Mar 24th, 2008
I am writing this in response to this article entitled “Why Dont more Americans give a damn about the environment.” Actually I should have titled this article “Why I dont give a damn about people telling me to give more of a damn about the environment” but then, thats not nearly as hooky is it?
Now, the truth is I love The Dough Roller, so before anyone gets too upset Ill preface with that….but now it is time to be a hardass devil’s advocate.
I hate to interrupt the touchy feely America hating, green loving fest but I have some news, America is headed in the right direction, and most of the world is not. Many American businesses are voluntarily doing things to help …I remember when working at HP the amount of time and money that went into computer recycling.
Whoa wait, America consumes <numbers about what we consume> and pollutes <numbers about polluting>! but the truth is Americans as a whole are actually becoming greener and greener.
In 2006, total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions were 7,201.9 Tg CO2 Eq. Overall, total U.S. emissions have risen by 14.1 percent from 1990 to 2006, while the U.S. gross domestic product has increased by 59 percent over the same period (BEA 2007). Emissions fell from 2005 to 2006, decreasing by 1.5 percent (111.8 Tg CO2 Eq.). All of this while global warming is suddenly in question again because it is now cooling, and the polar ice caps that had melted regrew this year.
China on the other hand is rapidly increasing its CO2 emissions as well as other pollutants. India is doing the same. I have been a couple hands worth of European countries and guess what: a lot of them are a lot less concerned about doing environmentally sound things than we are here, the difference is often overlooked:
America is a big space with less people and we have the ability to spend more resources than anywhere else in the world. It boils down to that. A lot of individuals in places in Europe, if they could drive SUVs and live in 5000 SQ foot houses, would. For trucks to bring food to Colorado from the coasts, they have to drive a LONG way.
The truth of it is, many Americans are trying very hard to be green but still enjoy a nice standard of living.
Its true there are problems. I do believe the oil industry has stifled alternative technologies for many years now and I do believe many people are much too wasteful. My family owned a solar business and my dad went out of business due to oil companies lobbying against the solar industry. I have no love for them, nor our dependence on oil, nor our production of CO2 or pollution.
On the other hand, all of the talk about Americans being the least caring, etc… Much of it has been used to advance political agendas from George Bush hopping on the bandwagon to Al Gore who, despite his famous movie and prize he got lives in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) while flying around in a private jet. AND according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences.
Here is what it boils down to: I have faith in all of you that you are being green, while remaining economically sound. Do not do things that will put your finances in jeopardy if you cannot afford it. While putting up solar panels would be great, if it will damage you financially, wait until you can afford it.
For those who are steaming angry right now, I have some bad news if you are wanting to flame me about my selfish environment killing self: I live in 1400 sq foot house, and my water is heated by two large water drainback solar collectors (designed by my father who owned a solar business). My bulbs are all CFLs, I ride a 60 mpg motorcycle in the summer, and my yard is filled with four 75 foot trees, as well as 3 pines, 1 crab apple, 2 maples, 1 green apple and a bunch of bushes and I recycle. I will even include a google maps picture below: