From the MRW Water Cooler
Q: Do you consider “Dirty Jobs” an environmentally friendly show? If so, why?
I’m ambivalent. On the one hand, I can think of no other program that positively impacts our environment more than Dirty Jobs. On the other hand, that impact is entirely coincidental. Dirty Jobs celebrates hard work, sweat, pain, capitalism, and humor. I have no environmental agenda, and no interest in publicly promoting the notion that our planet is in peril. In fact, I’d like to see the death of anthropomorphic propaganda. The Earth is not my “mother.” It’s neither loving nor angry, vindictive nor wounded. Portraying the planet in those terms insults grown-ups. So I guess I’d give myself high marks for outcome, but low marks for motive.
Have you always lived an eco-friendly life, or have you changed some things about your lifestyle recently that have less of an impact on the environment? If so, can you talk about one or two things you’ve changed and why?
I’m conservative by nature, which used to mean “eco-friendly.” I’m not acquisitive. I try not to make a mess. If I see trash on the sidewalk, I’ll pick it up. I drink my water out of the tap. When driving, I accelerate slowly. I turn off the lights when I leave the room. When I exit my Father’s house, I close the door behind me. (No Dad, I don’t live in a barn.) When I shampoo, I lather and rinse, but never repeat. There’s more, but I hate to brag.
In the context of building a better planet, what is the one thing you wish American’s did more/less of?
We can stop talking about “building a better planet,” and start building better people. We can resolve to get by with less. Less food, less energy, less square footage. We’re trying to “fix” the environment the same way a doctor treats a mysterious illness – by addressing the individual symptoms. Curly lightbulbs and hybrids are fine, but really, aren’t those creations designed to save us from changing our basic behavior? Recycling makes us feel better, in the same way a cool towel soothes a fever, but neither treats the cause. To really change behavior, we need to treat the cause, and understand that our true addiction is not to oil, but to convenience. That’s the addiction that’s made us fat, soft, impatient, debt-ridden, and wildly entitled. The environment is just one more casualty of our love affair with convenience.
In the meantime, mandatory jail time for litterbugs….