Dumpster Diving. Yes, Poppa Bear will do that.
Like most parents, I will do just about anything for my child. Protect him; nurture him; teach him; secure his opportunities; give him wings. Some responsibilities are simple and concrete: read everyday, get him on the bus, look both ways before you cross the road, etc. Other responsibilities are difficult and abstract: instilling values, responding to his ever-evolving uniqueness, answering those “special” questions, etc.
Climate change is an existential threat to human civilization and my son’s life. If left unchecked, climate change will at least severely diminish his life opportunities and might even kill him outright. At the most basic level my role is Momma Bear protecting Baby Bear — well, in my case Poppa Bear.
It goes like this:
Now, some will say (wrongly) that climate change is not a threat. I’m not here to argue that. But unless I truly live in an alternative reality, who can deny the goodness of my motivation: Poppa Bear gonna protect Baby Bear. Surely we can all agree on that?
Climate change is seen by many (wrongly) as some abstract nonsense cooked up by liberal elitist scientists conspiring to bilk hard-working taxpayers for government grants. Well, I don’t get a dime from the government. I don’t work for the government. I work as a small businessperson on a grass-roots effort to engage people to fight climate change in one small corner of their daily lives (i.e. gardening). It is based on the idea that climate change action requires everybody, everyday, everything, everywhere.
With this background, and in that spirit, the plant sync brings the world Cans Against Carbon.
I collect cans and other recyclable containers that can be redeemed for deposit (that’s $0.05 per container in Iowa). I collect them wherever I can. I rifle through the garbage containers at our nearby park, in the garbage cans where I fill up with gas, from the dumpsters in the nearby apartment complexes while my son is in his karate class, and so on. In every case, these are containers that would not have been recycled; they would have entered the waste stream. I then feed the container machines at my local supermarket. They gobble up the containers and spit out vouchers. I keep collecting and redeeming until a total of $36.97 has been collected (740 containers). Then, I head to the big box store and buy an efficient LED shoplight fixture. The LED fixtures replace the less efficient fluorescent tubes used in my plant breeding business. The recycling of containers, and the use of efficient lighting, are both actions that reduce the production of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
The impact of these individual actions is small. But it serves to demonstrate the source of my motivation and the depth of my commitment. So. . . for my “belief” in climate change, and my actions, do you wanna call me an elitist tree hugger? I tell you what. Meet me in the dumpster and we’ll hash it out.
In the meantime, Poppa Bear gonna fight that climate change.