Facing the challenge of covering these serious issues in the space of a lighthearted Watercooler has made me long for Morgan Spurlock's skills, or at least his animator's. Sadly, I'll only have to face this problem for one more week. Tonight's "Off the Grid" experiment hit home: I've had many a postapocalyptic nightmare about life without trees and oxygen and electricity. And yet I just realized that every light in my house is on right now. (The folks at Missouri's ecocommune Dancing Rabbit would probably throw "humanure" at me right now.) While New York DJ Johari and nightclub bouncer Vito are pretty wasteful and naïve about their environmental impact, Cecil, Tamar and the other Rabbits seem unrealistically extreme in their lifestyle. Solar-powering homes and running cars on vegetable oil from nearby restaurants sounds feasible. Recycling our own excrement to use in growing our own food? Not so much. But, hey, they admit they're doing this as an example for others, not leading a cult. If the show were nothing but Johari whining about her forbidden beauty products and "Meato" killing little bunnies to supplant his vegan diet, it'd get old fast. (Though I did enjoy Johari's "What if I said I was allergic to B.O.?" exchange with judgmental Tamar.) It takes Morgan's segments about everything from "poo power" to the "Diesel Death Zone" of San Pedro, Calif., that put everything into urgent context. Well, that and Vito playing with homemade puppets. It's so gratifying to see the change come over the two city slickers by the end. I doubt Vito'll ditch his SUV or Johari will trade her deodorant for patchouli. But these two went from a blatant "It's not my problem" attitude to being people who will take the environment into account the next time they buy lightbulbs or have access to mass transportation. And I'm sure Cecil would have a neat example of how much those small things can save the Earth, but I'm just going to turn my computer off and conserve some fossil fuels while I ponder that.
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