Saturday, April 19, 2014

That Sinking Feeling

Watching football this morning - NBC now carries Premiere League matches, and as I type I am watching Stoke v Cardiff with half an eye - and I was suddenly struck by the ads unspooling before me.

Off-road vehicles (the top of the line model comes with a free winch!).

Motor sports - can you say "pointless waste of fossil fuel?

And lately on every channel I've been agog at all of the stuff we Americans consume that we simply do not need - that guzzle gas - that waste resources and that the production and distribution of which must pollute and lay waste... 

Riding lawn mowers. For suburban home lawns, not golf courses. 

Huge, nearly industrial scale air conditioning units for the home - marketed by pushing the concept of personal comfort above all.

Luxury cars - immense heavy resource-gulping CO2-emitting monsters that by all rights ought to have gone the way of the dodos decades ago, but that have somehow crept back into the market and are shamelessly touted with no reference to their gas mileage - just by pandering to the apparently endless human need to feel like a member of the pampered leisure class.

Appliances - giant gleaming brushed steel monstrosities that grow larger... and larger... and larger... and clearly are no longer being replaced when they wear out, but rather when they are no longer "on trend" and don't fit in with the decor.

The sinking feeling is not that any of this exists, but that all of it - the whole pleasure-principal driven, self-indulgent, mindless, wasteful, selfish consumer culture that surrounds and enfolds us and strangles us in its endlessly inventive tenticles occupies a space so far below our conscious "this is bad for the environment" radar screen that it will ultimately prove impossible to get people to wake up and realize that WE DON'T NEED THIS STUFF. And it - the production and consumption and powering and disposal of it - is part of what is destroying our precious climate.

There are some days when I don't have much hope.