Savoring a Green Onion

That is, truly enjoing the Onion‘s 3 July 2008 Green Issue: “Our All-Paper Salute to the Environment.” Well-done satire provides a painful window on the soul of an issue. And, the Onion specializes in that well-done satire. This issue pulls together some top environmentally-oriented satire from the past decade. Lets take some bites of that green onion …

From Green-Washing (“Companies: How to make millions by switching to a green-colored landscape”) to projections of global warming hell (“Preparing for life in a barren Hellscape”), the Onion covered the range of issues.

A 1998 article explored the reasons for the violation of a pristine forest area, appropriately entitled “Raped Environment led polluters on, defense attorneys argue.” (A radio version …)

In their opening statement before jurors Monday, defense attorneys representing Pacific North Construction & Lumber Corp. argued that their client was not at fault for the July 1997 rape of 30,000 acres of virgin forest, claiming that the forest led the development company on with “an eager and blatant display of its rich, fertile bounty.”   … “While, obviously, it is extremely unfortunate that this forest was raped, it should have known better than to show off its lush greenery and tall, strong trees in the presence of my client if it didn’t want anything to happen.”

Well, the case is clear.  What is a red-blooded developer to do when tempted in such a way? 

In 2000, Time magazine blew its calculations as to how well an issue would sel l and 450,000 Unsold Earth Day Issues of ‘Time’ Trucked to Landfill.  This article does a particularly good job at highlighting the contradiction of a glossy magazine focusing on green issues.

“Originally, our intent was to recycle any unsold copies of the issue after the subscription cards were taken out, the cover separated from the contents, the polystyrene-based glue baked off the binding, and the color photo sections separated from the print pages,” Time director of operations Christine Alarie said. “But unfortunately, with the unexpectedly large number of issues we were dealing with, it just wasn’t feasible.”

And, of course, such materials heading into the landfills create long-term leaching problems …

“Earth Day issues will slowly leak pollutants from the magazine’s bleach, inks, and color-photo dye-sublimation chemicals into the soil. Isaacson stressed, however, that the threat of such contaminants pales in comparison to the dangers posed by disposable diapers, fast-food cartons, six-pack holders and, discarded batteries–environmentally hazardous consumer goods the Earth Day issue spoke out against and will eventually be covered by in the landfill. “

One 1999 story struck a little too close to home: Small, dedicated group of concerned citizens fails to change world.

Despite these efforts, however, Citizens For A Cleaner Watershed has utterly failed to change the world whatsoever.

Except, perhaps, to create some local ridicule of its efforts.  Sigh, so true it seems of so many activist efforts at times.

Why don’t we turn briefly to the “News in Brief”?

  • EPA abandoned monitoring tap water because they “didn’t know anyone was still drinking water” as opposed to diet soda or bottled water.
  • A conservation group condemned waterboarding … because it is “a tragic waste of resources.”
  • The Texas Environmental Defense League is fighting for a solar-powered electric chair which, of course, should have hemp restraining straps.
  • And, perhaps the most shocking news, Cheney celebrated Earth Day by breathing oxygen before going back to his normal respiration of chlorine and sulphur dioxide.

With that image in mind, my culinary recommendation:  this green onion is definitely worth a nibble or two.

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