Day two of our epic odyssey kicked off with some walking and some bus riding.

We visited the Nature Museum, the Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Children’s Museum at Navy Pier. The Nature Museum was, by far, the best place for Alex to explore and learn and have fun.

It turns out that this was the very first time ever that Cassie had set foot on a metro bus. It was a very nice bus, it made an effort to tell us that it was a hybrid, clean air bus.

I suppose everyone has their first time at everything, but… well, I certainly felt my poor-as-dirt roots, you know? I’ve spent plenty of time getting to and from work by bus, not because I was interested in being green, but because I didn’t have the money for a damn car. Or insurance. Or gas.

Now begins a very personal rant on green energy in our personal lives. If you just want WoW stuffs, tune out and turn off. It’s cool. But I’m gonna get this off my chest and return to having fun.

I’m going to give you my take on the reality of being green, because over the course of the day it has been in my face everywhere. The buses we took, the Nature Museum “Green Room”, the Childrens Museum at Navy Pier, most places we passed through. Wherever I looked, there was something telling me that I was a burden on the ecosystem and implied that I should be ashamed for using water, gas, food, plastics or air. This annoyed me.

Being green is the luxury of people with enough money to have alternatives in their life. If you have a family, you need groceries to feed them, you don’t want a damn hybrid clean air bus to ride to and fro on their schedule, you want a minivan you can get the damn food in and get home. That’s luxury, right there, the ability to just get up, go and get what you need and get back without having to plan your entire day around how to get the groceries and bring them back to your house.

Anything that can reduce the amount of time you spend out of your life and your families’ lives going about the business of doing daily chores is precious. The time savings of the modern industrial age is supposed to be the miracle that lets us turn our attention to things other than working in our home gardens all day to keep our plots productive and abundant.

If you like gardening, more power to you. Trying to impose your love of gardening on other people in the name of being green is being a dick.

You can do things that reduce how much energy you use, of course. I am all in favor of many of them, because reducing the energy you use also corresponds to a direct savings in money you spend. Use less gas, buy less gas. I like that logic. Turn lights off, reduce energy bill. Sounds good. Use less water, reduce my water bill. Hey, I can follow that. I understand.

Having had parents that damn well couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill some months, or the water, or tried like hell to make arrangements for payments so the phone didn’t get cut off, or the gas… you know, so we could keep COOKING FOOD or take a bath? Yeah, I can grasp the concept of reducing energy use to save money.

What I strenuously object to is the concept that I, by existing, are by definition a burden on society, and should have to pay credits to earn the right to use energy. Kiss my big bear butt.

If you’d like to compare who has contributed to society as a whole, and who hasn’t, and determine who deserves to exist in that fashion, I’ll put my past up against people pointing fingers and telling others how they should live their lives any day of the week.

I start from the simple point of view that I will use what I have to that I can afford to provide myself and my family with a solid, dependable life, with as much free time as possible spent living it.

If you want me to take a bus, then have it stop at my front door and I’d better have room for plenty of groceries. Oh, and it should be available when I need it. You want me to drive a hybrid or an electric car, then it should be as cost effective as the car I’ve got now… and no, that doesn’t mean you jack the cost of the gas my car uses up so that in the long run it’s far more expensive than the initial outlay on your electric. If you use an electric car in your daily life, it must be nice never having to go more than 8 hours from home… ever. You know, before you have to let it recharge over night.

Something rich assholes seem to forget; most of us still need to get to and from our jobs. And some of us can be called in at a moments’ notice. We might not be able to leave our car plugged in over night.

You want to make decisions for your life, then go ahead. That’s being responsible. Be militant about what you do yourself for you and your family.

I draw the line at you or anyone else telling me what I should or should not do in the name of whatever cause you are fixated on. You are not being responsible FOR me, I’m taking care of that just fine, and again, kiss my ass for being arrogant enough to think you know how I should live my life better than I do.

I’m glad you’ve got the luxury and free time to think that your way is the right way for everyone else to live, but speaking just for me and the way I grew up…

I clawed my way to where I am now, and I damn well used precious little in the way of the worlds’ natural resources to do it. My goal in life has always been to provide a better way of life for MY children than I had growing up, so they could have abundance where I knew only scarcity.

I’ll be damned if you come along now while sipping your latte and driving your $40,000 electric yuppymobile and tell me I’m a burden on society and that I should stop my evil consuming ways.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to return to my vacation, where I am futilely trying to pretend for my son that there are not tens of thousands of people suffering and dying in Japan right now, while I’m tearing my guts out thinking of all the wonderful people I met in Japan during my time overseas who are living a true nightmare I can’t even begin to grasp.

Yes, I know my rant is at least partially fueled by my frustration and feelings of powerlessness over being able to do NOTHING about what’s going on in Japan. That’s fine. I still do feel this way about green bullshit, so why not just say it.

47 Responses to “Chicago – Day 2 – Where I go off on being green”
  1. Mannyac says:

    Wheeeee I want in on the rant.
    Ever just try to shop for food that didn’t contain all the crap the government says is ok to feed us? Holy crap!
    Wanna make food a little cheaper? Stop using corn to make fuel! Talk about a scam.
    I tried doing the non-driving thing.
    When I was working in another part of Richmond, I tried to figure out how to get to and from work via public transportation.
    So like my 20 minute drive became something on the order or 2 1/2-3 hours of travel (each way).
    Not happening.
    Gotta big car, you know what I fit in it and more importantly, it’s paid for.
    Want me to drive something “greener”? Make something that isn’t built for haflings and then you can make the payments too.
    And I don’t want to hear..”but the Prius is actually pretty big inside.” Yeah when they build something akin to the TARDIS, I’ll buy a little car.

