Star Trek: Environmentally Friendly or Unfriendly?

Image from Memory Alpha, memory-alpha.org

Image from Memory Alpha, memory-alpha.org

After seeing Star Trek on Sunday, and oogling the boiler room of the original starship Enterprise, I have been tormented with a question: is Star Trek a movie about being green? Are our future selves environmentally friendly or unfriendly? Here is what I have been debating with myself – 

↑ Environmentally Friendly. Nobody goes to the bathroom on Star Trek. Actually, after doing some research I learn that my initial assessment is false… the widely held belief that there are no bathrooms onboard is a myth, and was debunked on Enterprise. However, human wastes are recycled using “biomatter resequencing,” which sounds an awful lot like biomass gasification to me!

↓ Environmentally Unfriendly. Captains dump warp cores into space. A lot. There’s probably a Great Delta Quadrant Warp Core Patch.

↑ Environmentally Friendly. They re-used the Presidio and turned Fort Point into Starfleet Academy. Way to recycle a building, guys! Also, apparently the polar ice cap has stayed frozen enough not to flood the San Francisco coastline.

↓ Environmentally Unfriendly. Red shirts are constructed with planned obsolescence and are disposed of accordingly. Has anyone in the Federation given thought to creating a more sustainable version of these?

Environmentally Neutral. There is another whole Star Trek movie dedicated to saving the whales by beaming them up. Now, on the one hand, Captain Kirk and the crew save the whales from being hunted and the whole of planet Earth from massive climate change controlled by a floating toilet paper roll in space. On the other… really? Also, the mom from 7th Heaven loses bigtime for portraying a marine biologist as an emotional stupid woman who runs around slapping faces and yelling “I want my whales!”  Although anyone familiar with Marin County might not dispute the accuracy of such a portrayal of Sausalito folk, I have to beg for a more nuanced, intelligent portrayal of eco-scientists. Come onnnnnn… you’re helping to give environmentalists a bad name. Then again, it was 1986.

↑ Environmentally Friendly. Same uniform, day in, day out. Very few slaves to fashion onboard the Enterprise! Although any changes that are made mean more toys have to be built for the franchise, which is kind of sick.

↓ Environmentally Unfriendly. Young James Kirk’s leather jacket. Vegans of the world shun you! Not to mention your gas-guzzling classic car, which is now leaching lead-laden gasoline into Iowa’s groundwater thanks to your 10-year-old driving skillz.

↑ Environmentally Friendly. Were those electroluminescent lights I saw at the wintry Hothlike Federation outpost? I think they were… as long as they weren’t T12s, I’m happy.

↓ Environmentally Unfriendly. Time travel. You’ve got more than one of certain individuals running around, and they’re going to use double the resources. Malthus would hate this.

My conclusion? A toss up.

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