Roger Marolt: Roger This
July 10, 2009
I used to wonder how much ego is wrapped up in the global warming mitigation movement. It is one thing I have crossed off the list of things to speculate about. There is plenty of it.
To many of you these opening lines suggest that the rest of this piece will be about Al Gore and his jet-propelled quest to save the planet, but since it is not about him and the reported $1 billion profit he stands to make for his troubles, I offer my apologies. Rather, this column is about you, me and every other person who has sat frustrated in West End rush-hour traffic, shopped at City Market around lunchtime, or tried to send a package overseas by purchasing postage online.
To these daily irritations add that, over the past decade or so, our spirits have been leveled by wars, our faith dashed by the most promising political leaders, and our retirement plans sheleighlied by the geniuses of Wall Street. It’s frustrating. It’s sad. It is painful proof that, aside from which pair of pants to wear, we don’t control much.
It is at times like this, when sparks fly from the eclectic motor because the fan blades are laden with doo doo, that we need superheroes. But, when all the bona fide superheroes are sitting out suspensions for failed drug tests or are out of reach in places with not enough bars or too many, we are left to splint our own broken bones and crawl on our knees out of the wilderness, which we are happy to do for the self-esteem that comes with self-rescue.
Thus put, it sounds easy to become a living action figure, but it’s not. Why else do we abandon the dream of flying with a cape on our shoulders shortly after we learn to read? It’s not because we begin to understand the principles of aerodynamics. It’s because schoolyard bullies are eager to prove that kryptonite is not the only thing that causes our knees to buckle and our noses to bleed.
The fact of the matter is that, before one can gain respect as a bona fide superhero, one needs to demonstrate an ability to save the planet. A lot of things have to fall into place before that can happen. First, the globe must be threatened. Second, you must possess the ability to combat the threat. And third, you have to actually save the planet – to most people’s satisfaction, anyway.
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So you see, the opportunity to become a superhero doesn’t come along very often. That’s why global warming is such a blessing. It is the chance in our lifetimes to become superheroes and regain control of this neck of the solar system.
Thankfully, after a somewhat dubious and questionable beginning, scientists finally compiled convincing evidence that global warming is happening. Furthermore, it looks like we are the major contributors to the dangerous phenomenon. This is good because, for the first time since the Cold War and Y2K, we have a legitimate, identifiable threat to the existence of mankind. (Never mind that it is ourselves on an inexplicable suicide mission.)
Just as fortunately, we have a simple plan of attack: Drive hybrid cars, turn off the lights, separate our trash, and point fingers as often as possible. We can make it sound as sacrificial as we want, but truthfully it’s pretty darn easy to be green enough.
Now for the best part: Nobody can prove whether our efforts will be fruitful or futile. That’s irrelevant. What matters is that we cannot fail in this quest during our lifetimes! The results of our assault on greenhouse gases will not be known for centuries. If this experiment that we are engaging in eventually fails and history proves that the attempt was foolish, our great-great-great-etc. grand children will have to dig very deep to throw it into what’s left of our faces.
And there you have it, the ego in going green. We join the fight because we are saving the world and nobody can prove otherwise. Wow! Top that if you can.
So, we can continue this battle if for no other reason than it makes us feel significant in this world that time and again appears bent on proving that we are not. But, I think we would be wise not to travel too far down this verdant path before taking heed of the truth that God, Garp, and science agree on: Humanity is indeed a terminal case. In the end, there is no chance for survival.
And, if this is true, isn’t the most humane course of action simply trying to make the patient comfortable?