22 October 2009

45 Days - Become an Emmerdeur!

I was watching a video lecture by Gunter Pauli, Belgian designer and eco-entrepreneur, and he suggested that we should become "emmerdeurs." I spent a year studying in Belgium when I was 17, so I sat up when I heard him use this term.

I'd like to be able to say that it translates into "shit disturber" but it's more like "pain in the ass." (I remember that "tu m'emmerdes" was stronger than "you're bugging me.") Nevertheless, his encouragement got me thinking of ways that I could start being a pain in people's ....

I've gotta say, upfront, that this is difficult for me. I was always the good kid in class, teacher's pet, never got in trouble. So setting out to upset people, piss people off, become an emmerdeuse, bug people, question and guilt trip them, educate them in ways they don't want to be educated, well, this does not come naturally for me. I'm doing it for the children in Africa.

Remember we've been talking about going veg as a way to lower methane emissions as quickly as possible and buy us some time to get the other necessary solutions implemented? Well, here's tonight's idea.

I'm going to get some cards made that explain this situation, and I'm going to start handing them out in restaurants to people who order meat. Tonight we had delicious (vegetarian) pizza at our favourite place and we heard the waitress explain to the couple next to us what the two specials were: garden vegetable pot pie and a creamy Alfredo pasta. Both vegetarian! (We hadn't even bothered to ask cuz Wednesday is pizza night in our family.) But when I heard the woman order chicken strips with fries, I was ready to emmerde her! Sheesh.

Here's another example. I live in a community with a full, highly organized, very expensive Emergency Preparedness Plan. Many communities in Canada have similar plans. It's nice to know this plan is in place in case we ever have a tsunami or a big fire. I also discovered recently that our local school district has a Pandemic Plan, for the H1N1 virus.

Now, I can't just leave that alone. I wrote to the school district superintendant to wonder why we have an Emergency Preparedness Plan for an emergency that might never happen, and a Pandemic Plan for a pandemic that might not materialize — but we don't have a Climate Change Emergency Plan for the climate change emergency we're already in!!! (How's that for denial, eh?) I thought that was a good example of being a pain in the ....

So, let's just point out these stupid choices that people are making. In any way we can. Let's not be silent any longer! Let's become emmerdeurs extraordinaires.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?