The Footprint Theory of Life

Oxygen Footprint

Every time you inhale, you're using up oxygen. Think about it: What right do you have to all that oxygen? There's only a limited amount of it in the biosphere, and once we use it all up -- we're all going to suffocate. So every breath you take is a breath you're stealing from someone else in the future. Eventually, all the oxygen will be gone, and so it should be treated as our most precious resource. And yet everyone breathes in and out 24 hours day without giving it a second thought!

Furthermore, the oxygen in our atmosphere is produced by plants, and thus rightly belongs to those plants. Who was it that said that the workers should own the products of their labor? And yet here we come along, like the exploitative factory owners and capitalists of yore, and seize the oxygen from the plants without permission or compensation, and use it for our own benefit and enrichment.

How to solve this dilemma? You want to lower your oxygen footprint, but still find yourself feeling this overwhelming urge to inhale every time you stop breathing. (Trust me on this -- I've tried it.) One answer can be found in the practice of yoga; leading yogis have so mastered the art of breath control that they can raise or lower their heart rate and breathing rate at will. With sufficient concentration, you can practically send yourself into hibernation, where your oxygen footprint will be at a minimum.

If you're uncomfortable with the religious overtones of yoga and yet still want to achieve the same effect, you can simply stop moving around so much. That's right -- stay still, and relax. Chill. The more stuff you do, the more oxygen your body requires. So the answer is simple: Stop doing things!

You could also try only breathing in the contents of helium balloons and giving yourself a little squeaky voice, but that would entail raising your helium footprint, so I'm a little conflicted about that option.

Copper Footprint

  Open pit copper mine.
Ever seen what open-pit copper mining does to the environment? I weep at the thought. Copper is mostly utilized for electrical wiring and plumbing -- so every time we use electricity or water, we are driving the need for mining more copper to make the wires and pipes. More mining means more environmental ruination. The very thought is intolerable! Will you join me in my campaign to stop the usage of electricity and water? Only by doing so can we save the global ecosystem.

Oh yeah, one last thing: Both pennies and nickels contain copper too, so please only buy things with prices ending in a "zero," and stop using these earth-destroying coins. Thank you for doing your part.

Neon Footprint

In writing this, I discovered that neon is a basic chemical element. Who knew? And what's just about the only thing neon's good for? Signs! And what do neon signs advertise? Corporations! And what do corporations cause? Global warming! So I can stop global warming by lowering (metaphorically, at least) my neon footprint, in one simple way: Stop buying anything made by a company that uses neon signs. Most locally-owned mom-and-pop stores use non-illuminated "natural" signs, because they can't afford fancy neon signs. Only big corporations tend to advertise with neon signs. Buy local, buy small! Boycott anything advertised with neon signs. Your neon footprint may be the most important footprint of all.

Fluorine Footprint

Pure fluorine is dangerous as hell and yet we put it in toothpaste and anti-depressant pills. How stupid do they think we are? Considering that fluorine is just about the most toxic of all elements, there's no way I'm putting that stuff in my body or my footprint. So it's time to throw that fluoridated toothpaste away! Mankind survived for millions of years without toothpaste, so why the sudden "need" for it now? Like underarm deodorant, it's just another unnecessary artificial chemical that's been marketed to us by the capitalist system.

The medicalization of nonstandard logic has lead to the stigmatization of the differently brained, and is just an excuse for Big Pharma to reap billions in profits by selling us crazy pills containing fluorine. Enough! Flush those pills, say "No" to the pharmaceutical industry, and let your mind roam free!

Aluminum Footprint

  Aluminum footprint.
Cans, cans, everywhere cans. Blocking out the scenery, making me mad.

They say high-fructose sodas are making Americans fat. That may be true, but it's not the biggest problem with sodas. The real issue is what happens to the aluminum cans afterward! They're strewn everywhere across the American landscape. And the recycling industry only makes the matter worse, because people now don't even feel guilty leaving cans around, assuming that a street bum will come along and happily "harvest" all the discarded cans and get beer money for them at the local recycling center. Consequently, the litterers actually think they're doing a good deed, essentially leaving out money for the homeless!

But it gets even worse. Do-gooders think that recycling aluminum is beneficial for the environment. Not so! Recycling aluminum only serves to make the raw metal cheaper than it would otherwise be, since it costs less to re-process pure aluminum than it does to refine it from ore. The end result is an inexpensive material which only helps to grease the wheels of industry. The only way to stop global warming is to bring down the whole industrial economy, and the only way to do that is to make the raw materials too expensive to be worthwhile. So: Don't recycle! It just feeds the system. And don't litter either, because that's just rude.

In fact, the only solution is to simply stop using aluminum altogether. See if you can lower your aluminum footprint down to empty.

Lead Footprint

Since invading Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003, the United States has drastically increased its lead footprint around the world. Too many of those Iraqis and Afghanis who opposed U.S. imperialism have mysteriously died of lead poisoning. This is preventable! As a nation, we've got to stop using lead altogether. I was hoping Obama would outlaw the use of lead internationally as he promised, but if anything usage has only increased under his watch. Again -- WTF? As an American, I demand a complete cessation of lead usage. Lead is not the answer!


Nitrogen Footprint

If we're worried that we're releasing too much carbon into the atmosphere, then why not counteract the problem by increasing our nitrogen output? Air, after all, is 78% nitrogen. A little extra nitrogen should balance things out. Since our bodies contain a lot of nitrogen molecules, when we die the nitrogen which we had been selfishly trapping for our own personal use is released back into the biosphere. Thus, a nice round of human self-extinction would release a substantial amount of balancing nitrogen, and have the added benefit of decreasing our carbon usage. Something to consider.


All Elemental Footprints




The measures outlined above are just a first step in the footprint elimination process. We should not rest until we've lowered (or, preferably, eliminated) our usage of each and every basic natural element. We can and should live so lightly on the land that we leave no footprints whatsoever.

I'm ready to make that commitment. Are you?