So you’re thinking about breaking up with me. As unlikely as it may sound, you are not the first. Chances are you’ve got a lot on your mind right now, as you tackle such questions as: When should you do it? Where should you do it? Are you making a colossal mistake? Breaking up with me can be a confusing time in anyone’s life, but in 2019 it’s a more complicated moment than ever. Before smashing that Eject button, make sure you have examined the short- and long-term environmental effects of straight-up dumping my ass.
Every day we make dozens of decisions that we barely even register. Plastic bag or reusable tote? Straw or no straw? Grow old with me or turn your back on the best thing that ever happened to you, risking a lifetime of gnawing regret? These choices may seem small, but they have real consequences for the health of our planet.
When it comes to breaking up with me, the complex web of environmental factors to address can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, some factors are readily apparent, even to the breaking-up-with-me layperson. Let’s start simple: consider the untold gallons of clean, potable water that would be wasted by my crying in the shower. Scientists don’t have a precise estimate of how much water might be lost, but, taking into account my new shower-safe speakers and the combined length of Mitski’s two most recent albums, the amount is sure to be catastrophic.
Make no mistake: running from my sweet embrace leaves a sooty set of carbon footprints. If historical data trends are any indication, your dumping me will trigger a swift chain of events that culminates in me at a bar, drunkenly disparaging you to my friends. At the end of the night, my level of inebriation and the late hour will force me to take a VWMove home instead of a bike. Those extra CO2emissions are a breakup by-product, as are the single-use plastic bottles of Glacier Freeze-flavor Gatorade I’ll inevitably buy the next morning.
Some effects are more insidious. Should you kick me to the curb, you must anticipate that I am going to sit on that curb eating ice cream. I will eat ice cream every day, sometimes at strange hours, because I have seen sad men do this in movies. This, of course, spells ecological disaster. Not only do dairy cows produce greenhouse gas, but industrial dairy farming can cause the destruction of prairies, forests, and other ecosystems. You might meet other interesting men in your life, but good luck replacing Rwanda’s wetlands!
You may find yourself doubting that this scale of devastation can be blamed on any one individual’s decision to break up with me. This is natural, completely understandable, and wrong.
It’s a statistical near-certainty that, if you break my heart, I will take a month off from work and embark on an “Eat Pray Love”-style journey around the world. We’re talking a dizzying montage of airplanes, cabs, bottled water, economic support of environmentally irresponsible nations, and God knows what else. Again, this is a conclusion based on years of independent data collection and analysis. If it were up to me, I would hike the Pacific Crest Trail, like Cheryl Strayed in “Wild,” but, as irrefutable evidence shows, I am weak, and scared of bugs.
I could go on, and I have, in the attached graphs and flowcharts. Breaking up with me is a very personal choice, and no one can make it for you. I only hope that you have gained a helpful new perspective, one broad enough to confront the fiery, drought-ravaged world that awaits you in your singlehood. There might be “other fish in the sea,” but will there be actual fish in the literal sea? It doesn’t look good. Alternatively, we could stay together and preserve this beautiful blue marble for our grandchildren. (I know we’re not on the same page about having kids right now, but I think that if we keep discussing it we’ll find a compromise!) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and I eagerly await your decision.