The Rise of the 'Light Greens'

The New York Times takes a swipe at the eco-bourgeoisie; those who fight environmental degradation by buying biodegradable Armani shirts (apparently such things actually exist) and a hybrid Lexus. The upper-class environmentalist might, the Times explains, "Drive to the airport, where [they] settle in for an 8,000-mile flight— careful to buy carbon offsets beforehand—and spend a week driving golf balls made from compacted fish food at an eco-resort in the Maldives."

And this has some traditionalists—the O.G.s of the movement—in a lather. For "at this moment of high visibility and impact for environmental activists," writes the Times, "a splinter wing of the movement has begun to critique what it sometimes calls 'light greens.'" And now the activists of the "old school" are shifting the goalposts on us; demanding that consumers not only buy environmentally friendly goods, but that we also reduce the amount of whatever it is we are buying:

It’s as though the millions of people whom environmentalists have successfully prodded to be concerned about climate change are experiencing a SnackWell’s moment: confronted with a box of fat-free devil’s food chocolate cookies, which seem deliciously guilt-free, they consume the entire box, avoiding any fats but loading up on calories.

The issue of green shopping is highlighting a division in the environmental movement: “the old-school environmentalism of self-abnegation versus this camp of buying your way into heaven,” said Chip Giller, the founder of Grist.org, an online environmental blog that claims a monthly readership of 800,000. “Over even the last couple of months, there is more concern growing within the traditional camp about the Cosmo-izing of the green movement — ‘55 great ways to look eco-sexy,’ ” he said. “Among traditional greens, there is concern that too much of the population thinks there’s an easy way out.”

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  • GILMORE||

    I think they're just pissed they dont have a monopoly on moral superiority

  • ||

    I think they're just pissed they dont have a monopoly on moral superiority.

    And that they're old.

  • ||

    cue John

  • ||

    I'd be much more impressed if they lived in cabins in Wyoming and befriended the natives and the local animals. And didn't own cars or any other modern, unnatural products. Of course, they'd be totally isolated from the rest of us, so we could only learn from their example indirectly.

    Bon voyage!

  • ||

    Green has never been about the environment. From day one it's been an anti-civilization movement.

  • ||

    What, no mention of Al Gore's mansion?

  • ||

    If anybody cares, a "designer" biodegradable shirt isn't hard to find. Anything made of natural fiber will qualify. So wear cotton and feel cool, in both senses of the word!

  • ||

    I say hats off to the new greens. They are more concerned about their surroundings than they otherwise would be, they aren't afraid of capitalism, and, well, if I think they're projecting any moral superiority my way, I'll just mock them like I do all the other greens.

  • ||

    "Green has never been about the environment. From day one it's been an anti-civilization movement."

    By the same shallow reasoning, one could say: "Libertarianism has never been about individual rights. From day one it's been a corporatist movement."

    Sure, it feels good to take a cheap shot at the hippies, but the greens (light, dark, whatever) aren't going away any time soon. And they seem to have marketed themselves much better than Libertarians. Reality bites.

  • ||

    Warren,

    It's all about people who took Grizzly Adams too seriously.

    If you peer very closely at things that people do to be "green", you'll see that image trumps substance in most cases. Recycling is an excellent example, with the exception of aluminum and some other expensive, relatively homogeneous products. Recycling paper is definitely worse for the environment. Oh well, so long as people feel good.

  • ||

    There's no easy way out, you fools! You can't just buy your indulgences and be spared Gaia's wrath. You must suffer and eat really bad tasting shit and wear scratchy sackcloth clothes and watch An Inconvenient Truth every Sunday morning to prove how sorry you are for your existance.

    Oh, and don't forget to give yourself a good solid 39 lashes every morning as you're reading from the latest issue of the Sierra Club magazine.

    And if you're really serious, you should buy a bike and ride around your neighborhood knocking on doors and offering folks a free copy of our beloved St. Gore's latest book.

    All praise to Al.

  • ||

    Big Moe is right; it's all about marketing.
    Libertarians have this great product and the only one selling it in even a small number of communities is the Libertarian Party. And they are now about "winning elections" not "education."

  • steveintheknow||

    Recycling paper is definitely worse for the environment.

    It is, however, "free". At least where I live. Which is a big incentive to do it. It clears up room in the trashcan that I have to pay for.

    Hmmmmm...does "free" recycling encourage more consumption?

    Oh well, even if so, new habits are hard to form, old ones die hard. Recycling is now an old habit.

  • ||

    People have been taught that altering their consumer choices in the interest of environmental harm reduction is a legitimate method of caring for Mother Earth. The concept of carbon credits has been sold to make environmentalism more palatable to the western sensibility. Carbon credits and organic cotton are now conspicuous consumption. Looks like evidence that their efforts are succeeding. Of course they will now start pushing harder.

    I am curious to know if there are hardcore greenies out there who are actually surprised by recent developments in environmentally correct consumerism.

  • Anon||

    But is there a way to by REAL carbon credits? Like, if I pay $70, some guy will burn a barrel of crude oil for me?

    Now THAT'S style :]

  • SugarFree||

    Welcome to the watermelon farm.

