Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and "Time Is Irreverent."

How I know Planet Earth is totally screwed

Here’s how I know Planet Earth is totally screwed: I live in the mountains, in the Bitterroot Valley. No matter what the temperature, I go on a half-hour bike ride each morning down the hill to my mailbox to get the newspaper. I do this both for exercise (the ride back up is strenuous) and to be ecologically responsible (saving hundreds of gallons of gas each year). In the winter, I shake my head at all the people down the road who insist on letting their cars idle to warm up each morning. It’s actually bad for modern automobiles to idle for long periods of time, and it is most certainly ecologically irresponsible.

I ride my bike even if it’s zero degrees outside (I have studded tires to, hopefully, keep me from wrecking when I hit ice), yet even when it’s in the thirties I pass idling automobiles. And it’s not for just a minute or two. They will be idling when I go down and still be idling when I come up. Sure, 80 percent of my neighbors are Republican, but come on!

Imagine how much pollution goes into the air from all the cars idling to warm up just here in Montana. If people are so self-indulged that they can’t even inconvenience themselves a tiny bit to sit on a cold seat, no wonder politicians get away with massive favors to corporate polluters. Way too many Americans don’t give a shit about the future of our planet, their children, or their grandchildren.

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