Wednesday, November 18, 2015

That tailpipe question

From Friends of the Earth and the GCR article below

The phenomenal young woman was home from college recently. The three of us were headed home from dinner and decided we needed something from the drug store. There's a Walgreen's less than half a mile from our house and there's a CVS about a mile away. I suggested Walgreen's, but she quickly spoke up, telling us that she exclusively supports CVS now that they have taken the moral high ground and have stopped selling tobacco products. One of those prideful grins crept onto my face. It's the first time I have seen her vote with her money. I remember all the times that she rolled her eyes at my wife and me for doing the same thing. It's an amazing thing to watch her grow up.

But it makes perfect sense, someone very near to the three of us, a non-smoker who spent his whole life surrounded by smokers, died of lung cancer five years ago. Watching anyone die of lung cancer should have us all shopping at CVS for the same reason. She very clearly sees smoking as morally wrong and chooses to support a business that takes a brave (and unprofitable) stance.

I thought a little further, started to make a Mesquite Hugger point, but bit my tongue. It was not yet time, but the time seems to be very near. Each time I slide my debit card into a gas pump, I feel terrible. I very clearly see burning gasoline as morally wrong. But unlike her, I hypocritically support the thing I know to be wrong.

The NRDC explains it better than I could in these two snippets:

The article (as do many other very credible sources) clearly shows that gasoline-powered devices very clearly cause and aggravate lung disease and cancer, and the risk is most significant for children. You can read the entire article here: Our Children at Risk: The Five Worst Environmental Threats to Their Health (Chapter 4 Air Pollution)

When you read that article, do you
(1) shrug your shoulders and move on?
(2) feel monumentally guilty?
(3) think the NRDC is part of a big hippie conspiracy?
(4) laugh at the thought of reading an NRDC article?
(5) giggle self-righteously as you ride away on your bicycle?

For me, it's mostly choice #2 with a little #5 thrown in for good measure.

Can you read the NRDC article and think that Marlboro is any more evil than Exxon? That Camel is any worse than Shell? That Phillip Morris is more damaging than Phillips 66?

Where smoking was, petroleum is.

History is very close to repeating itself. Big tobacco took a big fall when the news broke that they had known and hidden how harmful their products were for a very long time. The scandal is just now breaking with the #Exxonknew movement. It looks as though Exxon has known how harmful their products are for a very long time, and it looks as though have worked very hard to conceal that knowledge.

I ran across a John Voelcker Article on Green Car Reports today that asks the question that I did not: When Will We Start To See 'Tailpipes' As Morally Wrong? I hope it is soon.

May we soon live in a time when petroleum fuels seem as silly as these cigarette ads.