Tuesday, April 22, 2008

earth day - do it right or not at all

how could i resist?

things not to do this earth day:

buy a hybrid car (or any other new car or anything at all, really). your impact on the earth will be much less if you can push off the purchase of anything. production of goods, especially large complex machines made of metal, plastic, electronics, paint and lithium consumes huge amounts of resources that we don't really have effective ways to recycle. if you can live with the old car, tv, spatula, or whatever, it would be in the earth's best interest if you did.

move to the suburbs. america consumes hugely disproportionate amounts of energy and other resources in part because we live in american style suburbs and drive suburbans (a big GM SUV) to and from work. it seems to me most people move to the burbs to have a safer, more natural environment for their kids to grow up in. but those big houses, big yards, and long commutes are helping to displace nature and modify our atmosphere. i can't speak to the reality of raising kids in a soulless 'burb vs a compact city community, but the environmental impact of the city option is drastically less. smaller, more dense housing plus shorter commute distances and better mass transit options can only be more efficient.

eat anything. obviously, this is impractical, but you get the idea. the more local the consumption, the more likely that it will involve less of an environmental impact. but i can't easily say whether field grown tomatoes turned into cans of tomato paste in Florida and sent via rail across the country would be more or less efficient than hothouse grown "vine ripe" tomatoes grown locally and trucked to the farmer's market. (is it sometimes more environmentally responsible to avoid the farmer's market in favor of the processed and packaged goods?) the energy and other environmental impacts of food are open to a lot of discussion, but a few points are indisputable: less meat is better, and less industrial food-product is better (seriously, how much energy goes into that diet coke or individual cup of jello from which a body gets zero or negative nutritional value?).

yeah, so, if you feel like engaging in pointless token efforts that may do more harm than good, buy the compact fluorescent bulbs that every envori-org is tripping over themselves to promote. or the prius, or the ethanol fuel, or the solar panels, or any number of other idiotic greenwashed products. but, if you really want to reduce your impact, buy less, live closer and smaller, and eat simpler.

1 comment:

TheBehst said...

We get lots of locally produced cats. Is that acceptable?