January 19th, 2008
Have you ever watched movies like Inconvenient Truth and wondered how one person can make a difference? I often wonder how I can save the world without having the save the cheerleader. Well, I searched the internet and discovered a million boring earth saving tips like “remember to turn down your thermostat!” and “try biking to work!”.
So I decided to make a list of ways to save the earth for today’s youth (which I conveniently ranked in descending order by level of controversy).
11. Pee in the Shower
Spending additional time in the shower to pee is not recommended since hot water is more expensive than the cold water of your toilet. However, the shower peeing expert could easily save water by embracing multitasking possibilities with the pee-n-lather combo. Better yet, guys should just pee in the sink. Why waste water or electricity at all?
10. Cook Food in your Dishwasher
First of all, washing dishes by hand is for earth haters, plain and simple. Don’t get me started on cooking in the oven. The optimal way to cook is clearly in the dishwasher by steaming tin foil packages of delicious salmon while simultaneously washing dishes. Bonus points for eating bohemian without utensils and reusing the tin foil for a fancy hat.
9. Watch Eco-Porn (NSFW)
If you’re going to pay for adult content on the internet you might as well put your money to a good cause like the non-profit eco-erotica organization F***forforest.com where your sign up fees go toward reforestation and environmental protection projects across the world.
8. Take Off-road Driving Shortcuts
You can carpool and drive at your ideal gas mileage speed all you want but everything boils down to the shortest distance between 2 points, our old friend the straight line. So look both ways before you hop the curb in your SUV and B-line across the parking lot to get to your 9-5.
7. Bike Naked
It’s best to avoid driving all together and bike from place to place but if you really want to make a difference and speak out against car emissions you’ll want to put your gel seat to good use and participate in a mildly illegal naked bike ride protest.
6. Start a Grow Operation
When you eat imported produce, you eat fossil fuels. The cost of harvesting and shipping produce by truck or airplane is completely hidden when we buy food at the grocery store so we tend not to think about it. By starting a garden, greenhouse, or even a hydroponic grow operation you are one step closer to sustainable living.
If your city doesn’t have a compost program like Toronto then you are taking up massive amounts of landfill space with your horrible apple cores and banana peels that everyone is slipping on. You’re better off throwing such biodegradable items into your neighbors yard to fuel the soil. Although, knowing the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable is crucial. Your neighbor doesn’t want a heap of poopy diapers on his door step so do him a favor and incinerate it by lighting it on fire and ringing the door bell. That’s what I call good old fashion environmentalism.
4. Smoke Crack
Need motivation to use your old incandescent lightbulbs sucking up valuable energy? Try smoking crack. You just have to hollow them out first and clean them thoroughly so that you don’t inhale any poisonous inner bulb coating. The bulb acts like a vaporizer and is the healthiest way to enjoy illicit substances. Smoking crack with your old bulbs will require you to buy new compact fluorescent light bulbs which are 4 times more efficient and last 8-15 times longer. Although, technically, you could just replace your bulbs without doing the crack.
3. Go Big Game Hunting
It’s not just hunting, it’s wildlife management. Did you know the sale of hunting and fishing licenses are a major source of funding for wildlife conservations? It seems a little strange that hunting and conservation are so closely tied but the truth is that hunters will pay ridiculous amounts of money to hunt rare animals. There was a great article in New Scientist last year called “Bag a Trophy, save a species“, and here’s an excerpt:
“Without hunting many of these areas would be converted to cattle pasture, and there would be a rapid loss of wildlife,” says Peter Lindsey, a conservation biologist at the University of Zimbabwe in Harare and author of a survey of trophy hunting in Africa (Biological Conservation , vol 134, p 455). When it works, the jobs and money generated by hunting also give local residents an incentive to suppress poaching and keep animals live and on the hoof rather than in their cooking pot.
2. Stop Recycling
Like most people, I feel that whatever I put into my recycling bin gets magically turned into a brand new product, gets re-shelved at the supermarket, and the earth is saved. Although, this is far from the truth. Many materials in consumer products require more energy to recycle than manufacture and when you take into account the amount of fuel, cost of staff wages, and air emissions associated with recycling trucks you start to wonder if it’s really worth it. The best alternative is to reduce the need to recycle by buying produce and, if necessary, packaged items in bulk. Perfect justification for buying a keg of beer as opposed to a 6-pack.
1. Boycott Organic Food
First of all, there’s a lot of research out there on organic food and most of it is inconclusive. It’s so difficult to make an informed decision when you have recurring patterns of study, counter-study, argument, and counter-argument. Nonetheless, I’ve decided to pick a side… and it’s anti-organic food!
Organic food still contains pesticides and no studies have conclusively proved that organic food contains higher nutritional value than regular food so it’s a bit strange why everyone is buying them. Here’s an excerpt from a Salon article called “Save the rain forest, boycott organic” a few years ago:
Perhaps the most eminent critic of organic farming is Norman Borlaug, the father of the “green revolution,” winner of the Nobel peace prize and an outspoken advocate of the use of synthetic fertilizers to increase crop yields. He claims the idea that organic farming is better for the environment is “ridiculous” because organic farming produces lower yields and therefore requires more land under cultivation to produce the same amount of food.
So the moral of the list is that you can save the environment and have fun, so go out (or stay inside) and make a difference!