Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's not easy being green

An article in Newsweek states that while many people are trying to be greener, they're either doing it wrong, or just not making any improvement in their habits. Some examples are people who eat locally grown food in order to reduce transportation costs of the food. The article states that while that might be a good intention, you have to really look at the whole process from start to finish to really see (in the example of food) whether the food you're eating had to be imported, or it was grown in a greenhouse that "gobbled up electricity produced from coal", and what type of feed livestock are given, etc.

Another example concerns diapers and their environmental impact. The article argues that in order to be eco-friendly, one cannot just look at the landfill effect of disposable diapers, but also the power it takes to wash and dry cloth diapers, for example. It's not just one thing to look at the close-range impacts, the entire process from inception to product has to be taken into consideration if you're going to serious about offsetting your carbon footprint, which is admittedly hard.

It then goes into how some hybrid cars aren't as green because of possible way the electricity is being produced that powers the car (it could be inefficiently produced from coal, for example), and why ethanol cannot work, from the corn need to all the emissions from making land space and fertilization.

Then, in the end, an author, Gabrielle Walker, states that these conservation problems and being greener is just not something that "individuals can greatly influence by themselves," and that is it up to our governments to step in and really make the difference.

This article seems a bit pessimistic at times, that people can't properly do much, but it also does make a serious effort to show how dangerous global warming is and raises awareness that serious action must be taken. Maybe we can get Ms. Walker as a guest lecturer.


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