"I Recycle. I Cycle to work and Recycle home." - Nick Thune

Hola blogworld.

I've never been one to get caught up in much in the hype machine that it is environmentalism. I'm not going around emptying aerosol cans into the air, but I've always had my doubts as to how effective these measures are. There seems to be a lot of inconsistencies in mainstream environmentalism, from studies funded by oil companies, to groups like the ELF (earth liberation front...worst anagram ever) burning down new homes.

Anyways, here are a few things that I came across recently that I thought were noteworthy. I'll include a list of sources at the end.

Organic food.
It seems like a good idea. Eating food that is free of those nasty chemical fertilizers, pesticides and such. Anything that's natural has to be better for you right? Well, not necessarily. Cancer rates have dropped since farmers began using chemicals, and organic farming uses a lot of manure which results in a greater risk of contamination. Despite accounting for only 1% of the food supply, organic food accounts for 8% of cases of E. Coli.

Another funny thing about those chemicals is that they were invented for a reason, to increase food production. Organic farming is pretty inefficient. The current acre of farmland produces 200% more than it did 70 years ago, and the same goes for meat and poultry. According to some guy that won a Nobel Prize, we could feed 4 billion people if we all went organic, which is pretty lame for the other 2.5 billion left to starve.

As for the environment, organic food has a whole lot of issues to overcome. Because it is inefficient to farm, there is a shortage of organic food available to people that desire it the most. This means that organic food is being shipped hundreds of miles by (diesel) trucks. So in a way, organic food might actually be harming the environment.

Another seemingly good idea. Let's reuse everything. I was raised with images of forests getting clear cut and burned, and then panning out to shots of the globe being covered in water. Did you know that the number of trees on earth has actually increased over the past 50 years? Logging companies have long made it a practice to plant more trees than they cut down in an effort to ensure future growth.

As for landfills, some researcher at Gonzaga did a study about U.S. consumption and figured out our garbage over the next 1,000 years would fill a 35 square mile area 100 yards deep. This is less than 1/10th of the land that we currently use for grazing, and this is over a thousand year period. Also, our paper disposal has gone down significantly over the past decade with the rise of electronic communication.

Another flag recyclists wave is that of saving resources, which really is a matter of perspective. If you consider human labor to be a resource, then Los Angeles alone shows the ineffectiveness of recycling. In L.A. there are twice as many garbage trucks as there would be if there weren't a recycling program. Recycling requires more trucks and more people to oversee the process. So it's tough to measure the effectiveness of the overall impact of the recycling program.

Lastly, a chemist figured out that you would have to use a ceramic mug over 1,000 times before you would see benefits over using styrofoam cups for those 1,000 cups of coffee. This is taking into consideration the amount of energy it takes to make the mug, and the amount of energy and water it takes to wash it after each use. My dad had this beat, he used the same mug for years without washing it. It was gross.

Carbon offsets.
This is by far the worst idea environmentalists have come up with. A carbon offset is basically paying a company to reduce their carbon emissions to make up for your usage. This is basically paying for your guilty conscience. Currently, there is no structure set up to monitor these purchases, so you have no idea what, or how much you are buying, and what that exactly means. In fact, government investigations have shown that a large number of carbon offsets were just empty promises, or that companies were already planning on reducing their emissions. That's like offering me money to drink less diet soda.

Like I said before, these things do not mean we should package stuff in excess materials or waste energy and empty out cans of hairspray for fun. But, I think it is time we stopped worshipping the Earth and started worshiping the creator. If we focused the same amount of time and energy into serving others and caring for those in need we would rise up a generation of people that knew how to take care of all of God's creation. It's easy to get sidetracked by good intent, but when we get so caught up in preventing Waterworld from happening that we are willing to believe anything that lobbyists, and extremists cry out, I think we miss our true calling, which is a life of worship. We were not made for a life of fear, or trying to cover our guilty conscience, or searching for personal identity by identifying with a tree, and definitely not for satisfying self-interest groups.

If you need me, I'll be at the beach picking up trash.

One love, one heart.

p.s. here are some of the sources:

**** The links show up in my editor, but for some reason they aren't showing up on the post. If you really want them just comment****


OK Chick said...

I couldn't agree with you more on the organic food. I just can't get into organic food. I think it's over priced and I haven't seen anything that makes me want to switch to a $2.50 organic apple. Also, when I have eaten organic I can't even tell a difference.
Good post-very educational.

TC said...

This was a great post. I'm kinda sadden about the coffee mug thing: I guess while I haven't necessarily believed that a lot of things we do make THAT much difference, that one would have definitely been one of them.

I read something the other day about how we recycle and the fact that people are so worried about washing out their cans of food that in the end, they waste more water than they have done good for the environment. This seems to follow the same line of thought.

I cannot and will not do organic food unless there is no other option available to me. I grew up on a rural beef farm: we had the cows and my Dad had a bunch of crops as well. In all the research that has been done, I have yet to find the proof that organic is better. To me it doesn't taste better, and rarely demonstrates that "healthier for you" quality it should for the pricetag it comes with. No gracias.

TC said...