Image from Snopes
Look, I’ll be honest with you. I’ve never been nuts about Earth Day either. It seems to bring out a weird combination of people wearing shiny new $300 coats and balding guys with really long hair, which, I gotta say, are both genres I’ve never much trusted. A real environmentalist would reduce consumption instead of buying the latest North Face, and go bald with dignity, right? But I digress.
We just had our annual Earth Day, regardless of how you or I feel about it, and though my first paragraph was more joke than substance (it was an “attention getter,” a technique your ninth-grade English teacher might have required you try in one of your essays had you ever written any of your own, which, let’s face it, everyone here knows almost certainly never happened), I really do have a problem with Earth Day.
Earth Day leads to banners that say things like, “Save Mother Earth” and “Save the Planet,” but that’s wildly egocentric. I’m not the first to say this—a friend recently pointed out that George Carlin said the same thing years ago—but the planet will be fine. We are not going to destroy Planet Earth.
We are, however, destroying us. We are not destroying Earth—we are over a century into destroying the climate that supports human life, though. To be sure, we humans are driving a mass extinction. Climate change is slaughtering thousands of species, so I don’t mean to sound glib. We are clearly destroying much of the planet’s life. You probably doubt that, but you’re a rich man, Trump. Go to a remote resort, and snorkel around some coral reef—let us know how it’s looking.
Still, even with an Anthropocene mass extinction, we are never going to destroy the planet itself. We will suckle the carbon teat for the dollars it gives us until we are gone, but the planet will remain. We are the guy who shoots his whole family before turning the gun on himself but does not burn down the house. The house remains with the remains inside it. The planet will endure, but we will have killed ourselves for the easy cash of carbon.
Yes, we are egocentric, but I feel like you can identify with that. Egocentrism isn’t all bad, though, because a little self-preservation can go a long way. Mr. Trump, here’s a helpful Rosetta Stone: Every time you hear “the planet” or “Mother Earth” or any other synonym, replace it with “Trump’s ass.” You don’t care about taking action to halt climate change to save the planet, but you’ll sure as hell do anything to save Trump’s ass.
So, Mr. Trump, save your ass. Open all the climate accord talks anyone asks you to. Even if we act today, we have still screwed up beyond all comprehension, but if you act immediately, you might, might just save Trump’s ass.
A note to all readers who aren’t Donald Trump: If we are snickering at “Trump’s ass,” replace it with our own names. There is no such thing as a “Climate of One.” We in this mess together. The planet does not care. Our remains will remain, and the rats will gladly take over once we’re gone.