    • RiegnMan says:

      Yeah! What he said.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Last night after I went to bed, I had two more sections I could have added in the rant. One was the corn issue, but I chose not to mention it because Lewis Black said everything about it I feel needs to bge said… and you just capped it. :)

      The other thing was a simple comparison to the behavior I see now with green advocates, and the way my sister has acted.

      My sister Autumn was born in a time of fairly decent prosperity in the family, long after I was already in the Marines. She had everything she could ask for, and from the time she was small was given massive positive encouragement that she was brilliant, creative, artistic, smart, and a genius.

      As she got older, what I noticed was that she did not take this praise of her mental ability to mean that she was brilliant ‘for her age’, or that she was very smart ‘for her age’, but instead that she was brilliant and smart, and she internalized this to mean that if she was brilliant, then by comparison the people around her were stupid.

      After all, and this was very clear in how she spoke to everyone including her parents, teachers and anyone in authority, if she was brilliant, it HAD to be in comparison to something… and nothing was ever specified. So it must have been in comparison to everyone else.

      This had the positive effect of leaving her very confident, very authoritative, and very strong willed. This was excellent.

      What it also did was mean that whatever opinion she held on anything was the opinion she wanted to share with everyone else… and to try and force them to change their ways if it was not in tune with what she said.

      I’m describing a fourteen year old, here.

      Green? The hazards of smoking? Fashion? What cars to buy, what food is healthy, whatever. Political situations in places she had heard of… and if she hadn’t heard of it, it was largely irrelevant.

      I once remarked that it was very cute that she was telling me how I should have been living my life, while she sat there without a single scar to mar her pearly white skin. I also told her that she needed to open her mind a little to more possibilities than what she had fixated on as the only truth, because life was liable to smack her in the head, hard, and if she wasn’t flexible enough to bend with it, she’d break. Life doesn’t back down first.

      Well, a few years later, miss perfect Autumn had a teacher in school that, for the first time, expected a higher level of effort in study. Autumn did her usual halfassed job because she was too smart to need to study or put time into projects, ad the teacher gave her a C.

      Autumn flipped out. First, she tried to get the grade changed. She fought it, I am not kidding, all the way to the principle. Then she tried to get the teacher in some kind of trouble. Then she tried to get out of that teachers’ class for the rest of the school year, on the grounds that the ‘teacher just hated her for no reason.’ Then when that didn’t work, she tried to change schools.

      When her mom didn’t let her change schools… Autumn dropped out of school. She quit. She didn’t get her way, and she flipped out. She dropped out at 16, left home, moved in with ‘friends’, and the last my wife saw on Facebook, Autumn was shacking up with different men across the country, from state to state, painting pictures of Bob Marley and Jimi Hendricks, and bragging about how totally stones and wasted she was, and putting up pictures of whatever guy she was sleeping with at the time.

      This… this is exactly who I think of when I think of the most ardent advocates of the green movement. Someone who has been told how smart they are all their lives, who has internalized a way of life that makes stark sense to them, who have embraced a vision of clarity… and who are trying to shove their dream down all of our throats, not caring or knowing if it really FITS anyone else but themselves in the situation they themselves are living. People who are so dead certain they are right because they’re just SMARTER than all the rest of us.

      So, yeah… it’s sad, but I’ll keep my eyes open and try and keep an open mind, and a sense of what is right for our family.

  2. Ursa says:

    One of the kickers in the green movement is that the ones pointing those fingers and yelling tend to be extremely wealthy. They’re also usually trying to sell you something (carbon credits, useless magnets for your water pipes, CFL light bulbs, and other useless crap).

    Agreed on the corn bit. They did it in a few decades ago… no one seems to remember the gasohol fiasco very well.

    My job requires – yes requires – that I have a 4×4 vehicle that can haul/tow large amounts of equipment. I drive off road in some very rough terrain. I’d love to see someone go where I go with a prius lol.

  3. Beerbear says:

    It’s not just the wealthy who point fingers at us. It’s the entire “green industry” and their political minions. Remember those “climate summits”? Thousands of overpaid and useless buggers in some exotic place, living in hundreds, if not thousands of airconditioned rooms? And how do they get there? Oh, by plane. But if they had their say they’d ban cars for people like me right away.

    They’re a bunch of hypocrites. Heck, take Al Gore. He raves and rants about “global warming”, all the time proving that he knows nothing about it and lacks any understanding of even the basics, yet he drives around with a huge motorcade full of really bad gas suckers.

    Now, I must add, I don’t have a car. Used to have, but it’s just pointless to have one right now. I work in the city. The subway is 10 minutes away from my, on foot. If I would take a car into the city, I’d spend more than an hour finding a parking space. And deal with the insane city traffic where people drive like they’re all crazy. Luckily I have a grocery store within 5 minutes walking distance as well. If I need something heavier, like when I replaced my washing machine and dishwasher? I just had the store deliver them and pick up the old ones. That costs a bit more, but, at least around here, it’s not that much more and it gets this stuff out of my hair.

    Meanwhile in Spain all those green energy companies are going under, because nobody buys their stuff and the Spanish government can’t support them anymore, since the country is bankrupt. I heard that going totally green with your house in Germany is so expensive that you can as well sell the house after it. The EU, oh yeah, the EU, they tossed these energy saving light bulbs on us and outright banned the old ones, right? Despite technicians and doctors saying “Uh, that stuff isn’t healthy, it’s pretty dangerous”. The last I heard was that the EU is now paddling back.

