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A Most Unusual Party
She was at a cocktail party, a very swank affair with an amazingly diverse group of guests. Although seemingly from every socio-economic strata and cultural group, everyone truly enjoyed each other’s company and interacted merrily. Except for one. Oh yes, people approached him and chatted, but inevitably found a reason to withdraw. Strikingly handsome he was, but the slightest frown weighed heavily on his brows. An enigmatic whispered explanation came, “oh, that’s the Environmentalist.”
What in the world is the barrier between him and the rest of the party-goers she wondered? After procuring another beverage to fortify herself, she approached him. Oddly, as they eyed each other it seemed as if he poured the anguish of his soul into her. No words were spoken, but volumes of worries, statistics, and unused solutions transferred from his mind into hers. She staggered away.
The gravity of his judgment and score-keeping nearly crushed her. Quickly, she raced to the veranda to breathe in fresh air, to soar vicariously with the mating lightning bugs, to rejoice with the insect chorus. Am I SO bad? I recycle voluntarily and I did for years before it was law. I group all my car errands together to save fuel and time. I have a compost pile for plant waste from my kitchen. I plant trees and flowers (some are native, but others are intrusive non-native trendy ones.) I grow some of my food. I have a water-permeable stone driveway. I chose an electricity provider which partially uses wind power. I am an official (non-active) member of the Green political party.
I drive an hour one way to get to work. I drive an hour one way to visit friends several times a week. I weekly drive an hour one way to belong to a band I love. I don’t even own a bicycle. I don’t have solar panels (too many trees shading my house.) I live in a neighborhood where I must drive to nearly anyplace I want to go. I like lots of lights on in my house (seasonal affective disorder – maybe I should just drug myself up to be nicer to the planet.) I have no problem getting on a plane once a year to visit relatives across the country or a vacation spot in central America. I think that buying back carbon units is a bunch of baloney – a scam. I didn’t march for the climate warming cause last weekend. I excuse myself from walking or biking to some places on the grounds that I am a single scaredy-cat vulnerable woman. I pray for people, but I don’t pray for Mother Earth.
I wonder how I come out in the balance of Gaia friendliness? As if her mind had created a reality, a huge dial appeared before her. The starting point was at a number for positive impact; the halfway point indicated no impact. Then, numbers on the other side starting showing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide dumping. Suddenly, HER full name appeared above the dial in garish flashing light bulbs like a prop from some hideous game show.
The pointer on the dial wriggled from its resting place at extreme positive impact. It began traversing towards the zero. Oh God, no. It creaked and squeaked on its unlubricated axle, but kept moving towards the bad side. It reached zero impact. It did not stop moving.
She twirled on her sandals to put her back to the loathsome device.
And she wept.
Text copyright 2014 Maren E. Morgan.