it’s long past high time to start calling some of us so-called ‘70s “pessimists” by our true identities: REALISTS.
Okay, all right. Gotta admit, you got us good. I’m talking to YOU, the loud, materialistic majority who smirk at us bent on our bicycles or cramped in our compact cars as you cruise around in your roomy, gas-guzzling SUVs and minivans. Who scoff at all the extra time and effort we take to recycle and compost over the decades while you fill the ground with your mounds of trash. Who luxuriate in your long hot baths and chuckle at us shivering in our stream-off-when-soaping showers. Who fill up your swimming pools and hot tubs with utility rate breaks while we use collected rainwater on our locavore gardens. Who sneer at the “eyesore” of clothes hanging to dry on lines while you run your w/d’s for that one pair of jeans you just gotta wear tonight. I could continue ad nauseum with this laundry list of compare and contrast, but you get my drift.
So now when it’s 100 degrees on the first day of autumn and natural disaster after natural disaster follow upon the heels of man-made disaster after man-made disaster, you get to gloat about us all winding up together in the same oil-filled boat after all. You can smile smugly to yourselves and think, “Tree-hugging suckers! At least WE really lived it up and enjoyed the spoils of the planet before we spoiled it for everyone! Ha-ha! You took all that extra effort and sacrificed creature comforts for decades, yet in the end you won’t suffer any less from our selfishness just because of your responsible behavior. You just bought us all a little more time to party on. And besides, we’ll just crank up the A/C even higher and go take a dip!”
But here’s a truly sobering thought for consumerists who have done little-to-nothing as stewards of this great Earth: If not your children, then your children’s children, and whatever generations may survive beyond that, all still alive will curse you and your lethal legacy left to them with every labored breath they try to take. And the band plays on with Nero on first violin….Christian Science Monitor coverage: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/Green-Economics/2010/0928/Ode-to-the-resource-wasters-a-poemGreen Economics Blog:http://greeneconomics.blogspot.com/search?q=kathleen+martin
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