Friday, June 11, 2010

Environmental Stewardship

While Utahans rarely have environmental concerns at the top of their priorities, I’ve overheard a lot more people talking about this topic lately with the BP Gulf oil spill disaster constantly in the news. So, I thought I better take advantage during the week we still care about this issue, to offer my concerns about some areas where Utah may be adding to the overall environmental pollution problem.

  • Jello packaging – I think few people give proper thought to something as small as Jello packaging. But add up the tens of millions of these little boxes and bags over the years, and it’s an environmental time-bomb.

  • Xanax wrappers – With a consumption rate of over 1.17 billion pills a year in Utah, the aluminum and plastic pill wrappers must be adding tons of long-term waste to our landfills. Here’s to hoping that we can move to more environmentally-friendly anti-depressant wrappers before it’s too late. For the environment, of course, not for the people. It’s never too late for you. Unless it’s after 9pm on a week night, and then I'm sure it can wait until the next day.

  • Minivan exhaust – I should throw in all SUV exhaust, I suppose. Utah possibly leads the nation in SUV-to-person ratio. While Californians have really gotten into the spirit of emissions reduction with driving those teeny, little, gas-sipping Toyota Prius’, in Utah it’s super-size all the way. My solution? Reduce the speed limit to 20 MPH, and only allow cars with four passengers. If you need to haul more than four people around, you’ll need to attach a Red Flyer wagon to the back of the car.

  • Used gun shells and lead shot – Drive to any out-of-the-way area in Utah and you’re bound to find truck-loads of empty gun shells. The average Utah male shoots six times his body weight in bullets per year, making Utah the only state to expose the environment to more lead from guns than from Chinese imports.

  • Empty two litter soda and gallon ice cream containers – Utah is one of only a handful of states that even sells the one gallon plastic ice cream containers. Place these containers end-to-end along with the two litter soda bottles discarded each year, and the line of plastic would reach the moon. Six times. Please, do your bodies and the environment a favor at the same time.

  • Methane production at the MTC – Bringing in thousands of young men from all over the country and providing them access to buffet-style eating for three meals a day produces more methane gas than a commercial dairy farm. Any of you that have visited the MTC, or served a mission, know exactly what I’m talking about. We stop by every few months to serve as “investigators,” and I’m telling you, they should be required to hand out gas masks for any visitors entering rooms with more than three missionaries. Someone really needs to do a long-term methane-exposure study on the teachers there. Who knows what that level of exposure can lead to?

  • Solo cups used for signs - I believe Utah is unique with people feeling authorized to use millions of plastic Solo cups each year in making personal signs in the chain link fences guarding overpasses. I can rarely drive from Orem to Provo down University Parkway without having to read a, 'Welcome Back Elder X,' or, 'I Love you X,' message on the overpass fence by Shopko. Can't we limit these signs to biodegradable paper in the front yard of the message giver, or receiver, like everywhere else?
  • Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Say It Won't Be So

    I was perusing one of my favorite funny websites this morning, Awkward Family Photos, when lo-and-behold, the new picture for June 1st, 2010 happened to be of a more-than-obvious Mormon family in their temple-whites. They’re all ready to be taken up, as they engage in familial chit-chat without anyone actually looking at the camera.

    Apart from the obvious awkwardness of looking at the picture itself, and reading the comments that quickly point out that this had to be Mormons (doesn’t any other religion like white clothes?), the thought struck me: spending my eternities in stark-white will not only be an eye strain (if you still get eye strains), but incredibly boring and dull.

    Is anyone aware of the proclamation that there will only be white attire available in heaven? Perhaps the whites are only required in the Celestial Kingdom, and the lower K’s will get to have some flavors to choose from? If this is the case, along with no eternal child-rearing, chalk me up for the Terrestrial K.

    And is it just me, or does the goofy family standing in the boxes (picture also from June 1st) also look like they're LDS with the father's celestial ring around the neck. Two awkward pics in one day. Sheesh!

    Any other suspected Mormon families in Awkward Familly Photos? Post the link in comments!