I was hunched in the waiting room of my local clinic when I saw something that made my life even more miserable than a three-week-long sinus infection: The restive family across the room went for more cookies. Not a tragedy in itself, but the mother had already bought three shrink-wrapped bits from the deli next door, packaged in a brown paper bag that she wadded up and threw away after the snack. Then the kid whined for another treat, so mom goes again. This time, it's one plastic cookie in yet another brown paper bag. Again, the wadding and disposing.
It's futile. All of this, even this blog entry. Y'all realize that, right? Apologies for the bleak outlook today, but I'm tired of feeling rage. As when I see a lone female driving a Chevy Sububan, perhaps talking on her cell phone for good measure. Or when I saw a barkeep at a Friday's sweep a cluster of empties into a trash, cancelling out my entire week of painstaking, annoying recycling.
Unless one lives in an area where the entire population has somehow caught sustainable fever, like Portland or Boulder, I just don't see the message getting through. Perhaps all those folks I saw practice mindful living in other less visible arenas. I'm certainly not openly virtuous every moment, but even when I am being good, lugging my shopping bags and Sigg bottles around town, I don't see more than a straggler or two behaving likewise.
All in all, I think Al Gore has the right idea with his new initiative to inspire political action on the issue. As he said, it's more important to change laws than lightbulbs. Without proper taxes for emissions, without corporate responsibility, without an administration passionate to overhaul the way we live now, or even deli owners declaring en masse that they will no longer provide hundreds of dinky bags per day, we're lost.
In searching online for the term Ecotopia, by theway, I did come across Ecotopia: The Notebooks and Reports of William Weston, a 1975 work that reflects the green thinking of the time. Haven't read it, but it's fun knowing it exists.