Earth Day double dare

She must give up cars. He must give up meat. Trust us, these two local eco-writers will either succeed or kill each other trying.

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Sena Christian and Ted Cox, two regular SN&R writers, tease each other constantly about their not-so-eco-friendly habits. They have to. Both have covered environmental stories for some time and feel obligated to practice what they preach. Usually, the ribbing is all in good fun. But things turned serious one afternoon when Sena claimed, “My job necessitates a car.”

“Cars aren’t a necessity; they’re a luxury!” protested Ted.

“Hey, buddy, you still eat meat,” Sena shot back. Ted, after all, loved his precious Western Bacon Cheeseburgers.

They both had a point: Transportation and meat production are two key contributors to global warming. Cars emit more than one-fifth of the United States’ annual carbon-dioxide emissions. Worldwide, livestock accounts for 18 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions. Both contribute to changing rainfall patterns, droughts and flash floods, shrinking mountain snowcaps, forest fires, an increase in ground-level ozone and health-related problems, sea-level rise … the list goes on and on.

So after months of being hounded by Ted, Sena couldn’t take it anymore, and on a rainy afternoon at the end of February in the middle of the Coffee Garden, the squabble came to a head. They glared at each other over lattes. Which of them could be more “green” in time for Earth Day 2009?

Ted suggested a challenge: “How about you give up your car for 30 days and I’ll give up meat?

“OK,” Sena said, “bring it.”