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Eco-Fanatic Urges Grinchlike Christmas

     Nothing says “peace on earth and goodwill to men” like proclaiming the “problem with Christmas” is that “no one much likes it anymore.”

 

     Bill McKibben, a left-wing climate-change extremist and author of “Fight Global Warming Now,” thinks that society would be better served if people didn’t spend any money on Christmas this year and gave gifts like “a coupon for a back rub, or a trip to the museum, or a dinner prepared someday in the future.”

 

     In a December 4 post on Alternet.org, McKibben made it clear that he views the holiday shopping season as undermining the true meaning of Christmas, despite the fact that the season in large part determines retailers’ profitability and is thereby important to many middle-class families’ living.

 

     “[M]aybe the economy isn’t therefore quite as rational and as obvious as we would like to believe, if in fact it depends on a corrupted celebration of Jesus’ birth to stagger on for another year,” McKibben wrote.

 

     How should people celebrate the season, instead of giving gifts to one another? McKibben suggested giving gifts on behalf of others:

 

     “Ask yourself what you'd rather receive: another thing, or a homemade card saying that, say, a cow had been purchased in your name and was now providing milk for a Tanzanian family that hadn’t had milk before,” wrote McKibben.

 

     Of course, since McKibben is an eco-extremist there was also the environmental reason for not consuming this year.

 

     “Our environmental problem is that we consume way too much because we've agreed to try and meet basic human needs – status, respect, affection – with material ends,” McKibben wrote.

 

     Earlier this year, The New York Times offered a glowing profile of McKibben, describing him as “the philosopher-impresario of the program of climate-change rallies called Step It Up.”

 

     “Step It Up” was an eco-initiative that called for a mandatory 80-percent decrease in U.S. emissions by 2050. Those rallies were previewed or covered by a number of media outlets, but more reports left out the economic reality of such a decrease.

 

     As Myron Ebell of the Competitive enterprise Institute told the Business & Media Institute, “if you really wanted to cut emissions by 80 percent most people would have to give up their cars, get rid of air conditioning and only heat one room of their house.” 

     Perhaps McKibben should have suggested making plenty of quilts to give for Christmas this winter.