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XYlophonetreeZ
02-14-2008, 01:27 PM
I haven't seen much discussion about the environment in this forum. Recently it's piqued my interest because of a book that I read and highly recommend to everyone, called Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility.

This book got me thinking that the environmentalist movement really needs a swift kick in the ass. Take Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," for instance. Why does he insist on emphasizing that bringing about improvement is necessarily "inconvenient"? Who does he think he's helping? The leading voices in the environmentalist movement currently tell us that we must make personal sacrifices, tax companies on carbon emissions or impose a cap-and-trade system or something like that, and become less wasteful.

News flash: that will never work. People are going to waste shit. And you know what? I'm not ashamed of it. Despite what Al Gore tells me, I'm not ashamed of living a lifestyle that is centered around convenience. I like convenience. Is this what happened at the dawn of agriculture when everyone stopped being hunter-gatherers? It's a natural social movement. My mom criticizes my brother and me for being wasteful, and when my grandma comes to visit, she criticizes my mom for the same thing. Besides, no amount of personal sacrifice spurned by loud encouragement from green-clad activists is going to stop China and India from capitalizing on the fossil fuels we're not using. And there are no boundaries in the air; their emissions are our emissions are everyone's emissions.

The book accurately describes these mistaken proposed measures as "politics of limits," which haven't worked for the last 15 years and being in the face of a "crisis" won't stop that. The only reason the recycling movement was so successful is that people started putting recycling bins everywhere and circulating recycling trucks on routes through more neighborhoods- they fostered convenience rather than chastising it. This is why, on this one issue, I completely disagree with the democrats.

The book points out this dumb symbolic thing on its cover, but it's kinda cool- the Chinese ideogram for "crisis" is the symbol for "disaster" followed by the symbol for "opportunity." The democrats are focused on the disaster part. Focusing on the opportunity part by massively investing in alternative energy as a national project, along the lines of a Space Race or Manhattan Project type of thing, could end us up with forms of energy that are environmentally safer AND more renewable and economically viable- which will force other countries to follow suit. They also won't necessitate any change whatsoever in the conveniently American lifestyle. Almost everyone favors alternative energy, sure, but if we're going to do it we should put on our Nikes and just fuckin' do it as a nation.

And yeah, it's really tearing me apart that I agree more with Mike Fucking Huckabee than anyone else on this issue.

Sunny
02-14-2008, 02:13 PM
that book sounds interesting, thanks for the recommendation.

as for wastefulness.. i suppose i might have a bit of a different outlook on this as i did not grow up in America... and let me tell you, you guys waste a lot of shit. i'm not super "green" and i'm kinda wasteful too, but holy jesus.

i understand convenience. i love convenience. however, using a little waxed dixie cup for rinsing every time you brush your teeth - instead of a "permanent" plastic or glass cup - is fucking ridiculous. if you brush your teeth as often as you're supposed to... well, you do the math. using a new styrofoam cup every time you get coffee, same thing. and don't get me started on bottled water consumption.

i honestly believe these things are not a result of people's love of convenience, but just... lack of thought. no one ever made them consider it, they never stopped to think about it... and it becomes a habit. changing these habits wouldn't be drastic enough to classify as "lifestyle changes"... all it would require is a little bit of mindfulness.
call me a total nazi, but i like how recycling is mandatory where i live. here, your trash doesn't get picked up and your ass gets slapped with a fine if you don't separate recyclables from other junk. and so you end up recycling because you have to. fuck, i'd prolly never get around to it if it wasn't for the fact that i have to.
following that thought, i kind of secretly wish there was some kind of a tax on plastic bottles, bags, styrofoam cups, because it's the only way people are going to stop (and take some time to think) ;p
i suppose i believe in individual contribution and i believe that it can make a real difference, but i just don't have enough faith in humanity to think people will get around to it by themselves.

does that make me a total fascist or what?

and, at least for now, it seems that individual effort is the only kind of progress we're going to see. can you honestly picture the government investing huge amounts of money into alternative energy sources anytime soon?

wheelchairman
02-14-2008, 02:17 PM
Well really as far as why Americans waste so much is that we didn't use up so much of our resources by the 1800's (industrialization) like Europe did. We were just getting started!

So essentially we have no reason to think the same way as Europe does (they don't have much of a choice.)

However we have more of a choice than the 3rd world, which can't compete AND be environmentalist.

Personally I subscribe to the theory that necessity is the mother of invention. People create environmental horror stories all the time. It was believed 60 years ago (or maybe more) that wars would be fought over tin.

Then aluminum was invented. Something always comes along.

Sunny
02-14-2008, 02:28 PM
Well really as far as why Americans waste so much is that we didn't use up so much of our resources by the 1800's (industrialization) like Europe did. We were just getting started!

So essentially we have no reason to think the same way as Europe does (they don't have much of a choice.)


i think in the case of my home country, we don't waste so much because we're fucking poor and kinda ass-backwards. so, we drink tap/filtered water instead of paying $2 per bottle, we bring fabric shopping totes with us because we're not used to being given plastic bags. we rinse our teeth using regular glasses cuz no one would pay $5 or whatever for a pack of paper ones.

i kinda like it, strangely. disposable things kinda blow.

wheelchairman
02-14-2008, 03:07 PM
i think in the case of my home country, we don't waste so much because we're fucking poor and kinda ass-backwards. so, we drink tap/filtered water instead of paying $2 per bottle, we bring fabric shopping totes with us because we're not used to being given plastic bags. we rinse our teeth using regular glasses cuz no one would pay $5 or whatever for a pack of paper ones.

i kinda like it, strangely. disposable things kinda blow.

I never met anyone who used paper cups to rinse out their teeth. haha.

I was speaking more of on a historical basis. Although I mean it's pretty hard to say with Poland historically speaking. Since it kept moving westward.

Anya82
02-14-2008, 04:46 PM
I fully support Sunny's post.

I'm not 100% green, but I make an effort. I wish there was a law or something like Sunny's place about recycling and such. But I live in a 3rd world country where people are AMAZINGLY LAZY. And I hate that.

Recycling, and other green actions shouldn't be "difficult" or a "punishment", just an ordinary habit.

Bazza
02-14-2008, 05:35 PM
i understand convenience. i love convenience. however, using a little waxed dixie cup for rinsing every time you brush your teeth - instead of a "permanent" plastic or glass cup - is fucking ridiculous. if you brush your teeth as often as you're supposed to... well, you do the math. using a new styrofoam cup every time you get coffee, same thing. and don't get me started on bottled water consumption.

It's actually not as simple as that. If you use disposable cups such as paper/polystyrene cups then you have to take in many considerations as to whether they are environmentally unfriendly. For starters if you drank from a porcelain mug then every time you have finished your drink you need to wash and clean the mug, this requires energy and detergent, causing an environmental impact through disposal of waste water/heat. There are also disposal issues, since paper cups can be decompressed and decompose with time, whereas porcelain cannot be compressed and will remain for ages. Also there are aspects such as energy required to produce the items, since porcelain requires high temperatures to dry, yet batch processing can produce disposable cups for very little energy costs. The outcome of all these factors is that for a porcelain mug to be more "environmentally friendly" than disposable cups is that you'd have to use it over a thousand times!

