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Green Living for Beginners

Now here are a few ideas for how you can check yourself, without wrecking yourself – or others. And please, if you simply cannot manage to disabuse yourself of your bad habits of thinking, do us all a favor and keep your damn opinion to yourself. When we want to hear from you, we’ll ask you to chime in, but let’s be clear about one thing: this here energy, environment and resource thing is MY generation’s problem to fix, and the same people who got us into the mess will not be the ones to get us out of it. That much we know for certain. So my suggestions:

1. Support the development of clean energy technology. If you feel so inclined, work to get a job in this sector yourself so you can actively contribute to the building of real solutions. Energy efficiency and using less energy is all fine and good, but ultimately we need to have renewable sources of energy, transportation systems that don’t rely on rapidly depleting resources, and ways of managing our garbage and other inevitable excrement of society that doesn’t foul up the air we all breathe and the water we all drink. The only way these jobs, the ones we really need, are going to come into existence, is if we work as hard as we possibly can to create them ourselves.

2. Use less energy. Each of us individually uses FAR more energy than we need, and far more than really benefits us. Think about your order of operations when you get in the shower. Turn the thermostat down to the lowest comfortable temperature in the winter and up to the highest comfortable temperature in the summer. Find other ways to cool off or warm yourself up, like drinking a nice warm mug of hot cocoa, taking a dip in the pool, or putting on a goddamn sweater for once.

3. Elect the right people. We often become far too automatically cynical about those infamous “Powers That Be,” without ever really considering what we mean. Remember, we are talking about human beings with (hopefully, if they aren’t like the Doomers) fungible minds who are capable of learning new things and maybe even occasionally following that old principle known as “doing the right thing.”

Be careful you don’t dig yourself into too deep a hole of dirt, let your compost pile collapse on top of you and smother you to death. Are you a Doomer? The easiest way to diagnose this problem is by asking yourself a few simple questions.

  • Do you believe that oil has magical properties such that it is totally impossible for any substance or technology to ever do what it does, but better?
  • Do you feel so attached to your way of thinking about the world that you refuse to consider anyone else’s viewpoint, ever?
  • Did you quit your job as a university professor in order to spend your time squeezing goat nipples?
  • Do you refer to the very idea of ”civilization” as “omnicidal”?
  • Do you find yourself writing poetry about the inevitable collapse of civilization and how much you’d love to go back to the time when you could whack a potential mate over the head with your club and drag her back to your cave?
  • If someone suggests that a certain technology might be a good idea, do you find yourself automatically ruling out the possibility that it could ever be a good idea on the grounds that it is technology and all technology (including the Wheel) is automatically Evil?
  • Do you ever find yourself using the phrase “techno-fetishist” to refer to someone who likes solar panels?

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If you answered yes to at least one and a half of the above questions, you might be a Doomer. Please seek counseling so that you can stop being sheeple and contribute some positive value to the world.

And always remember, if you say something that pisses off one of these Doomers so much that he decides you can’t be friends anymore, that’s when you know you’ve done something right. Keep up the good work!