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On the Mark, Episode 9: The World Is Burning Up, And We're All Going To Die

June 4, 2009

Hi everybody,

This week I'm going to hold off on what I intended to write about, and instead dip my toe into a debate that can be very polarizing. I will try to do so in my typical tongue-in-cheek fashion, but I realize that for some this topic is no laughing matter. If you are in that category, I ask your forgiveness. Maybe you ought to stop reading now. Hopefully you will see I mean no ill will towards anyone's opinion, that I'm just looking at this matter with my typical off-kilter approach.

To start off the topic, I will repeat a statement that one of my kids said to me one day when they got home from school a few months ago. This is what they learned in science class: "The world's burning up, and we're all going to die."

Wow. How do you respond to that one? At first, I was angry. My first thought was, "Why can't those science teachers and textbook writers let kids be kids? Why are they adding this burden to my children? Childhood is supposed to be about dreaming that you will become a major league pitcher, or an astronaut, or a doctor or a nurse. They don't need to be laden with guilt at the age of nine. Besides, what can they do about it anyway, other than be programmed to admonish dad when he throws a piece of paper away in the trash (instead of recycling it)?

That was about four months ago. And it still makes me angry. Then last week I was talking to a friend who happened to share a long drive with his elementary-aged granddaughter. She started on him about how it was his fault that the world is burning up and she was going to die. He told her that he didn't believe in that global-warming stuff. To which she just sighed and shook her head. Stupid grandpa. He just doesn't get it.

I decided to write about this topic, against my better judgment, after I watched the highly-publicized "Earth 2100" two-hour program on ABC last night (it was on the night before, but I just watched it last night). They called this a new kind of journalism. I'm not going to tell you what I called it. Use your imagination. Let's just say that they only talked to people who shared the same opinion. And they made the program in such a way that every do-gooder science teacher can show it to their classrooms and crush the hopes and dreams of an entire generation of kids.

So as I woke up this morning on this June day, it was colder than snot and I contemplated turning the furnace on. But if I did, I'd be killing future babies. Then I walked into the kitchen to make some breakfast and pulled out the bread. I better enjoy this piece, because last night ABC said that we're headed for a dust bowl and say goodbye to wheat.

I saw the orange juice sitting there, but I couldn't stomach drinking it. Florida is going to be under water someday. So I put the toast in the toaster, but shut it off in disgust. That electricity is being made by burning coal, and a polar bear is standing on some ice in the middle of the ocean because of my selfishness. Untoasted, it is.

I went up to the bathroom to take care of my business. I felt guilty for flushing the toilet, that crap is going somewhere. And that's not a good thing. Same goes with washing my hands. And how am I going to take a shower? Is it OK if I use just cold water? Doesn't water just evaporate and go back into the air and then rain back down? No, we're running out of water, it just goes away and doesn't come back.

I go back down for my coffee. Darned those Brazilians, they cut down the rain forests so they could grow those beans.

My kids are watching TV. The horror, just think of all of the mining to get the metal for those components, and let's not even talk about the plastics that were made from oil. And the electricity . . . those aren't hamsters on wheels running to make that electricity, that's prairie dogs out west being forced to relocate because of climate change. Quick, turn it off, turn it off!!!!

It's a good thing I work out of my home, so I'm not burning that last drop of oil to drive to work. But then I started thinking about going on a bike ride with my friends up in the Cleveland area this Saturday. Maybe I should just skip it, it would be conceited of me to use up that precious gasoline just so I can enjoy myself for a couple of hours. Because that two hours of pleasure on my part will mean that, in 50 years, 8 billion people will be roaming the world eating each other. And no, Canadians don't taste like chicken.

So today I'm thinking that the only way I can save the planet is to jump off a bridge and just quit living. That is the only way I can stop consuming the world's precious resources. But then again, somebody is going to have to cut down a tree to build my casket . . . and let's not talk about the metal vault, and the fuel they'll use for the backhoe at the cemetery. Plus the three or people who show up for my funeral will have to burn gas to get there.

I wonder, what is the carbon blueprint for me dying? Will I need a carbon voucher for this, before I go through with it?

Sigh. So what to do, what to do. I really don't know. Well, maybe I need to blame somebody else for this. Whenever it's your fault and you feel guilty, do what everyone else does --- blame someone else!

I remember my dad saying that his mom and dad used to have a coal-burning stove when he was a kid. That's it! It's Grandma and Grandpa's fault!

Grandma and Grandpa burnt their coal to heat their house, and Grandpa drove around in old, polluting cars. They went their whole lives stinking up the entire world, and now they left us with this mess. Shame on them!

Here they were, just going about their lives and enjoying themselves. How rude! All they had to worry about was paying their bills, and raising their family. Didn't they know that that were killing my kids!?

Here I thought all this time that they were good people, and that they were rewarded with a ticket to Heaven. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe they are burning in Eternity because they lit the spark that causes the Earth to eventually burn up!

But back to me, maybe I'm an evil person for even existing, because I am destroying the planet. Which is actually Grandma and Grandpa's fault, because if it weren't for them I wouldn't be here.

Or better yet, global warming is God's fault. He put the stuff there in the earth for us to use. And He decided that we should be born. It sounds like he really set us up, didn't he? LOL

So I know that some of you like watching that global-warming-porn, and that it is an addiction that you can't break. But for me, I've decided to not go down that path, and just be plain old ignorant. Just like Grandma and Grandpa. They were stupid and ignorant, while they blissfully went on about their merry lives. Little did they know, baby seals were dying just so they could take their car to PA on vacation in 1953.

So for me, I'd rather be ignorant and happy. Being intelligent, enlightened and carbon-footprint responsible is just too gloomy and hopeless for me.

Sure, I'll do my best to not waste things, but if you must feel guilty about living, keep that global-warming-porn to yourself. Don't snip at me because I used a plastic sandwich bag for my kids' peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for school. Grandma wasn't made to feel guilty when she packed her kids'lunch, so why should I?

After all, innocent old Grandma was the one who caused the world to burn up. She died with a clear conscience, so why can't I? And if I'm such an evil person for destroying God's planet, well I'll be sharing some time with Grandma down under.

I'd rather be with her, anyways.

Until next time (if there is a next time . . . who knows, there might not be any electricity to turn the computer on next week),





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