I'd whole-heartedly agree that throwing away a cup every day seems very wasteful, however it's not necessarily environmentally unsound. Especially if it can be recycled. There are some other examples of this, however I can't quite remember then right now, if anyone cares then I'll post some tomorrow (oh the joys of having studied classes in Green Chemistry and Environmental Physics lol).


Anyways, I personally try and recycle as much as possible, well as much as current facilities allow! I also don't waste food, I find this one of the worst practices, since if you buy something then you should intend to eat it not just throw it away after it has been left to go mouldy over several days.

HornyPope
02-14-2008, 05:35 PM
The problem with convenience is it's not very convenient. Where do you think are those ressources coming from, and how long before the inefficiencies of our consumption will drive the prices of raw materials to a point where the average consumer in the West cannot afford them (nevermind the billion of people who haven't as much as seen the products we use)? And for what, so you can enjoy wiping your ass with a three-ply, bleached toilet paper?

XYlophonetreeZ
02-14-2008, 05:57 PM
Oh I agree with that. I'm dubious about the human nature aspect. Maybe if prices go up a bit it'll be a good thing, if that's the incentive we need to buy less. I was talking more specifically about global warming, where I really believe that corporate taxation and politics of limits is not the answer, and speedy and efficient innovation is.

HornyPope
02-14-2008, 06:04 PM
Innovation is going to lead to higher prices (due to higher R&D costs) which is not a bad thing, I guess.

A better idea is to change this disgusting culture of consumption.

An even better idea is to wipe half of North American and European continent with a deadly virus.

XYlophonetreeZ
02-14-2008, 07:26 PM
Innovation is going to lead to higher prices (due to higher R&D costs) which is not a bad thing, I guess.
In the early phases. True.


A better idea is to change this disgusting culture of consumption.
This is where I agree in theory, but since that's never ever going to happen, our efforts would be better focused on other initiatives.


An even better idea is to wipe half of North American and European continent with a deadly virus.
NOW you're talkin'!

HornyPope
02-14-2008, 10:56 PM
This is where I agree in theory, but since that's never ever going to happen, our efforts would be better focused on other initiatives.

Not with this chump Osama, it won't.

Vera
02-15-2008, 03:02 AM
I think people would be right to say that rather than individual recycling efforts or wasteful consumption, what really matters in the end are laws and restrictions on pollution. And the problem isn't just with us here in the "West", big countries like India and China are also a part of the problem.

However, I don't think that's an excuse of any kind not to recycle. Like wcm said, we here have a choice.

Do you guys recycle bottles (plastic/glass) in the US? I read somewhere that something like 99% of all bottles bought get recycled in Finland. They basically add a small security value into the price which you get back when you return the bottle. So for every half litre of soda/sparkling water I buy, I get 20 cents back (40 for big bottles, 10 for small beer bottles etc). It's a good system, considering the situation if all those bottles went unreturned.

I'm not ready to cycle a bike to power my laptop or anything extremely environementally conscious like that but eh, my family recycles the basics. I was sort of brainwashed into trying not to be wasteful by school so I can get uppity about that shit, like one morning my mum letting the water run for now fucking reason whatsoever for like nearly 10 minutes made me so pissed off I actually got up earlier to turn off the tab and bitch at her about it.

DirtyYeso
02-15-2008, 06:38 AM
Right now I'm in Germany and I find really good what these guys do here. Recycling I do think it's important, we may not percive the consequences nowadays but I do believe we will do someday if we don't do anything about it.
Like in Finland, you pay more for a bottle, but when you take it back you get some money, which in some way, encourages the people to recycle. Many wouldn't do it if it weren't so, but having to do it builds a sense of responsability towards the environment somehow.

Lima, the city where I normally live in, is among the most polluted in America. Like someone already said before, people in South America are so lazy, the are extremely "convinient". One day they waste a lot of water or just throw garbage all over the place and then burn them to get rid of it, and the next day they are complaining at the mining corporations because their led level in the blood is 10 times higher as normal...

The goubernment doesn't do much either they lack money, so the iniciative has to come from the people but the people doesn't have a good education so it's just useless...

Sunny
02-15-2008, 07:29 AM
I was talking more specifically about global warming, where I really believe that corporate taxation and politics of limits is not the answer, and speedy and efficient innovation is.

call me a pessimist, but i think most large corporations have their sights set on maximizing profit and not necessarily on environmental responsibility. as such, it might be hard to get them to invest into overhauling the way they do things - because the way they operate now works for them in terms of generating profit. however, if there is a high tax placed on the biggest polluters, and they realize that their actions will have monetary consequences, that might get them to change their ways. i don't think most corporations would do it willingly. *shrugs*


The outcome of all these factors is that for a porcelain mug to be more "environmentally friendly" than disposable cups is that you'd have to use it over a thousand times!

well, assuming one is good about one's dental hygiene and brushes their teeth 3 times a day, they would use the glass 1,018 a year. and i'm assuming most people's glasses or mugs last much longer than that. i understand what you're saying, but i firmly believe that reusing things (even if they cost more to make originally) is much better than purchasing things that are meant to be thrown away. same goes for shopping bags - while a fabric shopping tote might have used more resources to make, it is generally a more environmentally friendly idea than using a plastic bag or two every time you shop.

sanni- yep, we recycle glass and plastic bottles as well. :]

DirtyYeso
02-15-2008, 08:13 AM
call me a pessimist, but i think most large corporations have their sights set on maximizing profit and not necessarily on environmental responsibility. as such, it might be hard to get them to invest into overhauling the way they do things - because the way they operate now works for them in terms of generating profit. however, if there is a high tax placed on the biggest polluters, and they realize that their actions will have monetary consequences, that might get them to change their ways. i don't think most corporations would do it willingly. *shrugs*


Yeah, corporations only look to maximize profit, that's what I believe too, but there are already some ideas about future energy sources being developed by researching corporations, who will later sell this ideas to someone who can apply them.
For example the hydrogen theory. If someone doesn't know it just ask, I don't know it perfectly but I have a general idea.

XYlophonetreeZ
02-15-2008, 08:36 AM
call me a pessimist, but i think most large corporations have their sights set on maximizing profit and not necessarily on environmental responsibility. as such, it might be hard to get them to invest into overhauling the way they do things - because the way they operate now works for them in terms of generating profit. however, if there is a high tax placed on the biggest polluters, and they realize that their actions will have monetary consequences, that might get them to change their ways. i don't think most corporations would do it willingly. *shrugs*
I would consider corporate taxation as a temporary measure only if all revenues are directly funneled into a national alternative energy project. I agree with you that corporations don't care. That's why I think people like Ron Paul who believe that alternative energy sources will naturally arise out of the private sector are morons. But we need to make it like going to the moon. A massive government-invested national project that will get these alternative energy sources into the mainstream and eventually displace wasteful corporations, or else force them to adopt those energy sources.

