March 29th, 2008


Novel Progress Notes #5; and Random Gloats: Screw the Candles in the Wind

New words: 3,782
Total wordcount: 66,771
Deadline: May 1

Today's session was a strangely frustrating one, despite the nearly 4,000 word count. You see, last night while I was trying to get to sleep, an important, possibly pivotal - and certainly exciting - scene came into my head and I couldn't wait to get to it today.

Unfortunately, yesterday I had left my heroine quite a ways from the River's Inn and her upcoming bar-room battle with a band of malleavalent Elf-like creatures. And so it was that, just as my heroine and her not-entirely reliable companion had a long walk ahead of them before that scene, so too did the author have to struggled through nearly 4,000 words to get her to that scene.

And so it, she and I must all wait until tomorrow for that confrontation ...

* * *

Because today is supposed to be Earth Hour, a "consciousness-raising" environmental event with which I imagine most of you are least vaguely familiar.

If not, the idea is that all of us are supposed to turn off our lights, our teevees and our computers, thereby apparently somehow "taking a stand against climate change."

I suppose it's possible that this sort of stunt really does cause some people who might not already have done so to give some thought to climate change and all that that implies for both human suffering and what may well turn out to be a major global die-back - a genuine eco-catastrophe. And I suppose more people thinking about the state of the world can't be anything but a good thing.

But (and apologies to the Globe and Mail's delightfully ascerbic television columnist John Doyle, who said similar things earlier in the week), I'll be cracking the last of my beers and watching the Habs versus the Leafs come Earth Hour this fine evening.

Frankly people, my ecological footprint is about as small as a Westerner's can get. I usually remember to turn off my (now mostly harsh, energy-saving) lights when they're not in use. I use a power bar so that my television, vcr and stereo aren't burning electricity when they are idle; I don't eat much meat and try to buy local produce; I'm even more than pretty good about recycling.

More important, I live in a city, not a suburb, I don't own a car and seldom rent, and most of my local transportation is done with my feet or through the use of a 30 year-old bicycle.

This Earth Hour thing reminds of me an email I received from various well-intentioned people after 9/11, when a bunch of well-intentioned nobs thought that if everyone in North America went out into the streets in front of their homes holding candles, that somehow that would "send the terrorists" a message.

Give me a break. Whatever you think of Al Qaeda's goals or methods, what they want is for the West to get the hell out of the Middle East. (Yes, I'm over-simplifying things; work with me, people.)

And whatever you think about global climate change, turning off your machines for an hour on an arbitrary Saturday night is not going to do a bit of good.

Off the top of my head, here's a brief list of things that actually might do some good. And note that almost all of them require as a first step that we get involved in the ugly, frustrating and slow-moving business of politics.

  • Stop driving your car, unless you absolutely have to;

  • don't buy a car, unless you absolutely need one;

  • vote for a government that will impose a carbon tax with teeth;

  • stop building new suburbs

  • stop building new highways that subsidize those suburbs;

  • stop buying crap you don't actually need;

  • buy locally-grown food when possible, especially organic; and

  • generally think about the long-term impact of everything we do.

Yes, it's a tall order. Yes, I personally could (and should) be doing more than I am. But for god sake's don't tell me that I "must" take part in some essentially meaningless feel-good ritual.

As a post-script, David Suzuki himself just appeared on the screen giving hockey fans special dispensation to keep their sets burning during the game. Probably a politically astute move, but the larger logic escapes me.

Fuck it. They're about to drop the puck. Go Habs Go!