Griff’s follow-up to Spanky’s easy conservation tip #1

Spanky is absolutely right about the plastic lids and straws. Napkins are another big one. Granted, you don’t want to drip Wendy’s chili or TB bean burrito on your chinos, but one or two napkins should do it. If you actually needed that whole stack of napkins you grabbed the last time you went to BK, you’ve got some problems, and you should probably start working on eating with utensils before you go out in public again.

 A couple of other conservation tips (not fast-food related) from Griff:

  • Use less water in your toilet. If you don’t have a toilet that conserves water (and most of you don’t), fill up a 1/2-gallon plastic milk jug with water and place it in the tank to displace water.
  • Set your computer to sleep/standby/hibernate after a certain period of time (Spanky!). Screensavers don’t do sh#t. This will save energy. For more on this, see
  • Actually recycle. It’s not as hard as it looks. If you live in a city (like ours) where they don’t sort for you, do your own sorting and stick to it. When you go to the grocery store, ask for paper bags. Take these home and use them for recycling. Keep one bag for plastics, one for glass, one for cardboard, one for newspaper, and so on. Once you get used to disposing of your waste this way, you’ll hardly think about it. Here’s a good guide to sorting:
  • Speaking of grocery bags, control the bagging of your groceries. There is no reason to double-bag, or to use a whole plastic bag just for a box of cereal or a bottle of pop. Those pimply, squeaky-talking baggers at HyVee don’t know any better – they’re trained that way. But you do! Tell them how to bag your groceries, if you don’t want to do it yourself. Better yet, bring your own shopping bags. In Germany, you actually have to pay for bags, if you don’t have your own. That’s how it should be.
  • I know we’ve all heard this before, and I know we’re all lazy-ass f*cks, but look at it this way: you’ve been gettin’ a little husky from all that PBR and burrito-binging anyways – why not save gas and work off that spicy chicken by walking or biking to Wendy’s?

Spanky’s easy conservation tip #1

Bro Taguchi is rather upset with the Sierra Club these days, because their tips just aren’t practical. I agree with him.

Here’s one thing you can do that is actually super-easy.

I’m betting that, at home, all of you drink fluids from a cup, mug, etc., with no plastic lid on it. Also, you walk around your home with said vessel with ease. Sometimes you spill. Ok, whatever.

But why the hell do we feel compelled to put a plastic lid on our cups when we dine in at some restaurant? Do we get clumsier when we walk in the damn door? As I’m walking around Burger King, I don’t lose half my motor skills. I can understand using a lid in the car. Fine. But you don’t need one in BK.

Of course, the lid leads to the straw. More plastic. 1,000s of years of plastic. Sweet.

Yes, I’ll pull the standard move: imagine all those goddamned plastic lids and straws piling up. There are a shitload out there.

“BUT NO, Spanky! I don’t want to be clumsy in BK.”

I know from where this tendency comes. It’s because the jokers that have the soda fountains behind the counter put lids on your cups. We’re just used to it.

Just say no to the damn lid. You’ll be ok. I promise.

If you do use the lids, recycle them. Take them home with you, but don’t throw them away. It’s so damn easy.

-MC Spanky McGee

Memo to the Sierra Club…are you serious?

Like many others, I’ve tried to make my life more “environmentally conscious.” It’s become a pretty big deal to me in the last few years…especially since law school. Read a few CERCLA cases and you’ll understand how that can happen. I’m not here to high-horse it. I’m here to take the Sierra Club to task.


I have been a member for a couple years, and I signed up for their daily newsletter entitled “The Green Life,” which is supposed to provide daily lessons on how to move your existence in the right direction environmentally. Let’s look at a couple of their golden nuggets, shall we? They dropped this one on me just a week ago:

Getting a head start on the spring cleaning, Grist has written an article on how to green your fridge. One of their great tips:
Be unconventional. Keep a list on your fridge of these eight additional troublemakers: conventional versions of milk, peanut butter, baby food, ketchup, corn, cottonseed oil, beef, and soy. Each month, pick one item off the list — corn and its byproducts, for example — and find a way to feast without it. You’ll be reducing your household intake of toxins, pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. The earth will be happier, too.

A great tip? You just told me to take food out of my fridge to make it greener. Why don’t we just eliminate the fridge altogether? Besides, you clowns are the only ones keeping soy in the fridge. Uh…and the baby food is staying…trust me. You’re not convincing America to stop saving baby food. I’m just getting warmed up. From 2/14/08:

Happy Valentine’s Day!
Thinking about spending some extra time between the sheets today? If so, spend it between sheets made from bamboo. Bamboo sheets are silky soft, and come from a rapidly renewable resource that doesn’t require pesticides to grow.


Aside from wishing me a happy f*&#ing Valentine’s Day, you just told me to use bamboo sheets. Would you like me to burn the ones I have? Bam-freakin-boo? I’ve never even heard of such a thing (which isn’t to say that it’s not effective…just not available). Seriously…my bed sheets are not the problem.

Two days ago they took the cake with the “How Green is my Bike?” survey. That’s right, if you ride your bike you may still be an inconsiderate polluter. I actually scored a 94 on it…only because I picked the answers which sounded the DUMBEST. Here’s my favorite:

If I get hungry while I’m riding…


1. I’m so glad I baked last night
2. I unwrap an energy bar or gel
3. I look for the nearest convenience store
4. I search for wild figs growing by the side of the road

Guess which answer gets full credit…the figs. I don’t even know what a fig looks like. Am I less environmentally conscious because I unwrap an energy bar or go to the grocery store when I’m riding my bike? Guess so. Those answers only get 7 and 6 out of 10 possible points respectively.

I don’t care if you want to float off into outer space and do the hippie dance at Widespread Panic concerts for the rest of your life, but DO NOT attempt to give me tips on the “green life” when I’m already walking and biking most everywhere I go, going out of my way to recycle when my landlord doesn’t have a curbside program and refusing every plastic bag in existence. I can do just fine without bamboo sheets and bean bags that heat up in the microwave. What is much more important than the fact that you’re insulting my intelligence is that you’re giving environmentalism a bad name. I can understand if you want to push the agenda and point towards that abstract concept of “how we might do things in the future,” but don’t go off the deep end. Here’s a real problem: recycling. According to the EPA, recycling is the most successful environmental program in United States history. Yet roughly 60% of aluminum cans are recycled globally. The Container Recycling Institute says that almost 24 BILLION plastic bottles have been landfilled, littered and incinerated so far this year…in the United States. It’s March 8. You keep looking for those figs. I’ll be pushing the recycling…just for starters. How the hell are we going to get people to build alternative-powered homes and move toward efficient land use when you’re telling them to support stores with walls made out of sunflower seeds?…SHEESH.

I unsubscribed to the Green Life e-mail list as I was writing this post. I’ll remain a member of the Sierra Club because somebody has to support the critical legal actions they pursue (even if I’ve gotten 5 mailers in the last year about saving the polar bear). Get real, Sierra Club…let’s get everybody to walk before we run. And I’ll admit that they do offer a lot of few good ideas at the Green Life…its’ just too much.

NOTE: I did not even mention global warming. Believe what you will.