Sunny
02-15-2008, 09:54 AM
I would consider corporate taxation as a temporary measure only if all revenues are directly funneled into a national alternative energy project. I agree with you that corporations don't care. That's why I think people like Ron Paul who believe that alternative energy sources will naturally arise out of the private sector are morons. But we need to make it like going to the moon. A massive government-invested national project that will get these alternative energy sources into the mainstream and eventually displace wasteful corporations, or else force them to adopt those energy sources.

I agree that the tax revenues should go directly to alternative energy research, and that it should be a temporary measure. i just don't see the government allocating enough money to research unless there is a tax in place to help fund it. i'm sure that if the government spent as much energy and resources on this as they did on the space race, we'd see some kind of progress very quickly. however, as it is, i think the government lacks the incentive to do it (which was certainly not the case with going to the moon). if i'm not mistaken, we haven't even ratified the goddamn Kyoto protocol yet. it doesn't seem like the government gives a hot fuck about this.


Yeah, corporations only look to maximize profit, that's what I believe too, but there are already some ideas about future energy sources being developed by researching corporations, who will later sell this ideas to someone who can apply them.

that's definitely true, however, i'd say that *most* corporations have no problem perpetuating the status quo as long as it's convenient and profitable.

Llamas
02-15-2008, 10:26 AM
I don't have enough time to read the entire thread right now, but I have a few comments.


i think in the case of my home country, we don't waste so much because we're fucking poor and kinda ass-backwards. so, we drink tap/filtered water instead of paying $2 per bottle, we bring fabric shopping totes with us because we're not used to being given plastic bags. we rinse our teeth using regular glasses cuz no one would pay $5 or whatever for a pack of paper ones.

i kinda like it, strangely. disposable things kinda blow.

I actually found that Austrians bought bottled water far more than Americans, because they're spoiled and only drink water with gas... they can't drink "flat" water. One of my roommates always had a 12 pack of 2 liter bottles of that kind of water at all times. Fucking insane, and such a huge waste.

The fabric totes and such is lovely over in Europe. I love that they charge a small fee for bags, causing you to want to bring your own. Yeah, it's only like 10 cents a plastic bag, but that adds up, and it really cuts down on plastic consumption.

I hate when people use those little dixie cups every time in their bathrooms. I know a girl who buys foam travel coffee cups from Walmart for her coffee, and goes on about how great they are. I just wonder, what's so bad about getting a travel mug that will last you a couple decades, instead of throwing out a foam cup every day?



Do you guys recycle bottles (plastic/glass) in the US? I read somewhere that something like 99% of all bottles bought get recycled in Finland. They basically add a small security value into the price which you get back when you return the bottle. So for every half litre of soda/sparkling water I buy, I get 20 cents back (40 for big bottles, 10 for small beer bottles etc). It's a good system, considering the situation if all those bottles went unreturned.

There's less incentive here. I remember in Austria, when you'd buy a 12 pack of sodas or beers, when you brought the thing back with the empty bottles, you got a refund. They did that in bars, too, with beer bottles. We don't get refunds here (at least where I've lived), so doing it is a little less rewarding... but yeah. We do it, but it's not as huge as in Europe. People over there are very anal about it, which is great.

I have to get my roommate to be a little more conscious about stuff. She leaves lights on all the time, especially stupid ones like glitter lights and neon lights... and she doesn't recycle at ALL. She left her bedroom light on last weekend when she went away on a skiing trip. Drives me nuts.

Sunny
02-15-2008, 10:42 AM
I actually found that Austrians bought bottled water far more than Americans, because they're spoiled and only drink water with gas... they can't drink "flat" water. One of my roommates always had a 12 pack of 2 liter bottles of that kind of water at all times. Fucking insane, and such a huge waste.

The fabric totes and such is lovely over in Europe. I love that they charge a small fee for bags, causing you to want to bring your own. Yeah, it's only like 10 cents a plastic bag, but that adds up, and it really cuts down on plastic consumption.


whole foods (in the us) gives you 10 cents back for every bag you bring. so like, if you're doing big shopping for the week, you can get like a $1 off. lol. i mean, not a big deal... but it's definitely nice. :]

as for sparkling water consumption, i agree that it's very high in europe. my parents have crates of sparkling water delivered every Monday... lol. aside from that, they drink filtered tap water. i agree that wasteful.. but much less than buying 4-5 little plastic water bottles a day and then tossing them out. hell, i know people in the US who drink like.. 8 bottles of water in the summer. bottled water consumption on that scale is unheard of in europe (at least in my experience).

Anya82
02-15-2008, 11:50 AM
Oh I agree with that. I'm dubious about the human nature aspect. Maybe if prices go up a bit it'll be a good thing, if that's the incentive we need to buy less. I was talking more specifically about global warming, where I really believe that corporate taxation and politics of limits is not the answer, and speedy and efficient innovation is.
The thing is: We're supposed to be racional beings, intelligent even. We are not supposed to behave based on conductism.



call me a pessimist, but i think most large corporations have their sights set on maximizing profit and not necessarily on environmental responsibility.
TRUE. Think about cars. The technology and the knowledge necessary to create electric cars, or other energy based transportation have existed for long time, but those cars haven't been available because large oil companies would have been seriously affected.
As a friend of mine told me once: "if the car industry would have evolved as fast as computer and network industry, we would be riding flying cars".

DirtyYeso
02-15-2008, 01:25 PM
that's definitely true, however, i'd say that *most* corporations have no problem perpetuating the status quo as long as it's convenient and profitable.

Well, I guess I expressed myself badly, I don't mean corporations, but non-goubernamental Organizations. These organizations become money from sponsors, who are just kind people with a lot of money, and they research just for the sake of it, they don't charge for their developments.

Llamas
02-15-2008, 07:07 PM
Okay, time for a real post. I don't agree with Treez. I suppose after a more thorough read, I mostly agree with Sunny (this seems kinda common lately). I especially agree with

it seems that individual effort is the only kind of progress we're going to see. can you honestly picture the government investing huge amounts of money into alternative energy sources anytime soon?

I think Bazza brought up some very important points, but think they can easily be refuted in the cases described. The amount of water used to create a cup, and then rinse a cup out once a week for a year does not use as much energy as creating a new paper cup every day for a year. Also, most "permanent" cups made these days are made of materials that can be recycled, if not decompose.

I'd like to add that some huge corporations like Starbucks have almost been forced to be more environmentally friendly, if only because they will otherwise be attacked and run out. I'd like to see more of this happen. I'm not a big fan of Starbucks, but I am glad to see that they are willing to make the effort, even if it is for selfish reasons. Perhaps other corporations will either follow suit, or be run out by other places that do follow suit.

I personally am starting to shop at organic foodshops and co-ops. It costs more, but to me it's worth it.

