Sometimes I Spit on Nature's Face
I recycle, I don’t litter, I don’t produce a lot of trash, and I don’t actively participate in global thermonuclear war, but these things are easy. Despite these small efforts, I still think I am over my pollution budget.
Although I haven’t driven much since coming to the U, I know my car is my biggest encroachment. Although it is small and fuel efficient, it is still a heavy polluter. The catalytic converter has been removed, so harmful pollutants like carbon monoxide aren’t properly oxidized before leaving my exhaust. My PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system also has problems that I’ve ignored for too long, adding to the amount of offensive gases coming from my engine. Furthermore, I have some slightly worn intake valve stems and guides that allow small amounts of oil to be burned and expelled into the atmosphere. And of course, I often let the tachometer climb to unreasonable heights before shifting – just for fun, which amplifies all of the aforementioned conditions.
This car is 15 years old, and I’ll probably make it last at least a few more years until I have the means to buy a new one. Along the way, I doubt I will do very much to make it more eco-friendly. I’ll drive it whenever I feel like it, and sometimes I won’t even have any particular place that I need to go. Even in the future when 70% of our cars are powered by hydrogen fuel cells or something, I know it will be very difficult for me to depart from good ol’ internal combustion gasoline engines. I am guilty of being a friend of nature only as long as it doesn’t inconvenience me (or perturb my passions in this case). I am kind of like a non-voter who can’t imagine making a difference, especially when there are power plants out there that dwarf my wildest, smoggiest dreams by factors of a billion.
I know this is a group effort, and I’m an equally important member, but I honestly can’t see myself making a major lifestyle change. I do plenty of the small easy stuff, but when it comes to a significant sacrifice of comfort, I am just not inspired enough. I want to be. I try to convince myself to be. But I am not so motivated. I admit it. I think most people share this feeling, but they haven’t admitted it. That’s why progress is so slow, even though every hypocrite wants a healthy planet.
Check this out: Our pal Al Gore being a little bit of a hypocrite