Meeting Minutes recorded on January 8th, 2007 – United Environmentalists Unification of Togetherness Forum.
We had drawn ballots two years ago to decide who would host and mediate the United Environmentalists Unification of Togetherness Forum. Chip “Running Waterfall” Ketenski, a skinny dreadlocked hat-rack with veins running over his arms like extension cords around a floor lamp, won by a single vote. His organization, People of the Dirt, had been active for years fighting soil erosion by lying stretched out across the East Coast highways, wearing nothing but mud. They advocated a return to the hunter/gatherer lifestyle in an effort to prevent “the raping of the earth’s vital nutrients and proteins by the farmers bent on turning the earth into a means of commercialization.” They were a testy bunch at the conference, especially after they heard a flood in Alberta had destroyed the protest turf huts they built as a blockade against a new subdivision expansion project.
Chip suddenly banged his gavel down on the podium.
“People, people, let’s simmer down and get to work, and let’s try not to have a repeat of yesterday’s fiasco – the debate over where the gavel and the podium came from is over.” Clarissa Sparrow, representative from TreeHuggers United for Foliage, couldn’t help but revoice her concerns.
“I still believe that, even though both the podium and the gavel were made from dead trees that had already fallen, turning it into tools is the equivalent of eating a human corpse. There, I’ve said it.”
Chip slammed the gavel down again to quell the uproar that filled the bio-degradable hemp tent.
“I told you, we’re done with that debate. I will not have old wounds reopened when there are so many more important issues to be dealt with.” He cleared his throat and checked the notes he had made on one hundred percent recycled toilet paper. “On today’s agenda we have to debate Professor Carling’s “Omnivores are the Equivalent of Nazis” article, “The Electric Car and How it Will Still Lead to Widespread Global Paving,” and the Free Power for a Free People Association’s controversial energy scheme: gathering former corporate CEO’s heads and inserting them into a virtual world while we harvest their bodies for bio-energy.”
“It is not controversial! It’s a rational way of powering our modern world without the use of fossil fuels while simultaneously creating world peace!” The delegation from the Free Power for a Free People’s Association were on their feet, clad in Che Guevara t-shirts and camouflage pants; socialist soldiers that they were. “Think about it! It will be the ultimate inversion of the current structure! The poor will finally live off those rich corporate bastards, siphoning the means of production out of them, gorging off of them like the suckling pigs they are!”
“Are you listening to yourselves? You’re still supporting the meat-eating imagery” came a fierce barking shout from the back.
“Give it a rest, Phil,” ‘Angry Fist’ Tedowski, the head of the F.P.F.A.R.P.A. delegation countered. “It’s just a metaphor.”
“We need a completely new structure that is in synch with the rhythms of nature! That’s why we need to round up all the Neanderthal flesh-eaters and forcibly rehabilitate them!” The United Vegetarian Front had, for a long time, pushed for a new ideological system in which animals would be given the power to vote in democratic election. Half of their current administration had been brought into power by a swing vote from a cow named Betty.
“AND I STILL THINK YOU DON’T GO FAR ENOUGH!” roared Professor Carling, doctor of interspecies sociology at the Texas’s Hillern Technical School.
“The use of fire for cooking and roasting vegetables is the original source of all industrial and commercial production! Originally, our species became the masters of this planet by eating raw vegetables!” The Church of Earth Paganism suddenly started to roar like a wounded buffalo, waving their wooden staffs in the air and throwing their black cloaks back in disgust.
“Professor! You dare claim that humans have some sort of superiority to this planet, when we are really servants to Gaia, the one great Earth goddess! Well, I think we all know where you really stand on the environment now don’t we! Why, you even rode here on a bike manufactured in a factory; a factory that used the earth’s materials and may or may not have issued pollutants into the air!”
“That’s an outrageous accusation! I know that my bicycle has never harmed the environment in anyway!” The shouts and jeers continued all around the room. People for the Ethical Treatment of the Ozone Layer started to scream and point fingers at the Biologists and Ecologists for Change Now. Feminists for the End of the Patriarchal Corporate World had started to throw acorns at the organizers of NaturalDisastersTracking.Org. The Pagan Church desperately tried to cast a curse on the heads of the People for Dirt, while Chip kept slamming the gavel down on the podium until the rotting wood split in two.
“ORDER, PEOPLE. WE NEED ORDER HERE. WE’RE NEVER GOING TO GET ANYTHING DONE IF WE DON’T HAVE ORDER!”
Quietly, I opened the back of the tent and let myself and the other members of the Practical Change for an Attainable Future delegation out into the sun. Our own proposals were fairly low on the list, and I doubted we were going to get to them any time soon.