  • Paul||

    As soon as I have more money, I'll buy less. I promise.

    The concept of carbon credits has been sold to make environmentalism more palatable to the western sensibility.

    It should also be noted that most of those carbon credits are potential carbon credits. They're investments in plans and systems which, if they ever come online will reduce carbon-- maybe.

    I want to see the kind of carbon credits where you swipe your "carbon credit card" through a machine, and a random car out on the street stops. That's a carbon credit.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Recycling paper is definitely worse for the environment.

    It is, however, "free". At least where I live. Which is a big incentive to do it. It clears up room in the trashcan that I have to pay for."

    When I was a kid, we used to "recycle" the newspapers into ash by burning them in the trash pit behind the house.

    Now that's my kind of recycling.

  • ||

    "Among traditional greens, there is concern that too much of the population thinks there's an easy way out."

    And THAT, my friends, is why environmentalism is a religion. It's not because there may be an easy way out, it's because the greens just know (how?) that there can't be an easy way out. Self-flagellation is next, mark my words.

  • ||

    "Among traditional greens, there is concern that too much of the population thinks there's an easy way out."

    How telling! It's not about the environment but rather guilt for the ease with which we live and penance to pay for it. Hair shirts aren't supposed to be comfortable.

  • ||

    Ack!! Curse you Marcvs!
    :-)

    You must of been reading my mind as I was typing.

  • ||

    "There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe." - Crichton

  • ||

    Good thing nothing like this ever happened with the 60's peace movement. God knows how that would have turned out if people had only gotten into it because it was trendy and could help them get laid.

  • ||

    By the same shallow reasoning, one could say: "Libertarianism has never been about individual rights. From day one it's been a corporatist movement."

    And for a nontrivial minority of libertarians, that would be entirely true. The point of the generalization about the greens is that guilt appears to be the subtext of the overwhelming majority or at least the overriding gestalt of the movement.

    Corporatism doesn't have any where near that kind of dominant sway among libertarians. You don't have to see too many articles critical of ADM and Halliburton to see that. You won't find Sierra Club critiques of freegans and other such ubermonks of the eco-movement.

  • ||

    So I guess this means the market can't stop the destruction of the environment? Or are we just on another I-hate-hypocrites thread?

  • ||

    Marcvs,

    Well, libertarians are wont to respond to criticism that our political philosophy doesn't guarantee that poor people have enough to eat, children get educated, everyone gets the health care they want, etc, by saying "There's no free lunch" or "Utopia is not an option" or some such.

    Our entire philosophy is based on there being no easy, cost-free solution to most problems. Why should we expect there to be an easy way out for environmental problems?

  • ||

    Wait, you mean maybe a lot of environmentalism is really aesthetic/fashion motivated? And that suffering wasn't an unfortunate side effect of environmentalist demands, but actually the goal? That it was just another excuse for collectivism, regardless of collectivism's actual effect on the environment?

    I'M SHOCKED!! SHOCKED, I TELL YOU!

  • ||

    If some scientist invented a device which could easily control the Earth's temperature tomorrow morning, you would see a lot of global warming activists enraged. How are we going to force people out of their private cars and onto busses now! Now people will think they can just go around living life as they wish, without our say so!

    Anybody disagree?

  • Alan Augustson||

    Wow. Lotta hate for environmentalists -- not just hypocrites, mind you; I gladly acknowledge that these exist -- but environmentalists, period. You guys really don't believe that a single good thing came out of the green movement, do ya?

    Deep Greens don't advocate retreating to a life of misery, you jackasses. Just buy less crap that you don't need! And buy stuff that's made to last, instead of throwing it out the minute something newer come along! How fricken hard is that?

    How have you managed not to notice, the speed these days with which things go from nonexistence, to necessity? The car took generations; the television, barely one. Now the iPhone causes a panic the very day it hits the streets!

    Just say 'no' once in a while, for Christ's sake! You bought it from Nancy Reagan, but from Al Gore it's automatically a sinister manipulation? Geez.

    And I'm gonna bet you're all white, male, heterosexual, upper-class as well. You need to rename this little electronic circle-jerk: instead of "Reason Online", call it "Cheap-Ass, Obvious, Right-Wing Lemmings, Burning-Rubber to the Edge."

    Oh, sorry: "Online".

  • ||

    I'm actually happy that there are people willing to shell out for a hybrid Lexus. So what if it's conspicuous consumption, it's also a good thing to care about how we affect the environment.

    To the extent that certain environmental fads are actually more harmful than what they replace, that bugs me. I only wish there was a source for information that actually analyzed environmental practices like recycling to show all the various effects, such as differences in energy burned or water used nasty chemicals released in each type of disposal. Unfortuneately, all we ever get is rah rah our team!!! Enviros push recycling everything, and the Weekly Standard and Fox News act like burning as many fossil fuels as possible is a patriotic duty. I really want to be as responsible with the Earth as I can be and still be a middle-class American.

  • tros||

    Trendy environmentalism is obvious and hypocritical. If you're complaining about Global Warming, then you have your head up your ass. Libertarians are intellectually equipped to understand that we live in a closed economy that will continue to devour the planet regardless of the self-congratulatory reforms of the upper and even the middle classes.

