Earth Day 2011: Going Green in the U.S. Easier than Ever

Image of "Gaia" painting by Alex Grey

Today, April 22nd, marks the 40th annual Earth Day. Founded in 1970 by United States Senator Gaylord Nelson, the observance day began — ironically — as an American-centric “holiday” to raise awareness of the importance of environmental conservation in the United States. Largely a day lauded by tree huggers and scorned by legions of kool-aid drinking conservatives (people who don’t believe in conserving anything), the current iteration of Earth Day serves as a poignant example of what the concept of “going green” means to everyday Americans: it is nothing more than a slick marketing term sold to the masses to make us feel better about our insatiable consumption.

What is so ironic about Earth Day and conservation in America? With less than five percent of the Earth’s population, “U.S. Americans” consume more than a quarter of the planet’s fossil fuel resources and contribute approximately 278 million tons of un-recycled waste into the environment each year. Fear not — an additional 120 million or so tons are “recycled,” so pat yourselves on the back.

For many, going green simply means disposing of empty water bottles, beer cans, Pringles containers, boxes of Pop Tarts, and an array of other cardboard boxes from so-called food items into a different collection bin that magically saves the environment while allowing people to belly up to Wal-Mart and buy more product. Saving the environment by consuming more products, in essence.

So what does this mean? In the spirit of American individualist consumerism and, even moreso, following the lead of our nation’s government and corporate entities, it means you are free to define your own meaning of “going green.”

Here are some examples of how you can become an environmentally-conscious American and “go green”:

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Happy Holiday: Super Bowl Sabbath is Finally Upon Us

Image of football's First Noel

Artist's depiction of football's first Super Bowl Sabbath, circa 1966.

Can you feel it in the air? Are you treating your fellow citizens just a little bit nicer than usual? Do you have visions of sugar plums, nachos, seven-layer dip, and atomic chicken wings dancing in your head? Rhetorical questions aside, America’s most popular holiday is finally upon us, folks. Super Bowl Sabbath hath come and shall fill the proverbial stockings of die-hard football fanatics and casual followers alike with copious amounts of delectable cuisine, libations, opportunities to gamble, and perhaps a few minutes’ worth of good ol’ fashioned football action spread over the course of six hours.

What makes this holiday so special? There are many reasons why Super Bowl Sabbath reigns supreme, many of which are ubiquitous and some of which will be unique to Super Bowl XLV.

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Better Workouts for a Better Environment at The Greenasium

New “green” fitness studio offers innovative, eco-friendly approach for a healthy lifestyle

Photo of Greenasium sign

When we think of going to the gym, many of us immediately conjure up images dodging through massive strip mall parking lots filled with Hummers and holiday shoppers, and flocking toward the luminescent glow of the Gold’s Gym, Bally’s, or L.A. Fitness sign looming in the distance.  After conquering the gauntlet outside, you enter through a set of double doors and scan your barcode as if you were entering the cold confines of CIA headquarters.  The impersonal touch of corporate America weighs heavily upon your shoulders—and your conscience—before you even break a sweat.  From here, it only gets worse.

Having gained access to the building, you wander through a labyrinth of exercise bikes, treadmills and elliptical machines—all of which are occupied by men and women trying to forget about their current task at hand.  Even they don’t want to be here.  Instead, they divert their attention to a bevy of illuminated television screens suspended from above in an effort to seek inspiration from the likes of “Cops,” CNN, FOX and Maury Povich to fuel their workouts.  With each stride and step, the exerciser mindlessly soaks in the numbing rays from the TV and subconsciously begins the countdown to the next Big Mac.

Don’t forget about maneuvering through the packs of the window-workout crowd.  You know—the people that pay $50 a month to meet friends at the gym and talk about how much they hate their co-workers and recommend reputable plastic surgeons to perform the ever-routine nip and tuck.  Hearing about the difficult lives of this next crop of wannabe insecure actresses may result in a particularly productive kickboxing class, but ultimately shaves months—if not years—off the lives of those of us who are aware that this world does, in fact, revolve around the sun.

If you haven’t turned around and headed for the exit by now, you have passed the first obstacle to staying fit in today’s modern world.  You wish there was an easier way.  While you entertain the thought of giving up and embracing a life of obesity, you press forward in search of a better way to build a healthy lifestyle.

What we want is a simple, straightforward approach to counteract the fat-enhancing effects of sitting in an office for 50 hours a week—coupled with our penchant for carne asada burritos—and burn off our excess calories at a place that is clean, convenient, and a comfortable environment. The problem we encounter is that a place like this is not easy to find. Until now…

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