Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Missing the Point

I like these snarky som(ee)cards as much as the next fellow. To be certain, some are a good deal funnier than others. A few are down right odd. By and large, the modus operandi is absurdity wrapped in irony laced with a heavy dose of sacrasm. And I get that.

But I am not a fan of today's Earth Day joke. I am writing to register my extreme indignation. Earth Day is about us, the inhabitants of Earth, showing a little appreciation for our habitat. It's not about what we can get for ourselves. It's about our attitude of gratitude for what we already have.

The author of this joke implies that recycling is futile. How many cans must one recycle to pay for even ONE gallon of gas at $4/gallon? Meh, why bother recycling at all? hahaha

This is Missing the Point by a c-o-u-n-t-r-y  m-i-l-e.

People do save nickles but personal gain is not the sole reason for recycling. I reduce my consumption, reuse things that still have utility, and recycle things I no longer need. I encourage my children and my friends and neighbors to do the same. These activities do not make money, per se, but they do slow my consumption a bit, and they increase my mindfulness a bit, and they make me just a bit more respectful of Mother Earth. 

In my community, sorting recycled metal, glass, and paper material is a wonderful jobs program for some folks who need gainful employment. So not only do I not make a nickle per can, but I actually pay a bit to have someone else collect and sort the items I set out by the curb. And that is a very good thing.

One can count the nickles from recycled cans. I have no problem with that, and the nickles do add up. But: 
  • How about using fewer cans and bottles in the first place? Refillable canteens are great!
  • How about burning less carbon-based fuel? Public transport, bike share, walking!
  • How about focusing our snark on wasteful and truly futile behaviors? (Name your own faves.)
  • How about encouraging more folks to live lightly and love deeply, especially on Earth Day.  

My $0.02