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How Greenpeace Defines Happiness

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Greenpeace says we should deprive ourselves and harm our communities.

Yesterday was the first UN-declared international Day of Happiness. When tweeting about it Kumi Naidoo, the Executive Director of Greenpeace, couldn’t help himself. He had to cover it in green slime.

“Let’s not buy anything on the International Happiness Day,” he wrote. According to him, there’s “Nothing greener than not consuming.”

What fatuous rubbish.

After 30 years in downtown Toronto, I recently moved to a small town. One of its highlights is a spectacular French bakery. The croissants are flaky, the baguettes are luscious. The Saturday morning cinnamon brioche is a gift from heaven, the cream puffs and eclairs are divine.

Yesterday afternoon, in blowing snow and bitter wind, I walked over to that bakery. I gave the woman behind the counter money and she gave me a Pave du Roy to take home. Delectable dark chocolate and more chocolate. My fella and I shared it last evening. It made us very happy, indeed.

The young couple who own that bakery are our neighbours and our friends. The day before yesterday was cold, dark, and forbidding. Business had been slow. Which means the bakery produced the normal amount of fresh bread and pastries, but sold less than normal. It’s possible that that one day ruined the bakery’s entire week, financially speaking.

Mr. Greenpeace thinks I should have added to the bakery’s misery. He thinks I shouldn’t have bought that sublime chocolate confection. His nonsensical logic goes like this:

  • it’s happiness day
  • happiness = being green
  • being green = not buying anything

Boycotting the bakery because it was Happiness Day wouldn’t have made the six-days-a-week, hardworking people who own that establishment happy. It would have harmed them.

Depriving myself and my husband of that marvelous treat wouldn’t have contributed to our happiness in the slightest. Depriving the government of the tax I paid on that purchase wouldn’t have helped us meet our communal obligations, either.

So in which twisted universe do these Greenpeace ideas make the slightest amount of sense?

Even if I’d wanted to, it wasn’t possible for me to consume nothing yesterday. Eating – that most literal form of consumption – is only the beginning.

Turning off the heat wasn’t an option. Nor was turning off the electricity. In the part of the world in which I live, people, pets, and plants perish without those things. As I write this the outdoor temperature remains below zero and the snow continues to fall.

Was I not supposed to shower yesterday, either? After all, that consumes water – and ensuring that water is safe (and safely disposed of) consumes energy.

Let us be blunt: The only humans who consume nothing are the humans who are dead.

Greenpeace says there’s “Nothing greener than not consuming.” According to Greenpeace, therefore, the world would be a greener place if you, me, and the people who own that sensational French bakery were all in our graves.

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