The following people, places, and things are not green, despite what you have been led to believe:
- Hybrid Cars -
Hybrid cars are remarkably nice when you don't want to use much gas. But that doesn't mean you're being Earth-friendly.
When you factor in the battery manufacturing, the life cycle of a Prius is only more efficient than a
if you drive your Prius a lot. And research shows that Prius drivers typically don't do enough driving to catch up. So a moderately fuel-efficient car is remarkably better.
- Household Appliances -
Little-known fact: clothes dryers are sucking in as much as 10 percent of residential electricity.
The effective and cheap solution is to go back to laundry lines.
But nobody wants to.
- Colleges -
The Boston Globe had an article about how colleges are going green. Apparently a quarter of college applicants are basing their application on whether their college uses earth-friendly things like compostable tableware.
Ironically, I never applied to any of the top 11 green colleges.
But colleges are still using laundromat-sized, pre-Energystar dryers. And students happily run them for an hour on a pair of gym shorts.
"Green" is a gimmick from the management or institution level. Environmentalism is a movement, a strategy, something which students should be investigating personally and in research work. It cannot be seeded through press releases and pageantry.
- iPods -
iPods and their headphones are made with toxic and potentially dangerous materials.
In fact, they are blatantly illegal under US regulations.
- Ethanol -
The US makes over 90 percent of its ethanol using corn products. Imagine, cars running on corn! It sounds green!
Except it takes more of our energy to make corn ethanol than is returned. Every drop of ethanol would be more efficient if we just burned gas.
When done right, ethanol can be made from sugarcane waste and switchgrass and be many, many times more efficient. Brazil runs most of its cars on this renewable fuel source. But corn agribusiness writes the briefings for Congress, and so funding continues. From April to May of this year, ethanol production went up 10 percent.
Oh, and burning food has made the price for food essentials jump, too. Ever since the mad cow debacle, most farm animals have been corn-raised. So eggs, milk, and meat cost more. Food riots are breaking out around the world, and only countries like Venezuela dare to question our policies.
- Saying No to Nuclear -
Nuclear energy is opposed by Greenpeace and many other environmental organizations. But one of Greenpeace's founders left the organization and strongly supports its use. That's because nuclear energy is the cleanest power source known to mankind.
Compared to the minimal deaths attributed to nuclear power plants (Chernobyl didn't do all that much, look it up)... hundreds of thousands of coal miners have lung disease in China alone. Over 6000 Chinese coal miners die each year, more than the total number of people whose deaths are attributed to cancer from all of the nuclear power failures in our history.
As for nuclear waste, it's actually an excellent source of power. France and many other countries get a significant portion of their energy from reprocessing the nuclear waste. The reason we're burying our supertoxic unprocessed waste is because Jimmy Carter decided it wasn't worth our while.
- Barack Obama -
Barack Obama is a Senator from Illinois, so he strongly supports corn ethanol, though in recent months he has mentioned other sources.
He's against nuclear power as a solution.
Obama hopefully will see the light. He's a listener, thank God, so maybe he'll turn around.
- John McCain -
support nuclear power.
He has talked about having a sincere commitment to global warming, but in case you haven't noticed, Bush has said the exact same thing for four years, all the while censoring reports on climate change, ignoring regulation, and opening up offshore drilling.
John McCain may do more in his presidency. He did co-sponsor a pro-environment bill. But his recent flip-flop to support offshore drilling and the flawed battery challenge are, in my opinion, a sign of things to come.
- Al Gore -
Al Gore has become the public face of climate science. But he's doing a shoddy job of it. An Inconvenient Truth failed to show honest science. It also failed to propose effective solutions. Al Gore's recent energy challenge is blatantly unachievable. It is a misfire in the war on climate change.
Al Gore is also on the board of Apple, so he's approving of their toxic iPods.
- Hannah Montana -
Miley Cyrus's new album "Breakout" includes a song called "Wake Up America".
Here's an excerpt:
...everything I read global warming going green
I don't know what all this means but it seems to be saying
Wake up America we're all in this together
It's our home so let's take care of it
Ideology-wise, what's the point of making your call to action about "I don't know what all this means"? It just means you're just a dumb consumerist who'll fall for any two bit "green" product.
Music-wise, it's been slammed by music critics and YouTube commenters alike.
- Greensboro -
I heard so much about this show on the Discovery Channel's Planet Green.
One day I watched it, and I have decided, a little pre-emptively, that it's a complete failure. I watched most of the episode, and it seems that a casual viewer would have little idea what was so "green" about Greensboro at all. As I sort of suspected, a brief meeting indicated that a small group had decided to make the "green" decision, alienating and confusing the residents.
All in all, I didn't see anything particularly interesting or "green" about the whole program.
Okay... What about the future?
The best place to look for the future face of America is Hawai'i. Why? Because they've been handling high gas prices and a fragile environment for much longer than we have.
A few days ago, I read this article (and the comments) about Hawai'i:
It's taken a long time for Hawai'i, a nation running on long-range travel, to react. New homes are now going to do the smart thing, and start using a ready supply of solar heat.
Real and simple change is not glamorous. It comes slow. You have to do a little research if you want to be serious. But there are people out there who are doing everything in the power to make it meaningful and effective.
What a relief...?
The change in the US will not meet the necessary cuts. Our politicians have actively resisted signing environmental treaties. We will wake up, take action, and rail against the waste economy.
But just as we are getting our act together, China is going to devastate us.
China is rapidly gaining car owners. The vast majority of Chinese cars have no emissions standards. None. Zip. Even a nice compact car is belching out pure smog that would be turned away at the US border.
China is doing some quick regulation for the Olympics, but has no stated intentions of going further. Their economy is based on coal energy, also unfiltered. And their problem is accelerating. It is highly unlikely that their brand new cars and factories will be "converted" on the whims of environmental activists, who have no right to speech in China.
We have only one option. We must invent and improvise. Whatever harm climate change may bring us, we can get around it, we can protect each other and push back.