Dan Rattiner's Stories

Save The Earth: Don’t Run The Dishwasher Unless It’s Full and Other Stories

Off on vacation last week, we stayed at a Mariott Hotel, which, astonishingly, had in our room a notice that told us exactly how to save the earth. This discovery should be shouted to the world. I reveal it here.

The headline on the notice said SAVE THE EARTH, and the rest of it said if a towel was dirty because of our use, we should drop it on the floor rather than put it back up on the rack. In that way, they’d know you only needed to have certain towels cleaned while the others could be left without having to do so, thus SAVING THE EARTH. It ended with this comment. THANK YOU FOR HELPING US SAVE THE EARTH.

Who knew it could be so easy? And it’s just in time. On November 16, a long awaited New York State report came out that says because of global warming, the world’s average temperature, already risen by one degree, will rise by three degrees in 2025 and by nine degrees in 2085. It also says sea levels around the world, will rise as much as 55 inches by 2085 if, as expected, the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Shelf melt. [expand]

Returning home yesterday, I went to Waldbaum’s and found them selling six-pack cans of Coca Cola which are white rather than the usual red, apparently, I first thought, to honor the holiday season. I soon discovered it was all about saving the polar bears. Around the six-pack, there is a red plastic band suitable for choking fish if dropped in the ocean, and this band has this inscription on it. COCA COLA RED CANS TURN WHITE TO HELP PROTECT THE POLAR BEAR’S HOME. The white cans have a cute silhouette of a mama polar bear and two little baby polar bears following along, all looking straight out at you expressionlessly hoping you will take the plunge—so to speak, considering all the ice under their feet is about to melt.


So I went to ArcticHome.com. There you are placed in a virtual Arctic. Navigating through this 3-D Arctic environment, you can see virtual polar bears trudging along through the virtual snow—one is identified as Aurora, a 405 pound 15 year old female—and you can hear her snuffling and grunting as she trudges. You also are invited to join the WWF, not the World Wrestling Federation, but the World Wildlife Fund. Your donation makes you a member of the World Wildlife Fund.

Elsewhere on the World Wildlife Fund site, there is lots you can read about polar bears.

Adult bears in good condition prefer the calorie-rich skin and blubber of seals, whereas young bears and adults in poor condition consume the protein-rich red meat as well,” one section reads.

Share and share alike is the credo of the polar bears.

Here is what they tell you to do to save the polar bears.

Take shorter showers. Replace standard light bulbs with the new fluorescent ones. Carpool, bike or walk where you have to go. Collect rain to water plants. Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it. Recycle beverage containers. Install low flow showerheads. Use rechargeable batteries.

This is a whole lot of different things to do just to save the polar bears. I much prefer the one thing you have to do to save the whole planet—throwing towels on the floor. Saving the planet will INCLUDE saving the polar bears.

Then on December 5, came the news, big news, that scientists have now suddenly discovered a planet out in the universe that is astonishingly like ours. Its surface temperature is 72 degrees, so it’s not too hot and not too cold. It orbits a star at a distance similar to that of the Earth to the Sun. (Astronomers amusingly call this the “Goldilocks Zone.” I am not making this up.) It might have rocks and liquid water. It circles a star that could be the twin of our sun. It’s year circling its sun is 290 days. It’s 2.4 times larger than the earth.

Bigger than the earth means more to see, more places to go, more people to meet. They’ve named the planet Kepler-22b.

Only big problem is it’s 600 light years away. The trip on the space shuttle would take about 22 million years. But maybe they could run the virtual polar bear environment during the flight.

I wonder if there’s a Mariott there.

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