Monday, June 22, 2009

Green Is A Lie

I know that in today's world it's blasphemy to not go green. It's as close to a crime as you can get without it actually being a crime. Now, what do I mean by it's a lie? Am I saying just throw your garbage out the window while driving down the highway? Am I saying dump your used motor oil down the storm drain? Am I saying toss your old computer parts and batteries in the trash when they stop working? No. When I say "Green Is A Lie" I mean that, while we may have the best intentions for the planet at heart when we do the things we're told is good for the environment, we're still polluting. Let's break down a few examples.

Wind. How can you get more environmentally friendly than harnessing the power of wind. You build the windmill, the wind that blows naturally makes it spin, which creates power that is harnessed for your use. Where can the bad possibly be? Well, first you have make the windmill. I'm not an expert on any of these sources of energy, but I'm guessing they're made in a factory of some sorts. A factory that, I'm guessing, puts massive amounts of pollutants into the air. Then we have the shipping of the parts of the windmills to where ever they're to be erected. How many trucks does that take? Never seen one on the move so I don't know. Then we have the maintenance of the windmills. Again, not an expert but they need to be lubricated. Probably with some sort of petroleum based grease.

Solar Panels
The power of the Sun. Perhaps the most abundant energy source we have. Put these on your roof and collect the power of a star. Where can the bad possibly be? As with the windmills, you have the construction of the panels, probably in a factory somewhere and you then have the shipping. Not sure about the maintenance of solar panels. Maybe a good washing every so often, I don't know. But with solar panels we have a chemical called Polysilicon. I don't actually know anything about it. I did a few searches, but couldn't find anything. Maybe I was using the wrong keywords. Can it be harmful? It may be perfectly safe, I'm not sure. But there's the other things to consider.

Hybrid/Electric Cars
Little or no gasoline. Now, that is actually a good thing. On many levels. You save the environment, you save money not having to fill up every few days and your don't support terrorist nations. I'm all for those. Where can the bad possibly be? Just like windmills and solar panels, you have the building and shipping of the parts and the finished products. And those cars still use batteries. Those batteries still use chemicals like lead-acid, NiCd, NiMH, Li-ion amongst others. Some, if not all, have to be mined. No mining operation is perfect. There's going to be some polluting. From what I understand, they are working on better batteries, if they don't already have them, but not all green cars have them yet. In the case of hybrids, there's still gasoline being sued. Then you have to charge the car. Where do you think that electricity comes from to charge your car? Most likely from a plant that's polluting.

The granddaddy of all that is green. You take something that, if tossed into a landfill, is harmful to the environment and someone else makes it into something else. That can of pop your drinking could have some of the aluminum from a can you had last year. Where can the bad possibly be? When they recycle items, how do they do it? Again, not an expert, and I've never seen it being done, but I'm guessing they use some sort of massive machine(s). Machines that might use oil or something and needs maintenance. More of that grease. If not oil, then electricity that, like for charging your electric cars, comes from a power plant.

Now, again, I am not an expert. I could be wrong on some of this stuff or I could be wrong on most of it. And if I am, let me know. But I'm not wrong on all of it. These technologies aren't perfect. Everything we're told to do to help the environment, everything that gives us that sense of pride and accomplishment that we're changing the world, actually hurts it in someway somewhere. And I'm not saying don't do some of these things. Because in the long run they are better. Recycle, yes. I've started recycling old batteries and oil from my mower. Don't have a recycling center here so things like paper and plastic I'm not able to. Buy a hybrid. If for nothing else than to save money on gas. $3/gallon is insane. Get off oil. We need to get off oil. Too much power to nations that do bad things. But, at the same time, don't get lolled into the hype and think that by doing these things your "carbon footprint" will be 0.