Green, Green Grass Of Home
I recently found myself standing on a Singapore street, one hand grasping onto an empty Starbucks cup and the other waving to the heavens like a stark raving maniac.
The source of my confusion was a selection of four separately colored trash containers with small stenciled images on each.
Unfortunately, none matched my poorly departed caffeine buddy. So, here I found myself, a grown man, who was on the edge of a breakdown over the peril-ridden task of choosing a recycling option. Whoever thought going green was simple has no idea how fraught with disaster daily life could be.
In the end I just wandered around the city the rest of the day, cup in hand. Thankfully, before turning in for bed, my hotel room had only one nondescript gray trash bin. And so, there lay the cup, crying out in anguish as I brushed my teeth. It was not unlike being buried in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
An eternity of anonymity for my caffeine conveying friend.
The attempt to go green is not unlike a young Mike Tyson, edgy, unpredictable, sweaty, and above all, hard to understand. I mean, I do the right thing in a crowded McDonald's and bus my own used double cheeseburger and French fry containers. Sure, I've even been known to take a victory lap after consuming the trans fat fest, gloating in my own perceived goodness and manners.
This, of course, has more to do with being an adult than any real sense of sustainability. Doing the minimum obviously won't do.
There are moments when I care about global warming, just last week I measured the distance from my house to Layan Beach on Google Earth (Reminder note to self – 2.8 kilometers), and wondered when the surf will be able to be heard from the veranda.
In fact, today an advertisement in a property magazine touting cheap land in the foothills of Bratislava caught my attention. Still, reality bit back a while later as my mind turned to the reality that if there really is global warming, that the danger of melting snow in the mountains could be even worse than a disappearing tide. Floods, avalanches, or really deep mud are not temping alternatives.
Before readers go off on a tangent, I really do think there is global warming. Well, at least I think I do. My biggest problem with the whole concept was the Al Gore movie on the subject. Big Al, that politically fickle turncoat, would never been forgiven for his marriage to Tipper Gore who was a key instigator of the mother's against rock music organization Parents Music Resource Center in the 80s. I have a long memory Al, and there is no forgiveness in my heart for your wife Tipper.
Sorry to digress. The haunting images of that lone cup in the bin are still flashing in my head. So back to green, and here is another issue I have with the movement.
It's the actual color. As most know, I am a black man – meaning black t-shirt, flip-flops and even tonal changes to gray in shorts or pants are a defined preference. I don't own any green clothes, and have never driven a green car, nor owned a green suitcase.
Granted, I love Christmas, but its got the cozy threesome appeal of red and white thrown in, hence my hesitancy on becoming more environmentally friendly has been curtailed by color prejudice.
Can't they get a cooler color for the movement? Perhaps the biggest dichotomy of life in Asia in the real estate and hospitality sectors is, in broad terms, that sustainability has been relegated to the cheap seats out back. Go to a hotel conference, and if you really want to be alone – go to the green session. Sad, but true.
While the world seems to get it – well, except for Vladimir Putin and the entire population of mainland China – sorry readers, South East Asia is in blackout mode. Ignorance is bliss apparently.
Yes, the ocean is rising, the trees are falling and the lakes are being bulldozed in. This is no laughing matter. I have children and care about what our generation is leaving behind, but my only real request is, please greensters, make it easier to get green. If fact, if you can change colors, consider it? And Al, sorry there is no room on my bus for you.