Thursday, May 3, 2007

Satire - An Inconvenient Proposal

An Inconvenient Proposal For Preventing Americans from Despoiling the Planet Earth and from Continuing to Foul the Environment with Wanton Acts of Fossil Fuel Pollution That in the End Will Destroy Life as We Know It, with Apologies to Jonathon Swift, Recorded this Date, The Fifth Month and Third Day, The Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand Ought Seven, Annus Horribulis

Our conception of ourselves and of each other has always depended on our image of the earth. When the earth was the World –all the world there was – and stars were lights in Dante’s Heaven, and the Ground beneath our feet roofed Hell, we saw ourselves as creatures of the universe, the sole particular concern of God.

And when, centuries later, the earth was no longer the world but a small, wet, spinning planet in the solar system of a minor star off at the edge of an inconsiderable galaxy in the vastness of space – when Dante’s Heaven floundered and there was no Hell – no Hell, at least, beneath our feet – men began to see themselves not as God-directed actors in the solemn paces of a noble play, but rather as victims of an idiotic farce where the rest were victims also and multitudes had perished without meaning.

Archibald MacLeish, Riders of the Earth, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston , 1978

Whereas, in a previous contribution to the Blogosphere, your Humble Servant of Mankind and the Lord, and a Citizen of the Great Republic of the United States of America, did propose the solution to the national scandal of the Uninsured was having all health care bureaucrats and technocrats and regulation-makers read aloud, day in and day out, without surcease all the regulations they have had imposed and furthermore that they work for one month within the health care establishment carrying out regulations they had promulgated.

Now your Humble Servant, seeking Repentance and Redemption for his Environmental Sins, proposes to offset his Carbon Sins, and to redefine the Carbon Signature of these entire United States of America, by offering an Inconvenient Proposal to bring Compulsory Cessation to All Industrial and Intestinal Carbon Discharges and Emissions, which mankind, nay, all of members of the Animal Kingdom, should be held Accountable and Responsible in their Daily Routines, in the very Acts of Breathing, Living, Feeding, and Relieving Themselves.

It is a melancholy reality that we Americans have been seduced to believe by carbon-laden newspapers, ray-emitting television sets, information from electricity-consuming computers, and gas-belching politicians, that we Americans are, in one way or another, by contributing to this Planet’s Environment Woes, are somehow achieving Material Progress and better life for those of us who inhabit this fragile planet.

Let us face the facts of our dastardly deeds Citizens of this Great Nation, 5 % of this World’s population and generators of 25% of this Earth’s Energy Consumption, are not Carbon-Neutral.

• Our airliners generate 1.2 tons of carbon dioxide per passenger;
• the average American spews 20 tons of carbon dioxide and related greenhouse gases into air each year, compared to 4.5 tons for the rest of mankind, into the Earth’s delicate environmental envelope;
• our energy-hungry houses gobble up electricity from coal-generated plans, which account for 50% of our nation’s electricity;
• our SUVs, trucks, and gas-guzzling cars produce 30% of the Earth’s carbon-dioxide emissions.

We are, in short, in one way or another, directly or indirectly responsible for much of the Earth’s Greenhouse Gases, made up of 36 to 70% water vapor, 9 to 26 % carbon dioxide, 4 to 9 % methane, and 3 to 7% ozone.

We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. As everybody knows, at least those have not been Gored to Death, we and our fellow citizens in this Great Republic are present at the Creation and the Continuing Environmental Devastation and Deforestation manifested by Drought, Famine, Disease, Rising Seas, Melting Glaciers, Climate Extremes, Flooding, Declining Agricultural Yields, and Disappearing Animal and Plant Species.

Always remember, even if it is a Bitter Cold Winter Day, or a Frigid Rainy Spring Day , or a Driving Blizzard, or even a brief period of Global Cooling, the cause is Global Warming. It explains all, even Katrina and El Nino. It is a Universal Truth. It is the Apocalypse, Armageddon, and Le Deluge.

It is not Fossil Fuel’s Fault. We have met the Enemy and He is Us. It is We and our Profligate Life Styles that Emit these Carbons and Discharge this Methane. It is We who,

• drive those Polluting Cars and Trucks,
• fly in those Jets,
• heat our houses at 80 degrees in the Winter,
• cool those same houses to 72 degrees in Summer,
• consume Energy for various and sundry purposes,

We do these things for Creature Comforts and Advancement of the Economic-Industrial- Comfort-Consumption-Complex. These activities define our Carbon Footprints, which are leading to the Deterioration of the Earth’s Air, Water, and The Ice Envelopes, Mantles, and Glacial Coverings.

