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Smudged Green

March 23rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

We would, truly, like to think that Kermit was wrong — that it really is easy to be green.

We want Kermit to be wrong … and, well, while he was wrong, he’s right.

Pondering thoughts

Swirling in my thoughts, not well formed, but forming, is a Ying-Yang concept of just how sensible it is to ‘go green’, the reality and strengths of the benefits, vs the very real barriers that inhibit these choices.

A few $100s of insulation in the attic and heating/cooling bills might drop $100, after-tax money back in a few years. Putting aside the question of cash in hand, take the time to climb into the attic, breathing in fiberglass fibers from old insulation or throw a baseball with your kids in the front yard.

Invest in revamping your company’s heating and cooling system, with an after-tax return of 25+% year, or fund the business development project that might double the size of the firm.

Etc …

There are very real benefits to ‘going green‘ (health, financial, environmental, etc …). These are real benefits.

And, in our enthusiasm for seeking positive change to the world, it is easy to get caught up in the hype of the new technology, to become heralds of the benefits of ‘going green’, it is easy to lose sight of just hard it can be.

If it were so easy, if it were so simple, wouldn’t we all be a brighter shade of green.

There are many obstacles to ‘going green’: financial, social, regulatory, cultural, …

And, these obstacles reign from our personal lives to the global structure.

Picture Lock Media & Phil Higgs provide a humorous, sadly true perspective on some of the pitfalls of ‘Going Green’.

Have to say, the SUV in the parking lot made me cringe, laugh, and see something of myself all at the same time. (Athough, hard to remember ever driving three parking spaces to move from one store to another.) Just how far do we go in our pursuit of convenience?

As for Phil, I’m not sure that running out and spending $2500 on a bicycle is everyone’s first choice to switch away from that McSUV picking up dry cleaning. (And, well, probably would go for an electric-assist bike if plopping $2500 on the counter …) But, he provides a window on the type of very real challenges in front of us as we strive to change for the better.

The personal, the national …

There are very few who can walk around with a halo on their heads (especially of those reading these words, as you partake of the internet), assured that we are a truly dark shade of green.

Where did your computer come from?

What powers your computer? And, the server farms that support your internet use?

And, the lists can go on for a long time.

And, I promise, we’re both, at best, ‘smudged green’ …

And, while I’ve cut my electricity and gasoline use; while I help others cut their use; am working to help foster energy efficiency and clean energy options (and deployment), there is much more possible to do. But, sigh, Kermit might have been right. At least part of the time, it isn’t easy to be green. But, Kermit was wrong — at least at times, it is possible to be ‘green’ and it is certainly possible for all of us to deepen our shade of green.

Okay … not the most fully formed thoughts, but we need to be speaking of the very real challenges that inhibit turning our paths to more sustainable options. Without that sort of understanding, we are unlikely to be able to implement necessary change … and certainly not fast enough.

Thoughts … ready to help move ‘unformed’ and ‘forming’ to something with more clarity? Examples?

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Tags: Energy

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Brian D // Mar 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I’ll put together a more thoughtful response later (hopefully), but I would like to contest one point. A long bike like that can cost as little as ~$265 for a kit (they charge a lot for good mounts, but you can also make your own with a tiny bit of metalworking expertise), or virtually free if you know what you’re doing with recycled parts (that’s the rear half of a full-suspension bike, two cheap bike racks, a skateboard, a spare derailleur, an extended chain and a small spare pipe. All told, less than $20 in scrap and mounting parts. The guy who made that uses it to ride his kids to school as well as transport other bikes to special events.).

    As an avid cyclist — and one who *does* use an electric-assist bike (I actually have two — the aforementioned winter bike and a recumbent tricycle. I can justify it since I will never own a car; all told my bikes and their modifications cost less than my brother’s used Camry) — I can attest to the importance of cycling on this front. I can also submit that except in the case of the extreme bike nerd (hi there!), the costs are nowhere near as high as you’d suggest.