    And the whole thing with the ethanol in the fuel or whatever… Jeez. So we’re essentially burning food and clog up agricultural areas, that could be used for better things, while people starve, only to appease Al Gore and his goons? Nuts. Seriously, nuts.

    And all to prevent “global warming”, which has happened before and will happen again, without our involvement. It’s an industry, they’re trying to make money. Sadly the silly politicians have found out about it and want a share of it, too. Now I’m getting a bit political: it’s also something the left wing loves, because that way they can control our lives even more. Look at all the regulations and all the scams (I’m looking at you “organic food”.)

    And so far nobody has been able to tell me how we’re going to transport goods with electric cars, wind and solar power. But that’s the goal. If those fanatics had the power, they’d push us back a thousand years. Just like none of them can explain to me how the Romans could plant wine in England and how the Danes could do the same 2,000/800 years ago without evil cars and “man-made global warming.” But if it’s not in the hockeystick, it didn’t happen I guess.

    Airlines, at least over here, are now offering a CO2 payment so that you can “reduce your carbon footprint”. Yeah, 0.038% CO2 in the atmosphere totally warrant that. Not. I have so far refused to pay it and I will continue to do so. Show me the evidence that my carbon footprint is so bad. Oh wait, there is none. You just want my money and are, effectively, trying to scam me.

    As for Japan, I’ve been sleeping 3-4 hours every day so far, waiting for news. Luckily all my friends and loved ones over there are fine so far.

  4. scotth says:

    We’ll see who can afford to live how when gas is $10 a gallon.

  5. Runycat says:

    I strenuously object that trying to be “green”is only a luxury for “rich assholes.” Some of us work very hard for what we have and still manage to make positive changes in our lives that seek to help protect and prolong the life of our environment. While you are certainly entitled to your opinion, I’m frankly disappointed that it’s framed around the argument that it’s for the wealthy only.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      That all depends on YOUR definition of ‘rich’, and the way I grew up, anyone that could afford, or have the credit to be APPROVED to buy a new car was ‘rich’. So, of course you are more than welcome to feel I am full of the old BS, and considering how I felt when I wrote it, I’m totally understanding.

  6. Zelmaru says:

    ARGH, this is related but… at work they are trying to encourage us to use public transit and I’m like uh… you do realize that sometimes, pretty often, we have to stay late and the last thing the boss wants to hear is “sorry, I’d love to finish this for you tonight, but the last bus leaves at 7, so long sucka!” Or how am I going to pick up my KID on the back of a bike?

  7. SmokyBG says:

    Bear, I don’t think you are allowed to say “You’ve had your fun, now I want to have mine”, because in the end we are all in it together, and both the guy with the expensive suit and the fancy car and the people starving near the drying rivers of Africa will be equally dead if (and hopefully not “when”) the Earth’s environment collapses the way some predict. And I don’t think “Going green” is necessarily about sacrificing; rather, it should be about doing stuff smarter – recycling, for example, saves a sh*tload of energy and clean water, and I don’t really see the minute of time and the fraction of your attention it takes to be a massive sacrifice. Mannyac’s town may not have the public transportation in place to get him to work on time, but he still doesn’t need a 200-300HP car to get him through his 20 minute drive; asking him to buy a new one is a lot, but nudging people buying one right now towards a more efficient option is something that I definitely approve of.

    • Aelfin says:

      Hmmm, I think you would need to look at the complete lifecycle. Say you have a car, bought and paid for. All it takes for upkeep is gas and the occasional maintenance (oil, fluids, etc). Is the energy required to keep it more or less than the energy required to

      a) build the new car with
      b) the new batteries that
      c) are being recharged through the grid nightly
      d) putting more load on an already burdened infrastructure
      e) requiring more infrastructure whether it be coal/oil/nuclear to handle the increasing load

      And how about disposal? There is some energy or loss of resources in getting rid of the old car as well as the newer car eventually. What exactly are we gonna do with millions of dead Prius/Leaf/Volt/etc batteries? Sure, sure… studies show some of the new batteries are fairly harmless, but I still really don’t want those sitting in a landfill on top of my water table.

    • Caliea says:

      And what about people like me who live 40+ miles from work.. not because I work in an urban area and commute, but because I live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive at least 20 miles to a grocery store? Those 80mile range electric cars aren’t feasible for me. And they’re way too expensive.

      I get frustrated with the hybrids that advertise the AMAZING gas mileage of 40+mpg (downhill with a tailwind), while me driving my low-maintenance , $20k-when -new, diesel sedan that’s 11 years old and still gets 50+mpg. When car manufacturers wake up and realize what real people need with regards to price, reliability, and convenience, then people will embrace their ‘green’ technology.

      I’m with you on the small changes that make an immediate impact. We recycle, use fluorescent lights, have an energy efficient home, etc. But paying a buyer’s premium for the latest trendy car that’s supposed to save the world, while draining my pocketbook with maintenance costs isn’t going to happen.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      Well, I am allowed to say whatever I’d like… because this is my website which I pay for. However, since I know thats not really what you meant, I’ll let you go back over my post, actually read it a little more closely, and then come back and quote those specific sections that you object to rather than paraphrasing with your interpretation. That way, there will be no doubt that you are accurately calling me out for speaking bullshit.

      I have absolutely no objection to your doing that, and if you call me out for being a dumbass I’m cool with that too. Just please use actual quotes so that other people have the opportunity to see your point clearly.

