2007-09-30

A Lower American Dollar May Save the Planet

Save the planet, take some time off.
 
At face value, lower carbon emissions seems relatively easy. Compact homes and compact cities would go a long way to reduce carbon emissions ( think local). However, and this is important, you must not save money with these lifestyle changes.
 
If you save money by not having a car, like I am at the moment, all you will do is displace the problem. Because if you save it, you will spend it. You could even argue it is even worse if you don't spend it, because the bank will loan your money to people who will (multiplying effect).
 
Spending money is a problem. How can you spend money and not contribute to global warming? Think about it, it's not that easy. Products and services that use energy derived from electric dams, nuclear facilities and solar power have a lower impact than products made from fossil fuels (natural gas, oil and coal); that should be obvious. But it isn't neutral. Dams and nuclear facilities require plenty of fossil fuels to power all those trucks and construction equipment. Perhaps even worse, the people employed in nuclear plants have good salaries (could Homer Simpson afford a four bedroom house and two cars if he didn't work in a nuclear facility?).
 
Nuclear power runs on uranium that needs to be mined and trucked all the way to the nuclear plant (which, contrary to the mine, isn't located in Manitoba). Wind farms require all those windmills that don't grow on treas. They are made out of materials that need to be mined and manufactured. Ditto for solar panels.
 
Even going green and only buying recycled products uses up energy (perhaps not more energy than non-recycled products, but energy nonetheless.).
 
The solution is to make yourself slightly poorer. Yes, you will save a small fortune by saving money taking the bus, but if you no longer work overtime, you might break even.
 
The lower American dollar collectively makes Americans poorer. In case you hadn't noticed, there are over 300 million Americans. That is a lot of slightly poorer Americans. Americans who have less money to spend on oil to heat their big houses and big cars. Americans who have less money to buy Chinese products (made using coal).
 
Of course, there are ways to spend money that have lower carbon impacts. Anything labour or intellectually demanding is a good example.
 
All I wish for is a rational debate. Nothing irks me more than some jerk  planting a tree in a park to offset recent carbon emissions. That tree, unless harvested, is carbon neutral, it wont offset nothing. Sure it will remove carbon in the beginning, but it will all be released when it dies and decomposes.
 
Further reading:
 
From me:
 
From others:
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