'H' is for Hypocrisy
by Robert Nanninga
, I'm going to go out on a limb.
If I offend, tough. Here it is: ALL SMOKERS ARE STUPID. Anyone who believes
that consistently inhaling carcinogens is an intelligent behavior has been
sniffing way too much glue.
But this is not a column on smoking. Sort of.
Recently, I have noticed the appallingly large number
of young people who can't seem to live with out a cancer stick hanging from
their lips. Now, I'm sure these people think they look really cool, cutting
edge and down right tough. Not true. You look stupid! I am sure there are
far cheaper ways to commit suicide, in a fraction of the time.
What does smoking have to do with ecology and the environment?
How about everything. Cigarettes are a toxin that you pollute your body
with. It seems to me that if a person can not even muster up a bit of concern
for their own well-being, caring for the planet as whole would be damn-near
The fact that our government had to shut down twice
due to a budget impasse is at best absurd. Tobacco subsidies are still in
place, yet Congress wants to cut funding to health care. Hello!
Recently a tobacco industry executive-turned-whistle-blower, admitted that
rat poison was being used in cigarettes. Is it just me, or does that seem
So smoking is not your vice. How about you Pepsi addicts?
Drinking carbonated beverages is equivalent to pouring lye into a river.
Instead of dead fish you get a disappearing stomach lining and a thrashed
colon. There are those of you who start everyday with an RC Cola or a Diet
Coke. Not as foolish as smoking, but just as unhealthy. Can you say 'aspartame?'
If you want an early morning buzz, allow me to suggest
wheat grass juice as a natural alternative. If that is a bit too exotic
for you, there is always orange juice. Oranges and other fruit come in neat
biodegradable wrappers. Soda, on the other hand, comes in plastic, glass
and aluminum which must be manufactured. All of this contributes to industrial
pollution. Sooner or later, whether they are recycled or not, all consumer
products end up in a landfill. Resource to refuse, it's the American way.
The point I am trying to make is that if we are going
to make a difference in the war to save the planet, we must clean up our
act. Every time a so-called environmentalist buys a pack of cigarettes she
is supporting monoculture, not to mention Jesse Helms. Every time an environmentalist
opens a can of Coke, he is promoting mass resource extraction, which is
already supported by government subsidies. Somewhere some corporate polluter
is profiting from your vices.
According to Webster's New World Dictionary a vice is
a: 1. serious fault of character. 2. evil conduct; depravity. 3. a degrading
habit. 4. a fault, defect, etc.
We all have our vices, mine happens to be "stuff."
I love to collect things. Currently, I am struggling with a fetish for CD's.
When I was a kid, I didn't get enough stuff, or so I thought. To this day,
I am still trying to make up for it. I am proud to announce that I have
yet to succumb to the charms of the QVC shopping channel. Is there a Twelve
Step program for consumers?
Society has done it's best to addict us to consumption,
and I am no different. Television tries to sell us a dizzying array of the
unnecessary. Would someone please explain to me the global importance of
the Salad Shooter. For those of you who are not familiar with the technological
wonder known as the Salad Shooter, and I'm sure there is someone out there
who hasn't seen the new and improved Veg-O-Matic working it's magic of convenience.
Let me say it is a plastic thing-a-ma-bob for those too lazy to handle a
Human beings are a study in contrasts. Some might say
that Americans take that study to new heights. Here in the United States
we demand safe streets, yet we drink to excess. Desiring a youthful appearance
we bake ourselves in the sun, and coat our skin with goo to lessen the damage.
First Lady Nancy Reagan was the perfect example, fighting her war on drugs
while taking prescription Valium. Sorry Nancy, a drug is a drug.
We also pride ourselves on quality of life, yet one
in four has some form of cancer. I guess quality is relative.
A friend of mine claims to care about the environment,
but doesn't consider himself an environmentalist. He is, however, a cigarette
smoking meat-eater who worries about air pollution due to a lack clean energy
choices. Can you see where I am going with this?
If we want Washington to take us seriously, we need
to stop sending mixed messages. If you want to protect America's vanishing
wilderness, you as a consumer must give up beef. If not, your Big Mac is
going to trample the American west before it reaches your table. If clean
air is important to you, carpool or take the train whenever possible.
It is time we started to sweat the little things.
Recently a substance called OLESTRA was cooked up in
some laboratory. It's hailed as fat-free, making it ideal for junk food.
As human test subjects, we are being poisoned by some mad scientist trying
to build a better cheese curl. What is truly alarming is that the FDA is
allowing its use in spite of the fact that it causes stomach cramps and
diarrhea, while leeching vital nutrients from your system. Does humanity
need a synthetic fat substitute? Of course not. What we need is a scientific
community dedicated to neutralizing harmful chemicals we have inflicted
on ourselves; not creating new ones. If America is craving healthy snack
foods let them eat organic fruit and nuts. Is that a revolutionary idea
Saving the world means saving ourselves first!
Pharmaceutical companies want us to believe that only
their pills and potions can keep us operating at our utmost efficiency.
When I was a kid my mother used to say, "you are not leaving this table
until you eat your vegetables." Thank you, mom, for that wise advice.
It's a shame it took me 25 years to understand the importance of Brussel
Has anyone else noticed the growing market for nutritional
drinks? With names like Ensure, Boost, and Suplical, these products are
being aimed at Baby Boomers and their parents. The commercials are usually
set in some garden, where mother and daughter are drinking their supplement
out of a convenient metal container. Hell, Grandma, if you want to prevent
osteoporosis use that garden of yours to grow broccoli and cabbage. Health
does not come out of a can, a bottle, or any other man made disposable.
Health comes from the soil. If more people took the time to grow their own
food, maybe they would actually realize what a wonderful planet we live
on and stop taking advantage of the limited natural resources.
We have all heard the saying, "Think globally,
Act locally." Well, your own body is as local as you can get. Everything
you consume is a political act. If we are going to make a difference we
must start by taking small steps. By refusing to support industry that is
detrimental to our health as well as the environment, we will be sending
a message to the puppets we have sent to Washington. If your body is a temple,
I would say that God would be hard pressed to find suitable living conditions
This is a personal challenge to any and all of my friends
and readers who do not see the irony of washing down organic vegetables
with a Diet Coke. Let's all make a stand for the planet and ourselves. Put
down the RC Cola, the OLESTRA Chips, and Marlboro and declare your body
a toxin-free zone. If you're not up to this challenge, ignore me and belly
up to the bar. It was the wise bartender who said "name your poison."
Aren't we lucky to have so many to poisons to choose from.
Robert Nanninga is an independent video producer, actor, vegan, San
Diego Earth Day board member and active member of the Green and environmental