      • SmokyBG says:

        Well, not writing in your native language and not being very good at writing in general often make precisely conveying one’s thoughts a bit difficult, and I definitely never meant to tell you what you can and what you cannot write on your own site :-) After reading the post and your additional comments a couple more times (and I did read it more than once before posting, whether or not that was apparent from my comment), I see where you are coming from, and my view of a twenty-eight year old with basically no worries and (thankfully) no serious hardships in my life so far is somewhat naturally in a different spot on the opinion spectrum compared to yours.
        As to what provoked my initial reaction, it was how I understood these two sentences:I clawed my way to where I am now, and I damn well used precious little in the way of the worlds’ natural resources to do it. My goal in life has always been to provide a better way of life for MY children than I had growing up, so they could have abundance where I knew only scarcity. I don’t agree with the notion that past or present hardships are an excuse not to take part in trying to solve an issue of a global scale – contributing should definitely be proportional, but totally ignoring such issues is getting us nowhere; from your comments you seem to be roughly of the same opinion.
        So, as a massive number of people is needed to achieve some palpable change on a global scale, people get spammed with green propaganda, even more so in big cities where 99% of what they touch daily is so resource-expensive and so it’s easier to save; you are the unfortunate victim of a spam wave in no way targeted towards you.

    • Mannyac says:

      You are more than entitled to your opinion.
      I am truly glad (no, really, I am) you can afford car payments, increased insurance rates, and here in Virginia, property taxes on your vehicle. Unfortunately, I cannot.
      One other thing I did not choose to go into, is that my wife requires a wheelchair to get around, they don’t fit so good in an econobox, nor can an econobox successfully pull the trailer I have to buy in order to carry an electric wheel chair (so I do actually need a 200-300hp car) If I had the money to buy a new vehicle it would be a van or an SUV in order to carry her chair inside.
      So no, I have no intention of “sacrificing” my vehicle in order to go more green.
      Oh yeah, don’t forget my inability to fit in a Shire-built vehicle.

      One more thing, I do try to use, glass instead of plastic for things like water. and I do what I can to cut down on waste.
      If I lived closer to anything but a grocery store, I would walk.
      Of course, if there were actually sidewalks so I don’t have to walk along major roads to get places (which also eliminates safe biking), that would help too.

      • SmokyBG says:

        Actually, if I don’t move to another country I’ll probably never be able to afford a brand new car, and what second-hand car I can afford will certainly be sub-100HP and fuel efficient because of the price of gas and not only for environment considerations , so it looks like I’m as far from owning a Prius as you are. I’m also really sorry to hear about your situation, and I definitely do not consider a tiny car appropriate for it, nor have I said anywhere that small cars are appropriate for for all situations. All I’m saying is that greener cars should be readily available at reasonable price points from the car manufacturers and that they should be the default choice provided there are no special circumstances, such as in your case.

  8. Analogue says:

    I like everything you just wrote there. The green crap has been annoying me for years because it’s a complete scam. I like the new bulbs, but I don’t want the government telling me I have to use them. I like reusable bags because they’re bigger and save me trips, but don’t make me pay a fee to use plastic if I leave the other bags at home. I’m working on putting in a vegetable garden because I want to, not to save me money (we’ve spent more on the cedar to construct the beds than I’ll save on veggies this year) but because I feed us a terrible diet and I hope if I grow some veggies maybe I’ll actually eat them. I drive a mini van because I have a kid, we want more kids, and it’s a pain in the butt to put a carseat into a tiny car. If station wagons still existed I might drive one of those but the green types manged to ban station wagons in the name of fuel efficiency – and instead we get SUVs.

    Turning corn into fuel when we have food inflation here and starvation in other places is morally wrong. Ugh. And now I’m being told that donating to Japan is a BAD thing because less money will go other places that are suffering. You know what? We give a billion dollars to Japan, they’ll pick themselves up and end the temporary misery there. We give that billion to Africa and a lot of bloody warlords get new cars. I’m tired of feel good crap with no results. Let’s send aid to Japan, guns and corn to the starving Africans, and the next “green” commercial I hear I’m shooting the radio.

  9. Savagehorn says:

    Ha. I know what you mean. I’m all for being green when possible. I tend to focus more on things like cutting back on my meat intake (except for chickens as they are evil) because of my love of animals and such. I try to cut down on plastics when I can afford to. I try to reuse things before throwing them out.

    However, I rarely talk about it unless the conversation found its where there. I think the most aggravating thing about the whole “green” thing is that the people who tend to champion and trumpet it are the type that are always looking for a way to either feel more superior or, strangely, more guilty. The former is fairly obvious and people have been choosing arbitrary causes to make them feel different forever. The latter is interesting because some people have a guilt complex.

    They seek out things like this for some reason to feel that pressure. “You can always be MORE green.” “You can always eat MORE food that doesn’t harm a living thing.” I think people who convert to Catholicism tend to follow this same line. Having grown up as one, I don’t feel the guilt as I used to, but I digress. Also, in order to create this sense of guilt, the person has to make sure that others are aware of their own “shortcomings” so that comparisons can be made, mea culpas offered and so forth. It’s all rather exhausting…at least from outside looking in. I couldn’t imagine living that way.

    I say, we should try to live “cleaner” and healthier lives and that it should be made affordable instead of a trend that tends to cater to people with disposable income. I’d love to have good public transportation to save on emissions and have electric rail lines and would even be willing to pay taxes for it if a good program was ever thought up. But we’re not there, it’s not really possible to “go green” on a consistent basis and until it is, I’m gonna keep doing what I do: cut back, reuse and recycle when possible, and not care what others say when I have to buy something not biodegradable because I can’t afford the alternative/drive my car to work when it’s pouring or too cold walk, etc.

