doing your part

These climate deniers are making me crazy! Every day, it’s some new story about some Republican lawmaker making up the most inane justifications for why he or she doesn’t believe the Earth’s climate is changing or why, if it is, then it’s not caused by humans. And these people are in charge!? Lord, help us!

Just this week, something hit my Facebook news feed linking to a Mother Jones story proclaiming 72 Percent of Republican Senators Are Climate Deniers. Now, I’m no scientist… But, that’s just nuts! Someone please stop these people!?

k-cupsI’m so disgusted, I need another cup of coffee.

So, it’s off to the kitchen to make sure my Keurig single-serve coffee maker is still warmed up and ready to serve me another K Cup. Which reminds me: there was something else in my news feed this week. Something about K Cups, linked to an NPR story with the headline Sci-Fi Horror Video Depicts K-Cup Apocalypse. I didn’t click on that, though.

I didn’t need to. Without giving it a conscious thought, I realized it would tell me what I already knew: That there’s no way brewing coffee a cup at a time from non-biodegradable plastic capsules is a responsible thing to do to my environment.

But, it’s soooooooooooo easy and convenient. So neat. I’ve been rationalizing for a while now, reasoning with my better self. Just think about all that coffee I wasted before — when I brewed a full pot to drink just two or three cups. Now, that was wasteful! All of those paper filters! The energy wasted to keep that pot warm! (But, doesn’t the Keurig also keep the brewing water hot? Shhhhhhhhhhhh!) It has to be a wash, right?

I should have known better, but I did go back to find that NPR story. It linked me to the video below produced by a media production company in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

It’s a campy, over-the-top, satirical production. You can’t help but laugh. And, then, if you’re honest, you can’t help but laugh at yourself. And, that’s the point. It hits this denier right where he lives.

At the heart of any denial is the arbitrary acceptance of consequences. Sure, I know rationally that sealing biodegradable coffee grounds inside a plastic capsule with a foil lid creates chunks of garbage that will sit in the landfill forever. But, hey, I only use two or three a day. At most, that’s only 1,000 +/- a few each year. Not that I would like having all of that piled up outside my own back door, but it still seems manageable. Except for this: The number of K Cups sold in 2013 alone were enough to circle the Earth 10.5 times, according to Mother Jones. Maybe I wouldn’t so easily tolerate 8.3 billion of these soiled little suckers heaped in my back yard.

In the end, that’s the key. No one can really undo denial but the denier himself. My frustration and anger towards the deniers in Congress is not feigned — they really are a serious threat to ourselves and even more so to our children. But, to understand and to deal with others’ refusal to accept reality, we have to come to grips with our own blind spots. While it may not be the most rational thing in the world, denial is not without reason — lots of reasoning. And, it helps to start with untangling our own.

I’m not ready to give up the ready-to-serve-you-now convenience of my coffee maker. But, I am switching away from plastic K Cups to the reusable coffee filter insert I bought a while ago and never gave a serious shot. It’s nowhere near as mess-free or as convenient as the throwaway cups, but “away” is really not where they go. And, for a trifle of inconvenience, I can personally eliminate about 167 feet of non-biogradable plastic pods from circling my home planet each year.

Hey, it’s a place to start. And, there’s no denying that.

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Image: from SustainableIsGood.com
Maurice Carter

Maurice Carter

Maurice Carter is President and Founder of Breathe-Water, LLC, where he uses community building, storytelling, consulting, and social media to enable businesses, non-profits, and communities to understand and harness forces for positive change. An Atlanta native living in Covington, GA, Maurice is an active community volunteer, a freelance columnist, and an advocate for causes that build community and promote thoughtful responses to the opportunities and challenges of our day.