Three Green Rs

When I was younger (“so much younger than today..“) we heard about three Rs for ‘saving the planet’ – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Now we only really hear the term ‘Recycle‘. It has come to mean both ‘Recycle‘ (turn old tires into park bench seats; old aluminum siding into pop cans) as well as ‘Reuse‘ (use the blank backs of old paper to make notes; use plastic grocery bags to pick up pet poop, etc).

It is quite possible that this reflects nothing more than modern lazy speech. A symptom of the same thing as people who say “everyone doesn’t do that anymore” when the context suggests they actually mean “not everyone does that now” or people who use “its” and “it’s” interchangeably. And if that was all, I would be content to rant on about the destruction of the English language by ‘Madison Ave’ and ‘Hollywood’.

But I do suspect that the modern style of using ‘Recycle‘ to mean both Recycle and Reuse hides a deeper concern. By using only that term we do not have to address the third Green R – Reduce. Whether the addiction (common across North America) to gasoline and natural gas, houses over 5,000 square feet (often needing multiple central air units) or ‘Super-Size’ meals that would feed a third-world child for a week, far too many people here exemplify (if not epitomize) the old-fashioned concepts of Gluttony, Greed/Envy and Lust/Lechery.

And that is much scarier. In various conversations (on-line and off) people have told me that “we can’t switch to renewables at the drop of a hat“. And I agree… but that’s what we will end up facing if everyone keeps putting it off. We need to decide, and quickly, just how far are we willing to go to get off oil now in some sort of controlled way- rather than wait ’til the last minute when it gets REALLY ugly.

No, I don’t know all the answers. But I’ve come to realize that our failure to deal with this is going to lead to the disruption of our current standard of living. Quite possibly a larger disruption than the depression we’re living through that was primarily caused by the felonious fraud committed by the “financial services industry” through the creation of ‘financial products’ such as CDOs and the incestuous Boards of Directors of the larger corporations.

Which brings us back to Gluttony, Greed/Envy and Lust/Lechery. Is that to be how we are labeled in the history texts?

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