Prius Rear by Beige Alert.

There are two things I need to do more: work out and blog.

Yesterday, after my first workout in quite awhile, I thought, why not combine the two?

So, I bring you the first (and perhaps only) edition of The Gym Archive.

At the Y where I work out, there are metal racks attached to a couple of load-bearing posts near the elliptical machines. They’re sometimes stuffed, sometimes meagerly occupied with old magazines sloughed from members’ coffee tables. Everything from The New Yorker to Northwest Travel to Men’s Health is represented. Usually nothing strikes my fancy. These magazines are old and, minus the literary essays, the titles have the worn, out-of-date feel of those bumper stickers that say Go Organic! when everyone knows the hip, green thing to do is to buy local and seasonal.

Speaking of which, my read yesterday from the Y’s magazine archive was a May, 2008 article from Wired magazine on “slaughtering the sacred cows” of the environmental movement. Ooch. I couldn’t help but read it after seeing the provocative cover: “Attention Environmentalists: Keep your SUV. Forget organics. Go nuclear. Screw the spotted owl.” Whaaa?

The article makes some valid points, though I felt some of the facts were positioned to play up the cheeky title. Chief among the claims is that the organics movement, though undoubtedly encouraging a lesser intake of pesticides, has gone Big Ag. Trucking organic milk or heirloom tomatoes to your local store is a bigger carbon hog than buying local. And methods of organic farming mean a lesser volume per acre so that means a larger footprint, too. Okay. This one’s not too hard for me to swallow. I already buy a lot of local stuff and it helps that I live in a place where local produce and products are abundant and growing more available every day.

But air conditioning? I was sure that was evil incarnate. You know, sprawling suburban New Mexico McMansions with giant A/C units cooling their vaulted entryways? But apparently A/C has a smaller carbon footprint than its cousin, Furnace. It’s more green, per degree, to cool a space than to heat one, the article says. And that includes the utopian woodsman in the Northeast, heating his meager cabin with a wood stove. Seriously?

The Prius we want to save up for (the one with working brakes)? It seems that our yet-to-be-driven dream car waiting for us on the lot has already garnered carbon demerits — the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gas before the first turn of the key push of the power button. Oy.

Things aren’t always as they seem.

On Facebook, I linked my last post and got a few responses from friends who suggested my perception of the flotilla incident has been influenced by “the mainstream media.” Mmm…maybe. It’s good to be reminded to broaden my perspective. We’re all in danger of believing propaganda and need to, beyond anything else, read widely and consider the other point of view. Especially if that other point of view is held by the underdog. (And this is also a matter of perspective: in my view, the flotilla participants were standing up for an oppressed minority; my Facebook detractors would say Israel is the perpetual underdog, fighting for its very survival against a hostile world.)

The take-away from my quick read and my flotilla Facebook debate? It’s human nature to place our pet causes in neat little boxes. Instead, question everything. Twice. Then question again.

But I admit: I hate doing that. If I hear a persuasive argument that’s aligned with my belief system, I’ll swallow it whole. I know it’s best to retain elasticity in my belief systems, but old habits die hard. And, anyway, this one article shouldn’t be my new lubber line for greening my life. If my choices were to (a) feed my kids the popular, luscious strawberries from a local farm that uses pesticides or (b) feed them organic strawberries shipped in refrigerated trucks to the closest Costco, I would, as distributor of summer berries to owners of growing bodies, rule Costc0.

And an SUV? Sorry, Wired. No way.

The Wired article is here.

Image courtesy of Beige Alert (Creative Commons).