    If any of these people gave a rat's ass about the planet they would stop participating in the war society in which they live, a la Henry David Thoreau, and work the land on an organic farm. And it would be self-flagellation if you were unfortunate enough to work on a farm without any cannabis or LSD.

    That is why the most dire threat to the planetary environment is the drug war, and the mainstream "environmentalist" movement is nothing but a giant methane baloon.

  • tros||

    For any "environmentalists" out there seeking to pull their heads out of Al Gore's ass, try talking about nuclear disarmament instead of global climate change. This is a much more important issue.

  • ||

    OK. marcvs already hit this one, but I can't help but draw the parallel just to sharpen the point a bit

    "Among traditional greens, there is concern that too much of the population thinks there's an easy way out."

    Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Luke 18:25

  • ||

    Hey Alan, you might want to look into a jeremiad published a few years back in the NYT by a once brilliant mathematician who turned his back (sort of) on modern society and lived as a hermit in Montana. Might be right up your alley.

  • ||

    I'm glad that there is such a thing as "biodegradable" Armani. I wasn't running out of people to look down on, but you can never have too much of that sort of good thing.

    I'll continue to let small Neapolitan grandfathers spend their days hunched over, sewing the perfect soft shoulder for me- god help us all (rather, we few, we happy few) when they kick the bucket. I certainly couldn't be forcfed to wear anything made by a maker anyone had ever heard of, biodegradable or not.

    The real problem is that even the proles want to be snobs these days... kind of takes the shine off the whole thing.

  • ||

    No, juris, Marcvs missed the point entirely. I'd like the "environmental" movement better if it admitted that some problems are so hard that their solutions are worse. Earth Day wouldn't be as popular if people thought they were agitating for an immediate 80% reduction in world population, and the immiseration of the remainder. Petard, meet Greens. Greens, petard. The bourgeoisie is a great first line of defense against fanatics- Hobbes explained this in such detail that it shouldn't have to be explained again.

    Three cheers for the "light greens". Touch the SUV and they'll take your hand off at the wrist. Useless recycling is a small price to pay for that.

  • ||

    Karen: It's nice of you to put an oar in... it would be nicer if you had the slightest. Your post approaches satire, but I think you actually meant it.

    How is it a good thing that people "care" about the environment? If the fact that they "care" causes them to harm the environment, which is more significant- the degradation, or the caring? Does the answer change if the "caring" is pure vanity?

    In fact, your brand of environmentalism is harmful. It sucks the air from real issues, like heavy metal pollution and conservation. If you want to feel better about yourself, I suggest that you take up macrame- I hear its a harmless hobby.

    And tros, I sincerely hope you are trolling. Otherwise.. may god have mercy on your soul...

  • ||

    We need to seperate the two categories: stuff that feels/looks good, but actually does nothing or is bad, and stuff that actually helps but isn't as good as moving to a cave in the desert and promptly starving to death (because, of course, primitive living can be quite environmentally bad). In the case of the former, well, nothing to say; it's nonsense. In the case of the latter, the good is the enemy of the great. Like I read occasionally on electric vehicle sites, they can't stand that hybrids still run on gas, despite the improvement in emissions and mileage. Some people will absolutely not be satisfied until we not only drive electric-only cars, but charge them from solar. I'm all for being aware about the environment, but of course everyone's goalpost is in a different spot and the people who won't admit that are annoying.

  • SugarFree||

    Excuse me for the obscene luxury of quoting myself, but a comment about environmental oneupsmanship I made in the dark, short, cold days of February was scoffed at by a certain young man who haunts these boards. To wit:

    "I drive a hybrid, I'm so much better then you gas guzzlers."

    "You drive a hybrid? I'm all electric, you must be some sort of monster."

    "You have a car? I ride my bike everywhere."

    "You ride a bike made in a factory? I whittled mine out of wood."

    "You cut down a tree to make a bike? I made mine out of driftwood."

    "You don't walk everywhere?"


    Now I have no problem with any of that, until they start getting laws passed. What I can't figure out is why if the modern world is so horrible they can't seem to resist using the Internet to harass people into giving up the world and the economy that gave them the Internet in the first place. It's a bit like running over people with your Hummer in order to convince them to ride the bus.

  • ||

    "If some scientist invented a device which could easily control the Earth's temperature tomorrow morning, you would see a lot of global warming activists enraged. How are we going to force people out of their private cars and onto busses now!"

    I'll go on record as disagreeing with this. Like Karen says, if something that is marketed as green is actually more harmful, then that sucks. But I have a hard time faulting people for trying, even if it is out of some misguided vanity. Whenever your argument is that the person doing something is somehow inferior and therefore the thing being done is useless, you really reveal a sad desperation. Show me how a hybrid Lexus actually hurts the environment. Show me how paying to plant trees hurts the environment. Show me something other than the wild speculation quoted above. Otherwise, all we have is the difference between a rich person flying around in a private jet vs. a rich person flying around in a private jet and paying to plant trees. There's absolutely nothing to suggest that the former is superior to the latter, unless your jealousy counts.

  • ||

    The upper-class environmentalist

    Is there any other kind?

