Global Warming Man

I realize that all life on earth is in rapid decline. Everything from the amoeba that swim at the bottom of the Antarctic ice caps to the hawks which soar above the redwood trees in back of my house- are facing the threat of inevitable extinction. Extinction was a term that I never considered until I read Thomas Bernhard’s classic autobiography entitled “Extinction.” There was a line in the book that has stayed with me until this day, “I am my own extinction, I do it to myself and everybody else as well,” he writes. I can’t help but think of this in relation to the epidemic of global warming that I am now faced with. I know that each and every one of my actions directly affects not only myself but also every other living organism on planet earth. I am connected to all things in ways that I can not fathom with my limited and usually fatigued mental faculties. For every action of mine I know there are equal and/or opposite reactions in space and time. Yet, I can’t seem to change my ways.

Recycling, composting, driving less, eating less red meat and using less electricity are all ways that each and every individual can directly combat and possibly reverse global warming. This is a known fact that many people, including my wife- are turning into a way of life. I envy these people who seek to be healers of the planet upon which we live and somehow are determined to save human beings from becoming extinct. I, on the other hand, seem to be incapable of joining them in their noble quest to turn back the hands of time. In my mind recycling is a futile act, composting is a pain in the ass, driving less is an inconvenience, eating less red meat is just not possible and using less electricity is out of the question.

Electricity– I am afraid of the dark and when I am at home (asleep or awake) I need all of the lights on.

Red Meat– Red meat is the most nutritious food on earth. My health suffers if I do not consume at least two servings of red meat a day- I grow tired, weak, and forlorn.

Driving– One of the few ways that I am able to relax and find some semblance of serenity in my life is to drive my car around the ghetto for hours listening to Coltrane, Monk and Mingus on the radio.

Composting– When I have left over food on my plate I do not want to go outside into the cold and throw it away into a composting bucket that is filled with flies which get into my eyes, mouth and nose- I’d rather just wash my scraps down the drain or put them in the garbage can.

Recycling– As long as there are millions of polluting cars on the road, bombs with depleted uranium being dropped, factories burning toxic fuels, airplanes burning oil in the skies and ships burning oil into the sea- I for the life of me can not perceive how recycling my paper or glass is going to make a slight dent upon saving the environment. As far as I am concerned recycling is a conspiracy- it is a futile act that allows individuals to feel empowered and feel as if they are doing something good to save the environment when in reality “the sky is falling.”

My relationship with my wife has suffered because I am not willing to make certain changes in my lifestyle. She is an adamant composter, recycler, bike rider (instead of driving), vegetarian and lover of the dark. On her car she has a large sticker of “Mother Earth” and everything she buys has to not only be sustainably made and organic- but also involved in free trade process so that no workers are being exploited as a result of her transaction. At times her “conscious” habits drive me to the brink of insanity. I find myself filled with a particular kind of rage that I can only compare to the rage a person must feel when they are being made a fool of. My perpetual frustration has made me less willing to participate in composting my food or recycling my waste and whenever my wife finds banana peels, orange peels, glass or plastic bottles in the garbage can- her fury can be felt from a mile away. Recently our environmental differences have become so extreme that she has said a few times that if I do not start composting my food waste and recycling my glass and plastic bottles that I will have to move out. In the meantime, she told me, that she had no choice but to report me to the local Global Warming Man.

The Global Warming Man is a city official that comes around to individual households and businesses and shows people ways that they can create a more sustainable environment. They teach people how to compost, recycle, use less electricity and water and engage in various other eco-friendly practices. There is also a short lecture on the topic of global warming and the ways in which every species is interconnected. My wife told me that reporting me to the Global Warming Man was her final attempt at salvaging our marriage. If I did not meet with him for the two hours that he is going to spend in our house this Friday, that I would have to look for another place to live. She can no longer handle my blatant disregard towards not only the environment but also for myself and my own survival on planet earth. I was infuriated by what I thought was an extreme measure to get me to conform to her ways. Why did she have to report her own husband to a city official? For me it was the ultimate betrayal until I slowly (after many conversations) began to realize that I was going to loose not only my wife and home if I did not meet with The Global Warming Man- but possibly also the earth upon which I live.


  1. Very interesting read here…glad I came over.

    It is a tough thing to do, break habits you’ve had for many years like not recycling, like not composting, like driving instead of walking or riding a bike.

