No Matter How True the Message, No One Likes a Nag

illustration by Kagen McLeod, National Post

What do you do if someone in your family bought a Hummer? Buy them a copy of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth? Or keep quiet and channel your energy to the Draft Gore campaign? Salon asked the question a few weeks ago, and the National Post's Samantha Grice took it up, noting how the environment is raising passions and tempers. "Friendships are breaking up over one pal's continued and reckless use of toxic cleaning supplies and the other's tsk-tsking. The enviro-conflict is uncharted social territory. This is a different breed of bugaboo than, say, the new neighbour's penchant for garden gnomes, and in light of increased awareness about our suffering planet, many feel they can, and even should say something when their friend buys a gas guzzler or waters the sidewalk."

This TreeHugger was interviewed (and recycled a TreeHugger Post): Lloyd Alter, an architect and builder of modern prefab homes and a contributing writer to the enviro-design Web magazine Treehugger, recently wrote a post on Treehugger about a house in Toronto's Forest Hill that was lit up like a Christmas tree. He called it a poster child for carbon rationing and suggested readers send in similar photos of extravagant exterior lighting in an effort to shame homeowners into shutting down.

"But last Friday night I criticized my 89-year-old mother for buying Peruvian asparagus at Loblaws when she should be considering the carbon footprint of what she buys. She looked at me like I was nuts," says Alter. "The fact of the matter is we all just have to look in the mirror; none of us are there yet. Every weekend I drive to Collingwood, Ont., where I am a member at a private ski club and complain about the field of SUV's and vans and realize I just drove two hours to get electrically cranked up a hill to snowboard down a clear-cut [run] on artificial snow. We should clean up our own act first." ::National Post