    Seriously. Environmentalism is a luxury that only the wealthy can afford.

    Self-flagellation is next, mark my words.

    Oh, I think the self-abuse is already well underway.

    Libertarians are intellectually equipped to understand that we live in a closed economy

    Bzzt. The economy is an open system. Its most important component is information.

  • ||

    Just say 'no' once in a while, for Christ's sake! You bought it from Nancy Reagan, but from Al Gore it's automatically a sinister manipulation? Geez.



    Hoooold it! Just who around here bought anything from Nancy Reagan? In any given drug legalization thread she got every bit as much mockery (or would have if H&R had been around when she was remotely relevant).

    Oh, right, you were looking for The Weekly Standard and lost your way.

    Geez, indeed.

  • Fluffy||

    Lamar, I absolutely disagree with you. The man on the street would greet the scientist's invention with joy, but the average movement environmentalist would not. They would issue dire statements about the perils of looking to technology to solve our problems, when the only "real" answer is "fundamental change in our relationship to each other and to the Earth", i.e. collectivism.

    Actually, I would go even further than that and say that if technology were to solve the really big-ticket environmental problems, environmentalism would mutate the way Marxism mutated in the 20th century. Once it turned out that Marx was dead wrong when he theorized that capitalism would produce nothing but poverty, "humanist Marxists" decided that the real problem wasn't poverty but the debasement of the spirit that came along with mass production. If technology were to take away the main current claims of environmentalism, I have little doubt that it would similarly mutate, and probably start claiming that our true environmental problem was "our system of control denies our spirits the spontaneity of nature" or something along those lines.

    And Alan, I think you're a good example of what I'm talking about. I'm convinced that what really offends you is that you think the fact that I have stuff that I don't need. I'm convinced that even if my possession of said stuff could be reconciled to a stable environment, you'd still be offended by it. The reason I'm convinced of this is because the ascetic temperament existed long before environmentalism, and it will exist long after environmentalism is gone. There's a reason that the word "jeremiad" exists. That's what you just delivered.

    I don't really blame you as much as some other posters in this thread. There is something appealing - something clean, somehow - about simple and uncluttered living. But it's the very fact that I understand the appeal of asceticism that leads me to believe that people like you will continue to beat the drum for it, whether our apparent environmental problems are solved or not.

  • ||

    "It's a bit like running over people with your Hummer in order to convince them to ride the bus."

    Very nicely put.

    ------------

    "Show me how a hybrid Lexus actually hurts the environment."

    First, tell me how much it weighs.

  • ||

    Show me how a hybrid Lexus actually hurts the environment.

    I'm pretty sure it's been shown that the materials and processed used to build the new hybrid vehicles aren't nearly as green in totality as a traditional auto.

    Which brings me to my little pet peeve with the 'light greens."

    I was a Honda mechanic back in 1987 when honda came out with the CRX HF, the HF standing for "high fuel." That car got 54MPG from nothing more than good aerodynamics and a highly efficient, albeit not so powerful engine. It is a little annoying to see people buying 250 horsepower hybrids that get the same mileage as my old Passat and claiming they are doing something for the environment while simultaneously driving with such vigor that any advantage the hybrid would have is negated. If you really wanted to burn less fuel, there are definitely ways to do that with old fashioned internal combustion engines, but it seems like most folks would rather have a drag race at every stop light.

  • ||

    Thanks for the quote. "Bio-degradable Armanis" gave me my laugh of the day.

    How about "the market has seen that there is a collection of people who want to feel "green" but also want to live life of a certain comfort. They also want to show off that they are Green, which is why obviously "ecological products" such as the Prius do well."

    I'd call it more efficient than a straight fashion statement, since the Prius obviously DOES get better gas mileage than the standard car. From a viewpoint of greenness, though, I'm wondering whether the improved mpg simply means people drive more. (I mean, if hiking gas prices means people cut down on trips, wouldn't getting the equivalent of a drop in gas prices mean people would drive more?)

    (As keeping with my name, I'm a grumpy environmentalist. Which means pushing for more efficiency everywhere, less wasted energy, designing your industrial production cycle so your garbage can be used as someone else's raw material, and, damn it, nuclear power. Pebble-bed reactors are a Good Thing IMO.)

  • ||

    "Recycling paper is definitely worse for the environment."

    I'd need some elaboration on that statement to buy it. In what ways is it worse?

    It saves on both material and energy consumption. What's the downside? What is the mechanism of harm?

  • ||

    "...pushing for more efficiency everywhere, less wasted energy...."

    I saw, some time ago (prior to the current "energy crisis"), a very interesting story about a hospital on the west coast which had invested in a heat-exchanger system to recover heat from the hot water in their laundry operations, which had previously been allowed to disappear down the drain. The savings were remarkable, and the investment was recovered in short order. An exemplary and practical approach; I wonder how many of these systems are currently in place.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    A very well thought out comment.
    I think, however, it misses the mark.

    It ignores the possibility that people actually are being honest when they say they support "greener" living for environmental reasons. When someone claims they are concerned about the negative impact of certain lifestyle choices on the environment...it could be that they are telling the truth. That their concern is exactly that. Jealousy is certainly a motivator in human behavior, but it is only one. The ability humans have to recognize the long-term consequences of a course of action and to plan accordingly is also a motivator of behavior and attitude. People often make the wrong choice, but that doesn't mean that their choice is based on some motivation other than the one they profess.