    I don’t take those that get up in arms about it over someone like me because they’re not serious. They can’t be. They have to know that changing me wouldn’t actually help the earth. They need to make changes on a grander scale and start from the bottom up. Starting with the word “affordable” which also requires across-board cooperation and a bit of social welfare, two things that seem impossible in the given climate for many, varied reasons.

    So don’t sweat it. I sure don’t. I love animals and nature and that’s why I always play a druid. But dammit, life isn’t a fantasy.

    As for the Japanese, I just wanted to say that I don’t know exactly how you feel as I don’t know anyone personally over there (they were over here when it happened…though it’s sad to see them so distraught because the phones aren’t working. So many of our students are beside themselves.) I will say that it is amazing how in control their community is and how hard they are working together. If something like this happened in parts of our country, there would be rioting, looting and all kinds of foolishness (though not completely) but the Japanese are sticking together and sticking out with a great level of dignity and cohesiveness.

  10. Grayzzur says:

    I’m all for being conscious of what you’re using, use less, recycle, etc. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of living, of existing. Our local trash company provides three cans, and I do my best to fill the yard waste and the co-mingled recycle cans before throwing stuff in the trash. Turn off the lights. Use a sweater instead of turning up the heat 2 degrees.

    I looked at hybrids for my last car. They’re too expensive. I wound up getting a Hyundai. Electric cars seem cool, but I drive 25 miles one-way to work on days that I don’t have to take the kids to school, and I live in a rental house where I can’t have a 220- or 440-volt charger installed. And they’re also too expensive. My wife has an Expedition — 2 kids, a dog, and occasional weekend trips to visit family 3 hours away.

    The way I see it, as long as you don’t throw your plastic bottle in the trash can when there’s a recycle bin sitting right next to it, you’re green in my book.

  11. Shatamall says:

    Well, I’m fine with green if you can afford it. I’ve got the luxury of being in that boat right now (got the DINK thing going [Dual Income, No Kids]). Back when I was in the Green Machine, I would have laughed at anyone that suggested that I spend an extra $5k for a car, just so it gets 15 miles more a gallon (yeah, we’ve got a hybrid that gets ~55 and my old 2000 civic [non-hybrid] gets about 40). I was doing good enough then to be able to barely afford a used car to drive when we weren’t on deployment.

    I’m with you in that I can do without the in your face, “you need to be green regardless or we’re all going to die due to global warming” crap as well. Probably doesn’t help that I live near Boulder, CO though. Green capital of the US, I think. :D

    • Aelfin says:

      I’m in Boulder, too. The parking spots that are designated for hybrid/efficient cars crack me up. As the weather warms I like to drive the ’67 Fairlane GTA ragtop (that’s 390 cubic inches, maybe 6-10 mpg, of no emissions horsepower) into work some days and park it in those spots. So much more convenient when going SmashBurger or Chipolte for lunch.

  12. Mhorgrim says:

    Interesting conversation. The IDEAL of green tech and it’s use is a beautiful vision…so was the Roman Empire. The truth is, as these technologies are made available, they are used for greed by corporations and big government for profit. Understand, I do try as much as I can within my means to be more environmentally aware and reduce my “footpirnt” as much as possible. Also understand for every great idea, someone is trying to scam off of the masses. Anyone remember about a couple of years ago the Picken’s plan? Some may say that he promoted it for the welfare of the nation, actually he was trying to capitolize on the W&S power industry to make a fast buck. Funny how he disappeared. One theory suggests that becouse people who buy their own solar power and wind power generators, big companies can’t make profit anymore. I sort of agree to this as now you can preactically build your own solar generators and wind power on your own for minimal investment and in time, massive returns.

    As to Hybrid cars, nice idea, but as a single income provider for my family, I can’t afford nor do I have the credit to obtain one. That mean I don’t care? Of course not. Green homes….most people rent, our housing credit got shot to hell back in 06-09. I know I have had a forclosure and it blows. But it is possible, if your willing to start small and increase over time.

    I won’t tell people how to live thier lives. It’s thier choice. I do think some of the commentary is not based on solid science but more on emotional impact that money has when it goes away. Working more towards a greener environment so to speak does take sacrifice. I would like to see a lesser impact on our environment because even in the short 40 years I’ve been around, I DO see the effects of rampant misuse. I do small things, like reuse as much as I can for plastic bags or use the pre bought bags to avoid this : http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090731-ocean-trash-pacific.html The problem is, honestly for the big changes to happen it requires serious investment. I know the military has been working hard to come up with a lower impact when it deals with powering its bases. But then, they are government funded as well. The common person working at the grocery store or gas station or retail clothing store can’t afford these idealistic items. So is it thier fault? NOPE. We do what we can I guess.

    Cut back corporate greed and government greed and maybe we can make some progress. Japan’s government not too long ago had offered to install sloar panels on houses in certain districtcs to cut the costs of energy. The owners didn’t have to pay anything but the excess power beyond what the solar panels provided. Won’t see THAT happen in America.

  13. Sarabian says:

    Bear-

    I love you.

  14. Jey says:

    My favourite people are people like David Suzuki and James Cameron who go all around the world telling us to be environmentally conscious by flying there in their private jet. Caulking your windows or using more efficient light bulbs is something i can get behind but ill probably never buy a hybrid car.