    I am in the transition myself of changing my lifestyle. I haven’t had any problems with most of the transition except composting. I find it awful disgusting as well.

    I am glad to see you realize the importance of your changing your lifestyle not only to save your marriage, but do your part in fighting global warming.

    For electricity you should change over to the knew light bulbs they make that save energy. They are made with mercury unfornuately but they do save a heck of a lot of energy- I have seen changes on my electric bills since I’ve changed over- so check into those since you like to keep lights on. You can even buy them in small night light sizes as well which use even less energy.

    I hope you success on your change over to the environmentalist side- and I think you have a wonderful wife to help you a long the way so don’t fret. 🙂


  2. Why is change so difficult when it is inevitable? A very strange irony of existence?

    And yes, there is beauty beneath our feet but we human beings are so pre-occupied with getting some place else. A lot of my own depression stems from not realizing the beauty beneath my feet.

    Thank you Disturbed Stranger and Justordinary.

    Absurdistry, Disturbed Stranger, and Justordinary- could be the names of three characters in a kind of Waiting For Godot play.

  3. Indeed, and what a play it would be. Things get strangerer and strangerer around here, Randall. I can see the three of you sitting on a stage have a conversation of Beckettian proportions. Perhaps in collaboration with Harold Pinter and Kafka. Wonderful. Have you ever considered that you might be a lot happier if you just gave up and accepted that your wife is a lot smarter than you and just did whatever she suggested? Then that could be the last change you would have to make.

  4. There’s a lot I would want to say about this issue, considering it’s close to my heart as well, but I would restrain because you’re already getting more than a fair share.
    What I would say, however, is that do not call an effort futile just because it is small – every drop makes up the ocean, and every electron makes up the universe. (and the electron or the drop are never the smallest elements, either!)

    Though I would appear to be on your wife’s side as far as the logic goes, I am not of the opinion of forcing people to follow any particular way. It is sufficient that you know that the world is a product of individual and collective actions; that actions have consequences; and that probably you are informed the possible consequences of your actions. But that’s it. I do not judge. If after making someone aware of the consequences of their actions, they want to continue partaking in them, it’s their choice. Nothing right or wrong about that.
    So I disagree with your wife trading your relationship in return of your conformation of behaviours.
    There. I said way too much more than I intended to, I hope it’s not taken in a bad spirit! 🙂

  5. I am not quite ready to give up just yet, Paul. But I can see it coming around the corner.

    Sumedh- I appreciate your ability to honestly express how you feel. Thank you for giving me a piece of your intelligent mind. I hear what you are saying.

    As far as the play- I would not know where to begin. Maybe it could be a play about these three odd characters all sitting in chairs waiting for the end of the world to come?

  6. oh my gosh, i am hysterical.. it is suppose to have humor right..yes, no… a rebel green lady…. never thought that was possible.. paul made a rather good suggestion… a play even better.. thou u’d better use recycled paper… GWM reminds me of you know that guy, “i’ll be back” .. oh yeah, now he’s representing the california govt [whrz brown now] and all is 4given for his touchy feely perverse uhmm.. everything just got outta hand… yr dear wife love her already, organic absolutely, at least in my yard, no chemicals there… bees, butterflies and bugs, plenty of worms… heaven.. it is hard to comprehend how separating newspapers, rinse out plastic containers could truly affect our future.. maybe you could just start w/one thing… ya know, make an effort for the love of yr wife and your future… children.. or am i getting ahead… enjoyed yr post and wish you all the best that your still sleeping in the bed you’ve always slept in… oh, came by to say thank you for the comment.. gotcha bookmarked!

  7. I love your comment, made my day. My intention was not to be funny- but the more I read over the piece the more I realize how pathetic (in a funny way) it all is. Rather absurd. Thank you again for stopping on by piece of pie. P.s…can I come live with you, sounds like paradise in your back yard.

  8. Hilarious! Very good. I think extreme behavior is more toxic for humans and the earth than anything else. You both sound guilty of that. Try to understand each other and not be so extreme. recycle because it’s important to her and she should let you keep the lights on or enjoy a country ride with you because it’s important to you. that’s what will save the earth (meaning people).

  9. Thank you for the perspective laineylapiz. Yes, my extreme behavioral tendencies are certainly toxic to the environment- and may be contributing to global warming. I will see what I can do. Thanks for the words of wisdom.

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