Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Getting Greener

Last weekend, there were a series of Live Earth concerts, to benefit Mother Earth. I heard that the events were "green", meaning I think, the organizers paid someone for carbon offsets to help balance the hydrocarbons that spewed in the air for the organizers who had to take planes to the event.

Here is what I don't understand – carbon offsets. I mean, I understand wanting to plant trees. I have planted quite a few myself. But when people do the calculations for these offsets, are they talking about the entire life of the tree? I mean, if you plant a tree that will last 100 years, it will not be able to offset everything the first year (the reason for purchasing the tree).

And how will a bunch of concerts benefit "global warming." Yeah, let's hold an even where we make people drive in their cars for an hour to get there, where we have to consume large amounts of beer, chips, and other items, where we might purchase a t-shirt of the event (so we can tell the kids years from now). I mean, all of this seems, well, consumer-oriented. And it is this consumption of natural resources that is part of the problem.

I remember the three R's in school: reduce, reuse, recycle. Well, we are all about recycling. That is something that most of us do. I have recycle bins, and I get hubbie to drive to the recycling spot. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense, I know, because the SUV is spewing CO2 into the atmosphere. But really, I have been working on the reduce – that is the R that has the most power. And I do reuse (I have not bought a garbage bag in years). But after having concerts on all 7 continents, I am not sure Mother Earth dropped any appreciatable amount. And people who don't really care about global warming, probably will not be swayed by knowing that there were a series of concerts held last weekend.

So after all of this, I am not sure Al Gore et al really understands how to make an impact. Well, I am sure he and his 10-000 sq ft home does make an impact on the environment, but I am not so sure it is a positive one. Or Occidental Petroleum's oil drilling in economically sensitive areas (he has hundreds of thousands of dollars in their stock). Or his interest in a company that does strip mining.

I guess it is better that we listen to Live Earth concerts than to follow the environmentalist Al Gore.

16 comments:

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Well, I have recently started recycling...which I have never done (I know, I'm bad). Only problem with that is, I'm having a hard time getting the rest of the family involved. I find myself digging thru the garbage can because someone forgot to throw their Gatorade bottle in the recycle bin.

I could understand if they were 5 years old...but I'm talking about adults here. *sigh*

Anyway, as far as 99.9% of the politicians out there go? Their motto should be "Do as I say, not as I do."

I haven't meet a politician that hasn't pissed me off yet.

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

"Met", dammit..."met".

Can I go home now? ;)

Prata said...

Al Gore is actually going about it in the correct way. Consumers are the biggest and most easily swayed group of people in society. There are already governmental standards being put into place for businesses, who collectively care less about carbon emissions and probably with some amount of disdain than regular people do because carbon emission regulations create cost and reduce the profit margin.

The "he's using energy to talk about energy" statement you're making is kind of short sighted. You can not reach people that typically are ignorant of your cause by going through the channels that people who already know and care about your cause go through. You must have some other outlet, some other venue. Concerts across the continents are a relatively small mark on the global emissions wall as single time events compared with the continuous events going on daily. If each of those people even for just a few days follow some new protocol in their lives to reduce their carbon mark, that's a plus.

It's not any different than you plastering the community with leaflets about littering, when half of your leaflets end up in the gutter from weather or careless people. It takse dirt to clean up dirt.

~Deb said...

A huge problem is plastic bags. We can't stop using them...and if we do, we're stuck with brown bags. They contract cockroaches if you leave them for a while- which is scary. Bags and bags and more plstic bags are showing up in our dumps more and more everyday. Recently, my friend got me a huge canvas bag, so that I could use this as a way of carrying my groceries out. Well, my eggs broke, cheese deformed and all of my meats and breads were crushed.

I guess I have to stick with plastic.

We made it harder on ourselves by inventions. Hmm.

Prata said...

Oh ~Deb, I'm glad you brought that up. There has been a scientific break through with plastic bags. A large microwave has been used to break plastics back down into base components. It was poste don slashdot some time ago. It's not ready for commercial use, but oil is used in the creation of plastics. Imagine, reclamation of energy with the use of this device on plastic bottles and bags and wire coatings and what not!

RWA said...

One scientist estimated it would take a BILLION new trees to offset the damage done by the estimated 220,000 miles of flights (and you know all of these "stars" flew on private jets) to get the artists from place to place.

The concert in London has gotten horrible review in the press (not to mention Chris Rock's embarrassing profanity on the BBC), and many of the attendees didn't even have a clue who Al Gore was.

My biggest problem is that Al Gore should practice what he preaches first. I read a study that shows how "non-green" his life is - from flights to limos to his own homes.

If they want to impress me, Al needs to clean up his act - and Sheryl Crow needs to start using just one square of toilet paper at a time.

mal said...

There is always hypocrisy involved any social movement. Why should the environmental movement be any different?

With that said, just because the messenger is an idiot and hypocrite, does that make the message any less true?

The hard truth remains that we must close the "Carbon Cycle". Unfortunately, the ones who are the voices for the cause do not have a clue how to go about it beyond holding a concert and telling everyone else they should do it....

I really despise Michael Moore for that reason

Ian Lidster said...

Couldn't agree more, my friend. Well stated.
Ian

kathi said...

The boys and I are pretty big on recycling, and we get mostly brown paper bags because I use the paper for mailing, wrapping and stuff, but I also use the plastic bags for storing and lining things with to keep things from leaking through. What I don't understand is, how do you not use garbage bags for your trash cans? What do you use instead?

~Deb said...

Prata, I saw this documentary or news type of show where they literally have plastic bags coming out of their wazoos over at the dumps! They couldn't reuse them or get them into a smaller compound. Hopefully that new techique or (large microwave) will help with that.

I'm hooked on plastic!

Leesa said...

stacey: the more I know about politicians, the more cynical I get.

prata: if we were using energy to do something, I would have no problem with that. But I see this as a waste of energy. Sort of like most office meetings.

~deb: their are differences between plastic and paper - paper is bulkier but breaks down faster, plastic has more chemicals involved. I can't tell which one is better to get.

prata: some day we will be able to eat our plastic bags. If we wanted to.

rwa: one billion trees. Incredible. With the last God movie (I forget the name, Almighty Bruce sequel), they said it took about $10,000 of trees for the offset. That does not sound nearly like a billion trees.

mal: I guess I want a pragmatic approach.

ian: thanks, sweetie.

kathi: I actually use plastic bags, hanging from doorknobs. But, remember, I don't have two boys (eating machines), so I don't generate that much trash.

~deb: can you imagine microwaving an entire dump?

Prata said...

Agreed on office meetings! lol Although, since we're not really wasting the energy (because we know the Law of Conservation of Energy =-P sorry I just had to use it today for some reason) we're just directing it in a useless direction??? ionno. But still I'd rather sleep than go to an office meeting. =-/

RWA said...

mal, I want there to be a concensus about the problem and what is causing it first.

Despite what Gore and the "we're-going-to-barbecue-ourselves-to-a-crisp-in-10-years" contingent says, there are PLENTY of bona fide, intelligent SCIENTISTS on the other side who say it is not as bad as Gore and company want us to believe.

Leesa said...

prata: and I thought you were going to mention Boltzmann's equation.

rwa: does that mean we don't need grills in the future?

Prata said...

Oh that's witty! I had to think about that for a minute. I couldn't remember what Boltzmann's Equation was for like 45 seconds or so. My dumb ass lol.

seattledrizzle said...

Good stewardship--Reduce, Re-uses, Recycle--is laudable. Environmentalism, though, does seem to have its share of Pied Pipers.