Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ice Hockey is Not Green....

Well, it's simply been too long for any self-respecting blog to remain silent. I've started a bunch of stalled essays, ranging in title from Why I Believe The New York Times to Baby Elephants: Why So Cute? but I went nowhere with them. The Old Grey Lady is more embattled as an institution than it's been since the Depression--they've stopped stocking the newspaper machines at the train station in South Orange, which is disconcerting to say the least, and I'm not so sure how to even begin an argument with someone whose opinions are formed by Rush and Bill. (However, I am working on it!) And baby elephants...well once you get past that wrinkly little trunk, what else is there, really?

So I decided to simply drop all half-baked thoughts and write the day. Today is Earth Day. Since the financial collapse, Matters Green have slipped on several banana peels, effectively lowering them from out sights. Thankfully, Mother Nature does not forget much, if anything, and she recently reminded us by snapping a 25-mile-long ice bridge in Antarctica, on Sunday, setting the stage for the addition of a Connecticut-sized tumbler of cracked ice into our global cocktail. And yet just on the other side of the pole, that most alien continent is gaining ice, but probably due to a hole in the ozone the size of Utah...

Our precious blue-green orb is mottled, pockmarked by our folly, punctured by the pellets of industry's shotguns, gutted by greed. Aeysh! It's enough to depress a fella. Let's not be depressed on Earth Day.

There are small things one can do. Nearly every time I'm in a park, or in the woods, I pick up trash. Not everything I see, but one or two items--a candy wrapper, a Popsicle stick. If I have a day pack, perhaps an abandoned bottle or crumpled can. I'm not one for organized religion, but this is one of my forms of prayer--that the good energy I put out is tangible and means something.

And larger things, too. One of my proudest achievements was putting solar panels on our garage roof. It's a small system, limited by the best southern exposure, but thanks to New Jersey's forward-thinking incentives, we paid for about 40% of the total cost, and the state paid for about 60%. Just having solar panels made us twice as energy-concious, holding out until the last moment to turn on the window AC units, and replacing some incandescent bulbs with fluorescents. The system generates about 60% of the house's yearly power needs. But best of all? Before the digital meter was installed, on a nice day in May you could see the sucker spin backwards--we made more power than we were using at the time--and with the Bush Administration waging war on three fronts (Iraq, Afghanistan, the U.S. Constitution), it restored a small, yet crucial, sense of control in day-to-day events.

I like to walk, too. This morning at Penn Station, as we were all hitting the street, I was the only person on the stairs. All the other bleary commuters were escalating. When it's later in the day, and there are a lot more people coming and going, I always look over and compare the people on the stairs and the people on the escalators, and I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the escalator passengers are chunkier. It may not seem like the same category, but taking the stairs is green.

So is green. Green is green. It was my favorite color long before I was aware of Earth Day, which wasn't really until I went to sleep-away college at Binghamton. (When you grow up in the woods, once or twice a year you had City Day--a subject for another space and time.)

Tune in next time, when I'll attempt to serve up not only why The New York Times remains the paper of record in this country, but also a more fair and balanced treatment of baby elephants.

As always, thanks again for reading, and don't forget that even if Sasha Cohen herself became my personal goal-tending fitness coach, I would still rail against professional ice hockey season extending past February.

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