Last month my diocese had its 170th convention, and one resolution they passed concerned the environment; parishes are requested to do an energy audit, write an action plan to reduce their carbon footprint and, as the diocesan newspaper put it, “to cease using Styrofoam materials.” That rattled around in my head for awhile, because I’d just bought a package of Styrofoam sandwich plates.
I wasn’t at the convention, so I just heard about this.
I looked up Styrofoam on Wikipedia, but the entry’s just a stub from Dow Chemical, which invented the stuff and still sells it to insulate pipes, houses, even roadways. The main purpose of the entry is to protect Dow’s brand name. But I kept digging and eventually found a website, Californians Against Waste, that started to answer my questions.
The thing is, I try hard not to foul the environment. God created a beautiful earth and I don’t want to mess it up or cause global warming. I replace incandescent bulbs with mini-fluorescents, I recycle like a madman, and I don’t buy much stuff, so I don’t generate much garbage. I have one 32-gallon garbage can that I put out once a month; my neighbors, a family of four, put out 5 garbage cans a week.
Now my church is telling me I screwed up with the Styro plates!
Episcopalians don’t do guilt, but now I’m regretting the plates. I needed them, but I shouldn’t have bought Styro. Like all plastics it comes from oil, and unlike some plastics you can’t reuse it.
Here I thought I was doing so good…
A couple of weeks ago I had two friends over for dinner. We were in the kitchen while I cooked, and I used the last of a box of table salt. Without thinking I pinched together the little aluminum arms of the pourspout, lifted it up and out, then deposited both the cardboard box and the spout in my recycling bin—all while chattering away. And Scott said, “Josh, you are the most hardcore recycler I’ve ever met.” Well, that kind of got my attention. Tom said, “What’d he do?” and Scott described it exactly, down to the aluminum on the spout. He’s right, y’know, that’s what it’s made of, so it’s recyclable.
Members of Scott’s family run the local grocery store, where they always ask, “Paper or plastic?” and I always say paper. I’m glad they ask, because their nearest competitor automatically loads your groceries in plastic unless you cry out at the precise proper moment, “No plastic!” I’ve even been known to tell employees at my preferred store, “You know, plastic bags are illegal in some places.” (San Francisco, Oakland and just this week a bill was introduced in New Jersey to ban plastic bags altogether.) According to those Californians, people toss away a trillion plastic bags a year!
There are pros and cons of paper vs. plastic; paper’s recyclable and comes from renewable trees, but it costs more to make, buy and store and requires more energy during production—energy as in fossil fuels. But I prefer the paper because it’s easily recyclable, it doesn’t come from the Middle East—and you can carry a bag of groceries in it without crushing your loaf of bread.
The best bags, of course, are reusable ones, but I haven’t got to that point yet; no one here sells them. Meanwhile I recycle all the bags I get, both paper and plastic; my town doesn’t take plastic bags but a store 15 miles from here does, and I shop there occasionally.
So I’m left with my grief; I bought the wrong disposable plates. Maybe I should just buy more china, ya think? I like the disposable plates because, being single, sometimes I run out of sandwich plates before I’m ready to run the dishwasher using XX watts of energy.
One thing I know: the costs of global warming will only go up.
Meanwhile it’s 29º right now in the state capital, and my furnace is on. People have a right to warmth in winter, and I’m glad to have natural gas to burn. You will never, ever catch me going cold.
And this just in: The New York Times’ automotive writer, reporting from the L.A. car show, gives a rave review to Honda’s new hydrogen-powered, no-emissions Clarity. (I own a very low-emissions Accord.) They start leasing these babies next year. Maybe it’s what we’ll all be driving once the hydrogen “filling stations” come online.
Finally, is it just me, or is God making more and more Gay people to correct for overpopulation? That’s a certain cause of global warming, heteros f—ing the planet to death.
“Be fruitful and multiply”? That’s the one and only commandment humans obey. Every other commandment they violate.
Where in your great Bible does it say, “Be careful, don’t destroy my creation.”? It doesn’t say that anywhere.
Woe to you Bible-worshippers who destroy the environment. God created this planet and he does get pissed off.