The hyperbolic language surrounding green acts in everyday life has gone a little far, jokes comedian Jeff Wozer, although he now insists on having his smoothies shaken, not stirred.
“On Her Majesty’s Secret Shower Service”
I doubt this morning’s shower will be made into a documentary, or appear on the History Channel, or be turned into a multi-million dollar box office thriller by director Ridley Scott. But it should according to an article on bathroom company Delta Faucet’s website titled, “Take Shorter Showers, Save the World!”
Knowing the fate of mankind, and perhaps planet earth itself, rested upon whether I lathered and rinsed once or twice placed me in rare historical company. With so much at stake I suddenly understood the pressures Churchill felt staring down Hitler, or Kennedy faced during the darkest hours of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But while they had advisors, I had only myself. There was no Secretary of State advising against the use of conditioner or washing behind the ears. It was just me, alone, trying to act brave while the burn of soap in my eyes challenged my resolve.
When I stepped out of the shower in under five minutes I half expected a congratulatory phone call from President Obama thanking me, on behalf of the human race, for my uncommon valor. When no call arrived I realised I was duped by another alarmist environmental headline.
And I write this with all due respect. I’m green. I’m an environmentalist. I try to dissuade kids from singing Old MacDonald Had a Farm out of protest against Old MacDonald raising methane-emitting cows. But enough with the hyperbolic rhetoric – unless of course you’re hoping to get hired by the Sun and/or as speechwriter for Donald Trump.
As a gauge to the absurdity behind placing long showers in the same planetary threat category as nuclear missile attacks imagine how prolonged bathing would read as a premise for the James Bond movie GoldenEye:
James Bond teams up with the lone survivor of a destroyed Russian research center to stop a fellow agent formerly believed to be dead from taking a really long shower.
Or, for adamant Sean Connery fans, as the premise behind Diamonds are Forever:
A diamond smuggling investigation leads James Bond to Las Vegas, where he uncovers an evil plot involving a rich business tycoon hell-bent on a maniacal quest to take extended showers lasting longer than eight or nine minutes.
If certain green writers insist on comparing every sustainable practice to a life-and-death struggle I insist they provide us with theme music, like they do in movies, to accompany every alleged life-and-death green act. Something to underscore the danger. Something to heighten the peril. Something to motivate us. And what could be more perfect than the James Bond theme music that plays in every movie.
I’d be more than motivated. Every sustainable practice would instantly upgrade from mundane to daring, ho- hum to hip.
Imagine how kick-ass cool you’d feel if suddenly, on cue, out of nowhere, the James Bond music began to play as you toted cantaloupe rinds and coffee grounds from the kitchen to a backyard compost pile. You wouldn’t be carrying biodegradable trash, you’d be on a mission to save the planet from Doctor No and his evil thugs from BP and Exxon.
Imagine the positive effect the James Bond music would have on carsharing. Driving down the road in a minivan with five others, including the intern with bad acne, would instead feel like speeding across the Susten Pass in the Swiss Alps in an Aston Martin (hybrid, of course).
Or imagine how motivated you’d be to eschew a public toilet’s paper towels in favour of an electric hand dryer if you were promised the Bond music with its undeniable cool-factor. You wouldn’t be just drying your palms, you’d be rescuing Mother Nature. And with any luck, like Bond himself, you’d have the ability to fire off cheeky one-liners like, “Who said using a hand dryer blows?”
Feeling good, you’d then visit a local juice bar and order a strawberry smoothie – whipped, not stirred – while plotting your next Bond-like caper of taking a shorter shower and buying into the hype.
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Photo Credit: ClaraDon from Flickr.