"green" means never having to say "fill 'er up"
i'm reminded of the rarity of this privilege among most people these days having been alerted to a comment thread attached to corey scuito's latest blog entry, "perverting environmental terminology". in the post corey properly skewers the "green" doublespeak being slatered on the "middlesex turnpike +3" environmental pig like so much lipstick. sprawl is the environment's invincible bogeyman, and no matter how you try to dress it up, scattering places to be across square miles, even despite copious leafy-ness among them, is never going to yield an environmentally-friendly result.
ironically, it's the car, when all is said and done, that has done as much as can possibly be done to ruin this great country of ours. the answer, of course, lies dormant within places like the red brick-lined streets of downtown lowell, though you'd never convince the suburban greenies about it. at the decidedly left-wing summer camp i'm delighted to visit with my kids each year, everyone decorates their name badges with some sort of "natural" (aka "green") scene, inhabited by all sorts of wildlife, from seagulls to squirrels. mine, on the other hand, is always festooned with the red bricked canals of my home town, a fact which never fails to raise comments from the environmentally self-unaware. "why did you choose a city scene?"
i choose it for two reasons, the first and most important of which is that the red bricked and canal-powered streets of downtown lowell are among the most environmentally-friendly environments ever and yet known to man. the second is that almost nobody can figure out such an incontrovertible truth without being hit squarely between the eyes with one of those bricks.
sea gulls are scavengers whose prolificism is born of nothing greater than man's abuse of the sea. (ever hang out by the gurry plant in downtown gloucester?) squirrels likewise represent little more than the triumph of human-based adaptation among the more opportunistic species of the planet, including possums, and pigeons. there's little "green" about them, or their environments. if you want to throw away your tv and your car, you'd find few better places in which to do it than downtown lowell. if a "green" revolution is ever to occur, it has to start in places like here. the key will be finding the kinds of industries and employment that can thrive here, like so many pigeons and sparrows and squirrels. some discussion in the comment thread on corey's post includes software, which isn't such a bad option, though, as you might see from my own comments there, i'm a bit less optimistic while the concentration of software geeks down here is less than "critical mass". musicians and artisans and artists are in far greater supply, though corey has his own well-reasoned critique for why this may also prove less than a "green" bullet. the suggestion for us all is to think more about this, and to contribute any way we can.
i have to tell you, from a purely selfish perspective, not having to visit a gas station in almost a month affords quite a bit of other things.