Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Body Electric

Today, a significant departure from recent themes, but still in keeping with the general one of connection.
I was reading a newspaper this morning - well, I glanced at the columns devoted to the climate change summit in Copenhagen going on this week. To be honest, I really wanted to read, to be informed (a weakness as a well as a strength), but it all seemed to blur.
So my eye strayed to an ad on the same page. It was about gift giving - this being the year's annual (global) summit on materialism, of course - specifically, the ever-popular electronic gift, the "gadget." (The very word suggests nonsense, frivolity, the unneeded.) So seductive, ubiquitous and gradually encroaching has been the gadget plague that we have barely realized it. Jokes aside about "crackberries" and the teenager who cannot leave her cellphone down for more than a minute without reaching for it like some kind of lifeline: toys (entertainment) and tools (useful, even essential items) are now indistinct in our collective consciousness.
Furthermore, these things don't run on air and a prayer. Does anyone stop to think of how many units of energy each toy-tool requires per day, week, year? And how millions of other little vampires like it are plugged into wall outlets around the world every day, sucking the electricity that's created by tumbling water, steam, burning coal, or nuclear reactions?
Cars, planes, crops, and the poor cows we enslave for their meat, milk, and hides are blamed for the ever-thickening blanket of CO2 surrounding the planet (and rightly so). But don't forget the little things. They sure do add up to pack a punch!

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