2003.9.15 – things we can do without

Now that the smoking ban in New York State is in effect I believe that it is about time we outlawed some other harmful things.

First up – cellphones. These are the most annoying inventions of the modern age. The fact that every yuppie, granny and teenybopper has one makes it even worse. While serving coffee in my former employment, I had to deal with customers ordering from me while talking on a cellphone. This is rudeness and ignorance at it’s finest. Personally, I would wait for the customer to finish speaking before I would acknowledge their presence, but I feel it is about time to take it a step further.

Business owners of the world unite! Get together and ban the use of these horrid appliances in your businesses. Ignore customers who insist on shouting out their order while chatting with their spouse. Give customers a reason to be kind and courteous to the staff at your establishment and banish the use of cellphones while doing business with you.

Secondly – Hummer SUVs. Yet another invention that we could have most definitely lived without. Why do you need to drive an army utility vehicle when you live in the city? Is there really a need for this big clunky machine to be on city streets and highways? The gas guzzling hummer is not only bad for the environment (see changing the climate for more details), but they are bulky eyesores as well. If we were going to battle I could understand these contraptions, but as far as I know at this point the urban landscape is relatively safe. At least from the type of warfare that hummers are necessary in.

Third – Plastic pop bottles. I know they are unbreakable and that is the charm, but they are also very often lethal. If everyone recycled the plastic bottles there would be no problem, but some people choose to throw them away. Worse yet, some people burn them. This lets off harmful, toxic chemicals that can cause many types of diseases, the least of which would be cancer (which, ironically, is also the reason for the smoking ban). I say bring back the tall, skinny pop bottles. At least give consumers the option of purchasing the bottles in the store. When travelling in Canada I noticed that it is still possible to buy glass bottles when purchasing cola products. Why can’t we have glass here in America again? Glass is reusable and doesn’t lose any of it’s consistency. It can be used over and over again and can even make a nice vase if one chooses not to return it.

Lastly – Big Chain Coffeehouses. I will not mention any names. I will just say that one chain coffeehouse per square mile (or kilometre for my metric friends) is quite enough. Luckily the city I live in has been spared for the moment. We only boast two chain coffeehouses in the downtown area. Granted, they are the same chain slightly a mile apart from each other but it is still good. Big cities, such as Toronto, Ontario, often have these coffeehouses on every corner. Buffalo has been lucky in this department, but you never know what will happen. Keeping the local businesses strong is important and there is no room for big chain coffeehouses in that equation!

We shouldn’t stop purchasing the products we love, we should merely consider the consequences of our actions. Consider what the world will be like hundreds of years from today. Just because we won’t be around to see it, doesn’t mean that we should trash it for future generations.

I realize that this may all sound like nonsense to some of you, but I am the Hippiegrrl afterall. If I don’t publish an article like this now and again you will think I’m slacking off. I just find it humourous that we have banned smoking in bars but we continue to sell liquor, which can also cause serious damage. Perhaps this is because choosing to drink is personal and being adults we should have that choice. Interesting point. Too bad it doesn’t translate to everything in life.

We stop selling glass bottles because they are breakable but don’t consider the consequences of plastic on our planet. Plastic has many uses. That I cannot deny. We would be hard pressed to live without it. It is the best invention of our modern times. We just need to learn better ways of recycling it and keeping the harmful elements out of the picture.

Someday everyone will be conscious of their surroundings and hopefully it won’t be too late.


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