    And just a side note to the board. Greens are not Luddites (at least not most of them). Technology and innovation is the primary means that any problem is solved. Greens by and large recognize that. Injecting environmental goals into design parameters of new products/technologies may change the direction of innovation, but it doesn't slow it down.

  • ||

    I call bullshit on "greens are not luddites". Other than these light green elitists, most in the movement prefer we have fewer material goods, use less energy and submit to the whims of their holy leader, Al Gore.

  • ||

    Well Fluffy definitely sees where I'm coming from. The environmental argument often serves as a proxy for the true underlying argument, which is that some people don't like that you have a lot of material goods, and want to force you to give them up. Which of course brings us to SugarFree's example. If you're not dying of starvation and exposure, there's somebody out there who thinks you've got too much.
    Luckily in a free country, how much you have is none of their damned business. The "Deep Greens" (who shall from this point forward be referred to by their correct name, "Marxists") want to use the environment as an excuse to make it their business, which is why they are upset at having that rug pulled out from under them. To be fair, I'm pretty sure in a few years we're all going to view the "I buy carbon offsets" thing as the biggest bunch of bullshit since Indulgences, but to the Marxists the problem is not carbon offsets, but the fact that you're still living an opulent lifestyle. If you can do that without causing environmental harm, that's even worse in their eyes, because you just DON'T GET IT!
    There is a place for rational environmentalism. Nobody wants dirty water and plutonium falling from the sky. That's why I respect organiztions like the Nature Conservancy as opposed to people who demand you use one square of toilet paper a day.

  • ||

    "There is a place for rational environmentalism. Nobody wants dirty water and plutonium falling from the sky. That's why I respect organiztions like the Nature Conservancy as opposed to people who demand you use one square of toilet paper a day."

    So when you talk about Greens you aren't talking about people like the Nature Conservancy? So you are talking about a small % at the fringe?

    James Ard.
    Call Bullshit all you want.
    It doesn't make it true.

    Watch.
    Libertarianism is just a religious fetish!

    Did that make you realize the errors of your way?

    Most greens are very comfortable with the idea that technology will be the solution to environmental issues. There a fringe nuts in every movement, but Luddites do not dominate the Green movement.

  • ||

    Having lived in Japan and seeing what can be done with "energy-sipping" technology makes me just very annoyed with people who say the Technology Isn't There to be more efficient. It is.

    On the other hand, Japan has NOT let it up to the market completely--MITI was pushing and prodding for a certain time-scale on future improvements on energy efficiency with blizzards of policy papers, discussions with consumer and corporate groups, research at government labs, and a lot of nagging. The electronics companies realized that if they did manage to hit the targets, they would have a big juicy selling point. You go to Akihabara and there's tons of "green" stickers on the appliances, with much boasting about how much energy one saves per year. (They also have a ton of technology they can sell to China and other Asian countries, also another selling point.)

    Japan also used subsidies for consumers to encourage the growth of the solar panel market. Again a case where the subsidies were available at first for the early adopters, then gradually taken off. Now there's the economy of scale for the manufacturers and the government doesn't have to provide any more subsidies.

    One reason why I look askance at those who claim Government Should Keep Out Of Things Entirely. Free-marketers are just as dogmatic as Marxists and just as liable to get things wrong.

  • ||

    I thought this resonated with the thread...

    http://www.workingforchange.com/webgraphics/WFC/TMW06-27-07colorlowres.jpg

  • ||

    James Ard wrote:
    "I call bullshit on "greens are not luddites"."
    then you should provide evidence, otherwise you are just talking bullshit.

    Some simple evidence to the contrary (that 'Greens' are not luddites):
    http://www.greencarcongress.com/
    http://www.greentechnolog.com/
    these sights are quite popular, I'd list more, but HnR limts the numberof links I can spa...er link to.

    Maybe these are 'Light' greens; but perhaps you should put them in the same basket as the Dark Side greens. May the Force be with you.

    p.s. 20tyh Century communists were technologists too, so if you are going to claim that all Techno-Greens are commies too, please provide evidences, cause I got evidence to the contrary I can link to.

  • ||

    Karen

    I only wish there was a source for information that actually analyzed environmental practices like recycling to show all the various effects, such as differences in energy burned or water used nasty chemicals released in each type of disposal.

    Try this
    http://eia.unu.edu/wiki/index.php/Main_Page
    or this
    http://www.gdrc.org/uem/eia/impactassess.html

    Green Luddites

    http://www.eco-web.com/
    http://www.greentechnolog.com/
    http://www.greentechno.com/
    http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/

  • ||

    Just finished reading the Green Party's ten key values. Luddites, maybe. Hopeless dreamers, for sure.

  • ||

    James,
    Care to share a link, cause I have no idea what those 'values' are.

    And anyway, how many Light-Greens are registered Green Party members?

