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15 October 2009 @ 02:35 pm
Writer's Block: You thought you were green, didn't you?  
Will you participate in Blog Action Day, powered by Change.org? Do you think journaling about environmental issues can raise public awareness and drive (pedal?) grassroots activism to chill global warming? If so, join and start posting for a healthy planet.

Well, everyone tries to think of ways to 'go green' and save the Earth. Did you ever stop to think that some 'green' alternatives aren't so carbon efficient?

Plant a Tree
While trees are great - being a desert dweller, I love them - once they're all grown up, they lose their effectiveness. An average tree begins to emit more carbon than it uses when it reaches 55 years of age. What can make this green again? You'll hate me for this, but responsible logging can do wonders for an ecosystem. Not only is the over-emitting tree removed, but its absence makes room for younger trees to take its place.

Go Organic
Everyone loves organic food. It's healthy for you, healthy for the animals or plants, and healthy for the environment... or is it? Let's take a look.
  • MILK - an organically raised dairy cow produces LESS milk and MORE methane than a cow that receives enhanced food. How much less? 8% might not seem like a huge difference, but when you're discussing hundreds of thousands of cows - it is. Wants to take a guess at how much more methane Bessie's burping? 16%! More cows and more emissions per cow to produce the same amount of milk. It doesn't make good sense.
  • STEAK - Organic steer take longer to achieve the proper weight, and thus spend more time tooting out more methane. Grass-fed versus grain? Grass produces almost twice the amount of gas.
  • CHICKENS & EGGS - In the same vein, Organic-Hen is smaller and lays less eggs than Tweaker-Hen, her amped-up rival.
  • FRUITS & VEGGIES - This should be no surprise to anyone who has their own garden, but plants that are grown chemical and modification-free yield less food, and thus take up more land. Nitrogen-rich fertilizer is also a huge factor in emissions from food crops - something that scientists are working to change in their gene-mod crops.
One more thing... how does all this organic stuff get to your fridge? Not all organic crops are grown by small farms - big agriculture grows organic, too. Transportation is a huge factor in how Earth-friendly this fab food is. If your organic tomatoes had to be trucked twice as far as the non-organic tomatoes, which fruit is better than the environment? Remember that those trucks are still fossil fuel ;)

Get a Hybrid
Got to love all those prissy Prius owners, don't you? They're doing so much to reduce their carbon emissions and use less of that nasty fossil fuel I just spoke about - much more than that 25mpg sedan over there (and less than my 27mpg hatchback). Where does a Prius go wrong? The Carbon burden caused by producing one of those better-than-Christ-Himself cars.
Building a Prius costs about 113,000 BTUs, which is the equivalent of burning 1000 gallons of gasoline according to research by Pablo Paster. Yummy.
Realistically, using that old eyesore your parents gave you is a better alternative, providing it gets 25mpg or higher and especially if you don't plan on driving that much. For my part, my used Scion xA gets an average of 27mpg with no modifications, and I don't really drive that much - I only put 5,000 miles on it a year (laugh at me, I know you want to). Better than that? Walk or ride a bike. Some public transport meets my high standards, but no-nos include ethanol buses - read this article and find out why biofuel is bad. 

Using Plastic Alternatives

Go ahead and hit me, but this is trufax. Plastic alternatives such as a corn-based PLA (no longer used in Starbucks cups!) actually don't do great things for the world. This substance is compostable, so it should be great... right? Wrong. PLA is only compostable in commercial composting plants, which I'm sure don't include my local recycling plant. Not only will it sit in landfills along with its plastic siblings, but PLA takes corn away from better uses, such as being used as actual food. This causes the price of corn to rise, which makes things in the local grocery store more expensive for the rest of us commoners. No bueno.

So What Can I Do to Go Green?
Honestly, before you do something, do some research and weigh the pros and cons, everyone. Did you notice how organic food says genetically modified crops can be beneficial, while my section on PLA says they're bad? It's all in how something's being used.

...God damn if I can't remember all my reference sites >:[ I'll be the lazy one here - you can Google it. Here's one for my Prius-bashing. Most of my influence was an article from Wired Magazine, Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green.

Now attack me, I know you want to ;D LOL Hah, I'm half asleep so this probably isn't formatted the best, but I don't really feel like revising it.