Tuesday, July 23, 2024

My war against really nice people – Part 2

Having endured a barrage of insults stemming from my article titled “Really nice people are a really big problem” (https://big-media.ca/really-nice-people-are-a-really-big-problem/), I feel inspired to make it a two-part series.

In my crosshairs today are the friendly folks who enthusiastically load their recycling bins to the brim, with the telling smile of someone who is doing their part to save the world from environmental disaster.

One problem – these righteous recyclers are arguably the worst offenders when it comes to creating waste and emissions.

To start, those who faithfully fill their blue or green bins are purchasing goods with packaging. That packaging – be it glass, aluminum, plastic, paper, or cardboard – produces plenty of toxic emissions in the manufacturing process.

Then that pile of crap – er, pardon me … collection of recyclable materials – gets picked up by large trucks that, again, take a lot of emissions to manufacture, and pump out exhaust all day long. Even if your city vehicle fleet gets converted to electric, they will be far from “zero emissions” as it takes a remarkable amount of emissions-intensive mining and production to create those big vehicles with massive batteries.

Then it’s off to the recycling plants and – you guessed it – a whole lot more emissions in the recycling process.

The piece de resistance – a large percentage of the material still ends up going to the landfill … again, courtesy of large, emission-pumping vehicles.

And we mustn’t forget the enormous amount of harmful emissions required to produce enough sturdy and nicely coloured containers to support each homeowner’s bad consumption habits.

Consumption is the key here for any westerner who truly wants to be more environmentally responsible.

The three Rs should not be weighted equally. Recycling and Reuse have their places, but Reduce is the important one.

Unfortunately, most of us in the developed western world are crack addicts when it comes to consumption.

“I’ll take my coffee in a large disposable cup, thank you.”

“I’ll just put these apples in a bag, thank you. Oh, and those individually wrapped chocolates look amazing in that transparent, hard-plastic case … so I will have a couple of those, thanks.”

“I’ll have those dead but pretty flowers that are already wrapped in plastic, wrapped in some pretty paper, thank you.”

“I’ll drive my car everywhere, thank you – even four blocks to the grocery store.”

You get the point.

Now, I am not here to mock people. Well, maybe a little. But I used to be that guy who filled the recycling bin every week … until Laurie Weston’s research helped me understand the error of our ways.

Reading her article “Putting global emissions in perspective” (https://big-media.ca/putting-global-emissions-in-perspective/), I learned that even though developed countries are on a downward trend regarding production of greenhouse gases (GHG) – thanks to a move away from coal as the primary energy source – we are polluting a LOT more per capita than those in more highly populated developing regions.

The most important stats are those that show the dramatic increase in emissions in developing countries. So while the western world is getting slightly better at reducing pollution, the global trend – although COVID lockdowns caused a temporary exception – is a steady increase in toxic emissions.

Individuals who consume like drunken sailors are in no position to point their fingers at industry for this mess. Industry would not be so busy if we individuals learned how to consume less.

Now, readers of BIG-Media.ca understand that anthropogenic climate change theories are routinely based on simplified, exaggerated, and flawed science. However, most of us can agree that pollution is bad, and that we should put serious effort into minimizing human impact on the environment.

So let’s do our best to consume less and avoid filling those big plastic bins every week.

Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll
Rob Driscoll is co-founder and president of BIG Media Ltd. He is a writer and entrepreneur who is deeply committed to elevating the level of coverage of our society's most pressing matters as well as the level of respect in public discourse.
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