    Anyway, a couple more links:
    http://green.itweek.co.uk/ (GreenBusinessBlog)
    http://www.treehugger.com/ (Not quite what it sounds like)

  • ||

    Green Party Platform
    10 Values
    http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/intro.html#998247

    Not any Luddite values that I see...James may need to point them out for us.

  • ||

    Here is their platform on environmental issues

    http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/ecology.html#771441

  • ||

    Here is an example of their Luddite stance against new technologies...

    The U.S. is blessed with tremendous renewable energy potential, enough to meet the entire electric demand of the country. We call for a Manhattan Project-level of commitment to developing clean renewable energy technologies - technologies that do not create pollution in the course of generating electricity.

  • ||

    Does the following line not imply we already have all we need? "while developing a sustainable economics that does not depend on continual expansion for survival". No reason to expand into new medicines, new internets, or just new toys, damnit.

  • ||

    Anyway, We're not going to get the innovation we need for renewables if social justice is a key value. Evil, for-profit companies are the institutions that are doing the most to discover cheap, clean renewable energy. Mega-corporations paid my dad handsomely to research Fusion energy, for selfish ends to be sure.

  • ||

    James Ard,

    You are conflating two meanings of "expansion."

    The Green Party is talking about size of the economy.

    The details here
    http://dieoff.org/page88.htm

    Does not involve stifling innovation or progress.

  • ||

    Having lived in Japan and seeing what can be done with "energy-sipping" technology makes me just very annoyed with people who say the Technology Isn't There to be more efficient. It is.

    When you have a country that has to import every last drop of energy, you tend to find other ways of either generating it, or not using it to begin with. I'd say the market demand for this technology was already there.

    Now as to whether or not it was smart for them to subsidize these things, when you look at how their economy was in a recession for over a decade and only recently came out of it, I'm not so sure this is the best example the rest of the world should be following.

  • ||

    "Evil, for-profit companies are the institutions that are doing the most to discover cheap, clean renewable energy. Mega-corporations paid my dad handsomely to research Fusion energy, for selfish ends to be sure."

    No argument from me on this.

    A good book if you are truly interested in the intersection between sustainable-green practice and making lots of money.

    http://www.natcap.org/sitepages/pid5.php

  • libertreee||

    "Recycling paper is definitely worse for the environment.

    I don't know about paper, but the whole recycling thing is taken apart in several columns on http://www.econlib.org .

    A quote from one article:

    There is a simple test for determining whether something is a resource (something valuable) or just garbage (something you want to dispose of at the lowest possible cost, including costs to the environment). If someone will pay you for the item, it's a resource. Or, if you can use the item to make something else people want, and do it at lower price or higher quality than you could without that item, then the item is also a resource. But if you have to pay someone to take the item away, or if other things made with that item cost more or have lower quality, then the item is garbage.

    If yard waste were a resource, then trucks would drive up and down streets in your neighborhood, bidding up the price of your bagged grass clippings. That doesn't happen. Ipso facto, yard waste is garbage. No amount of wishful thinking, or worship of nature as a goddess, can change this basic calculus.

  • ||

    Libertree,

    A look at the market for recycled paper.
    http://www.recyclinginternational.com/markets/paper.aspx

  • ||

    Additional market information for recycling can be found here.

    http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/recycling/pages/rcompric.htm

  • ||

    Secondary Fiber Exchange
    http://www.sefex.com/index.html

  • ||

    Nobel physicist writes about sustainable development

    http://www.santafe.edu/research/publications/workingpapers/90-021.pdf

  • ||

    The Economist on Recycling

    http://www.economist.com/opinion/displaystory.cfm?story_id=9302727

  • ||

    From the Economist

    If done right, there is no doubt that recycling saves energy and raw materials, and reduces pollution. But as well as trying to recycle more, it is also important to try to recycle better. As technologies and materials evolve, there is room for improvement and cause for optimism. In the end, says Ms Krebs, "waste is really a design flaw."

  • ||

    Karen,

    This may be a better place to start when looking for ways to gauge your decisions in terms of impact on the environment.

    http://www.greenseal.org/resources/reports.cfm

    For building decisions
    http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19

    Other options
    http://www.cleanlink.com/sm/article.asp?id=5821
    http://www.greenadvantage.org/building-gettrained.php

  • ||

    I estimate that the amount of subsidies Japan provided for solar cells was at most a few millions per year. I suggest you look at other areas such as the national debt (over 100% of GDP, which is 4.2 trillion dollars), the drop in land prices (40%), and the tremendous amount of bad debts carried by the banks (definitely in the BILLIONS of dollars) before trying to argue that solar cell subsidies had any effect whatsoever on the Japanese economy.

    This is like arguing getting rid of subsidies for bee-keepers will fix the US national debt.

    As said, free-marketers are as idiotic as Marxists.

  • ||

    Finally the wife is back with the car.

    Off to BBQ
    Happy Fourth

  • ||

    "The environmental argument often serves as a proxy for the true underlying argument, which is that some people don't like that you have a lot of material goods, and want to force you to give them up."

