Why Are Americans Such Babies About Going Green?

When it comes to green technologies, America has historically been a launching point for plenty of environmentally-friendly innovations — the compact fluorescent bulb, wind turbines, lithium ion batteries — only to eventually come up short and pass the buck onto other countries when it comes to implementation. So why are we so bad at going green?

Wired.com takes a look at the history of green technology, and then comes up with a few reason the average American consumer really isn’t very good when it comes to embracing green technology in daily life.

1. Conservations makes you look lame: Back in the day, when only the rich could have running water and keep their iceboxes running at full blast, it was desirable to be able to afford to waste. Seems some are still holding onto that and will immediately run out to buy a pretty new phone when the old one still works perfectly fine. Yeah, I’m talking to you, bro.

2. We’ve got the resources, let’s use them all up!:
This reasoning is nothing new — why use solar power when natural gas is cheap? We’ll all be dead in 100 years, who cares about the future when I can drive my car four blocks to the store and not have to walk?

3. We want flashy: Green isn’t a “new” idea, and therefore it’s boring. Basically only hybrid cars are cool enough for us to seek them out and be “wowed” by them. This will change, but slowly.

4. Lobbyists are good at their jobs:
The guys and gals who make money off burning fossil fuels have smart people in the government pleading their case, and the cash to back them.

5. Environmentalists are annoying:
If I have to listen to Al Gore remind me one more time to recycle, I’mma throw this can right in the trash! Well, that’s how some people feel, apparently, like they’re being harangued into helping the planet.

Just remember, your kids are going to have deal with the messes you make. In the long run, let’s hope going green gets a lot cooler, for everyone’s sakes.

Motorola Droid X Sold Out After First Day [Five Reasons Why Green Tech Has Such a Tough Time In America]

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  1. Giolon says:

    You try using an old iPhone 3G with iOS 4 installed on it and tell me that it “still works perfectly fine”.

    • ihatephonecompanies says:

      I don’t know about no fancy eye-phone, but my old nokia something-or-other works perfectly fine: I push some numbers and it makes a phone call.

      • ArcanaJ says:

        Same here. My old Razr makes calls, which is all I need it for.

      • tsukiotoshi says:

        I cried when Nokia made me give up my old cell phone. I’d had it for six years and it was a beast of a phone in comparison to newer models but it was reliable and had incredible battery life. All I wanted was a phone that made calls and received them and boy did it do it! But apparently they stopped being able to support the technology so I had to give it up. Alas.

        • Big Mama Pain says:

          I have a really good Nokia smartphone-the only one AT&T carries that doesn’t require a data plan. All I wanted was a good battery life, which Nokia is really known for. It’s a….E71x? Nothing fancy, thin and holds a battery charge for about a week!

        • NewsMuncher says:

          I felt that way about a Siemens phone I had through T-Mobile, I think. I couldn’t find power plugs for it anywhere but T-Mobile’s site, so when I would lose one, I had to wait over a week to get a new one.
          But that was a great phone.

    • shoan says:

      OMG I thought i was going crazy but my camera on my 3g takes like 5 seconds or longer to turn on now texts take like 7 seconds to think about sending. It’s like they are trying to drive us out of our 3g phones. My iPhone has been running absolutely horribly since os4 came along. I saw a huge performance drop as soon as i updated. Thing that blows is I still have till next spring till they will upgrade me out of this phone. Honestly im considering moving to sprint. Not sure yet.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      All of this obsession with always having to have the newest thing really perplexes me. If everyone would stop chasing the next big thing and focus on enjoying the real, meaningful things in life, they wouldn’t get so pissed and think their world was coming to an end because their phone was an entire year old.

      I am always having people comment about my antique G1 asking me if I want an Andriod. Um no. I plan on using this phone until even electrical tape and tin foil can’t keep it working, just like my 11 year-old Honda that still runs like a charm. The only reason I traded my Razr in for a G1 is because my antiquated Razr died an inexplicable death.

      • UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

        I can give you one reason to buy a new car: safety. My 1 year-old Honda has many newer safety features than my old 15 year-old Honda did.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          The most effective piece of safety equipment in your car is the one sitting behind the wheel.

          • PunditGuy says:

            Which makes sense, until you consider that your safety is also largely a result of nearly everyone else who sits behind a wheel.

            • TouchMyMonkey says:

              Ah, the “everybody else is an idiot, so I have to drive a tank” argument. I’m still not sure I buy it. We were perfectly able to avoid getting into accidents with our airbag-free 1991 Civic (which I miss). I’m still inclined to believe that driver skill beats passive safety equipment every time.

              • Doughbuy says:

                normally I would claim that as false, but after going to China multiple times, it actually works out decently well. The problem with Americans driving in China is that we assume everyone else knows how to drive well and therefore keep our guard down. The mentality over there is no one knows how to drive and you have to fight tooth and nail to get ahead so you have to always be on your guard. Kind of like NYC traffic…

              • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

                I don’t think he was specifically saying we should drive boats. He’s just saying that even though you may be a safe driver, it’s negated by the myriad of unsafe drivers surrounding you.

        • ktetch says:

          Not really, the level of ‘safety’ in the new ones is often overstated, by redefining ‘safety’.

