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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    21 Jul '10 09:12
    Are we involved in some kind of collective self-deception? Are our earnest "green" labels and admirable recycling programmes doing more harm than good by perpetuating a crucial lie, lulling us into a false sense of security that we are already doing enough while ignoring the far bigger adverse impact of the far bigger proportion of what we buy, consume and do.
  2. 21 Jul '10 09:24
    Originally posted by FMF
    Are we involved in some kind of collective self-deception? Are our earnest "green" labels and admirable recycling programmes doing more harm than good by perpetuating a crucial lie, lulling us into a false sense of security that we are already doing enough while ignoring the far bigger adverse impact of the far bigger proportion of what we buy, consume and do.
    In some cases yes. But that does not mean that living "green" is a bad thing or ineffective. It just means that you should just 'live green' and leave it at that if you really want to make a difference.
    The largest impact can be made by pushing for change in overall policies, this could be cleaner power, better insulation in building codes, design for recycling, birth control and so on.

    It is also important when campaigning for living green, not to scare people off with the idea that sacrifice is necessary. Living greener can often be not only cheaper, but also may not require sacrifice at all. For example better insulation results in lower heating bills, solar power pays for itself after a number of years etc.

    A lot of the people who refuse to accept global warming are simply scared that admitting it is taking place will mean they must sacrifice something.
  3. 21 Jul '10 09:27
    In view of this discussion, I recommend a Penn & Teller episode on recycling.

    A lot of recycling programs and "green" initiatives don't really contribute to a better or more sustainable environment and are just designed to make people feel good about themselves. A pity, because the need for a more sustainable economy is clear.
  4. 21 Jul '10 14:49
    The same problems apply to aid. It is often more about the giver than the receiver, and thus may completely fail to do any actual good. This doesn't mean we should not give, only that we should put as much thought into it as we put money.
    Both issues should be addressed holistically.
  5. 21 Jul '10 15:52
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    The same problems apply to aid. It is often more about the giver than the receiver, and thus may completely fail to do any actual good. This doesn't mean we should not give, only that we should put as much thought into it as we put money.
    Both issues should be addressed holistically.
    Yes indeed. It also explains why the civil society is so much less efficient than a government program aimed at the same goal.
  6. Standard member DrKF
    incipit parodia
    21 Jul '10 18:47 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Yes indeed. It also explains why the civil society is so much less efficient than a government program aimed at the same goal.
    Handing too much responsibility - whether for green initiatives or aid (charity generally) - to government programmes is also to be avoided. Public involvement through civil society encourages and maintains - for society as a whole - shared common sentiment, and contributes to a common way of life, in a manner that a mere government programme never can.

    It's entirely debatable, of course, whether government programmes would actually be more efficient, as you suggest, but efficiency is not (or should not be) the only important thing in policy decisions. Hollowing out civil society isn't a great idea.
  7. 21 Jul '10 19:05
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Yes indeed. It also explains why the civil society is so much less efficient than a government program aimed at the same goal.
    In my experience, government aid is usually the least efficient, and suffers from the same problem. Government aid to other countries is frequently about making a show of giving aid, not a genuine intention to help. Thus you will frequently find that such aid programs are designed to ensure that most of the money returns to the donor country.
    Internal government aid (in Africa at least) is often about getting votes, so again, the wrong focus.
    In Zambia we have been plagued for years by 'releaf food' type aid that not only hurts the local farmers, but usually does not really benefit anyone.

    As for 'green', the US government is partly responsible for 'killing' the electric car.
  8. 22 Jul '10 21:59
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    In my experience, government aid is usually the least efficient, and suffers from the same problem. Government aid to other countries is frequently about making a show of giving aid, not a genuine intention to help. Thus you will frequently find that such aid programs are designed to ensure that most of the money returns to the donor country.
    Internal go ...[text shortened]...

    As for 'green', the US government is partly responsible for 'killing' the electric car.
    http://www.altfuels.org/misc/onlygm.pdf

    Lastly, because the movie made some harsh criticisms of GM for
    discontinuing the EV1, let me set the record straight:
    GM spent more than $1 billion developing the EV1 including
    significant sums on marketing and incentives to develop a mass
    market for it.
    Only 800 vehicles were leased during a four-year period.
    No other major automotive manufacturer is producing a pure
    electric vehicle for use on public roads and highways.
    A waiting list of 5,000 only generated 50 people willing to follow
    through to a lease.
    Because of low demand for the EV1, parts suppliers quit
    making replacement parts making future repair and safety of the
    vehicles difficult to nearly impossible.
  9. 22 Jul '10 22:13 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    http://www.altfuels.org/misc/onlygm.pdf

    Lastly, because the movie made some harsh criticisms of GM for
    discontinuing the EV1, let me set the record straight:
    GM spent more than $1 billion developing the EV1 including
    significant sums on marketing and incentives to develop a mass
    market for it.
    Only 800 vehicles were leased during a ...[text shortened]... ement parts making future repair and safety of the
    vehicles difficult to nearly impossible.
    fossil fuels are cheap right now.
  10. 22 Jul '10 23:04
    Originally posted by Melanerpes
    fossil fuels are cheap right now.
    it's a conspiracy! they're just trying to lead us on!
  11. 23 Jul '10 03:34
    climate change my arse.....
    Tell that to my garden...
  12. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    23 Jul '10 04:17 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by Hugh Glass
    climate change my arse.....
    Tell that to my garden...
    Wouldn't it be even more triumphant of you to claim that observations of only part of your garden trump Science in your view, rather than your whole garden?
  13. 23 Jul '10 06:39
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    http://www.altfuels.org/misc/onlygm.pdf
    I notice that those are comments by someone who hadn't seen the movie, and the PDF is now 4 years old.

    Now China is making electric cars.

    I stand by my claim, US government policy was partly to blame for killing the electric car.

    No other major automotive manufacturer is producing a pure electric vehicle for use on public roads and highways.
    No longer true.
  14. 23 Jul '10 07:28
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    In my experience, government aid is usually the least efficient, and suffers from the same problem. Government aid to other countries is frequently about making a show of giving aid, not a genuine intention to help. Thus you will frequently find that such aid programs are designed to ensure that most of the money returns to the donor country.
    Internal go ...[text shortened]...

    As for 'green', the US government is partly responsible for 'killing' the electric car.
    Well yes, for government aid to be efficient the recipients of the aid have to be voters. For this reason I am against government aid; let people decide for their own what they want to give to aid organizations.