Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ways for real men to save the environment

1. Don't shave on your days off
Your GF / wife may not like it, but tell her that America uses a gabillion times more water and electricity than the rest of the world combined, and every little bit helps. If possible: skip on showers too and tell her you got a part-time job at Greenpeace.

2. Don't eat bananas
They are always in season here because they are flown in from the tropics, and therefore it costs a lot of resources to get 'em here. Plus, people make gay jokes when you eat them. They really do. (Hat-tip to Dianna for this great tip).

3. Use a Luftwaffa in the shower
OK, OK... it's actually called a Luffa sponge. These may not look very manly, especially when they seemingly only come in pastels, but they allow you to use less soap, get clean faster and use less water / whatever the hell they make body wash from. You can also grow your own sponges, but I wouldn't recommend it (too much effort).

4. Use a fan (occasionally)
AC feels great, and is our our God-given right as Americans / industrial powers. However, sometimes we just need a little cooldown, and not the bone-chilling awesomeness of the AC. A fan pointing just at you while you watch TV or do computer stuff can help. Plus, your girlfriend hates AC because she has a low body temperature and it makes her dress up in blanket burkas.

5. Occasionally, eat something vegetarian
Did you know that a deep dish four-cheese pizza is vegetarian? So are pasta, eggplant Parmesan, Caesar salads, meatless nachos, refried beans, etc. All these things can you the some caloric / cholesterol damage as meat, but with less stress on the environment. Not saying you have to do it every day, but once in a while is good. And I didn't mention veggie meat stuff, but that's good too.

6. Go for a walk, fatass
Yeah, we all love our cars, but we seem to love our big fat guts more. Walk to the store to get your Slim Jims and love the Hummer at home. Then wash it down with moonshine and you'll nice and blinded before dinnertime (huh?).

7. Carpool / hitchhike / carjack
Anything you can do to put fewer cars on the road.


George said...

Carjacking is awesome, its also a great way to show your friends and family that you care about mother earth. Even though the owner of the car will consume more resources in the short term (buying/renting a new car, filing a police report), his/her long term PTSD will surely limit their time in the car to absolutely necessary trips to the grocery store/therapist. If you really look the part and scare the bejesus out of your victims, they may become entirely petrified of cars and end up lifetime consumers of public transportation!

Jon, between this and your MSG idea, you may really have something here.

Jess said...

Not shaving on the weekends, total fine...not showering, just repulsive haha

Dianna said...

You forgot to mention how every time you eat something vegetarian, you feel like a god and have the urge to call all your vegetarian friends to tell them.

Jonathan Rubin said...

I don't need to call them. part-time vegetarians are telepathic.

Zeyev said...

Dianna: He has vegetarian friends? Wait - he has friends?

Jon: About bananas . . .

Supposedly in the red-baiting days of the McCarthy era, the male employees at State ate their bananas with a knife and fork in the building's cafeteria rather than be confused with - you know - "those" people. The story may be Apocryphal.

As to imports, I have read that it's not clear whether the Chilean apple or the apple from the farmer next door takes more energy to get to us. The apple from the local farmer is shipped in small quantities and thus the unit petroleum use may be much higher. We don't have the option of local bananas but what is intuitive may not be factual in terms of comparing foreign and local produce. It is SO complicated.

George said...


That is somewhat valid but there are way more reasons to buy local-say at your towns farmers market

1 you support family farmers and not giant agribusiness firms-some of whom still engage in labor practices that resemble sharecropping.

2 The farms that ship large quantities of produce across countries are usually heavily dependent on chemicals and preservatives---its very easy to find a local farm that grows organic or uses IPM (integrated pest managment).

3 Bannana farms are usually just that-bannana farms. they don't grow anything else and the soil becomes depleted eventually. A major consequence of monoculture that has resulted in fruits and vegetables having less nutritional value over the years.

4 Though this is maybe quixotic to think like this, IMO you forge a relationship with a grower that makes your community stronger when you buy directly from farmers. I know I've benefited from these interactions in that I've received a lot of tips about my home garden, bought cool plants from them--its something we should really think long and hard about--how comfortable are we with the corporatization of food.

Zeyev said...


I get most of my fruit and some of my vegetables at the local farmers' market (20th Street in Dupont Circle) every Sunday. While I believe in the locavore movement, I was trying to distinguish between the benefits of "eating local" and the somewhat tenuous argument of energy conservation's having a direct relationship to buying local.

I am friends with a few of the farmers and bring them lemons from my back yard in California and products from Montreal, Copenhagen, and Minot when I travel.

Bananas, cotton, wheat - all are monocultures that tend to deplete soil. Chocolate is 100% imported. Grape juice in the USA is likely to come from the northeast, orange juice (unless it's Brazilian) from Florida, lemon juice from California and Arizona, Durham wheat (for pasta) from North Dakota.

A global economy enriches our lives in some ways but carries risks. Since the rise of the industrial society and its cities, the question has not been whether we will have risk. The question is which risks are acceptable and how much of each we are willing to tolerate.

George said...

I hear you Z-I think it does have a positive effect in terms of the energy loop. Small farmers don't use as many mechanized harvesting/planting devices. I don't think they use as much water either, though I could be wrong. Although yah its possible there's a slight trade off in the gas consumed bringing the produce to market, if so I think we can probably agree that that's the only point where the small farmer is at a disadvantage in terms of greenie points. Especially when you're talking about animal agriculture. Also, not to open up this can of worms too-human health--lots of bannana farm workers get stomach cancer from the pesticides, hunchbacked strawberry pickers etc. To get at your last point I think most people would find these conditions unacceptable if they were only aware of the costs in a more immediate way. Perhaps if every bannana was sold with a bandicoot corpse attached to it? Monkey brains!!