It is better for the environment to drive your 20 mpg old beater until it breaks down than buy a hybrid car. While this paradox seems utterly illogical, we always seem to forget the cost of producing a car. The amount of carbon dioxide released by mining and transporting the building materials, running the factories and transporting the cars outweighs the individual CO2 emissions greatly. We all want to do what’s best for the environment, but it’s not just the thought that counts, it comes down to statistics, numbers and projections. Don’t get me wrong, hybrid technology is great, but only once all old cars have broken down and been rendered immobile by time and wear.
On the same note, in my area there is a movement to sell new, stainless steel, eco-friendly water bottles. Yeah, great idea, metal water bottles will replace those bad plastic ones we get from a vending machine and we won’t have to deal with them anymore. It is a good idea until you realize that everyone has a reusable water bottle lying around at home. Look under my sink, my family has at least 15 metal and plastic water bottles. It’s ironic that while these movements preach sustainability, some virgin forest somewhere is being strip-mined for iron and the iron is shipped to a factory so that we can sell water bottles. Another bad idea, or perhaps I am just misinformed, but even if the metal for the bottles came from recycled pop cans, we still have a gazillion bottles at home. A real initiative would be to ask for each family to donate their unused water bottles, wash them thoroughly and sell those. After all, reuse comes before recycle.
I’m not trying to shoot down these people; I participate in a recycling movement in my area, but something about the fallacy of what is going on just rubs me the wrong way. I don’t want to grow up to become some crotchety old man complaining about the youth of today, but I can’t ignore the obvious paradoxes that stare me straight in the face.