Oh, yes, in response to Sunny's thing about bottled water - you do make a good point. People do buy and drink so much bottled water in the US every single day, which doesn't really compare to Europeans drinking the gas water as though it's kind of a special drink. People don't just drink bottled water as an alternative to tap water like we do. Hell, when I worked at Target, I had a woman who was fuckin' crazy. She had a coupon for a 12 pack of Aquafina, which we were out of. We offered her a 12 pack of any other brand of water for the coupon price, but she didn't want it because Aquafina is the only water she will drink. Seriously. What the fuck! People are so insanely spoiled and weird.

HornyPope
02-15-2008, 09:22 PM
The thing is: We're supposed to be racional beings, intelligent even. We are not supposed to behave based on conductism.

That's a very good post.

Bazza
02-15-2008, 09:27 PM
I think Bazza brought up some very important points, but think they can easily be refuted in the cases described. The amount of water used to create a cup, and then rinse a cup out once a week for a year does not use as much energy as creating a new paper cup every day for a year. Also, most "permanent" cups made these days are made of materials that can be recycled, if not decompose.

The facts I stated are true, I haven't got any figures available at the moment, but yes it does work out that porcelain cups are only more environmentally friendly after 1000 uses!

I think the main problem with environmentally conscious people is that they don't take into consideration the amount of energy used at certain points in the production stages of products. Yeah sure something may appear eco-friendly because you can re-use it, but does anyone ever take into consideration how many times you have to use it before it becomes a genuinely "green" alternative?

I think possibly the easiest and no-brainer ways of being slightly environmentally conscious involve not leaving things on standby, only boiling enough water in a kettle for what you need, turning lights off when you leave the room etc. Whilst they seem like little things, if everyone did them then the amount of energy saved would be enormous. I can also see that nuclear will most likely be our major source of energy since it's clean (assuming safe disposal) and fairly efficient.

As for personal recycling, I'll be taking a car full of glass bottles to recycle on Sunday, since I care lol!

I hope this reads ok, I’m very tired and slightly inebriated, but I’ve tried my best!

Llamas
02-15-2008, 10:03 PM
The facts I stated are true, I haven't got any figures available at the moment, but yes it does work out that porcelain cups are only more environmentally friendly after 1000 uses!

Dude, we believe you. But if you use a cup only three times a day every day, you'll use it more than 1,000 times in a year. PLUS, usually when I only use a particular cup for drinking water, I reuse it for a few weeks before washing it... I keep a cup in the bathroom for rinsing my mouth and such, and I wash that cup maybe twice a month. There's no reason to wash a cup every time you use it if it's not dirty. So that's DEFINITELY using a lot less energy than paper cups, as I'm only washing it about 25 times a year.

DirtyYeso
02-15-2008, 11:20 PM
The thing is: We're supposed to be racional beings, intelligent even. We are not supposed to behave based on conductism.



Yes, we are supposed to be racional beings, but not everyone takes into consciense the environment. If they don't care for it there is little we can do but to used conductism. The environmental thoughts should be building in people's minds every time more and more, because of all the publicity and stuff. Plus, the environment will get worse, that will help people realize. We just gotta hope it's not too late when it happens.

Bazza
02-16-2008, 07:41 AM
Dude, we believe you.
Lol, I think I confused myself a little bit (it was about 5am here when I wrote that!).

There's another example, which is quite funny/makes you think:
Most clothing and fabrics are made from man made fibres, which require the production of a chemical called terephtalic acid. Currently about 26 Mtons are produced world wide in a year, with an average factory producing 500,000 tons a year. Now this is a messy process and the chemicals involved aren't particulary nice!

So what's the alternative? Producing clothes from sheep! An average sheep will produce about 3.5 kg of wool a year, so 500,000 tons of wool would require 100,000,000 sheep! On average 10 sheep might require 1 acre of land, therefore 100,000,000 sheep would need 10,000,000 acres which is approximately the size of the Netherlands!! And that's only to replace one terephthalic plant!

This sort of illustrates how reliant we have become over the past 60-70 years on man-made fibres etc.

Mota Boy
02-18-2008, 02:57 AM
The leading voices in the environmentalist movement currently tell us that we must make personal sacrifices, tax companies on carbon emissions or impose a cap-and-trade system or something like that, and become less wasteful.

News flash: that will never work. People are going to waste shit.Well, that holds up as long as you look at C02 as "waste". Personally, I think it'd be better, in this instance, to classify it as "pollution" (i.e. - it's a byproduct of human activity that [assuming the science behind global warming is correct] is having a negative effect on the environment). Now, consider how pollution has been handled in the past, such as the case with particulate pollution, sulfur dioxide emissions (acid rain), or just straight-up toxic shit. In the sixties, it was widely "known" that any sort of pollution controls on the emissions of the pollutants behind acid rain would be tremendously, prohibitively expensive to implement. And yet the government put them in place anyway - a pollution cap-and-trade scheme. Turns out that when the implementation was forced, emissions were significantly lowered without much cost to the industry, simply because the best minds in the industry were suddenly set at figuring out how to reduce the emissions as efficiently as possible. The cost as a fraction of what was predicted by the coal industry.

In that sense, the pollution controls have a definite historical precedent of being a rousing success.



I like convenience. Is this what happened at the dawn of agriculture when everyone stopped being hunter-gatherers?Interestingly enough, early farmers were worse off than hunter-gatherers. At that point that various human societies discovered agriculture, their skeletons all noticeably shrink in size, indicating poorer health overall. Apparently, when the hunter-gatherer Mongolians rolled into China, they found it hilarious how tiny the starving Chinese peasants were.

The thing was, however, that agricultural societies could produce far more people, as they didn't have to go so far between children (when you're on the move, you can't have more than one child that's still too small to move on it's own with the tribe - infanticide was common), as well as support a much denser population. And though they were physically worse off, ten malnourished farmers can kill one fit "savage", thus agriculture spread.


Besides, no amount of personal sacrifice spurned by loud encouragement from green-clad activists is going to stop China and India from capitalizing on the fossil fuels we're not using. And there are no boundaries in the air; their emissions are our emissions are everyone's emissions.Currently, the Chinese and Indians all ask why they should have to cut their carbon emissions when the US doesn't.

To me, this brings up an interesting question regarding ethics: should you base your actions on their impact, or on your ethics? Now, as you're framing this as a question of whether or not we should be inconvenienced, I think you set yourself up for making carbon emissions an ethical issue - remember, sloth was one of the seven deadly sins. If this is about sacrifice in doing the "right thing" over conveniently ignoring the issue, then I think it becomes an issue of personal ethics as well as global policy.

