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The green movement

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October 20, 2010 – Comments (8)

My girlfriend is an environmental science major whos always going off about how we should be more watchful of our consumption, etc.  I say, cut back where you can, but it is our decision of whether or not we want to care about going green.  Nobody is completely green, otherwise we would be in the stone age.

 

Whereaminow, I remember you saying that the green movement is all political and has nothing to do with the environment, it only has to do with power.  Can you please explain, because I don't know much about that, and would be interested in hearing it.

 

What are your other fools opinion?  Is it all our earth and we should save it?  Our do you follow the Coase theorem and whatever makes the most economic sense is what you do?

8 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On October 20, 2010 at 2:40 AM, BillyTG (29.16) wrote:

People are Earth's malignant cancer.  What is the population now, about 7 BILLION? What was it 200 years ago, less than ONE Billion?  That's what agricultural and medicinal technology do.  It's great for the species, not so great for the planet.  There shouldn't be this many humans.  We really are destroying the planet.  But just like the stock market has bubbles, so too do life forms.  I think austerity will cut the population some, more wars will cut the population, any civil issues will cut it, and eventually the planet will return to a healthier level. I mean, if you think about it, eventally these unsustainable resources will run out.  When oil production decreases, that means fewer machines operating, less overall food production, etc.  There will be a natural decline in the population as the ability to feed and care for people shrinks.

You are right that nobody is completely green without being in the stone age.  It is not possible to be green without being off the grid. 

It's disgusting how political this issue is, with hypocrites all around.  The word "green" gets tossed around about as much as terrorism.  They are abused by politicians to tap into the public's emotions.

Here are some instances of politicization of the "green" movement:

-Cash for clunkers. The government stimulated new car sales under the guise that it was "green."  Tell me how in the hell it's green to throw away thousands of perfectly good automobiles.  I forget the exact specifications, but the new cars had to get something like 5mpg more than theold car.  The energy used to build that new automobile is FAR AND ABOVE the energy saved in gas.  All we did with cash for clunkers was further pollute the environment, and send more money overseas.

-Rare Earth Elements.  Would you believe that these things are used in electric cars and windmills.  Tell me how in the hell ripping the earth to shreds for rare earth minerals is any better than drilling for oil.  So, in our quest to be "green," we've gone from one unsustainable resource to another unsustainable resource, both of which involve destroying the environment.

-Ever have someone bother you about taking long showers or leaving the water running while brushing your teeth?  The water used is FAR LESS than the water used in producing a hamburger.  So don't feel guilty about letting the water run a little long.  Visit Waterfootprint to see some shocking statistics.

Want to see examples of real recycling? Visit India where ripped up newspapers and magazines are used as napkins and food wrappers.  Other countries make paper out of elephant dung.  Many countries use dried cow pies as fireplace fuel.  Most third world countries eat healthy fruits and vegetables instead of processed fries and cola.  Some places don't feed their dogs "dogfood,"at least not what we consider dogfood...Much of the world still goes to bed when the sun goes down.

I'm mostly in agreement with you that each person needs to figure it out for himself...mostly because our entire system is built on consumption.  Your tiny little cutback is nothing.  If all of us on TMF cutback on consumption and tried living "green," it wouldn't even be a blip. The issue is SYSTEMIC.  If someone is truly serious about being green, he/she needs to go off the grid---no banking account, no cellphone, no laptop, grow a garden, use a compost toilet, etc. If you don't want to go off the grid, at a minimum one would need to buy local produce, live in a very small home or apartment, be on a raw foods diet, and completely avoid any processed foods to be effectively green. Any less and in my opinion, you're just kidding yourself.

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#2) On October 20, 2010 at 8:52 AM, Seansonfire (39.64) wrote:

"Tell me how in the hell ripping the earth to shreds for rare earth minerals is any better than drilling for oil. "

Rare Earth Elements don't cause Green House Gas emissions as Oil does into the atmosphere which is probably the most probably why we will destroy our climate and environment / end our way of live.

 Rare Earth Elements allow you to use the Sun and Wind as sources of energy to power cars which are totally renewable and sustainable.

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#3) On October 20, 2010 at 9:36 AM, BillyTG (29.16) wrote:

@seasonfire, the point was that we have to be UNgreen to be "green," and most people don't know that.  And I'm guessing we'll rarely hear "green" advocates talk about it.

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#4) On October 20, 2010 at 9:42 AM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

C4C - The new cars sold were already built, the clunkers traded in on their last legs - or as the anti-C4C economists say 'demand was pulled forward'. Environmental savings equals 2 years of significantly better gas mileage, plus significantly less pollution. According to MIT and Argonne the energy consumption of a new car is 20% to build plus 80% to drive. Increasing MPG's by 9.4 (much better results than the 5mpg minimum requirement for a partial rebate, slightly less than the 10 required for the full rebate) on cars getting less than 15mpg's in the real world (less tha EPA estmate18 when new) would be a net energy savings.