  15. NEILL RITCHIE says:

    Our city which happens to be the capital of Canada, had for the last three years a progrom to lower the amount of water used by the residents. Cutting back watering of lawns and gardens, installing devices in you toilet and on you tap to use less water. Quess what, they have to increase the water charges because we did not buy enough water even keep up the repairs to the infrastructure. Oh our Ontario Hydro company is encourageing people to put up solar panels on their property and sell power to the unility when it is needed, at 3 times the price of electricity that the consumers are paying. Then we have an addition to our electrical bill to help pay the debt that they have.
    Lytstep

  16. Herr Drache says:

    “Green”, “Healthy”, “Affordable”. Pick any two.
    I’m exaggerating a little, I realize that. How is it that McDeath’s Greaseburgers are cheaper than cooking the food for yourself? Why does everything have to be corn/starch/syrup/fed-based? Oh, the subsidies on corn are so huge that it can be sold at a fraction of cost! Rant-compressed: http://www.foodincmovie.com/
    About “green” – I grew up in Germany, which had a higher influence of “greens” before the US had it, and yes, there are things that are done here that I still consider “insanely wasteful”. The amount of metal in a six-pack is probably worse than the recyclable plastic around a 2-Liter bottle. Why are things wrapped in plastic, wrapped in plastic, then again wrapped in plastic (and the last layer being sharper than a knife!)
    I’d like to drive the car less. I *could* make a quick daily or every-other-day shopping run on my bicycle. *IF* there were a store within a few miles! I was used to public transportation running every 10 minutes, 2 blocks from my house, to wherever I needed to go. Slowed down after 6pm to once-every-30 minutes or so, and I think that’s acceptable.
    But paying thousands of dollars more for a “green” car? Paying thousand more for solar panels for the house, then the paperwork with the local power Co, who STILL insists of being able to totally control MY power? “Green” lightbulbs that when you drop them, theoretically you’d need to call a professional hazmat team for the cleanup?
    And don’t get me started on other aspects of my house. Dang stick homes with particle-board walls – try to be “energy efficient” with those, when the contractors think they did an outstanding job because it’s only a “little water” coming through the roof or into the basement after “it rained so hard”…

    I’m all for being environmentally conscious or at least “non-ignorant”, but show me where or how it works, and that it’s not just another ploy to line someone else’s pockets for the next few financial quarters!

  17. RiegnMan says:

    I have no idea what we’re gonna do. The world is coming to an end! Where is our energy going to come from now? Can’t use coal. It’s too nasty and bad for the environment. Can’t use fossil fuels. They’re gonna run out soon. That’s why prices are so high. . . Can’t use nuclear energy now ’cause it’s so dangerous in light of what’s going on in the world. Wind isn’t a viable option for the world and neither is solar due to cost/availability constraints.

    The only greenies that I really respect are the hippies living in their grass huts with their dreadlocks and hemp clothes that generate their own electricity and grow their own food. Granted, they’re freakin’ crazy but at least they believe what they are preaching and are willing to sacrifice for it.
    As opposed to the wannabes that sit around and preach that I’m destroying the world by driving my car while they sip their lattes from Starbucks and wear their clothes that were made in a sweatshop somewhere by child labor. Flying around on their private jets and broadcasting their TV shows that consume electricity to watch.
    Ya know, if everyone in the US would agree to turn the TV off while these hypocrites were on TV, can you imagine how much electricity we could save? That sounds like a plan that I can get behind and support. You know, for the environment.

  18. Dave says:

    You guys should just live in a city, where such things happen basically automagically. :D Why would I own a car when I had 24 hour public transportation that takes me wherever I want and I can read a book or play a game while doing it? Buses stop? Is that a thing? Even in Philly, where I grew up, most buses ran 24 hours. Living in a suburb? I’d sooner die, I think.

    • Babb says:

      Personally, I can’t stand cities, even the burbs are too crowded for me.

      My dislike of cities is so thorough, I’ve lived within 40 miles of Chicago for the past 15 years and I’ve been in the city proper, probably no more than 12 times of my own free will + a handful of times where I was ‘required’ to go.

      Why would I take public transportation when my car takes me exactly where I want to go(door to door, no walking), when I want to go, and usually faster. As far as them running 24hrs a day, honestly if I were to ever be in Chicago after dark(only done that two times *shudder* the crazies come out in force after dark), you sure as hell wouldn’t catch me on a bus or the El if they actually do run in the wee hours of the morn.

      Like BBB says…you do what works for you, I’ll do what works for me, he’ll do what works for him. If we all practice that, we’ll all be happy.

  19. Kaleesh says:

    The part I don’t like is exactly how you stated it- The part about viewing humans as intrusive, barbaric burdens, whom by simply existing are destroying the oh-so-helpless planet. Newsflash, the planet isn’t helpless. Volcanoes spew out 2,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every time they erupt, and nature is designed to combat that, and it does.

    Also, those electric cars? Yeah, sorry to break this to you green guys, but they use coal-powered energy. I know. Big shocker. So they’re dirty anyway. It’s just a different kind of dirty. Not only that, but the batteries that go in them are toxic and non-biodegradable.

    • Kaleesh says:

      To be clear, I don’t dislike people that recycle and save energy. Nothing wrong with that. What I dislike is the I’m-better-than-you, you’ll-kill-us-all-if-you-don’t-turn-off-the-light-so-you’re-automatically-an-asshat, overhyped, doomsday additude employed by many of them.