    I guess the more you say it, the more it becomes true, at least in the minds of some people. If I just say that enviros are eunich monkey humpers, maybe it will come true. If I just say that enviros are deep down anti-materialists using enviro crap to push their agenda, maybe it will come true. What I wonder is, if these people have these feelings so far repressed under the surface......well, congrats to you for digging them up. Hey, why don't you psycho-analyze me? Am I sensitive to the environment, or merely masking a latent sense of post-oedipal pseudo-sexual penis envy? I love all the horseshit psychology going on here. It really makes libertarians look smart. Just kidding. It makes us look like judgmental pricks.

  • ||

    I guess the more you say it, the more it becomes true, at least in the minds of some people. If I just say that enviros are eunich monkey humpers, maybe it will come true. If I just say that enviros are deep down anti-materialists using enviro crap to push their agenda, maybe it will come true. What I wonder is, if these people have these feelings so far repressed under the surface......well, congrats to you for digging them up. Hey, why don't you psycho-analyze me? Am I sensitive to the environment, or merely masking a latent sense of post-oedipal pseudo-sexual penis envy? I love all the horseshit psychology going on here. It really makes libertarians look smart. Just kidding. It makes us look like judgmental pricks.

    Never met a male enviornmentalist who came off even the least bit manly. I bet if you took a poll you'd fine them more likeley than average to be shy around women, have pretty eyelashes, feel guilty when someone looks at them funny and cry at movies.

    Yup.

  • ||

    So sayest El Grande Cabron

    You are one step farther from Chalupa status again.

  • ||

    One of those sissy environmentalists

    http://www.wildkingdom.com/nostalgia/bio_jim.html

  • Fluffy||

    Lamar, whether you like it or not, there is a huge area of overlap between the set of people who will overpay for "light green" merchandise and people who will overpay for "simple lifestyle" merchandise. You just won't convince me that these individuals are deeply motivated by the clarity of the aesthetics of simplicity and by half-forgotten daydreams about the supposed nobility of the barracks and the monastic cell. People like that have existed in every society since at least Socrates' time and they're all over the environmentalist movement [which covers their aesthetic preferences with the patina of science] now. You personally might not have such motivations, but that doesn't mean this is not a valid observation.

    Neu -

    If the Green Party does not want the economy to expand, despite the fact that they favor massive investments in green technologies to solve our environmental problems, wouldn't that actually force you to conclude that they do in fact have a problem with consumption that transcends its pollution impact? If we switched over to renewables tomorrow, I don't think the people who make up the Green Party leadership would suddenly say, "Great, let's expand the economy 1000% now!"

  • Fluffy||

    That should read, to Lamar, "You just won't convince me that these individuals aren't deeply motivated...etc."

  • ||

    I'd like to see a solid study of recycled goods to answer for certain which items we need to recycle, if any.

    My one day job at a recycling plant back in 1997 made me a sincere skeptic about the process. It was so inefficient and the sorting and prep so labor intensive that I'd need pretty solid evidence that it is on balance efficient.

    Too, there is the argument made above. If recycled goods are valuable. If they are a resource, why doesn't anyone want to pay people to recycle? I can't except that there is a benefit of 80% for some goods, as suggested by the article, yet no one who makes products for a living is bidding up the price of the resource.

  • ||

    One of those sissy environmentalists

    http://www.wildkingdom.com/nostalgia/bio_jim.html


    Tell me, do you spend all your time planing out each discussion you could possibly get into here and stockpiling the appropriate links?

  • Gilbert Martin||

    I don't really care what the motivations of the "light greens", "dark greens" or any other shade in betweenn "greens" are.

    The bottom line is they all think other people's business is their business and they are all profoundly incorrect about that.

  • ||

    Fluffy,

    There are certainly environmentalists that are deeply motivated by the clarity of the aesthetics of simplicity. It is, however, hardly the key to understanding the movement in my opinion.

    As for the Green Party platform on the economy...the underlying concept of a steady-state economy would go against the idea of increasing the size of the economy 1000% whether things were renewable or not, so I guess you are right as far as that point goes. Making it, however, means you haven't taken the time to understand the economic theory/argument that Herman Daly is making (he is the primary source for the idea, although not the only one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Daly). I will point out, however, that the Green Party, much like the LP, hardly gets to speak for the green movement, and that steady-state economics is not a required tenet of environmentalism.

    Grande Cabron,
    You don't need to stockpile links if you are an artificial intelligence that has spontaneously emerged within the complexity of the googlenet.

    http://research.sun.com/projects/dashboard.php?id=142

    Actually, I have read the entire internet, so I just pull things things up from memory.

  • dhex||

    "Never met a male enviornmentalist who came off even the least bit manly."

    but they probably know how to use a dictionary, amirite? (actually they just use a thesaurus to look up synonyms for "fey")

  • Grand Chalupa||


    but they probably know how to use a dictionary, amirite? (actually they just use a thesaurus to look up synonyms for "fey")


    I've never had a problem with feys.

  • ||

    JasonL,

    I can't except that there is a benefit of 80% for some goods, as suggested by the article, yet no one who makes products for a living is bidding up the price of the resource.

