The Superbowl and our Ways of Life

So, the Superbowl, right?

As usual, the Superbowl (we're on like 43 now, right?) has provoked reactions above and beyond the kind of thing you'd expect. For example, PETA wanted to air an ad that was deemed too suggestive - which is apparently a double win, since the ad's become an internet sensation and they didn't even have to pay for the premium air-time.

And meanwhile, environmentalists like the fine dudes over at Treehugger.com are lamenting the fact that the Superbowl tries to get away with calling itself green (and carbon neutral) despite all the flying and over-eating and such that comes with it. And that's fine. They're also live-blogging the ads based on their messages and products from an ecological viewpoint, and that's fine too. And entertaining! Don't get me wrong.

But there's an aspect to this whole ritual - environmentalists getting pissed off at popular culture while popular culture continues to ignore them - that has been going on for a really long time, and continues to be incredibly unhelpful to the overall cause of, you know, saving the planet from our mistakes.

As an environmentalist, I tend to get a little worked up about this whole thing. I think it's important, understandably so.

But you can't communicate urgency with feeling alone. The fact that I care can't make you care - especially if you don't want to. And people aren't going to hear about global warming and revolutionize themselves - not in a society as big as ours.

So how can we convince people that this is something worth fighting for?

I can't claim to know for sure. But my suspicion is that we have to explain and educate first, and then offer short steps. Above all else, we have to get the idea into people's minds - not as something revolutionary, just as a simple fact.

I'm not convinced environmentalists are taking the right steps forward, as yet. On the whole, it's been a trillion decisions that have led us to this place, on the edge - and so few of those decisions have been malicious. We can't start with blame, unless it's first with ourselves, collectively - and we shouldn't start with blame if we don't move on to what can be done.

So have a good Superbowl. It's a celebration. As long as we know that it has its excesses, and that steps could be taken to make it better for the planet - then that's enough for now.

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