Thursday, January 03, 2008

saving the planet with money.

The above photo is what came tumbling out of the envelope containing my bank statement. Three ugly little pamphlets, each identical, asking me to please give the bank some money each month to help save the environment.


I could assume that some letter stuffing machine or poor outsourced child accidentally shoved in a couple extra bits of paper.

What is more likely, in my head, is that someone thought three is better than one, cause I might miss one as the envelope takes that paranoid trip through the shredder.

I think good old Toronto Dominion wanted me to part with a couple of bucks a month and all three notes assured me that my 2 dollars a month would be wisely invested in some green it up style campaign.

I’ve had some trouble accepting advice from those with much more money than I have. Last year, while dining with my ex-boss’ exceedingly wealthy parents, I was told by all present that I just had to watch ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, that Al Gore power point presentation about climate change. Both my boss and his parents were adamant that I must see it. Being polite, in public, I said I would look into it. I haven’t, and I won’t.

It isn’t because I don’t care about the environment. It is because of who told me I had to see it. I’m sure it is quite good. (It got an Oscar.... but so did Titanic, so let’s not get too excited about that.)

Way back in 1999ish, when I was taking my time finishing my undergraduate degree, I spent several months taking a class on climate change. I skimmed all three binders that represented the Kyoto Protocol at the time, along with several dozen scientific articles for and against the existence of the threat.

It was the class that was more interesting than the readings. There were only 5 of us, including the professor. We debated the value of different theories, the need for the common person to decide to simplify her/his life, the various causes and possible remedies to the looming warm up of the planet. It was the high point in my academic career as I managed to attain a perfect grade for the first and only time... ever.

During this time, the Alberta government was busy telling all of its citizens that only hippies believed in climate change.... and couldn’t we all use a warmer winter anyway?

Well, being compared to an irrational smelly hippy got me all worked up and I started protesting THE MAN. Sadly, most of the other people demonstrating did have something against showering more than once a week, and most seemed to live in their over sized sweaters for months until they smelled of goat. By protesting and doing mass bike rides every month, I had somewhat accidentally become a hippy myself, despite my love of bathing.

Turns out that the far left of the political spectrum is just as tyrannical as the far right. I don’t think I ever did right by the hippies. I enjoy a flushed toilet and occasionally eating meat and milk and cheese and I love watching tv . I was informed repeatedly that this was wrong. TV should be replaced with a puppet show about gender politics. Meat, milk, and cheese, should be exchanged for tofu, rice juice, and millet.

With my parents and more right wing friends telling me how wrong I was, I decided to just shut up. I have to acknowledge that no one likes to have their world view critiqued especially if that means changing habits.

It has been nearly ten years since I busied myself, ever hopeful that humanity would come to terms with the harsh reality that we can’t all go around driving SUVs in cities and even the very wealthy amoungst us would soon join me on the city bus.

It is painful to realize that the very people telling me to green up are the ones that laughed at me as a naive, yet earnest environmentalist. And these very people, while driving around in cars and investing in whatever will make a buck have the audacity to ask me to contribute some more money to save the planet.

The Toronto Dominion bank does not need my money to save a forest. Profits for that one bank are 4 040 800 000$ in 2007. Some small part of those profits come from my little account.

I'm going to have a bath now, and perhaps just enough gin to make my brain fuzzy.


french panic said...

I share your pain. About hippies. I have disappointed so many of them. They look so confused when I bare my meat eating fangs, refuse to describe myself as "left-wing" or "liberal" and fail to share their enthusiasm for Ani DiFranco.

Wilma said...

Fanatics on any end of the spectrum are still just fanatics.

Don't even get me started on the profits of major banks in this country, as I happen to occasionally work for one. I see all the bragging emails on how fabulous we did last year, then get a 25 cent raise. Did I mention that minimum wage went up 25 cents? Hmmm, perhaps a corrolation?

Oh, wait, this post was about the environment. Right ~ back on track.

I share your frustation with the pamphlets. I received entreaties from National Geographic once a month for TWO YEARS asking me to re-register for membership after I quit. How many trees did they kill? & isn't that against their mission here on earth?

A little less crap in the mail, a little more "practice what you preach" & we'll all be better off.