John Mayer, photo by sushla via flickr

John Mayer.
Photo: sushla via flickr

Congratulations to pop star dreamboat John Mayer for penning what can only be termed a reductio ad absurdum of the light-green, change-your-lightbulbs, ten-things-you-can-do, don’t-sweat-it-too-much, caring-a-little-is-OK but caring-too-much-is-square environmentalism. I was going to pick excerpts, but really you gotta read the whole post to get the full impact.

Ladies and gentlemen, John Mayer:

(Preface: Don’t get turned off from reading this by any pre-conceived notions you have about the subject matter. I’ll make you a deal. When something I write turns you off, then you can click the “x” button and go about your day.)

A year ago this month I wrote a song called “Waiting on the World to Change”, in which I tried to express the feelings of helplessness that come with knowing what needs to change in the world but also knowing the futility of trying.

Since that song has been released, there has been one social issue I’ve kept particularly focused on, silently keeping notes in my mind about what needs to be fixed (and more constructively, how to go about fixing it) while hoping that someone else sharing my exact views would carry out the work without my ever getting involved.

Hey, I’m just being honest.

I’m talking about (see preface!) global warming. Wait! Don’t move the mouse. Finger down. Please. Just give me a second. You can watch that video of a cat playing the piano in a few minutes. I just may surprise you with what I’m going to say.

In the “degree of difficulty” column, reversing the effects of global warming is a .5 out of a possible 10, at least in theory. You just get back by reversing the way you came. No accounting for a volatile political world stage, or clashing of belief structures. Just throw this bitch in reverse and we’re home.

The trouble is, nobody has managed to come close to bringing this issue to you in a way that doesn’t turn you off. At best, it’s a bore, and at worst (toilet paper square accounting?) it’s insulting to human autonomy.

It seems to me that when it comes to this issue, we’ve been given only two sides to pick from: side one says the future of global warming does not present a doomsday scenario, almost chuckling the matter aside. Side two says it is a dire issue (which it is), and then goes on to inundate side one with so many separate nakedly-scientific points that they make naivete’ seem cozy by comparison.

So here I am, introducing a third side. A laid-back, panic free approach to environmentalism. One that believes the message of “An Inconvenient Truth” is sound, but that it’s an incredibly un-fun name for a movie. A side free from the cry of hypocrisy, for it doesn’t make sweeping promises. A side that drives an SUV on the way to the grocery store but then produces nylon mesh bags at the checkout line. A side that believes in bringing a change of perspective to our government but letting Carl Rove finish his meal first.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Fans and Friends, I submit to you a third way: Light Green.

No thinking about “offsetting your carbon footprint”. No rallies. No brow-beating people who think the Earth just has a fever. Pick one thing to change this year, and keep the rest of your life the same. After all, the only message the charts with escalating red lines are meant to send is that the red lines have to stop escalating, not that hey have to drop to the bottom of the graph by next Tuesday.

Part of the Light Green approach will be the (attempted) introduction of products that are cheap, easy alternatives to cut down on plastics. In the next 90 days I’m going to see how many of these products I can get produced. If it works, great. If not, you’ll at least have blogs to read. I’m going to make this one of the focus points of my blog for the next few months., and hopefully by summer there will be a few items at the merchandise stands that you might not have a problem switching to.

And to anybody ready to cut me down for this, here’s my full disclosure: I drive a Porsche SUV, I still drink lots of bottled water, and I will be flying private charter several times during my summer tour. However, my bus has been converted to Bio-Diesel, and I’ll be coming up with even more ways to adapt to the Light Green mentality before I set out for the summer.

Now go watch that guy getting nailed in the balls on YouTube, but think about it. It’s all you’ve got to do in order to go Light Green.

One hardly knows what to say.