Dear MGordon, celebrate your birthday in accordance with the principles of Earth Day

WWGD?: Control the population of Procambarus clarkii, the often-invasive vector for fungal crayfish plague, crayfish virus vibrosis, and several parasitic worms.
WWGD?: Control the population of Procambarus clarkii, the often-invasive vector for fungal crayfish plague, crayfish virus vibrosis, and several parasitic worms.Courtesy MGordon
Ahoy, Buzzketeers. Tomorrow is Earth Day, and today it is my brother MGordon’s birthday. And while the following letter is addressed to him, I think we can all take a little something from these Earth Day/Birthday suggestions. Pretend that today is your birthday, and ask yourself, “Besides holding hearings on the safety of oral contraceptive pills, what would Gaylord Nelson do today?” Think about it.

Dear MGordon, my only sibling, today it is your birthday.

Today marks the passing of another year in which you have somehow managed to evade the desperate grasp of Death’s horrible, snatching, skeletal paws. One more year above ground, one more year of breathing, another year of cells metabolizing nutrients, of DNA replicating, of tooth-brushing and nose-blowing.

One more year to be grateful that you have not yet been interred in the soggy, polluted ground of Biloxi, where what organisms can survive in the toxic soil will wriggle through your flesh, carefully avoiding the waxy and rank layers of adipose tissue that have already saponified in the basic, low oxygen environment. Another year delaying the cessation of all living bodily functions—an event no doubt distant, but as certain and inevitable as tomorrow’s sunrise.

Speaking of tomorrow; tomorrow is the day we call Earth Day! And while you should party this night like it’s your last, on the offhand chance that you do survive until tomorrow you might consider partying in such a way that won’t fill you with crippling, nay, fatal Earth Day guilt.

Many of us over the appropriate age enjoy special occasions with one or two refreshing cans of malt beverage. It’s a fine tradition! Sadly, according to this graph in the Economist, it takes about 300 gallons of water to brew just one gallon of beer. Obviously beer isn’t like super-concentrated water—I expect this figure includes water for growing ingredients, cleaning equipment, hosing rat parts off the brewery floor, etc. Nonetheless, beer flaunts itself in the face of global fresh water shortages. What’s a good birthday alternative, then? Certainly not coffee, apple juice or orange juice! They’re all far worse than beer! No, I recommend warm tap water with 190 proof neutral grain spirits. It won’t reduce your “water footprint” to zero, but it’s better than beer, and it’s good enough for the planet that I want you to have an extra one… for me!

One of the best parts about this Earth Day Martini (Earthtini?) is its low reliance on packaging! Even better than recycling cans is not using cans at all! And if you want to be particularly green (you do, as a birthday present to yourself), try drinking them from your own cupped palms.

A birthday is a special day, and we all like to be treated special on special days. So it’s okay to expect your friends to drive you around on your birthday! (Especially if you’ve been drinking Earthtinis all night.) On any normal day, I’d recommend that you ride, as our parents would say, “buck” over the crossbars of a friend’s bicycle. However, on Earth Day, I think we should pay special attention to the fact that a significant portion of our bicycles and bicycle parts are manufactured in countries that don’t necessarily have very good environmental protection laws. So a relatively comfortable evening of riding buck might be emissions-free, but only at the expense of the air quality in China. Accordingly, I suggest that you have your friends carry you around piggyback (riding Buck, if you will).

Should midnight find you alive and conscious, perhaps that would be a good time to give props to the man Himself. I am, of course, referring to Governor Gaylord Nelson, the father of Earth Day. Simply chanting “Gaylord! Gaylord! Gaylord!” as you’re carried through town should let people know that you’re all about Earth Day.

What else? Be sure that none of the hip-hop consumed on your birthday is too highly produced. All that extra studio time means more hours with the lights on, and more power for mixing boards. The coal-fired power plants that produce that electricity are responsible for about one third of the USA’s carbon emissions, as well as decent handful of other nasty pollutants. And here’s a little known fact: for every 10 seconds that autotune is used in a song, one humpback whale dies. (Ironically, so called “dirty rap” is generally quite Earth-friendly, so go nuts.)

This is all just the tip of the iceberg, really, but hopefully it can get you into the right pre-Earth Day mindset. Have fun, but always ask yourself, “What would Gaylord do?” (WWGD). Use lead-free ammunition (likewise avoid tungsten based ammo), dispose of needles properly, be sure that all adult entertainers wear biodegradable clothing (or pick up after themselves)… you get the idea!

This could be the best Bearthday ever.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Thor's picture
Thor says:

Want to experience a retro Earth Day? Here's some photos from that first E-Day back in 1970. Guess I have to iron my bell-bottom pants tonight.

posted on Tue, 04/21/2009 - 3:59pm

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