Up in smoke

I tried to start a fire in my wood-burning stove today. With the temperature somewhere below frigid, all I could think about was how nice it would feel to have radiant heat circulating through the house, melting the icicles forming on my body.

So, I made my baby fire in the belly of the stove. Then I went upstairs to do a few chores before chaining myself to the computer for a full day of writing.

You know how sometimes you hear that voice telling you stuff, like, “Um, I hate to be a bore about all of this, but you need to go downstairs…, soon.”

Well, I did.

Good thing. My tiny fire had caught, yes indeedie. Unfortunately, the smoke that’s supposed to go up the flue was instead filling my basement – my stove belching like a sloppy drunk.

I immediately closed the damper and cut the air supply on the door. Then, around the house, throwing open every window and door – and finally, jumping into my boots to race around the side of the house to see if my siding had melted.

Fortunately, no harm had been done. Sigh. I had “put out the fire.” And I could move on with my day.

The purpose of this entry and why it belongs on my greenupforlife site?

Here goes: Yesterday, as I drove my little Honda through the narrow snow covered streets I was following a monster truck. It was slow going but fortunately the guy in front of me had plastered his back end with stickers, so I had plenty of readying material to keep me busy. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize he had cornered the market in every “against” sticker imaginable. The owner was obviously angry at the world – and letting everyone behind him know.

One in particular stood out though. I don’t remember the exact words, but it had something to do with the conspiracy of global warming. (A government plot to take away our guns or something?)

It was over the top to say the least, but it got me thinking. Here’s a guy who wants everyone to know where he stands. Whether it infuriates the person behind him or causes them to smile, he doesn’t care. It’s his right to express himself, period.

I don’t have a problem with that. Our nation was built on freedom of speech, even if it comes down to stickers. But what got my knickers in a twist is this: because everyone has an opinion, moving forward on really important things, like global warming or clean water is always a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of process. Getting information to the masses eats up most of our time and efforts. Which leaves less money, time and energy to throw at the problems.

Too bad. Because, instead of moving forward in critical areas, it seems like we spend an awful lot of time, “putting out fires.”

For instance, money, which could be used to build the solar homes, create the rapid transit systems, clean the air and water, is diverted to marketing instead. Marketing used to convince people of the wake-up call – the need to change our wasteful ways. In stead of moving forward, we end up wasting time, energy and resources…, in trying to convince people not to waste time, energy and resources.

Thankfully my own little fire is out, but my house still smells of smoke. Probably will for a while. It takes time to correct mistakes.

But what about these bigger “fires” that effect all of us? The future can’t be put on hold folks. It’s simple math: we can’t live with blinders on and hope the earth will just expand to accommodate all of our wants and desires, with no consequences.

Whether we drive Hondas or monster trucks, we’ve got to make some serious choices. Do we continue just putting out fires, avoiding discomfort to be personally satisfied?

Or, we can rethink “fires” in general. And instead of waiting to put them out, why not work towards keeping them from starting up in the first place.

In the long run, we could create a more earth-friendly future by making changes now, instead of passing along the embers of what we used up, to the generations to come.

 

 

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About greenupforlife

Facing life one green challenge at a time. Freelance writer specializing in green and sustainable articles, blogs, cocktail napkins, whatever keeps the creditors at bay, while building my client base leaf by leaf.
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2 Responses to Up in smoke

  1. Kathleen says:

    I’m so sorry. 🙂

    As for the bigger issues, I go back to us making a difference within our sphere of influence. Most of us aren’t and won’t ever be movers and shakers. And personally, I think I’ll make the world a far better place by teaching NFP and getting Julianna out in the world so she can interact with everyone than I ever could by running for office and shouting rhetoric–left, middle or right–till I’m blue in the face.

    • Sometimes we can only nibble on the really big issues when in reality we really wish could take a big bite. (Like world peace 🙂 just seems so beyond us). As parents though – who want nothing more than to give our children the best of everything – when we do our part, whatever that part may be, whatever we feel our part is, as long as it benefits the world in general; we’ve actually taken a big bite…, and over time, these really do add up.

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