  20. thebitterfig says:

    Here’s the thing which bugs the crap out of me. In the 1950′s-1960′s, getting 16 mpg in a standard family sedan was exceptionally good. Enter the 70′s and the energy crisis, and we put fuel economy standards. However, we had this major pause through the 80s and 90s where jackasses decided to stop the gradual tightening of the fuel economy standards. Result: the initial gains made ground down to a near halt until we started seeing prices explode. If we’d had constant pressure on auto manufacturers to keep ordinary vehicle fuel economy, I’ve got no doubt that 36-40 mpg would be the norm for standard cars, instead of the 26-30 mpg today. Heck, we could probably have standard pickups into the mid 20′s no problem. All with ordinary engine technology, if they had even the slightest pressure on them to improve. Small incremental changes can add up fast, and it isn’t the $40k electric cars for rich people. Smart application of government policy could have made a world of good, but there are far too many people ideologically opposed to any sort of environmental policy, no matter how rational, and we got screwed.

    • Rohan says:

      The bigger problem isn’t so much that we stopped pressuring mpg to improve. It’s that we allowed minivans and SUVs to use the lower “truck” mpg standards. These really should have been reserved for “work/business” vehicles, which haul cargo, not passenger vehicles. Basically, normal cars can’t compete with that, because fuel economy is not free, it’s a tradeoff.

      But Chrysler probably would have gone completely bankrupt back in the 80s if it wasn’t for the minivan. So that’s why we end up where we are.

  21. Shane says:

    The thing that winds me up are people like Al Gore effectively saying “Everyone except for me should reduce their energy use” and Bono travelling the world saying “You all need to give all of your money to Africa. Right, now I’m off to continue flying around the world with my hat, staying in 5* accommodation and then returning to my life of luxury in my mansion.” If these people really, truly believed what they are preaching, they should be downsizing their lifestyles to at least the level of a regular upper-middle class person and put the rest of their wealth towards their cause. They can still live more than comfortable lifestyles while doing so, and wouldn’t come across as being so self-centred and hypocritical.

  22. len says:

    I get that rich people who point fingers are annoying in their idyllic worlds where everyone should be ‘green’ all the time. Don’t get me started on preaching about expensive organic food and having your own allotments where you can grow everything from scratch. ugh.

    But, just because you have been or are poor doesn’t really make saying ‘my time is precious so I will do everything I can to live my life more easily/faster’ any better. basically you are saying ‘well being green is ok in theory but I just don’t have TIME’.

    preaching is bad, being dismissive of the issues is also bad.

    • bigbearbutt says:

      But that’s not what I said… it may be your interpretation, and that’s fine, but it’s not. I am positive that I made it clear that there are many things that are feasible to do to save energy that we do.

      But we do them of our own free will because they make sense for us, and I resent the hell out of being ordered to do certain things that make sense not for us, but for other people’s lifestyles.

  23. Caliea says:

    Wow – you seem to have opened Pandora’s box today, Bear! :)

  24. Rowtan says:

    Hehe – can of worms there. :P

    Personally I’d class myself as middle class, half decent income teetering on the edge of more outgoings than we can afford so always looking to save money. Two kids – one about to go to secondary school (and HOW much are uniforms these days? OMG!), the other going in a couple of years time (fingers crossed the uniform will be reuseable – ha .. see, I’m green!)

    So I refuse to do anything “green” that will cost me more. Saying that – turning off lights in vacant rooms, turning off computers when we go out, closing doors to stop all that expensive heat escaping, only boiling enough water for my purpose … stuff like that is easy. And I’m happy to use the “green” lightbulbs as long as they’re at least as good as the old ones (which they usually are – heck I still have a bunch in the cupboard that one of the power companies was giving a away for free a few years back – shows how long lasting they are that I’ve not had to use them all yet)

    What I don’t understand is why governments are spouting all this stuff, yet builders are constantly building new houses without solar panels. If I could afford them, I’d put some on my roof myself (well, get someone to do it – heights aren’t my strong point!) – but not specifically because its “green”, but because it would reduce our energy bills.

    I also like the idea of actually being able to sell the surplus energy back to the grid :P

    If they worked as well as they say they do, grants should be available for everyone to get them – we’d soon have plenty of free, green energy without having to rely on nuclear, coal or anything else.

    Oh .. and we recycle. Doesn’t cost us anything – the council supplies the boxes/bags for it, and collects it every couple of weeks. And in between times the kids have a stock of model-making stuff to play with :P

    • Babb says:

      Builders are building houses without solar panels because the people who are buying the homes are not telling builders to install solar panels….because solar panels are ridiculously expensive and even with governments giving out huge handouts to install them, it still takes 25+ years to recognize any sort of savings from installing them.

      If they worked as well as they say they do, grants would not be necessary to encourage people to get them…people would get them on their own. The grants(and there are plenty of grants in place already) are necessary because solar panels do not work nearly as good as people think they do.

      • Rowtan says:

        @ Babb – so the company recently advertising to install and maintain solar panels for 25 years for free, in order for them to take advantage of a government initiative, and after 25 years just simply giving them to us, was a scam? I suppose it does depend what country you are in, and how serious the government is about it … http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/free-solar-panels#who

        • Babb says:

          Well, I’d consider it a scam thats being perpetrated on UK taxpayers.

          The reason I would call it a scam is there are three parties here. The home owner, this Isis company, and the UK taxpayers. Two of these parties are getting a really good deal, the taxpayers are getting the shaft.

          Which brings us back to my point, if installing solar panels on residences was a great idea, people would do it of their own accord without the need for handouts(make no mistake about it, this is a handout).

          The reality is, solar costs anywhere from 5 to 10 times as much as conventional electricity…which means anyone who installs such a system to save money fails at basic arithmetic. Now, if some people want to install solar because they think ‘being green’ is worth paying that extra cost, by all means go right ahead. People do financially foolish things all the time…they just need to actually cover the costs themselves, not make someone else pay for it.

