For lovers of both Mary Jane and Mother Earth, the tragedy of global warming has rendered their affections incompatible, even hypocritical. At the halting speed at which any painful truth is disseminated, the role which marijuana smoke plays in the degradation of our earth’s atmosphere is finally being acknowledged.
Today’s unprecedented rate of CO2 emissions is one of the greatest concerns for environmentalists and other combatants of global warming. Most artificially produced carbon dioxide gas enters the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels, waste and wood. And further down the list: burning of marijuana. Each and every joint toke, pipe puff and bong hit contributes to atmospheric CO2 emissions, and drives the knife a little deeper into the heart of our environment.
A study performed by the Institute of Medicine in 1988 shows that 57.3 mg of CO2 is released on average when a marijuana cigarette weighing 1115 mg is burned. At first this statistic may seem inconsequential, but by multiplying 57.3 by some very large numbers, like 999,898,989,707 and 84,999,999,999,999,999, and then performing a few more arbitrary calculations, I derived an enormous, undeniably consequential number – 8,549,343,023,499,999,999,999,999,999,999,934,983,532,948,234,982,342,498,533,498. Then, following simple deductive logic, I concluded that marijuana smoke is responsible for 8,549,343,023,499,999,999,999,999,999,999,934,983,532,948,234,982,342,498,533,498 teragrams of CO2 emissions every year, which is a frighteningly large statistic, and should impel all rational green-minded people to wean themselves from marijuana as quickly as possible.
When I shared my discovery with a well-known Cannabis connoisseur and environmental activist – who asked that I use the pseudonym “Geff Jibson” to shadow his real identity – he responded, “That sucks, man. That really stresses me out. I love the earth, because it’s so natural and stuff. But weed is natural, too. And it’s fuckin’ awsome. You know what I mean? What would Bob Marley do? This is so hard, man. Real hard. I need a joint. Wanna’ smoke?” Once I reminded Geff that smoking his joint, however cathartic it might be, would probably kill a whale, or at the very least annoy it, he conceded his marijuana cigarette and decided that he would just have to start eating more brownies.
Unfortunately, Geff’s proposed alternative to smoking marijuana would still aggravate the problem of CO2 emissions, albeit to a lesser extent. All plants, including marijuana plants, sequester carbon dioxide into the earth, converting it from its gaseous phase into harmless biomass. Every time a marijuana plant is damaged – an unavoidable result of cultivating it for its narcotic uses – less CO2 is sequestered from the atmosphere. Thus, even eating pot brownies, pot salad dressing, pot tomato soup and pot-basted chicken indirectly leads to the “deforestation” of marijuana plants and an increase of greenhouse gasses.
Indeed, all aspects of the “Pot Warming” disaster have been ignored by politicians, the media and even conservation organizations for quite some time. There are hints of change, however. There is a rumor, for instance, that Al Gore is working on a documentary, “An Inconvenienter Truth, Dude,” that will bring the issue international attention.
In our purportedly “progressive” community, ignorance of the effects of marijuana use on the environment is widespread. This was illustrated in Isla Vista during the past week with the nearly contemporaneous celebrations of Earth Day, 4/20 and the Joint Rolling Contest – events that attracted many of the same people.
Hopefully, people who get high and simultaneously advocate the conservation of the environment will begin to question the spurious harmony between their actions and their beliefs. Supporters of both the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Environmental Affairs Board will have to make a tough decision and pledge their allegiance to either one or the other. Like Geff, they will probably ask themselves, “What would Bob Marley do?” and then go get stoned and listen to “No Woman No Cry,” and forget about whatever they were thinking about earlier. But all the while, the earth will be crying.