Tuesday, April 22, 2008

RE: Save the planet by doing 5 things

# 5 Buy natural cleaning products.
# 4 Bring your own bags when you shop.
# 3 Use compact florescent light bulbs.
# 2 Stop getting ATM receipts and cardboard sleeves for your coffee.
# 1 Quit buying plastic water bottles.

Save the Planet? Oh please.

I know Tuesday is Earth Day and we are told by every morning news program, newspaper and radio station that if we do these 5 or 10 easy things, we can save the planet. Not so fast. I have a few questions.

Save the planet from what exactly? Humans?
If so, taken to its rational end, the solution to the problem would be to remove all the humans from earth, right?

Happy Earth Day, now go jump in front of a bus. That doesn't make for a very nice t-shirt does it?

How exactly does not printing out an ATM receipt, replacing an incandescent bulb with a CFL, or bringing your own bag to Nugget going to save the planet?

Before you send me all the info about changing my light bulbs to CFLs is the same as burning my car and walking to work, let me say I am all for conservation. I don’t ask for a plastic bag to carry my Cherry Coke Zero from the cashier to my car, I have my own coffee mug that I refill instead of getting a paper cup with one of those earth destroying cardboard insulators, after all, I love the polar bears. These things are all good ideas, and we should encourage people to do them, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you’re impacting any problem on a global scale.

The false sense of ‘doing something’ to ‘save the planet’ in my opinion is almost as bad as doing nothing. Here are some realities that you should be aware of.

China and India have doubled the private ownership of cars from 1995 to 2000. That is six short years. Goldman Sachs predicts in twenty years, China will be number one and India will be right behind the US when it comes to auto sales. Russia and Brazil show similar rates of growth in car ownership, they just don’t have the population of the Asian markets. Their ‘middle class’ is booming. Sachs also predicts by 2050, China and India will have surpassed the US as economic powers.

China and India are just now starting to hit their economic stride. That means both nations will be burning fossil fuels at rates that will surpass the evil, polar bear drowning US. I know you like to give dirty looks to the guy driving his Chevy Tahoe down the freeway at 70 miles per hour, but the truth is the US will continue to become more efficient in the way it uses energy while the rest of the world does what ever it takes to keep their economies growing at double digit rates.

China is burning coal like there is no tomorrow. If we are to believe Al Gore and the rest of the ‘twenty years until we kill the planet’ gang, then we are surely going to die. If the US ceased to exist as user of fossil fuels this week, the rest of the world will take up the slack and then some.

There are no easy solutions to save the planet. Recycling and conservation are good things to be sure. I encourage everyone to recycle and with gas close to $4.00 a gallon, conservation will be a reality soon enough. Innovation has revolutionized the world before, lets hope some 20 year old guy sitting in lab somewhere tinkering with some gadget that will turn coffee grounds and newspapers into clean fuel will come along. Soon.

1 comment:

Gary said...

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