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One of the live oaks that bless my home

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grown-ups are disappearing fast in the U.S.

According to the rigorous peer-reviewed research by The Onion, the grown-up population in the U.S. has plummeted dramatically since 1950, when a Census count found that more than 24 million Americans could both admit when they were wrong and respect a viewpoint other than their own. Today, only one in three million citizens can provide thoughtful advice to a fellow human being instead of immediately shifting the topic to their own personal issues or what they had for lunch.

A good example is provided by a comment to my recent post that actually talked about the runaway energy consumption in the U.S., and used obesity as a metaphor for how much hydrocarbon energy we gulp every day from the bucket-size energy drink containers.  Here is the comment:
Fatphobia in the environmental movement hurts our cause. It is really disappointing to me to see my fat friends and allies insulted in this headline. I was so angry I didn't read the rest of the article—which is sad because it's probably very interesting and informative.

Fat people are not the problem. My fat friends work hard to reduce their carbon footprint, and they live lifestyles that are as healthy as mine, if not more so. A few of my skinny friends, however—and often the ones I hear making fatphobic comments—go through liters of soda a day, drive around the block rather than walk, and live on mostly CAFO meat and processed foods. So can we stop abusing the fat people who are on board with the environmental movement and accept that overconsumption comes in all sizes?
What I really meant was that all U.S. residents - regardless of appearing slim or fat in a high fidelity mirror - are the gigantic overflowing fatsos when it comes to energy consumption.  Statistically, I am one, so are my three children, and my wife.  In reality, my family uses much less energy than our statistical share, so some other super-fatso with two Hummers uses even more.
As I observed earlier, you and I use a lot of energy. Every second of each day and night we devour 100 times more energy than we need to live.  If I were to eat that much energy as food, I would be a 5-story tall bull sperm whale, weighing 40 tons.  How is that for a giant fatso?

There are 300,000 sperm whales worldwide, half of them bulls (females are much smaller), and 300,000,000 Americans (females are about the same in size).  Our Earth cannot feed and protect 300,000,000 male sperm whales.  She is simply too small.

When seen by Mother Earth, this male sperm whale is as big as each American man, woman and child.

So, that angry large person out there is yet another childish, narcissistic American, who reverts to talking about his issues and food, just like the Onion's research predicted.  Where did all the grownups go?

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