Protect the Environment…but how?

Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash

Go Green.

What does it really mean to “go green”? Uncle Google says it means to “pursue knowledge and practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.” Individual acts to save the environment have gained lots of traction in recent years; we take special care to recycle and reuse, and we feel proud. As we roll the gray recycling bin out into the driveway for the truck to pick up, we think, “I’m making a difference and helping my planet,” and we happily walk back home feeling like we’ve made a difference.

Sadly, most of the thoughts and concepts I have described are either just partially true or complete nonsense. For example, landfilling or incinerating garbage are actually viable (but aesthetically displeasing) options for garbage disposal, and recycling can actually generate large amounts of hazardous waste. However, more important than both of those facts is an overarching truth: individual actions, no matter the number of participants, will not solve the global problem of climate change.

The true solution to climate change does not lie at the doorstep of a middle-class home. 71% of global emissions since 1988 can be traced back to just one hundred different companies, and of these one hundred, just twenty-five are responsible for over 50% of global emissions. Switching to a metal straw and hoping it will fix our pollution problem is like trying to bring down the Berlin Wall using that very same straw as a battering ram: while Instagram activists and third-grade teachers will surely approve of the choice, the reality is that until corporations change their current pollution and waste management, our climate will continue to change.

For the longest time, we have relied on the government to regulate corporations, and the results of domestic and international efforts have not been wildly successful. Governments have a very important balancing act to make with these restrictions: the fate of the earth and the health of future generations versus the universally well-regarded Benjamin Franklin face on a piece of green paper. To put it more succinctly, governments with lenient environmental policies attract corporations, who will take advantage of said policies and pollute for profit. This, along with the sad fact that global warming is getting worse and worse by the year, leads me to give this modest proposal.

There is no more powerful motive than fear, and for those in power, nothing is more feared than loss of life and loss of money. While the government is obviously incapable of exploiting such motives, these limitations do not apply to an individual, or perhaps an organization, operating from the shadows. It’s time for this unseen unit to make each and every business executive in each and every polluting company an offer that they cannot refuse: a gun to the head, and a signature of either blood or ink on an environmentally friendly contract. The relentless exploitation of the world’s oil, gas, and coal reserves can be directly connected to over one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era; with a pro-environment Don Corleone pulling the strings, these corporations will quickly bring their emissions down to a more livable rate. We, the younger generation, are known to be lazy and soft and stubborn, and perhaps this course of action is fulfilling that designation, but the time has come for us to achieve our selfish, unreasonable, communist desire to spend the later years of our lives on a planet that does not resemble a landfill.

The idea of a “green” mafia, extorting its way into a earth-friendly future, is not only guaranteed to work but also minimizes the collateral damage of the possible alternatives. Any individual or economic body, regardless of size or impact, has nothing to fear until they cut corners and trade pollution for profit. Smaller businesses, which have sometimes suffered more than succeeded due to government actions, will be completely unaffected by mafia actions. Government itself can spare themselves the tedious task of drafting environmental laws every year, devoting their time and money to other issues while this one is solved by the people. There will be no hesitation, no second chances, and no excuses: large corporations will do what is in the best interest of the population and the planet or be forced to watch as they and their families are brought to ruin. Even morally, the proposal is balanced: these environmental terrorists are slowly killing us with their actions, and the mafia is doing the exact same to them…albeit in a much shorter time frame.

Each of us has made Bonasera’s mistake and turned to the police for justice. Now, it is time to make the right decision, and pay Don Corleone a visit…we will ask with an offer of friendship and consummate respect, and the Godfather will make sure justice is done.

Thanks for reading guys, that’s article #3…and this is just satire, something I wrote in English class and thought I might share considering our current dire situation regarding the environment.

Hey there! I’m a senior at Evergreen Valley High School, hoping to study CS in college. I also love to play football and basketball (go Warriors!)