Personally, as far as where I stand on the issue, I think that it is a personal matter. Just as physically tossing a bottle into my yard, or in my neighborhood is a personal issue for me as much as it is for my family and neighbors. I wouldn't litter, much less in my own neighborhood, even if everyone else did. I may only be making it incrementally dirtier, but on a personal level I am still causing more work for someone else down the line, as well as a slightly depreciated life on that part of my neighbors (to the extent that how you feel about your surroundings affects how you feel about your life). In that same way, the amount of pollution - for the sake of argument, include C02 - that we personally generate in going about our daily lives should factor into our conciousness.

Going hand in hand with this assumption is the idea of "common goods", borrowed from economics. In this example, your personal "waste" (let's define it as... excess pollution you personally generate) becomes a "common bad" - something that harms the general population at large (like each excess ton of carbon dioxide emitted). On a smaller scale, think of each additional kid pissing in the public pool. Everything you do at your own convenience comes at the increased inconvenience of society as a whole, only so broadly dispersed that there's a minute impact on each individual (the planet Earth is, to continue the analogy, a very large pool to piss in). Aren't Republicans the ones who keep going on about this whole "personal responsibility" thing?

Anyway, I don't like to piss in the pool. I try to avoid it by not polluting myself, and who gives a fuck what China and India are doing? They sure as hell aren't going to do anything as long as we don't.

The shadow
02-18-2008, 06:26 PM
Wow, Mota Boy's last two posts are text-book-whorty and very true.

Regarding China and India, I think you're right in that the US should worry more about what's right and not what's convenient, but I also think it's unfair that so many people criticize the US for Kyoto when that same treaty imposes much smaller restrictions to big polluters just because they're emerging economies.

Mota Boy
02-18-2008, 08:42 PM
I didn't get a chance to get around to it earlier, but regarding the "space race" thing - a big agreement there. The US government already pours billions of dollars into research annually, much of it currently going to medical research (part of the reason why the US pharmaceutical industry is a global leader). If we could do the same to alternate energy, and also push the industry to it by favorable tax cuts/taxes on certain types of undesirable pollutions, then we'd be on the right track.

Personally, I think gasoline prices are artificially high right now - reflecting political uncertainty in oil-rich regions moreso than a recent run on the supply - but I think it's a very good thing for the US in the long term, for high gas prices have suddenly caused a ton of money to go into alternate energy research. It seems that our private investment sector has done much of the work of the government, but the government can always go about setting up the proper economic incentives to make the atmosphere right for even more research. And by the way, the fact that the Bush administration is focusing on hydrogen and ethanol (though all presidential candidates had to back ethanol because Iowa does nothing but grow corn) to the exclusion of everything else is indicative of exactly what the government shouldn't do in terms of new research.

HornyPope
02-19-2008, 12:03 AM
Regarding the India and China argument, their waste and pollution comes from earnestly developing the country and manufucturing goods destined for export--to the West.

It's not about "well, If i can recycle it then it's not hurting anyone". The question in my mind is: what exactly are you doing to with that product in the first place? Why the fuck does one need to drink three bottles of coke a day? There is simply no justification to consuming two thirds of the shit we consume other than "I want it". Well then, if you want it, I want to smack you upside down.

(i'm not replying to anyone specific, just some thoughts i had from reading the replies in the thread)

Btw, America has currently hundreds of thousands if not millions empty crates sitting in ports and warehouses because it's cheaper to dump them once the delivery was made than return with empty crates for reload. Think about it. Think how the bottom line (mere cents of the cost of the product) creates so much waste...


Personally, I think gasoline prices are artificially high right now - reflecting political uncertainty in oil-rich regions moreso than a recent run on the supply
The gasoline prices are artificially high right now because they are controlled by a cartel who does whatever the fuck they want with the prices.

Mota Boy
02-19-2008, 03:44 PM
The gasoline prices are artificially high right now because they are controlled by a cartel who does whatever the fuck they want with the prices.Granted, that certainly doesn't hurt, (as it also doesn't hurt that the vast majority of the world's oil resources are controlled by government companies which operate as revenue generators for those governments and are as a result far less efficient than oil companies in the private sector), but those two things have always been the case. Recent destabilization in oil-producing countries and the speculation in the commodities market that it resulted in has, in my opinion, been the driving force as of late, though OPEC has openly voiced a desire to keep the price up.

HornyPope
02-19-2008, 05:32 PM
If OPEC wanted to increase production, they would. They have the capacity. But no, I think they're happy with the prices. The political uncertainity plays a part, no doubt, but has it ever been stable in the middle east? It's nothing new.

aprilrfool
02-20-2008, 07:59 PM
my thoughts that this whole recycleing thing is its a great last ditch effort. we recycle in my house. . at work i use the same ceramic mug for all my caffene needs. i usually just rinse it so that there is a good level of sugar and caffene at all times. i am too cheap to buy bottled water, but company has cooler so i bought a juice some time ago and reuse that bottle. i like my bottle cause i have to move alot and it doesnt spill. but this is all beside the point.

has anyone ever thought that the planet is really alive (i am sure its crossed minds, and no i am not stoned, its lent, trying to cut back).. long story to this theory, but what if we are like the bacteria that live on our bodies. when in balance they are good, when you get too many you get an infection. its only a matter of time before the planet does a little population control.
everything has a balance, or is supposed to, thats why there are preditors. whats keeping the balance with us? our consumption, waste and population seem to have no balance.

all i know if it all does go south, i am moving to the hills.
i am sure i am making no sense. its alright, i feel better.

aprilrfool
02-22-2008, 07:51 AM
wow i killed the thread, man i guess i should stay to myself, but i did have this thought to add. this probably wont make any sense to anyone, but here goes. we all worry about the environment, that we see and feel, has anyone ever wondered what we are doing to it on the level that our radio and tv waves transmit??
i work with the communications industry, and i think about it alot. everytime we key up a radio or turn on our tv, we send something though invisible through the air. i am sure its affecting something.

well i guess thats what i had to say. i will shut up, i know i talk to much.

DirtyYeso
02-22-2008, 08:31 AM
I don't know much about that, but I don't think TV or radio waves are in any way polluting the environment. Colors we see are also waves, light, sounds, etc..
The environmental problems are actually based on the overpopulation of the planet but there is really not much you can do about that. Anyone who would make a suggestion with birth control and stuff, would be seen as a radical or mad man...

aprilrfool
02-22-2008, 09:03 AM
ahh but there are a few studies of sonar waves that the naval subs use, do disrupt whales.
The frequencies that we send out go on forever. they say that rf messes with your head (remember the cell phone warnings). i work with men who have been around rf for 30 years. let me tell you that no one that works here is normal. i think thats just part of the industry though.
also, so you know, bc pills end up in the eco system. they did a study in seattle a year or so ago on the water in the sound. i dont remember all the details but they can tell you by the water dumped in from the sewage treatment that people eat alot of cinnamon around christmas (no joke) and that the b/c that eventually makes it out of our bodies, into a toilet and to the river/ocean wherever your local dump point is affects the fish and wildlife living in or drinking the water.

ok again i am talking too much.

