Interestingly, two related items—which are completely unrelated—appeared in the media.
The first one I noticed was an advertisement for a cruise. The route would take the ship along the fabled Northwest Passage, which has now become ice-free, thanks to Republican politicians and their financial backers. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to pay money to travel such a boring route. I read a New Yorker piece by someone that had traveled on a container ship from Murmansk to Vladivostok, because the ice melts in the summer and the route is shorter than sailing around Africa. I recall only how boring the trip was for anyone looking out the window.
The second item was a report about Canadian scientists discovering the wreckage of two English sailing ships, which went missing two centuries ago while searching for the Northwest Passage. They became stuck in ice, and all perished.
Thanks to climate change deniers and fossil fuel wasters, there is little risk of tourists suffering the same fate as earlier explorers. Still, the news of such a calamity should provide a cautionary tale for climate change deniers, fossil fuel waters, Republican politicians…and cruise purchasers. Then again, these all fall into the category of “stupid people”, ie. those that cannot accept reality and change his or her mind.
Not being—and never having been—a 10-year old girl, efforts by whoever performs the (unnecessary) turn-down service in hotels and on cruise ships to please (?) guests are wasted on curmudgeons like me. The cynical part of me suspects that this is an effort to boost the chance of a gratuity.
These are the same "establishments" that claim to be doing everything to save the environment by using less detergent. They ask guests to accept their sheets and towels being changed less-frequently than daily. Of course, towels used for gimmicks must be washed, despite not being soiled by guests. In my opinion, these are a few animal species that do not need to be saved from extinction.
I am sure that this takes skill, but I do not appreciate the talent or the effort. Unfortunately, my wife (who was a 10-year old and still displays some of the characteristics) likes these “things” and does not appreciate my lack of appreciation and/or enjoyment. At times like this, when we return to our room and comment of what confronts us, she might mention how she cannot understand why she married me. I must, then, remind her how lucky she was!
Dubai is a place where concerns about the environment take a back seat to fulfilling human desires for comfort and enjoyment. This hotel caters to many visitors from Russia, a country not leading the charge to save the planet. Not wishing to upset guests, no efforts are made to limit towel use or linen changes. Only food wastage exceeds towel generosity. Trailer loads pass by each evening on the way to a washing machine, the size of which I cannot imagine. Multiply that by the number of hotels and that's a bunch of wash powder and water and electricity.
Of course, one does tend to want to leave real-world concerns behind when on vacation--especially at the price one pays for the privilege--even if one resides in a country known for its Green movement. One does try, but the majority tends to rule this roost, so I have been known to use a towel or two more than needed.
I watched an interesting program (obviously not on a US-owned media outlet) on recycling of electronic waste. I had no idea about the magnitude of the problem. Bits are saved and reused, but most ends up harming the environment. As with most negative aspects of modern life, the United States is the most-voracious user of electronics/computers and thus contributes most to the problems. Humans might have evolved out of Africa, which does not explain or justify so much of the waste ending up on that continent. Of course, I am also guilty, because I own too many electronic products, all of which will become obsolete, be replaced, and end up in some recycling facility or landfill.
One of the things that caught my attention during the program was about computer games. I know that this is a popular hobby/compulsion/addiction. They focussed on games that are based upon “killing” people. Countless people are spending hours each day trying to destroy “people” and “property” in a virtual world. Perhaps, this explains why Americans accept real killing by firearms with little or no protest. Computer games have desensitized them.
I am, perhaps, one of the least-frequent players of computer games alive today. Only newborn children use them less. I tried the first one: the tennis game that let you bounce a “ball” back and forth on a screen. I tried Donkey Kong...once. And, I played Mario Brothers a few times, when it first came out. Since then, my only use has been the occasional game of solitaire on my computer.
One confronts...and ignores...several examples of human foolishness each day. In case you do not know what is wrong with this world, I will provide one simple example. You can interpolate from there.
Yesterday, I spotted a woman enter a restaurant with three flowers in her hand and proceed to a table, where three woman were already seated. Each single, long-stemmed red rose was adorned with a ribbon and wrapped in cellophane. Being winter in Germany, the roses were probably flown in from Africa or South America. To impress a friend, no expense was spared.
To be certain, the roses will die in a few days and rot in a few weeks. The plastic will endure far after most, if not all, humans have breathed their last breath on a planet they have destroyed. Few--not even I do not--think such thoughts when buying flowers for a friend, but I always reject the offer of cellophane.
Flipping through news channels, a statement by one of Fox News’ blowhard idiots caused me to pause. He said “Environmentalists like unemployment.” The discussion had something to do with oil, so perhaps they were talking about the Keystone pipeline.
I did not listen further, but am certain that no evidence was provided for such an absurd assertion. This is a perfect example of stirring up stupid people to win support for an equally absurd proposal.
Wind and solar energy is supposed to save us in the future. Turbines are springing up in Germany like mushrooms after rain. I watch the blades spin and fear for my chance to watch television, have light to read a book, and not have to cut back on labor-saving devices.
The flight from Frankfurt to London passes over the English Channel, where huge wind machine farms have been erected. From the plane, the blades seemed to be rotating at a speed similar to an old man strolling along a lakeside promenade. I do not understand the mechanics of a wind turbine, but common sense tells me that such a rotation speed does not produce a whole bunch of electricity.
If that is the future, I guess my reading will be limited to sunlight and all tasks will be done with hand tools. I have begun to stockpile candles...
Few think of Germans as suicidal. Industrious, disciplined...guilt-ridden, yes. Of course, some might consider following Kaiser Wilhelm and some Austrian clown over cliffs to be a form of national self-destruction, but times were different. I’m talking about willful hobbling of the nation’s economic foundation.
In the locker room of my gym, I overheard two business men discussing environmental laws dealing with carbon dioxide emissions. They were moaning--justifiably--about how stupid Germans are. These twi worried about the effect of recent changes to governmental policy, which were caused by some Germans’ concern about the environment. New laws will cripple industries...which are the backbone of German prosperity.
No one considers--if the do, it is not a factor in decisions--that the majority of CO2 emissions are produced by the United States and China. Neither is interested in the impact on the environment. China’s yearly growth in emissions, is greater than Germany’s annual total!
Germany’s environmental laws will have zero impact on the health of the planet, but will certainly hurt the country’s economy. Only its own industries and citizens will suffer. Of course, China, the US, and all other competitors will applaud Germany’s efforts...because they will benefit from a weakened competitor. And, political leaders are foolish enough to bask in international praise, which is so rare.
Now, that’s what I call a nation shooting itself in the foot (if nations had feet) or, rather, in a far more-vital organ.
Ah, the greatest nation the world has ever known...
With friends like the United States, what people on this earth need enemies? This proves, once again, that life is about only one thing: money.
It is interesting (blatant irony!) that a few idiots (sorry, but I can think of no better word), mostly in the United States (because it is the largest pig, when it comes to consumption of everything) can doom the planet and mankind by blocking all efforts to slow, correct, stop environmental damage of climate change. That is not democracy: that is tyranny.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.