Ross Murray's Border Report
Ross Murray
is a freelance writer living in Stanstead, Quebec. You can reach him at
Posted 03.12.07
Stanstead, Quebec


How peanut butter is destroying the planet

If we're going to save the planet, it may be up to my generation. The older generation is too set in its ways and the younger generation is too "like, no way!"

My generation is just at the age when we can imagine having grandchildren living on an inhospitable planet and still those grandchildren don't call or visit.

It's up to my generation to put the means and will behind changing our habits for the good of the Earth.

If this is so, we may be in big trouble.

Why? Because of the peanut butter jar in my kitchen sink.

It's sitting there, waiting to be rinsed and deposited into the recycling bin. It probably won't make it. I'll stare at it, ignore it, come back to it after doing all other possible chores, and will eventually, inevitably, throw it in the garbage to clog up a landfill for the next 2000 years.

Because peanut butter jars are disgusting.

I've cleaned a lot of disgusting things in my time. I won't go into details but remember I've had exposure to four children, multiple pets, and journalists.

But I draw the line at cleaning plastic peanut butter jars - sitting there, uselessly soaking, the brown grease turning ghostly white around the filament edges, like the sludge you accidentally stick your hand into when you dive too deep in a pond. You can't clean it off without the slick fat smearing onto your washcloth, ruining your dishwater with chunks of peanuty flotsam.

Worse still is the fetid stench of peanut butter stewing in hot water, like a drainpipe with added sugar.

I can manage an equally repulsive mayonnaise jar - just fill with soapy water, slap on a lid and shake loose the scum. Not peanut butter. They should use peanut butter as adhesive for space shuttle tiles.

I'm sorry to go on about this but the peanut butter jar is symptomatic of the battle our planet is up against - our unwillingness to make the sacrifices that may be costly, difficult or icky.

Yes, I want to eliminate greenhouse gasses but my car will be really, really cold if I don't let it run for fifteen minutes in the morning. When it comes to the choice between clean air and my toosh, the bottom line wins every time.

There is another problem besides weak will (and posteriors). My generation has kids. As long as we keep having children, the possibility of change is doomed.

For example, I would gladly walk to work every day. But getting four children off to school ends up being "Go go go! Get up! Chew faster! Get dressed! Showers are not twenty minutes long! You brushed your teeth yesterday! Hurry! Hur-r-r-ry!"

So really if I want them to be on time for school I have no choice but to drive them, and since I'm already in the carů

I could get them up earlier, yes, but do you realize how precious are those last few quiet moments in the morning? Do I want a clean environment or sanity? Exactly.

The same holds true with our other lifestyle choices, such as making decisions about the types of food we consume. Yes, meat is murder, but kids is hungry and veggie dogs is gross.

So where does this leave us

I'm not overly optimistic that we will all be inspired by Al Gore (Al Gore? Really?) and make the changes necessary to save us from ourselves.

Until the melting ice caps start interfering with our access to iced cappuccinos, we're not likely to change voluntarily. Our governments may have to step in with draconian measures that ban certain activities or products.

Let's start with plastic peanut butter jars.