      • Tesh says:

        “If they worked as well as they say they do, grants would not be necessary to encourage people to get them…people would get them on their own”

        This is a crucial point for any tech that the government wants to shove in our lifestyle via policy. If the tech has to be subsidized to be sustainable… it’s not good business and it deserves to die out. That tax money could be spent far more effectively… or left with the taxpayer to start with.

  25. Jenova says:

    As usual, your social commentary is spot-on. Well said!

  26. Tesh says:

    When I was growing up, the mantra was “reduce, reuse, recycle”. That always made sense to me. It also meshes well with what I know of my pioneer ancestors and those who made it through the Great Depression. You simply do as much as you can with what you have. It’s simple pragmatism. Toss in some of that “don’t steal” and “be nice to others”, and it all works pretty nicely together.

    But the Green movement, from Al Gore down to the rank and file hypocrites? Contemptible liars with way too much power over policy. Not to get too religious (because people can be touchy about that, too), but the scriptures record Jesus as being rather harsh on hypocrites and those who would lie to get gain. If *He* didn’t like ‘em, it seems to me there may be good reason.

    Be good to the planet, sure. That’s a Boy Scout thing; leave a place better than how you find it. That’s just courtesy and common sense. But the power-grabbing green sermonizers are just… a study in absurdity.

    …so yeah, agreed on all counts, BBB. I’m not one to indulge in cussin’ (just a personal choice), but some of the more… colorful… terms that I know would be loosed on these people if I let myself go. I’m pretty sure there’s a special place in hell for hypocrites, fascists and statists.

  27. Beerbear says:

    This whole “the environment will collapse!” (no, it won’t) or “be good to the planet” and “we must save the planet” (from what exactly? this planet has had much, much, MUCH worse, there were extinction events with 70, 80, 90% of all life being just wiped out, just like that, and don’t make me start on all those asteroids) is just ticking me off these days. Most, if not all, is based on emotions, not on facts.

    Take climate change. That has happened before and will happen again. The planet’s climates have never been stable and will never be stable. And those 0.038% CO2 in the atmosphere, please, that’s nothing. Yet people insist that the atmosphere has been “saturated” with CO2 by mankind. We produce roughly 4% of those 0.038% and that’s saturation? No, not really. Besides, if it was saturated, it couldn’t take any more CO2. And we know of times when there was more CO2 than today. I’ve heard biologists state that doubling the CO2 wouldn’t be bad, it would be good for plant life. And when did cultures bloom? In warming times, not cooling times. Rome and China are the perfect examples. Also notice how the media always tells us how much million tons CO2 mankind produces and always “forgets” how much the rest of the planet produces. And how they always say PPM instead of percent. Most people have no idea what PPM are. 380 looks a lot bigger than 0.038. It’s all manipulation to sell their point and that is “WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!” Guess, we’re all going to die anyway. The moment we’re born we’re all as good as dead!

    Take green energy. Or better “renewable” energy. This just makes me head-desk all the time, because such phrases are thrown around by people with ZERO education. There is no such thing as “renewable” energy. You can produce energy, you can distribute it, you can use it, but you can’t renew it. That would be a perpetuum mobile and that’s not possible. E-cars are cute, but please, someone tell me how e-cars are going to supply the village where my grandmother lived? Imagine a valley in the European Alps. Narrow. One little creek floats out of it. Only one access point. No railroad. The only way of supply is one road. I want to see e-cars lug food and other material into that place. They would utterly fail. For that we need the “evil” truck running on fossile fuels. Tell me how e-cars would bring supplies to the refugees in Japan? They couldn’t, they’d run out of energy halfway. Wind power, solar power… Cute, and where are we going to build them? Let’s take Japan. Most of the terrain there is mountain. They have no room. Oh, we do it offshore. And how are we going to bring the power to the land? This is where the problems really begin. The cable cross-section for such cables is… holy crap. Such cables don’t even exist right now. They’d have to be engineered. The amount of work and money for such a project is just crazy. No country can afford this. We are all bankrupt. Face it. Look at our national debts. US, Germany, Austria, the UK, the Netherlands, Japan, etc. It doesn’t matter where you look at, we’re bankrupt. Who’s going to finance this?

    Oh yes, the “rich”. Tax the rich, right? This has been tried in Europe and it’s not working. In my country, if you make more than 60k Euros per year, you pay 50% taxes on your salary. You also pay a VAT up to 20% on everything you buy (it’s 10 and 20). If you buy gas for your car, you pay a fuel tax, which makes up more than 50% of the fuel price you pay at the station, plus 20% VAT. Some years ago, the Green party here said that fuel should be 20 Schillings per liter (that’s roughly 1.5 Euros.) We have reached this point already. Then, if you have a car, you are required to have an insurance. Plus the government taxes you based on the horse power of your car. And so on. With this we have the highest tax income in the history of this country. And the money is not enough. Our national debt will hit 75% of the GDP next year and our deficit is still growing. So, how are we going to finance wind and solar power on a scale that would make the enviro-nitwits happy? We can’t. It’s impossible.

    But I still say all of this is planned by our so called “leaders”. Nobody can tell me that this is just a “whoops, I didn’t see it” moment. Nobody can be THAT stupid or ignorant. They want this to happen. They only care about two things: power and how they look like in the media. Obama, Merkel, Faymann, Kan, they’re all the same. They want this to happen.

    Yeah, I’m having a field day. Sorry.

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