calichix
02-22-2008, 04:45 PM
ugh. I'm from a little beach town and was raised by hippies so when I first went to places like LA and Phili it was a huuuuuuuuuuge culture shock. they double PLASTIC bag groceries. and they give you like, a lifetime supply of napkins if you order food. AND THEY PUT IT IN STYROFOAM. everyone knows styrofoam is the enemy! living in a city it's like nails on a chalkboard seeing everyone waste so casually and I live in berkeley! I went to a party in my home town last time I was there and everyone was huddling around telling horror stories of water wasting in the real world and we were all so mortified.

okay tell me if this is outrageous to normal people or if makes you crawl into the fetal position as it does to me:

so my friend's roommate turns on the tap, goes to the cabinet, organizes her cleansers and toners and whatnot on the counter (WITH THE TAP STILL ON), washes her face, tones&moisturizes, brushes her teeth, AND FLOSSES. :[ with the tap on.

calichix
02-22-2008, 05:00 PM
btdubs, sonar most certainly does disrupt whales. they keep beaching themselves :(. it's the saddest thing in the world, but I won't start because I'm a real douchenozzle about whales and can go on tangents about them for hours. bees are having similar issues with electromagnetic signals. they get all bumfuzzled and forget their way back to their colonies. lots of animals depend on their ability to sense slight changes in the earth's magnetic field to navigate. so it's not just whales, it's sea turtles and homing pigeons and bees and swallows and monarch butterflies &&&&&&&&&&&........

aprilrfool
02-23-2008, 04:31 PM
you should hear my 3 yr old when we brush our teeth. she used to think playin with the faucet while my hands were busy was the greatest. now she tells me to turn off the water, i am so proud of her. if only i could get her to listen to me with everything else!!


i grew up in the northwest (oregon 11 years, wash. 6 years), moved to cali (got used to the drought and trying to consume less water), moved around some more, ended up in dirty dirty vegas (waste land that that is), now i live on east coast. we live 2 blocks from a river, i grew up jumpin in rivers and lakes. when hubby told me if i did i would come out with 3 arms :eek: i didnt know what to say. :confused:

calichix
02-24-2008, 08:53 AM
I totally feel you girlfriend. it's like, that's what they're there for!! so frustrating. &awww, 3 year olds are so much fun.

calichix
02-24-2008, 05:47 PM
the miracle breakthrough is gonna be when people have to pay out of their own pockets to destroy the world and change their ways, piss and moan for a while, acclimate, grow accustomed to living in an environmentally friendly way and forget about it in the name of frugality. even if it's a tiny tax, nothing will get through to people but losing something physical. the age of excess is over.

aprilrfool
02-24-2008, 07:29 PM
i have some crazy beliefs, especially after catching a couple of those epic nature shows that the discovery channel put out not long ago ( i cant remember what they were called and just about all the tv i can swallow is pbs, discovery or animal planet, or disney of course so it all kind of runs together) but the parts i was able to catch between chasing the lil one around (boy she keeps my heart healthy) and bed time was amazing. after reading writers like Madeline L'Engle & C.S. Lewis (oops i said it, i am literate and enjoy reading) and seeing these shows, i started believing that this planet is as alive as i am, i am like one of the bacteria that live on me, i am sure they dont realize i am alive either. one day, the planet is going to say enough, roll over and some crazy event is going to happen. there is a balance that goes way beyond what we can do, we are just small parasites in the grand scheme of things. i am sure the strongest will survive, as we do have a part here, but we have gotten out of control. i just hope i am as strong as i believe i am.

XYlophonetreeZ
02-24-2008, 07:44 PM
People that just assume we're going to have miraculous breakthroughs in science in the next coupl decades are retarded.
No, only people who assume we'll have those breakthroughs without significantly more funding are retarded. Perpetuating the attitude that there will be no breakthroughs will result in less funding for the science, so we'll never know whether there'll be any breakthroughs.

Besides, didn't you just assume that, by ambiguously stating that alternative energy sources are "out there"? Anyway, you're right. They are out there. The research is primarily to move them from "out there" to "in here." No one that I know of is trying to find some amazing new miracle source that nobody's ever thought of yet.

By the way, boosting agriculture harms the environment as well.

aprilrfool
02-24-2008, 08:04 PM
hey i got it. why dont we all give up our way of life and go back to farming and the way we were. it would be great, like an extended camp trip!! i would love it. i am sure no one else would, but i am sure we would all survive just the same and the planet could heal itself.

yea, now tell the cold viris that its impacting its host and see how much it cares.

XYlophonetreeZ
02-24-2008, 09:12 PM
hey i got it. why dont we all give up our way of life and go back to farming and the way we were. it would be great, like an extended camp trip!! i would love it. i am sure no one else would, but i am sure we would all survive just the same and the planet could heal itself.

yea, now tell the cold viris that its impacting its host and see how much it cares.
I can't even figure out who you're attacking in this post.

Sunny
02-25-2008, 08:13 AM
okay tell me if this is outrageous to normal people or if makes you crawl into the fetal position as it does to me:

so my friend's roommate turns on the tap, goes to the cabinet, organizes her cleansers and toners and whatnot on the counter (WITH THE TAP STILL ON), washes her face, tones&moisturizes, brushes her teeth, AND FLOSSES. :[ with the tap on.

dude what the hell. that's not normal. i don't even leave the water running when i'm brushing my teeth. i only run it long enough to refill my rinsing glass and then my waterpik.
ugh. *shudders*

Llamas
02-25-2008, 07:58 PM
It sadly is normal, though. I don't do it, but people in my family leave water running forever. It really drives me nuts.

My roommate leaves lights on in rooms she never uses all the time. She'll turn on the overhead light in a room because otherwise she "trips on everything". It can't be that hard to know where things are and walk around them. Plus light from other rooms shines pretty far. And then when she goes back to the original room, she doesn't turn those other lights off. She claimed that it uses more energy to turn them on or off than to let them burn for 6 hours... which only applies to fluorescent lights. People are just uneducated and spoiled. :(

Betty
02-26-2008, 02:20 AM
Good thread. Good points.

I was thinking about the whole convenience thing the other day actually. As I've mentioned a few times, I'm becoming more and more environmentally conscious and am starting to obsess about the impact of everything I do.

Here's a tricky one though. Paper towels vs. air hand driers in public washrooms? Paper towels are SO wasteful but the air driers are SO slow. I'm pretty torn on this issue since I really enjoy the paper towels. Ideally it would be nice to just use a towel. They're kinda gross, but I don't even really mind those pull down cloth things they have every once in a while in bathrooms.

I have a million ethical waste-related dilemmas every day, but this one in particular bothers me.

Sunny
02-26-2008, 06:00 AM
People are just uneducated and spoiled. :(

get this: i know someone who likes to sleep under a lot of blankets/comforters, so regardless of the temperature outside, she sets her a/c to as cold as it will go (like, 50F) just so her room is cold enough for her to pile on the blankets.

and she doesn't turn it off in the morning, so it runs all day.
i said something once and she's like "what? i'm worth it".

so. ya.

