Let’s face it. The Green Movement is nothing more than symbols at this stage. These symbols are designed to make everyone feel good and rally behind living an environmentally-balanced, natural world. It wouldn’t be so bad but each of these symbols have generated negative impacts and aren’t actually ‘green’ at all. Right here in Newburyport, we have solar panels that only produce a fraction of what was promised, a giant wind turbine that has generated a fraction of output but is definitely generating a lot of political heat and reducing the quality of life in the Back Bay Neighborhood. These wind turbines have disrupted pristine wild life areas as supporters try to save the environment. We’ve got hybrid vehicles which are great for people carrying but useless in doing anything meaningful like hauling things. And in the end, the toxic batteries from these cars will have to end up ‘somewhere’ as these vehicles age. (Probably in Yucca Mountain, Nevada if they’ll take ‘em.)
But closer to home, there are dumb things that are being called green but aren’t:
Buying eco-friendly products. The tiny impact of a single bottle of this or that does nothing. In contrast, a huge impact would be to conserve resources, travel less, spend less, building smaller, recycling, and reducing the use of the car. Not hardly a popular list of items with Americans.
Buying bamboo and overseas products that are ‘green’. Sure bamboo’s quick to grow and great for flooring and other uses. It’s also nearly all imported from China. Regardless how you feel about them, it took a significant amount of energy to get that product to you and that is not ‘green’. And that goes for anything produced far away.
Replacing windows. Sure, I know what Madison Avenue has been saying but I speak regularly with carpenters and insulation experts. YOU WILL NEVER RECOUP THE INVESTMENT IN NEW WINDOWS. The real savings of energy and heat comes from proper sealing, insulating and energy-auditing. Things by the way which can largely get you started for FREE through MassSave which can offer in addition greatly reduced discounts.
Speaking of insulation. Thin insulations will not do the job in New England. You’ve just been scammed if you bought some. Experts will demand that insulation up here requires at least 4” thick regardless of ‘new technology’ claims.
Radiant-barrier paints. Speaking of thin, these are supposed to reflect heat and prevent heat transfer and even some have claimed that it will insulate your house. Independent tests have shown that you’ve just been scammed if you fell for this one!
Buying things that are supposedly recycled or made of partially recycled material. This one is buyer beware. You will be scammed unless you do a little research and find out the truth behind the advertising. Recycling should be just part of the cycle of business. It’s very suspect when the price is charged higher for this privilege.
I’ll wrap this up by saying, it is worth educating yourself. Snake-oil vendors, flim-flam artists and shiny-teethed salesmen are here to help themselves on your expense. But at the same time, there are genuine and decent people out there who genuinely want to help you truly go green.
The only one in the end who will know the difference will be a well-informed you!