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save Planet Earth; read a book

By enelson
Monday, April 23rd, 2007 at 1:54 pm in driving, Environment, Transit vs. driving.

vehicle-exhaust.jpgIn belated honor of Earth Day, I urge all of you to stay at home next weekend and read a book.

If enough people do that, it might make up for the environmental degradation wreaked by the actual Earth Day.

Looking at Earth Day events yesterday, I could not find a single one dedicated to the most helpful thing we can do for our environment: Don’t drive, unless you’re one of the tiny sub-percentage of people who don’t rely on internal combustion engines.

No, it was full of all the traditional activities: Plant a tree, pick up litter, recycle stuff. All of these are worthy activities: Planting the tree will suck up CO2 and help fight global warming; the litter could end up as runoff polluting our waterways; the recyclables might end up taking up landfill space and leaching chemicals into ground water.

But as the Union of Concerned Scientists has noted, all of these activities we spend so much time obsessing over don’t amount to a hill of milk jugs when it comes to what we do with our cars.

Spaceship Earth can tolerate landfills, but once we screw up our atmosphere, we, the bunnies and green things are done for.

So to whip up enthusiasm for saving the planet, millions of Americans got into their cars and drove to the nearest park for Earth Day. Maybe they’d have gone to a ball game or some other activity were it not for the holiday, but it seems to me that staying home and shutting down the non-essential appliances would be a more fitting, if less fun, tribute to this rock we’re trying to save.

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6 Responses to “save Planet Earth; read a book”

  1. Mike Says:


  2. V Smoothe Says:

    Or walk to the damn park.

  3. Capricious Commuter Says:

    VS, I thought about other suggested activities, but ruled them out for various reasons. Not everyone has a park they can walk to, especially if they’re living in Sprawlsville. Going on the Web uses energy, so I guess that’s ok if you have your own windmill on the east 40 or photovoltaic panels on the roof. For so many people, just leaving the house isn’t possible unless a car trip is involved. I’m lucky in that I can bike to two movie theaters, restaurants and a train station without breaking a sweat. On the other hand just try to get my teen-aged son to spend 30 minutes in the saddle to get to his girlfriend’s. I could refuse to drive him, I suppose, but then I’d be a bad father, feel guilty and have to buy him a car.

  4. Michael Krueger Says:

    Bad father? Nonsense! You’d be doing the young man a favor by presenting him with the perfect opportunity to demonstrate the depth of his devotion to his girlfriend! If he really doesn’t like riding that bike, then he has a clear choice: start saving for a car, or start looking for a girlfriend who lives a little closer to home. 😉

  5. Brian Toy Says:

    Talk about ironic. Having lived in Ashland, OR; a real green and progressive place,
    I was surprised to find out that you had to drive your bottles and newspapers over
    to the recycling center. There was no curbside pickup.

  6. South Bay Resident Says:


    I don’t know where in the Bay Area you live. But everywhere I’ve lived has curbside pickup of bottles, cans and newspapers. In fact, it’s very hard for a California city to meet state waste reduction mandates without having curbside recycling.

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