Llamas
02-26-2008, 10:55 AM
Good thread. Good points.

I was thinking about the whole convenience thing the other day actually. As I've mentioned a few times, I'm becoming more and more environmentally conscious and am starting to obsess about the impact of everything I do.

Here's a tricky one though. Paper towels vs. air hand driers in public washrooms? Paper towels are SO wasteful but the air driers are SO slow. I'm pretty torn on this issue since I really enjoy the paper towels. Ideally it would be nice to just use a towel. They're kinda gross, but I don't even really mind those pull down cloth things they have every once in a while in bathrooms.

I have a million ethical waste-related dilemmas every day, but this one in particular bothers me.

I support the pulldown towels. They're not as unsanitary as they seem.


get this: i know someone who likes to sleep under a lot of blankets/comforters, so regardless of the temperature outside, she sets her a/c to as cold as it will go (like, 50F) just so her room is cold enough for her to pile on the blankets.

and she doesn't turn it off in the morning, so it runs all day.
i said something once and she's like "what? i'm worth it".

so. ya.

Ohhhh yeah I had a roommate a few years ago who was like that. In the winter, she'd put the furnace up to 80, even 85 sometimes. Then she'd parade around the house in a tank top and tiny shorts. Then the summer came, and she was turning the a/c down to like 50 and walk around with a sleeping bag or blanket. She drove my other roommate and me nuts. When we'd confront her, she'd argue that "it gets so much colder/hotter in her room", which was bullshit, because of how our place was set up. She'd leave notes on the thermostat for us, telling us not to change it. Fucking nuts.

It even bothers me that my current roommate insists on the temperature being 75. That to me is still wasteful. I'm happy with having it at 68 and wearing warm clothes.

Mota Boy
02-26-2008, 06:48 PM
dude what the hell. that's not normal. i don't even leave the water running when i'm brushing my teeth.Oh hell no, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles taught me that.

calichix
02-26-2008, 07:44 PM
yeah, and that sesame street where the fish calls the little water wasting boy and is all, "ehecuse me?" and mister rogers. ugh, there's just no excuse for water wasting.

HornyPope
02-27-2008, 06:21 AM
Here's a tricky one though. Paper towels vs. air hand driers in public washrooms? Paper towels are SO wasteful but the air driers are SO slow. I'm pretty torn on this issue since I really enjoy the paper towels. Ideally it would be nice to just use a towel. They're kinda gross, but I don't even really mind those pull down cloth things they have every once in a while in bathrooms.

Air driers are not slow if you actually rub your hands against each other (friction) while the air blows, like you're supposed to.

Sunny
02-27-2008, 06:51 AM
i hate air dryers. they're loud and so unpleasant i'd rather have wet hands.

wheelchairman
02-27-2008, 06:57 AM
Unpleasant? hehe what?

I love the hot air.

The worst however is if a public bathroom has those towel things that just go in a loop. ugh gross.

Sunny
02-27-2008, 07:02 AM
the noise level disturbs me. =/
i don't think i've ever seen loopy towel things. hm. are they just cloth?

i kinda like the motion-activated towel dispenser things that give you a little tiny bit of paper. it's usually enough.

speaking of towels and the environment, i almost bought a heated towel rack the other day. then i thought better of it, although i certainly regretted my decision at 7 am today...

Llamas
02-27-2008, 11:49 AM
The fabric hand towel things are not that gross. I don't know why people are so turned away from them. How it works, Sunny, is there's a really long, thin, fabric towel rolled up inside the dispenser. When you need to dry your hands, you tug on the top of the towel, and about 5 inches of the towel pull out of the dispenser for you to dry your hands on. Then the next person who comes uses the next portion of the towel. You don't touch the part of the towel that the previous people have touched, so I don't see how they're gross.

And I hate air dryers. Even if you rub your hands together (I thought everyone did that, anyway), it still takes a couple minutes, rather than the 5 seconds with a towel. It's just annoying.

Sunny
02-27-2008, 11:53 AM
how weird! i don't think i've ever seen that.

after all of it has been used, is it discarded?

Vera
02-27-2008, 12:39 PM
You guys don't have fabric hand towels? Jesus Christ, US is such a fucking developing country about some shit.

A Finnish paper did a test, fabric towels were the most environmentally friendly out of all options. I also seem to recall a test that they were very hygienic, too, because your hands tend to be less wet with a fabric towel than with a paper one or air.

They don't discards the roll after use, it's washed like any towel you have at home (maybe in a higher temperature, though). In the article I read, the cleaning company head said that the rolls are used like 4-5 times. After that they tend to become too worn to be used, so they're thrown away.

Sunny
02-27-2008, 12:42 PM
o nos 2nd world cuntry =(

i've honestly never seen that anywhere. evar. it sounds like a magically sweet idea. i tried googling but failed, does anyone have a pic?

Llamas
02-27-2008, 12:50 PM
I'm shocked you've never seen one, Sunny. I usually see them the most often at really big places, like concert venues and big bars/clubs.

I tried googling, too, and no luck.

Of all three options, I like the fabric the best for my skin, especially when I have to wash my hands frequently (like if I'm at work). I find that if I have to wash my hands a few times every hour, my hands start to chaff and itch and dry out if I use paper... and well I can't spend 6 minutes of every hour drying my hands with an air dryer, but even if I could, I feel like when I dry my hands with those, they're overdrying on some parts of your hands, while other parts are still wet. The cloth ones make my hands feel the nicest.

Sunny
02-27-2008, 12:55 PM
weirddd. i don't really go to big clubs, but most bars i've been to have either paper towels or air dryers.

omg i feel so deprived.

Sunny
02-27-2008, 01:16 PM
ok ok my googlage yielded a result. while it's not a picture, it explains why i haven't seen rotating towel thingies up here. some blogger says:

"The worst, and thankfully the least prevalent (at least in New York) is the rotating towel dispenser."

ha. least prevalent! i'm *not* crazy! ;p

Vera
02-27-2008, 11:36 PM
I found a pic on a Finnish website: http://www.defisan.com/components/com_virtuemart/shop_image/product/bcfc8ce03183ff80fb080f5f0e31c8e7.jpg

Least prevalent in the third world country of NY MAYBE. It's honestly in virtually every public/semi-public (restaurants, schools, stores) bathroom in Helsinki.

And as we all know, Finland is a leader in sanitary technology.

XYlophonetreeZ
02-27-2008, 11:39 PM
Biodiesel doesn't necessarily HAVE to destroy the environment, but it's currently doing so. Ever read those news stories painting Brazil as a "green" country because corn ethanol is somewhat in the mainstream now? That's because they've chopped down thousands of acres of the Amazon rain forest in order to grow the corn. Would we do the same thing? Maybe not to that extent, but it would take a shitload of farmland if we want to propel those fuels anywhere toward the mainstream.

