Archive for the ‘environmentalism’ tag
There are too many cool photos in this Big Picture set not to share it. (Also, that sentence seems incorrect, but all the alternatives felt worse.)
Ten things the New York Times think you’re worrying about, but shouldn’t be:
- Killer hot dogs.
- Planet-destroying A/C. (This is only vehicular.)
- The carbon footprint of exotic fruits.
- Cellphones giving you brain cancer.
- Evil plastic bags.
- Killer sharks!
- Declining Arctic Ice. (With this caveat: “You can still fret about long-term trends in the Arctic.”)
- The unverse’s missing mass. (This boys and girls, is what is known as padding.)
- Unmarked wormholes. (This boys and girls, is what is known as padding.)
Actually, says the Green Lantern, if you’re really green you use your pants. If you’re not open to that, the often-ineffective solution is the greener one:
The bottom line is that hand dryers will be the greener choice in about 95 percent of circumstances. If the choice is between using a tiny corner of recycled towel versus a 2,400-watt dryer, then the Lantern can see how the towel will win. But dryers get the nod in most other scenarios, particularly if the dryer is rated at less than 1,600 watts. (Check the specs plate on the side if you’re really curious.)
Abigail Haddad is an excellent contrarian:
Organic food has garnered an extraordinary amount of attention from the media and, along with “local” food, is a darling of foodies and environmentalists, who talk up its civic virtues and benefits to the environment. There’s just one problem with this: agriculture has moved away from small-scale, local, and organic farming because these types of farms are land- and labor-intensive and don’t do a very good job of feeding lots of people. In addition, they are not definitively better for the environment, and their growth would lead to higher food prices than most Americans are willing to pay.
Some more practical points:
If you drive to your local farmers’ market to buy a few items from a farmer who has driven a truck several hours to be there, the number of food miles is relatively small; but compared to conventional agricultural products, the efficiency of each food mile is much lower.
If you drink organic milk, you may picture happy cows wandering in fields full of grass; but in fact, as Michael Poll[a]n discussed in his 2001 New York Times article “Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex,” it’s more likely your organic milk came from cows that spend their days in lots, eating grain and attached to milking machines—just like conventional cows.
The much awaited and debated decision was finally made, but because this is still the George W. Bush administration, no action will be permitted to actually protect the animals.
But in both cases, the Bush administration has parried this legal thrust, saying it had no obligation to address or try to mitigate the cause of the species’ decline — warming waters, in the case of the corals, or melting sea ice, in the case of the bears — or the greenhouse-gas emissions from cars, trucks, refineries, factories and power plants that contribute to both conditions.
Because I enjoy a bit of senseless swimming against the tide, I present Joseph Romm’s argument against Earth Day.
Only bitter environmentalists cling to Earth Day. We need a new way to make people care about the nasty things we’re doing with our cars and power plants. At the very least, we need a new name.
How about Nature Day or Environment Day? Personally, I am not an environmentalist. I don’t think I’m ever going to see the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I wouldn’t drill for oil there. But that’s not out of concern for the caribou but for my daughter and the planet’s next several billion people, who will need to see oil use cut sharply to avoid the worst of climate change.
In his overgrown plea that people grow at least a little of their own food, Michael Pollan eloquently expressed a theory of change I’ve been wrestling with for a while:
Going personally green is a bet, nothing more or less, though it’s one we probably all should make, even if the odds of it paying off aren’t great. Sometimes you have to act as if acting will make a difference, even when you can’t prove that it will. That, after all, was precisely what happened in Communist Czechoslovakia and Poland, when a handful of individuals like Vaclav Havel and Adam Michnik resolved that they would simply conduct their lives “as if” they lived in a free society. That improbable bet created a tiny space of liberty that, in time, expanded to take in, and then help take down, the whole of the Eastern bloc.
Apparently that’s what’s happening. The basics:
At the moment, it looks likely that humans may have only themselves to blame for the rise in jellyfish, through decades of overfishing. There is a certain Schadenfreude in knowing that Spain, home one of the world’s most voracious fishing fleets, is destined to suffer from blooms of jellies—which will presumably do no good at all to its tourist industry. Such pleasure, however, is short-lived when one realises that while Spanish fleets have long benefited from overfishing, we will all ultimately suffer the consequences.