    Whether you accept it or not is immaterial...particularly since the second half of your statement is false. Chinese factories need recycled paper and are bidding up the price. (See the links above on the recycled paper market). There are often local surpluses in recyclable materials, and certainly infrastructure inefficiencies. This is partly due to design flaws. Historical trends in packaging lead to a preference for materials that are more difficult or inappropriate for recycling, and systems for recovering the material are not in place. A redesigned package/recovery system can make the processes much more efficient. An example of a company that used this strategy is Interface Carpets. They are cleaning up on their competition because they take recycled-material-as-resource as a reality.

  • ||

    NM:
    "Whether you accept it or not is immaterial...particularly since the second half of your statement is false. Chinese factories need recycled paper and are bidding up the price. (See the links above on the recycled paper market). There are often local surpluses in recyclable materials, and certainly infrastructure inefficiencies. This is partly due to design flaws. Historical trends in packaging lead to a preference for materials that are more difficult or inappropriate for recycling, and systems for recovering the material are not in place. A redesigned package/recovery system can make the processes much more efficient. An example of a company that used this strategy is Interface Carpets. They are cleaning up on their competition because they take recycled-material-as-resource as a reality."

    So, you are saying there is a way for manufacturers to save 80 frikkin percent on materials, and only a handful of people are bothering to do it? I mean, imagine all the savings you'd have if you paid people a fraction of your savings to recycle! You would own the whole world!

    Maybe we are on the edge of a new market condition. I'm just saying that an 80% cost advantage is a mighty lofty claim for something that no one will pay me to do.

  • ||

    "So, you are saying there is a way for manufacturers to save 80 frikkin percent on materials, and only a handful of people are bothering to do it?"

    I did not make a claim about the extent of utilization in any particular industry. Clearly many industries use recycling very heavily including glass, paper, steel, aluminum. Whether that is a "handful" plurality, majority, I don't have a good sense. It seems, however, that the older recycling markets were the ones where recovering is easier/more efficient. I would say your guess that we might be on the edge of a new market for other materials is accurate.

    In terms of public policy, is it wise to encourge those emerging markets or let them fend for themselves.

  • ||

    Lamar says: "Hey, why don't you psycho-analyze me?"

    Not on the first date.

    On the other hand, if you are Canadian and a few years older than me (born before 1966 or so) you might remember my television debut (a small towheaded child pleading "Please help stop the mass murder of whales."). I may have been the first child to appear in a Greenpeace commercial (I spoke English unusually well for my age- increased the cute factor I guess).

    I was raised in the bosom of the hard left (sometimes a bosom is just a bosom). I can't, of course, implicate every Green in my experience. But I have a pretty good idea what the movement is about.

  • ||

    The hybrid Lexus is a useless feel-good measure, with a whiff of Kulak hunting about it. If you are that concerned, give up driving. I have never owned an automobile, nor have I ever had a license. I currently live in Gulf Coast Florida and use neither heat nor AC, though the temperatures range from the high 30s in January to the low 100s in July. As a child I lived in bedrooms that routinely dropped below -10 Fahrenheit in the winter, in houses that lacked an outhouse.

    My income has been between 3 and 4 times the national average in the 4 years since I turned 30 (trivial compared to the lawyers here, I suppose, but unusual for someone with my "carbon footprint"), but my expenditures have resembled those of someone below the poverty line. I am not a proponent of "voluntary simplicity"- for me simplicity is a necessity. This is not a matter of personal virtue- it is simply a pragmatic choice. But I am here to tell you that "well, I have to drive" is a convenient lie.

    I am tired of being lectured about carbon emissions by people who live in idyllic rural surroundings and drive thousands of surplus miles each year in order to do so.

  • ||

    "I am tired of being lectured about carbon emissions by people who live in idyllic rural surroundings and drive thousands of surplus miles each year in order to do so."

    I can understand your feeling, but it doesn't make a hybrid Lexus pollute more than a regular Lexus. I suspect growing up in the bosom of anything can skew a point of view for life. My grandparents used to based their political and policy judgments on who they liked, and now I think everything through to a fault.

  • ||

    Lamar: Interesting selective quoting. At any rate, if I have been skewed by growing up in the bosom of "anything".. well, I've always been inordinately fond of bosoms.

    A hybrid Lexus might not pollute more than a non-hybrid Lexus. It might pollute slightly less. I imagine that it still pollutes more than the only form of locomotion I use more than once a month- my legs.

    The rage against SUVs coming from hybrid owners has nothing to do with the environment, and everything to do with a new form of snobbery. If you care that much, stop driving. I never started, as I refuse to be licensed to drive. I suppose that makes me both more libertarian than thou, _and_ greener than thou. God forbid...

  • ||

    Here's the catch 22: If greens advocate no more driving, then they're branded as impractical for wanting to change our everyday lives, if they use a technology that helps keep day to day life as normal as possible, they're branded as hypocrites.

  • ||

    Transportation is a much smaller source of greenhouse emissions and energy use than heating and cooling within inefficient buildings. A focus on changing methods/standards for home and industrial construction and development will have a much larger impact on CO2 than transportation. In much of the country, AC and Heating can be done entirely with passive solar...getting rid of the heater and AC offsetting the cost of the necessary material and design costs.

    This, by the way, doesn't mean you have to suffer. Proper building design results in an improvement in quality at the same time it reduces energy use.

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