I can’t stand to look at images of oil-smothered birds and beaches soiled by black blobs. They make me nauseous, as does the media’s recent focus on whether the President is emoting enough. I can’t even imagine the pressure building every hour and day on executives of BP, Obama’s team, and the people of the Gulf. I pray for the unsung BP heroes working round the clock to stop the leak. Maybe we’ll get some good news this week about an idea that will stop the oil flow before August, when the relief wells are completed.
Meanwhile, what can we do?
Go green, is what occurs to me on a green-gray morning in Cambridge. Buy bicycles. Walk more. Turn off the air conditioning unless the heat gets crazy. Turn down the heat. Till now, I will confess that I have been mainly a talk-the-talk environmentalist. This mess makes me hard-core. The BP spill marks the end of my personal complacency, because every single small green act is a way of doing something in the face of excruciating tragedy. If the images and facts of this calamity are not enough to turn the consciousness of the nation toward sustainable growth, then we are simply doomed.
I don’t claim a rational link to my next intention, but I also plan to start eating more green stuff. As I approach 60 this summer, I know I need to reboot my eating and exercise. Most of what I love to eat is not green. Donuts, cookies, toast with honey, hard salami, Ritz crackers, Jarlsberg cheese, chili, root beer — those are some of my favorite foods, balanced by the occasional virtuous dinner of fish. I’ve heard you can establish a habit by doing it for 30 days in a row, so I’m going to eat something green every day for the next 30 days. Bring on the lettuce, broccoli, spinach, and asparagus. On our next trip to Whole Foods, I’m going to simply buy anything green, including green tea.
I’m going to look for the green in every scene, like the one outside my window this morning. That’s an oak tree closest to me, and beyond it glow the rich green grass of the park and the muted green of the famous Sycamore trees that line Memorial Drive along the Charles River. I also notice my green-covered One Laptop Per Child computer, which I use in tandem with the one I gave my grandson. The text messages I send on my iPhone appear on a green background. The top index card on my hipster PDA is green. The traffic light in the intersection outside my window just turned green. It’s time.
Green doesn’t get mad. Green grows toward the sun. Green loves the rain. Dave Brubeck is green, or at least that’s how a Pandora mix based on his music sounds this morning. My birthday on August 30 will have a green theme–I’m not sure how, but something will occur to me. Real green has to start somewhere. Why not today?