Rare Earth Elements - The amount of environemental damage being done to dig REE's which will produce energy in windmills for twenty years is minimal as compared to the damage done by digging for coal which is burned and gone in seconds. Daniel Boone's Appalachian mountains are being leveled - the streams he hunted trapped and fished are polluted and filled by the waste. Click the link and zoom in. The gray blotches are the missing mountains. Tar sands production is destroying Canadian water, Hydraulic Fracturing for natural gas is destroying drinking water across the country. I agree with you something has to change.

Water consumption - It may make sense to not worry about the water used by leaving the water running when I brush my teeth because I use more water eating a hamburger. It may make more sense to turn off the water in my sink and eat fewer burgers. 

The third world - Most third world countries suffer from starvation, they have been sold on growing "cash crops" for sale worldwide and and ended up reducing the production of food for local consumption, inducing poverty and hunger. What used to be true about the nuts and fruits no longer is.

Going green is not an "all or nothing" commitment. You don't have to thow out your television, just turn it off more often. You don't need a very small home, just a smaller one. You don't need to give up heating your house, just heat it a little lower and in the north build new with big south facing windows and a trombe wall or better.

You seem to have been persuaded that we are facing hopelessness and helplessness. I disagree it is 'all or nothing'. As Arlo Guthrie says we did not get here using the metric system. We got here using the poetry of inches turning into miles and we'll solve the problems the way we always have - inch by inch into mile after mile.

All your solutions are steps in the right direction. Lots of little steps are the solution, you take the ones that fit your life, I'll take the ones that fit mine and see how far that gets us.

Plus i'll also support Government initiatives that make solutions easier. Increased mpg requirements, efficient building standards, higher fuel taxes you don't pay if you don't burn. Lowering the retirement age, single payer health care so execs don't have to be afraid of poverty if they stop working, restoring tax levels to when solutions were affordable.

 

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#5) On October 20, 2010 at 10:01 AM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

Edit: Click the link and zoom in - the gray blotches are not clouds, they used to be mountains.

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#6) On October 20, 2010 at 11:21 AM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

BillyTG - have you had a vasectomy yet? If not, why not?

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#7) On October 20, 2010 at 3:06 PM, BillyTG (29.16) wrote:

chk999, lol

I think I know what you're getting at buddy, and no I have not sired any consumerist-earth-destroying offspring that I know of!

Devoish, I'll say that  having worked with equipment that uses 30,000 GALLONS PER DAY (occasionally twice that much), I'm very skeptical about the idea that "every little bit helps."  To put that in context, a typical US driver doing 10,0000 miles per year in a 25mpg car uses 400 gallons per year (or 30,000 gallons per 75 years of driving). Cash for Clunkers was a disaster of a program and is no way "green."  It reminds me of the people that build brand new "green" houses and brag about it, when what they should be doing is rolling into a used house (you know, the whole re-use portion of the green triangle).

The word green needs is a misnomer.  It has been abused much like the word "save." Anyone who spend money is not "saving."  When you go buy groceries, you are not "saving" $4.57 or whatever you get told. Coupons do not "save" you money. Green is exactly the same thing. If you are on the grid, which everyone reading this is, you are not green. Using less gas or avoiding hamburgers, or whatever,  does not make you "green." It means you are destroying the earth a little less than your neighbor. Nothing to pat yourself on the back about.

I think we need real solutions to the sustainability issue, but the crap we hear on the news is crap to make us feel good, to make us feel like we make a difference. Yay! Why can't the public and the professionals be honest about these issues instead of trying make ourselves feel good that we ride a scooter or prius or go vegan.  The first thing to be done is to stop using the word green, and start saying "less destructive to the environment." 

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#8) On October 20, 2010 at 4:27 PM, devoish (98.60) wrote:

Using less gas or avoiding hamburgers, or whatever,  does not make you "green." It means you are destroying the earth a little less than your neighbor. Nothing to pat yourself on the back about.

I disagree. Steps in the right direction are something to pat yourself on the back about. Believing in helplessness is not. At a certain point I can "destroy the earth a little less" to the point where it can restore itself. That is the sustainablility you are searching for. There are steps we can take today that will begin to lower CO2 emissions. Not maintain them at inflated levels, not continue to inflate them, but lower them.

Put some air in your car tires. But don't be part of the group that mocks or discredits the man who is right when he tells you it can help, just because it cannot do the whole job by itself.

I agree with you about the word "green". Greener would be better, your phrase it too long. I also agree with you about politicing the concept. But the greatest "green" lie currently being told is by salesmen and marketers trying to sell "greener" products that are not. The biggest liars are not the Government and not the "greenies".

 

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