Sunday, July 19, 2015

The shared garage

It's election season already. We don't actually elect someone for another year, and it's so much on my mind, it makes me want to gag. There's so much to weigh in on, so many problems we have to solve. Our world is changing, and I feel like if our founding fathers were alive today, they would be aggressively seeking change to adapt with it.

This isn't about who I'm voting for (Bernie Sanders - he is probably the closest to my political opinions, we'll fight about it later) or all the issues. This is about one issue that keeps me up at night. Working for renewable energy has been my livelihood lately as an adult, but I've been concerned about it since I was a kid.

"Mom, they keep building new houses! Why won't people start buying the older houses?" Donna, mother of 10, lovingly rolled her eyes at the son also worried he'd contracted rabies while collecting Mormon Fast Offerings and AIDS from a public toilet seat. Those childish, irrational fears aside, it scares me how fast we grow and how gross things have gotten. Growth and change are good, and all life is valuable. We need to think about the best way for that to continue for all of us. None of us matters if all of us doesn't make it.

I live in Utah now, and it is my beautiful mountain home. The winter here makes everyone full on barf, unless you ski in the mountains. This is of course still beautiful. In the valley, we see exactly what we cloud the air with everyday. In the summer the air is warm enough to carry our crap into the greater world, instead of directly on top of us. In winter, we're sometimes advised not to go outside, so we stay inside or go up in the mountains. The way we're growing, it won't take long until the mountains are also covered in our crap.

Maybe the planet does warm up on regular cycles, but don't treat me like an idiot. You cannot look me in the eye and tell me it's good to run our planet on fossil fuels. The last time I checked, running my car in an unventilated garage would kill me. We've been running our planet, and our lives, on the same crap for 100 years non-stop, and we keep growing.

We can argue about our tax system, immigration, gun rights, police brutality, discrimination of all types, and foreign policy. Those things matter, and I can see why there are such divergent opinions. But we all live in the same garage. Our atmosphere, water, and resources are shared. Maybe we could mine water from an ice planet that happens to also have fish. Someone go make that movie. The point is, we are all running the engine with the windows closed. What is it going to take for us to shut it off?

God help me, I rely on that industrial food complex. Cheeseburgers are my kryptonite. I grew up watching these animals killed, often. Because these animals had a real life (we killed our neighbors farm-raised animals for their families to eat), I felt ok eating them. Even saying that now makes me feel weird because that's not at all true of the meat I eat now. Deep down, I feel like it would be responsible of me to stop partaking in the abuse of these animals, just so I can have my double cheeseburger (after church no less - I'm such a dick).

I can stop driving to places that can easily be walked. Public transportation in Germany was awesome. Riding the train made me happy. Most people didn't have a car, and I didn't miss having one. Salt Lake City is picking up it's public transportation game, and I need to show that I support that.

All of us have things we feel like we could change to make us a better person and the world a better place. Focusing on renewable energy, and the pollution of our planet, is something we have to agree on now. It's the same garage, and if we keep running the engine, all of us will kill each other because of our greed and unwillingness to change.

Our stance on the gays, guns, and whatevers matters, but if we don't fix this one thing, no one's stance is will matter. Growth requires change. Solar isn't the only the answer. Wind isn't either. We have to change how we power our cars as well as our homes. We have to change where we work, how we get there, what we eat, how we get it. Everything has to change, because we have everything to lose unless we do so.

"People need a place to live, Jeremiah." "But what will we do when we've built everywhere?" Not only do people need a place to live, they need a place that grows their food and provides them with clean water. Whatever you're doing by denying climate change just to continue justifying the availability and profit of fossil fuels, knock it off. It's not about what you want anymore; it's about what all of us need to survive. I hope any candidate for president would have a platform focused on clearing out our garage, for all our sakes.