If you asked the majority of citizens within the United States to start using electric lawnmowers you would be met with the same resistance. Asking these same people to recycle and to use products made from recycled goods would be just as much of a hard sell. Most everyone in my neighborhood still fertilizes their lawns with some type of chemical. Although natural alternatives are available that work just as well. There are all kinds of small changes that can be made that don’t require a large investment. Granted these smaller changes may provide less of a positive impact. But these are steps heading in the right direction.
For many of us who would like to make a more positive impact economics limit our ability to do so. Not to mention the fact that in many cases cost effective solutions aren’t available. Even with rebates most households can’t afford to install solar panels. Most of these people may not have the funds to invest in a tankless water heater. A truly ecofriendly car is only available to those with a lot of cash and those who are willing to make some sacrifices. Until you can get people to understand that some changes can be made with no or minimal lifestyle changes your not going to see the current tide reverse. Those that can afford to lead by example in most cases do not. An example of this would be the two gentleman I had my verbal debate with inside the Springfield, Il Friday’s that night long ago. I’d tend to bet that neither of these loudmouths have made any lifestyle changes to back up their concern in regards to global warming and it’s effects. Their argumentative behavior was more about politics and their opinions being challenged. They had that how dare you attitude. Truly being worried about the environment wasn’t the true concern.
If you are interesting in getting an idea of what this discussion would have looked like that evening. Watch the restaurant scene in Boiler Room.
The funny thing about all this is the fact that at a get together before Gnomedex 7.0 I was sitting with someone who actually does research into climate change ( Wendell Tangborn ). Unlike the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change who Al Gore shared the Nobel Peace Prize with in 2007. I honestly wish I had spoken more with this person that evening. In a previous article in regards to weather forecasting I asked one of the people present that evening ( Christopher Sloop ) if he felt that current climate patterns were just normal fluctuations that take place over time or were an indicator of global warming. This brings up a key part of the overall debate.
Does Global Warming really exist? Some people state they have debunked many claims made in Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth. Let us say that there is in fact no global warming threat. Would it really hurt our economy or way of life to make the changes some people want us to make? Driving more fuel efficient vehicles that pollute less or not at all benefits everyone. You get more for your money and cleaner air to breathe. If we start using more recycled products or find innovative ways to make use of waste. This adds to an overall benefit as well. When using less landfill space there is less of a chance that there will be some sort of contamination do to that waste dump. New industries could be created along with jobs by doing things in a new way. Making changes towards using more natural products could lead to environmental benefits, better health and again maybe more jobs created by the companies that produce these goods.
My point is there is no downside to changing some of the ways we do things. What would be the harm in making these changes even if global warming isn’t a threat? These changes can be made without having to make sacrifices in many cases. But what is stopping this from occurring is several factors. People don’t really want to change. They want gas and they want it cheap. These people could care less about the harmful industries that pollute our world. All that matters to them is their life and convenience. The cost and availability of some products to implement change is still a major factor. Here again I make mention of the fact that those who should be leading by example aren’t. There are many phony eco-friendly super stars out there. Giving lip service to the cause but not really leading a life that sets the example.
For the record I’m far from a do gooder in regards to the environment. Most of my households energy usage is in regards to heating and cooling. Along with long hours running the computer. I’ve recently tried to make some adjustments in regards to both of these issues. Most of our light bulbs have been replaced with energy efficient models. When we purchased a lawnmower for our home last year we bought an electric model. This year will be the first year of using only ecofriendly fertilizer on the lawn. Last year it was a mix of traditional and ecofriendly. Our washer and dryer is an energy efficient water saving model. The car we drive while not environmentally friendly does get good gas mileage for what we could afford to purchase. The 11 gallon tank recently gave us 300 miles of driving. Depending on time of year and other factors this of course can be less. Our toilet paper and paper towels are made from recycled paper. So were are helping to make a market for the paper we recycle. The lawn fertilizer we use comes in recycled plastic bottles and uses garbage to make the product. So again we are trying to make a market for the products we recycle. Another recent change was to start using an ecofriendly automatic dishwasher powder.