What do you call a person who lives in a 6,000 square-foot house and buys a third family car for his teenaged child, but wants to ban the sale of bottled water in order to save the planet?
B) Guilty, rich liberal
D) All of the above
If you answered D, you’re right.
Like environmental fanatics everywhere, some Concord residents have become devotees of the new “Green” religion, a faith based on planetary worship — complete with moral commandments, rituals, and holidays. These zealots regard themselves as enlightened enforcers of eco-morality, uniquely qualified to decide how we should live and what products we should buy.
But in contrast to the granola-eating, dreadlock-wearing, earth-mothers of, say, Northampton, Concord liberals like to live large: big houses, big cars and big vacations — which is why their self-righteous concern for the planet seems cartoonishly funny, if not outright scandalous.
In case you haven’t heard, Concord last week voted to ban the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles. Not all plastic bottles, mind you. Concord merchants can still offer juice, Gatorade and soft drinks in plastic bottles. And they can still sell water in larger bottles. But the single- serving Poland Spring bottle — that blight on humanity –— has been banished.
Proponents of the new bylaw, which passed Town Meeting 403-364, argue that the ban reduces waste. Of course, forcing people to buy two liters of water, when they really only want a single serving, hardly achieves that objective. But it allows the measure’s supporters to pat themselves on the back for their selfless commitment to the planet.
And yet, residents of Concord will not have to go without –— they’ll simply import bottled water from stores in nearby Acton. Only the lowly tourists who come to walk Walden Pond or explore the birthplace of the American Revolution on a hot summer day will be denied a single serving of cold, crisp water in this bastion of environmental consciousness.
Are we really surprised? Should we expect anything less from a community where people load reusable grocery bags into gas-guzzling SUVs? Where the schools force sixth-graders to watch the discredited Al Gore propaganda film “An Inconvenient Truth?” (Never mind that, in 2007, a British High Court judge ruled that the film was one-sided, highly politicized, and contained significant errors of fact.)
This, after all, is Concord: The same town that will devote 10 acres of precious land for solar panels, subsidized by taxpayers outside of Concord, in order to reap negligible energy returns for the town. (Hey, it may not be cost-effective, but who cares? It’s other people’s money, and it “sends a message.”)
If folks really want to “Go Green”, they can always downsize to smaller, more energy-efficient homes; take public transportation regularly; and sacrifice lavish family vacations to far-away locales. But this would require a change in lifestyle that many adherents of the “Green” religion are unwilling to make.
Much easier to ban single-serving water bottles and subject sixth-graders to Al Gore’s left-wing agit-prop.
Don’t get me wrong. If liberals want to shop with reusable bags or boycott bottled water, that’s their right. But when they insist upon indoctrinating other people’s children and imposing their personal lifestyle choices on others, they’ve gone too far.
Truth is, most efforts by Americans to save the planet simply contribute to what philosopher Pascal Bruckner calls an “illusion of action” — the feeling that we are doing our part to avoid catastrophe, even though the net impact of our actions is scientifically irrelevant.
But thank God — or, should I say, thank Mother Earth — for the ability of human beings to create their own reality. Otherwise, I don’t know how Concordians could live with themselves.
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