23 February 2011

The secret confessions of John Q. Public, a recycling holdout

Okay, you got me. My garbage cans are spilling over with beer bottles, newspapers and whatever other stuff you people say I should be recycling. When I'm done with what I'm using and it gives me no more personal benefit, of course I'm gonna chuck it -- there's no crime in that.

What happened to the days when a person could just live their life without everyone and their uncle passing judgment on them? It's not like I'm leaving a trail of junk in my path or flinging soda cans out my car window -- I'm just putting all of my empties where they belong, exactly like my parents and their parents used to do -- right at the curb for the sanitation department to pick up.

Here's a newsflash - there's a lot more people out there like me than you think. Good, upstanding people. We pay our bills, make sure our kids have the best opportunities we can provide them with in this lifetime, try not to break any laws and yes, we even like going to the park every now and again.

Don't tell me that by me not recycling, I'm polluting Mother Nature because you and I both know that's a bunch of crap. I pay a butt load of taxes so that someone else can deal with the environmental stuff and yada yada yada. It's their job - they get PAID for it. My job is to provide for my family, keep a roof over their heads and try to squeeze a little extra ray of sunshine out at the end of the day so that I can get right back out there and do it all over again.

Dealing with the daily grind keeps me busy enough, thank you very much - I don't need another distraction chewing up my time, you know what I mean? Of course you don't...that disapproving look on your face says it all. Stop looking at me that way. Who appointed you as my judge and jury? I don't murder little puppies or pour toxic chemicals into major bodies of water.

You know who really deserves the blame for our planet's problems? Modern industry and politicians. They're the ones killing off ecosystems and looking out for their bottom line. I'm just one guy and I don't have time to fix the mess that they made. Why should I, anyway? What have they done for ME lately?

Who really knows if there actually IS a legitimate environmental crisis unfolding before our very eyes. Yeah, you heard me. It seems like just yesterday things were absolutely fine, and now suddenly we've got a full-fledged species extinction countdown on our hands. No, I don't watch the news or read the papers, but friends constantly rattle off this propaganda and sometimes I feel like my head is gonna explode. I mean, come on -- out of the blue, doom and gloom.

There was no such thing as recycling 20 years ago and now it's gonna save the world? No, I'm not talking about in the tree-hugging parts of the country - just the normal places...this recycling thing is pretty new in the U.S., all things considered. I don't see the connection between keeping a few cans and bottles out of the landfill and our planet being in any better shape - it seems like a bulls#@t excuse that our municipalities have come up with to make their jobs easier. Let THEM do the sorting if they really care that much.

Plus, even if you decide to go along with the whole thing, some towns don't even have recycling pickups - mine's one of them. So...am I gonna go out of my way to put the bottles and papers in my own special bins and then drive them clear across town several times each month to a place that will actually take ‘em? Will they pay for my gas and personal time? I think not.

Frankly, when I look outside my window, everything seems peachy keen, anyway. The world doesn't look any different from the one I grew up in. All those before and after shots of major global landmarks like glaciers and rivers that have supposedly been affected by global warming - they're probably just photo-shopped so that scientists and global governments can push their agendas.

Besides, what's the big flipping deal anyway about ice melting or scenery changing a little throughout the years? If you check out at a picture of me 20 years ago, I looked a whole lot different, too. That's just how it is - no point in fighting the hands of time...we all go through it, even Mother Nature.

And why's everyone complaining about the weather, too? Buncha cry-babies. Warmer temperatures rock, especially in the winter. People love to say that the sky is falling just so they can hear their voices and feel validated for rallying around a cause, even if it's entirely fabricated.

This is just one in a long line of trends that will be replaced before you know it, you'll see. Next month we'll end up having a global rubber deficit on our hands or something crazy like that and be implored to save all the erasers like our lives depended on it -- and when I sit that one out, too, things will still end up working out fine, just like they always do.


*Sigh.* And this is one of the big reasons why our world is in trouble.

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
Elizah Leigh's master's degree in education combined with her passion for the written word and deep-seated interest in environmental issues has proven to be the ideal trifecta for her present status as a green journalist. Currently commissioned to write a reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit:cc:flickr.com/photos/bvcphoto