Stupid is as stupid does for stupid’s sake

I was in a good mood this morning.The brisk November wind sliced through the crack in my apartment door as the weight of a potential snow sat patiently in the atmosphere outside.

I was well rested, which is a rare feat in itself these days, and I didn’t melt my tongue to blisters with that college crutch known as coffee.

It was one of those ol’ fashioned, good-to-be-alive mornings – a day to sit back without a care in the world, while slowly soaking in the comforts of a lazy Saturday.

I was happier than Jim Morrison in a swimming pool full of Southern Comfort.

Then I read the paper.

Somewhere in the span of a few minutes I went from John Denver ‘Sunshine On My Shoulders’-happy, to Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”-pissed.

What set me off, you ask?

What was it that made me feel the urge to punt my sister’s Chihuahua through a stained-glass church window?

I’ll tell you what it was – stupid people.

I’m not sure if that word is entirely politically correct or not (perhaps “absent-minded” or “mentally-void” would work better), but frankly, I don’t give a crap.

By the time you read this, the International Paper Mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y. will have begun their long-awaited effort to burn some 72 tons of tires a day for the next two weeks. The company wants to test the levels of pollution that are emitted from the burn into the atmosphere, and eventually hopes to use shredded tires as a means to fuel the factory’s massive power boilers.

Practically every political figure in Vermont has been vigorously fighting this action for the last three years, but federal courts finally decided to give IP the go-ahead anyway.

Oh, did I mention that International Paper, which is located just across the lake (Champlain) from my home town of Orwell, is already the number one cause of pollution in the state of Vermont – and the factory isn’t even on Vermont soil.

Take a moment to breathe, if you will, and join me in one giant, resounding, “WTF!?”

Did I miss something? Did I get lost in a Bowie-induced trance one too many times and miss out on some new environmental trend?

I’m just curious, when has it EVER been environmentally friendly to release colossal cancer-causing black clouds into the earth’s atmosphere? And better still, when did it become ok to take one state’s filth and spread it on another?

It’s like that dirty little kid at a birthday party who picks his nose – then wipes it all over your couch.

It’s unnecessary, unacceptable, and is as disgusting as a barbed-wire enema. There is no reason for any of this madness.

What year is it? 2006, right? You mean to tell me that now, at the height of the technological revolution, that we can’t come up with a power source that is more environmentally friendly than char-broiled Firestone treads?

I understand that IP is a necessary evil: they employ hundreds of people, and without the company, many people in the already dilapidated job market of Ticonderoga would be without jobs. Factories like IP make the economy go ’round (for now at least), and I too spend the vast majority of my week grinding it out amidst chemical fires and metal splinters at a factory in Rutland.

But my factory doesn’t use New York as a snot rag, either.

There are plenty of ways to produce energy for these factories that are not only cost-effective, but also environmentally friendly. The problem is that so many of these factories are so far behind in the stone age that they are unwilling to invest the time necessary to get themselves up to code and move into the 21st century.

Here’s an idea for companies like IP. Stop thinking with your wallets and start thinking long-term. Think about it. Who’s going to be left to run the factory if everyone working there (and those living in the surrounding areas) is eventually killed-off by cancer clouds?

Stop being stupid and do something for the people that make your company profitable in the first place. After all, you can’t bite the hand that feeds you forever, you know?

Eventually someone might bite back.

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