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Real Greens Have Manure on Their Boots

A shovel-ready test to separate the authentic environmentalists from the phonies.

by
Mary Grabar

Bio

December 30, 2009 - 12:00 am
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Every time I see former Vice President Al Gore and current POTUS Barack Obama waxing on about global warming, I wonder if they’ve ever stepped into a pile of cow manure.

No, this is not a joke about a pile of you-know-what, but a sort of imaginative test of their real environmental awareness.

A truly environmental lifestyle would involve the kind my parents brought over from their undeveloped Slovenia in the late 1950s. My father continued what he had learned growing up and taught it to me as I helped him dig compost and cow manure (when he could get it) into the garden of our tiny city lot in Rochester, New York. My parents, through this little garden, as well as fruit trees and grapevines (from which they produced wine and the fruit brandy called Slivovitz), offered a glimpse in miniature of the lifestyle of my relatives still in Slovenia that I would see when we visited in 1969. Riding bicycles or walking, pumping water from a well, and using no appliances, they led a hard life with never a day off from milking or taking care of the animals. My cousin who is only several years older than I told me about hoeing in the fields as a teenager and wishing she could sit down and read a book.

But they — and nineteenth-century Americans — left a very light carbon footprint.

Not so the Botoxed jet-set eco-celebs who lecture to us peasants about “saving planet Earth.” In fact, last spring when I looked at the photo of Michelle Obama in her gardening outfit of fashionable black knits and boots that looked more like something someone would wear to Starbucks if she wanted to pass herself off as a poet or playwright, I thought to myself: only someone from Hollywood, Washington, New York, or academia would believe that this would be proper farmer attire.

But the apologists at the New York Times will make excuses for the need of those like Mayor Bloomberg to fly to the climate summit in Copenhagen and in the process consume 37 times more resources than flying commercial. For example, Jim Dwyer chides the hoi polloi with: “It is probably not a good idea for the rest of us to look down our noses at people who cannot resist such temptations until we can afford them ourselves.” That’s right: You should first walk a mile in my shoes — or more appropriately, fly four thousand in my private Gulfstream — before you criticize. None of the lawnmower-like cars for the bigwigs who are escorted around in armored SUVs and limousines that idle, keeping temperatures constant as they wait for the honored guests. No bundling up in jackets and sweaters if you are the green U.S. president, as Obama demonstrated by keeping the heat up in the White House last winter so he could work in shirtsleeves.

Our self-evaluated B+ (“No, no, you’re too kind to raise it to an A+ … but, okay, after all, I am a Nobel Prize winner”) president declares victory at Copenhagen, but has no qualms about spewing tons of carbon to get himself and his retinue there.

Fortunately, nothing binding came from the excursion (except for a pledge of $100 billion of our tax money). But if anyone has any doubts about the real agenda, one needs to remember Hugo Chavez’s comment there about the “silent and terrible ghost” of capitalism in the room, a comment that reportedly brought thunderous applause. Going overtime on his speech, Chavez then continued on about the other ghost in the room, of “socialism,” which, of course, will help “all people.”

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