Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
A Republican senator from Wisconsin isn’t sure if he can believe that women are sexually harassed in the Senate because “he’s never seen that kind of behavior.”
Sen. Ron Johnson expressed his skepticism on a conservative talk show after he was asked about the harassment New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said she faced after she gave birth. According to Gillibrand, an older male colleague told her, “Good thing you’re working out, because you wouldn’t want to get porky!” Another advised her, “Don’t lose too much weight now. I like my girls chubby.” (Related: With all of this conflicting input, Gillibrand must have felt really confused about whether she was too fat or just fat enough.)
In honor of Johnson’s wise observation that it is irresponsible to believe in things that you have never seen, I have compiled a list of things, people and places that I have never seen, which I no longer believe are real.
Whales that are alive.
I have never seen a living whale in my life. I have seen the big dead one at the Museum of Natural History, so I know dead whales are real. But living whales? The jury is still out.
Albertsons grocery stores.
My friends from Kansas say that this grocery store exists, and insist that they have memories from their childhood of going there with their parents to buy things like cereal and eggs. But I’ve never seen one, so I’m going to vote “doesn’t exist.”
My friend Alana’s baby.
One of my closest friends just had a baby — or so she says. She left New York to live in Massachusetts just before she gave birth (“gave birth”). I’ve received lots of pictures of this “baby girl” since then, but I have never seen this baby with my own two eyes. So in all likelihood, she doesn’t exist. Which is why I haven’t mailed this sleep sack thing that I bought for her. Because babies that don’t exist don’t need sleep sacks.
Heard it’s nice, but I’ve never been. Last year I interviewed North Dakota State Rep. Kathy Hawken who was pretty insistent about North Dakota being real and existing, but I remain skeptical. Show me the proof, Hawken!
Abraham Lincoln and all of the other American presidents.
I have never in my life met or seen an American president in the flesh. Which is why, as a child in school, I used to tell my history teacher, “STOP MAKING ME LEARN ABOUT THESE MEN PLEASE. THEY AREN’T EVEN REAL. WHY ARE YOU WASTING EVERYONE’S TIME? MAY I PLEASE HAVE MY SNACK NOW BECAUSE MY MOTHER PACKED ME A DUNKAROOS AND I AM FEELING PRETTY GOOD ABOUT IT.”
So many movies.
I have never seen “The Last Picture Show” and about a million other classics that I probably should have watched. But now that I know that never seeing them means that they don’t exist, I feel a lot better about it. Probably just going to go watch “The Purge” again because that movie definitely exists.
I’m supposed to believe that this guy from Wisconsin is real just because there is an Internet video of him giving an interview and saying ridiculous stuff? You think I was born yesterday? Nice try, jerks!
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.