I don't advocate waiting around for science. I do think that history has proven that politics of progress works infinitely better than politics of limits. There should be some limits, yes, but we should put as much focus as possible towards scientific progress.

aprilrfool
02-29-2008, 08:20 PM
I can't even figure out who you're attacking in this post.

sorry it took me some time to get back to this, i am not really attacking anyone in particular. I just believe that any thing we do aside from completely stop just wont be enough. its worth a shot, i totaly believe in recycling and conserving. but we consume so much of everything and most of what we leave behind is unusable again.

if i remember any thing from high school sciences at all its that everything has an equal and opposite reaction. any type of energy we harness will no doubtedly have some impact. how can we know, how can we really test?? we can speculate. thats all.

but its not only paper and carbon dioxide, what about our pain meds, birth control, and psyco stabalizer pills that go out of our bodies into our waste water and into nature. this is a proven issue in washington where they are trying to save their dwindling salmon species. the birth control in the water is affecting the fish fertility.

some college recently did a study of the waste water in major metro areas (which ends up in our streams) to find out what drugs were most prevalant in these areas, they didnt disclose where they did it, only USA. they found large ammounts of controlled substances as well as prescriptions, bambi is drinking meth and perks in his water, how are we going to make up for this??

I hate to say it but i dont see any way out of our current situation, we may be able to stabalize some of it, but its not pretty any way you look at it (dont get me started on radio waves and frequencies, i was watching test equipmnet on that today, its crazy when people who really understand it explain it to you {not me, the engineers i work with}). we cant see them, feel them or hear them, we can make equipment to read it, and hear it. i am sure it means something when we shoot electricity through it to carry our voices, other sounds, images and what ever else.

aprilrfool
03-02-2008, 07:28 PM
hey and as for saving the trees, how about that hillside blasting they are doing to build walmarts and other retailers. here in new jersey they blasted half a mountain so they could build a walmart, lowes complex just a few miles away where they had previously blasted away mountain for a target complex. at the other end of the hiway they cut off the mountain top for a 55+ community. not far from where i live, where my mother in law grew up they took out teh mountain she remembered for multi million dollar houses. she sometimes comments how wierd it is to see lights and houses up there.

what is wrong with our civilization? cant we be happy with one mega plex shopping center? do we really need 3 houses each and a surburban for each person in every house??

Mota Boy
03-03-2008, 12:48 AM
Overpopulation and environmental destruction go hand in hand. Its not so much the quantity of stuff people demand, which is a capitalist norm, its the quantity they all together demand. You wanna blame somebody, blame religous freaks that don't practice birth control, and keep contraception techniques out of schools.The teenage pregnancy rate in the United States is the lowest it has been in thirty years, and though the US is the only first-world country (I believe) with a positive net birth/death rate, the rate of growth is only barely above replacement levels.

Plus, blaming "religious freaks" is to imply that there are no solutions (or, more darkly, that the only solutions involve forcibly curtailing population growth, a la China). It's entirely possible, however, to place economic restrictions on waste products and force people to pay a premium for environmental destruction. Those are real solutions one can focus on, rather than merely ranting and spreading blame around.

Oh, and ethanol is a terrible idea. Biodiesel as it currently exists in the United States is a technological dead end.

IamSam
03-03-2008, 12:50 AM
The teenage pregnancy rate in the United States is the lowest it has been in thirty years, and though the US is the only first-world country (I believe) with a positive net birth/death rate, the rate of growth is only barely above replacement levels.

Plus, blaming "religious freaks" is to imply that there are no solutions (or, more darkly, that the only solutions involve forcibly curtailing population growth, a la China). It's entirely possible, however, to place economic restrictions on waste products and force people to pay a premium for environmental destruction. Those are real solutions one can focus on, rather than merely ranting and spreading blame around.

Oh, and ethanol is a terrible idea. Biodiesel as it currently exists in the United States is a technological dead end.

Out of curiousity, do you know what happened to the hydrogen car?

Mota Boy
03-03-2008, 06:44 AM
Out of curiousity, do you know what happened to the hydrogen car?As I understand it, hydrogen is a storage medium, not a fuel source. "Hydrogen" cars are essentially just electric cars with a different name, and are thus only as clean as the energy grid and most definitely not a new form of energy. For the record, the overwhelming majority of US energy is derived from fossil fuels.


The rate of growth may not be that big on an international scale, but its noticeable. In my area, population growth and migration has caused the entire county to go from orange trees to housing and commercial buildings. People tend to grow citys out and not up in many parts of the US.

Biodiesals a dead end? How so? As we stand most alternative energy sources have extreme limitations (hydro, solar, wind, geothermal)Population migration is more of an issue than overall population growth, at least in the case you cited. More people are moving to cities, while small towns shrivel up and die (my hometown, currently at under 20,000, has been shrinking for nearly eight decades straight). City planning is more important than population growth (or, at least, easier to affect). One major problem is that people want a backyard and a quiet neighborhood, and that they keep having to move farther and farther out of the city to get that. With higher gas prices, increased commute times and a prolonged dip in crime rates, the pendulum may be swinging the other direction, but cities have to work at becoming more liveable in order to fight sprawl.

Biodiesel is a dead end because, like farming, it is heavily subsidized. The government is shelling out billions for people to grow corn. First off, corn is one of the least efficient ways to get biodiesel energy (I think switchgrass or sawgrass or somethinggrass is the most efficient), but we're sticking with corn because it's all our farmers want to grow. By the way, the small American farmer is a myth - much, if not most, production is done by large corporations. One of the most egregious is ADM (http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa-241.html) - which spends millions of dollars in Washington promoting ethanol so that it can in turn receive tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies and tax breaks - which, of course, come out of the pocket of the rest of the country. Ethanol is a scam. It's possible to derive a surplus of energy from corn grown in the corn belt, but government subsidies have led farmers across the nation to shift production to corn, and corn grown in places such as the South actually reaps a negative energy yield, due to the additional needs of the relatively worse soil. i.e., for a significant percentage of ethanol created in the US, we're not only spending much more money than it's worth, we're spending more energy than we get out of it!

Some forms of biodiesel work, but the current model in the US needs to be dismantled wholesale. Not to mention that I want some fucking sugar in my food, not partially hydrogenated corn syrup. A better biodiesel alternative is algae ponds (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4213775.html). Wind and solar are also coming along. I forgot to mention it earlier, but in regards to Señor Árbolez comment that the candidate with whom he most agreed was Mike "Fucking" Huckabee, one Barry Obama has proposed setting aside $150 billion (over ten years) to fund clean energy projects. Though America is behind the rest of the world on this count, oil is finally reaching the point where the venture capitalists of Wall Street and Silicon Valley are investing heavily in innovation. The price for a kilowatt hour of wind and solar power has dropped dramatically over the past three decades, and, with increased interest and adoption, the price will continue to fall to make such projects (as well as small clean energy ventures, such as solar thermal energy (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_thermal_energy)) more and more viable. I would not be surprised if, within a decade we have technology for solar power to be competitive. Plus, there's always nuclear.