Don’t we Americans realize the Earth’s average surface and Ocean Temperature will rise from 1990 to 2100 by 1.6 to 6.4 degrees Celsius or 2.0 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit if present trends continue?

Don’t we know in the last century, the Earth’s temperature has soared by 0.74 plus/minus 0.18 Celsius or 1.3 plus/minus 0.32 Fahrenheit, all due to the mounting Anthropogenetic Greenhouse Gas emissions that are expected to raise sea levels 1 millimeter in the next 100 years.

The scientific consensus (an oxymoron for those who believe Science is based on Evidence, not on Political Consensus) is that these Wealth-Connected or Health-Destroying phenomena, as every environmentalist knows, are not related to solar storms on the sun, or the natural climate cycles or rhythms that have occurred since time immemorial, or the renowned rebound form the Little Ice Age. Warming is a Man-Made Problem, well within our control.

To remedy the Dire and Dreaded Direction the Earth’s weather has taken, your Humble Servant therefore makes this Inconvenient Proposal.

That forthwith with short transition period, have every Individual, and each of us in American Society Collectively, in Solidarity will all other Riders of this Planet,

• plant a tree each day,
• repaint our house with latex rather than paint made from fossil fuels,
• replace all vehicles consuming 50 miles a gallon or less with hydrogen-burning, hybrid-propelled, or biomass-fueled means of transport,
• outlaw Internal Combustion Engines,
• shut down airlines and forbid Private Jets,
• phase out coal driven plants that generate electricity,
• replace incandescent lights with fluorescent lights,
• turn down household thermostats by 10 degrees in Winter,
• terminate air conditioning in Summer,
• install Solar Panels and Wind-Driven Energy Devices atop domestic dwellings and commercial buildings,
• conserve water by flushing once a day,
• restrict toilet paper use to one sheet per episode,
• stop lawn sprinkling,
• cease production and publication of carbon-containing computer downloading papers, newspapers, brochures, and publications – anything containing carbon-containing wood pulp;
• ban junk mail,
• make mandatory recycling of everything,
• wear thick sweaters and jackets as an option to indoor heating,
• walk, bicycle, or ride non-gasoline mass transit vehicles to work,
• switch all energy sources to biomass, wind, solar, and geothermal,
• adopt government-dictated restrictions, regulations, and rationing of economic growth and personal behavior, to be monitored by non-energy consuming surveillance devices.

In the stepping back and defueling process, citizens are to stop eating beef because it requires extensive grazing by herds of carbon and methane emitting mammals, and to cease using plastics manufactured from Fossil Fuels, the Flaming of which is the Bane of Humankind.

I think it is agreed by all parties that these measures are necessary to preserve the Planet, stop weather extremes, save the species, and cool the pace of economic development.

The current deplorable state of affairs is unsustainable. We must address hothouse horrors we have brought upon ourselves and visited upon this fragile Orbiting Sphere known as Earth on which we are Temporary Riders.

I cannot think of one single objection to this inconvenient proposal, lest it be that we must modify our Sinful Life Styles, set back economic progress, and raise Taxes to make the Right Things happen.

This proposal will spread from these United States to all Nations, who, united and inspired by our Noble Example, will step into our Carbon Footprints. These nations will include the Chinese and the people of India, who have wrongly set their sights on Economic Progress using Fossil Fuels as the Preferred Path to the Good Life.

As for the United States, I have not the slightest doubt that this Great, Powerful, and Affluent Nation will choose to lower its Own Economic Standard to raise the Global Environmental Standard.

I profess, in the sincerity of all my heart, that I have no personal interest in advancing this proposal, save the Public Interest and the World’s Interest, and My Interest in My Country and in all Mankind and in Future Generations.

Consider this proposal an Entreaty to sign the Kyota Treaty (which commits industrialized nations to reducing Greenhouse Gases by 5.2% over the next decade and which needs to be ratified by 55% counties responsible for carbon emissions).

Accordingly, we must,

• stop burning of fossil fuels;
• cease carbon dioxide and methane pollution to earn our Carbon Credits.

If we in this Great Republic of the United States of America do not, it is our own fault, and we shall have to live with Guilt until eternity. We must worship the environment, rather than material progress, so help us God.

The End

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