Thursday, April 28, 2005

Up on the Roof

Some writers work best very close to a deadline. They waste away months and weeks of advance time on diversions. But when that date starts to smolder, they clear the desk of beer cans and type frantically.

In much the same way, Humankind responds to environmental concerns. We've had years, decades to fix the oil situation, the greenhouse gas situation, the air quality situation, but only when the deadline looms (oil shortage, child skin cancer rates increase, American Lung Assoc. unhealthy rating for Cook County) do we decide to take action.

I'm talking about this because the gravest threat to America's W.O.L (Way Of Life), high oil prices, has turned mainstream media's attention toward the environment. Look at the front cover of today's Sun-Times _ a woman has planted flowers and vegetables on the roof of her suburban garage. This is supposed to absorb CO2 and lessen heat affects on the atmosphere.

Sure, the Sun-Times is making fun of this woman and her garage _ it's a wacky photo opp. But there's more than a hint of The Future. We've put a noticeable dent on the environment, so now we'd better hurry the hell up and fix it, or it's our ass. Yes, dear readers, THIS could be The Future.

The garage roof garden craze sweeps the suburbs _ a no-brainer tie-in to the do-it-yourself, home-improvement craze. "Cubs baseball is sponsored by Ace Hardware _ get your garage roof garden starter kit at Ace Hardware today."

A writing assignment passes, an editor's ire dissipates and all returns to normal. But the human toll on Planet Earth may stay with Us for a long time _ perhaps permanently. So, get up on your roof, Chicago. Get up on your roof, Downer's Grove... And get to work.

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