          Crumplezones are a good one. They ‘stretch out the deceleration’ making it ‘safer’. What crumplezones are, are designed structural weaknesses. If you took a car, and put in crumplezones, it’s not safer, it’s weaker and more dangerous. they then have to build everything on extra. thats why cars have gotten about 50% heavier over the last 20 years.

          I have had one serious accident with me driving. Me and a friend were racing (on private land). He was in a 92 Vauxhall Nova (designed in 89, with crumplezones) sedan, I was in an 86 Volvo 340 (designed initially in 74, no crumplezones) hatchback. Both cars were about the same weight (2200lb) although mine was physically bigger. The impact was about 50mph. front of mine, into the back of his. I lost the wing, the radiator, the bonnet and the lights. He had a twisted chassis, engine damage (from the chassis and exhaust being rammed forward) and damage to the whole back end of the vehicle. He’d caught the brake pedal when downshifting, and that’s what caused it.

          2 years later, and i’m in another 340 (this time an 89 model, but otherwise identical) and I’m stationary at a roundabout at the end of a motorway. a 2000 Golf slams into the back of me. The golf is a writeoff. My car has almost no visible damage.

          Make a solid crash structure, without the crumplezones, it’ll be as safe. the parts market will suffer though, as will the new vehicle market, as less vehicles will be ‘scrapped’ because of minor incidents destroying the vehicle.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      BTW, why does every thread here seem to turn into a thread about Apple? Just sayin’…

      • NewsMuncher says:

        Actually, i think of the #@*$ RAZR. It wasn’t user unfriendly so much as just bad quality. My husband and I went through at least six phones between the two of us because of defective phones, that Verizon replaced for free.
        Worst telecomunications product I have ever tried to use in my life…
        until the last few months of watching my mom and dad continuously try to use their Droids — and my dad has been building computers since I was in grade school.

    • jamar0303 says:

      On the other hand, an old Panasonic 920P I had (came out a couple months before the iPhone 3G) ran like a charm, with a more impressive camera (5.1 megapixel auto-focus with anti-shake) and screen (3-inch 854×480 Viera LCD, of course it’s going to be nicer than the iPhone’s even if it IS a tad small) than the iPhone 3G. It also cost me less than US$50 second-hand.

    • mbgrabbe says:

      Seriously. the iPhone 3G is painfully slow nowadays. Lots more program glitches and crashes now too. Apple is just shooting itself in the foot by overtaxing the 3G’s outdated hardware and then making all of us wait for weeks for the new iPhone4. That droid X is looking better and better each day.

  2. Xyjar says:

    If a single oil spill, out of the hundreds/thousands of drilling spots on earth, can leak nonstop for months, and not show any sign of running out of oil, I feel like there’s gotta be pretty much enough oil left on the planet for everyone to drive around in tanks that get 2 miles to the gallon all day long for at least a hundred years, even if the grocery store is a 30 second walk from my house. I apologize for the run-on sentence, but not for my reckless use of natural resources.

    • Vivienne says:

      Ahhhh conservative “thinking” at it’s finest.

      I’m glad you *feel* that way. But the reality is much different.

      Now be quiet, the adults are talking.

    • Bongo25 says:

      That oil spill leaking for months and causing one of the biggest environmental disasters of all time has leaked less oil than the US alone uses in one day, just FYI.

    • bitslammer says:

      at one point midway through the spill I heard an estimate that up to that point all the oil spilled would only run all the cars in the US for 40 minutes. That give you an idea of how much we really use and remember there are dozens if not hundreds of those wells so we go through a lot of oil.

    • Keavy_Rain says:

      I can forgive you for the natural resource abuse, but not the run-on sentence.

    • mathfeel says:

      You are surprised? A single accident, happened in the 70′s, with no injury, with the safety system DID what it was designed to do for all intended purpose, halted the American nuclear industry for decades.

      The irony is of course that without license to build new reactor, the old ones’ licenses are extended decades. TMI’s other reactor just had its license renewed till 2034.

    • bigTrue says:

      You are a jackass. You’re either a troll, or truly believe what you’re saying. One makes you ajackass for being a troll, the other makes you a jackass for being so selfish.

      You remind me the guy I worked with at Washington Mutual who made Account Executive and started talking about how he was going to buy a Hummer. When I asked him about gas guzzling, peak oil, etc, he shrugged and said he didn’t care. He was making the money and he wanted it and that was all that mattered.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        And it’s not being a jackass to get in someone’s face and badger him about his automobile purchase?

        As usual, both extremes are ridiculous. The “fuck the planet” people are assholes in much the same manner as the “you’re a scumbag if you don’t ‘go green’ ” people are assholes. But at least the “fuck the planet” people aren’t digging through their trash like raccoons to recycle and making everyone else feel like a lesser person for not doing the same.

        I’d rather have a beer and a steak with a Hummer owner than talk for five minutes to a Prius owner.

        • veritybrown says:

          +10

        • Powerlurker says:

          Only if the steak was from a cow raised in a commercial feedlot operation and fed a steady diet of antibiotics and growth hormones since its birth.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          Well, I’m one of those people in the latter group, and I pre-sort recyclables. There is no need to go picking through one’s own trash. I estimate we recycle about 2/3 or so what we set out to the curb on a given week. Most kitchen garbage goes into the compost heap. What’s left is mainly what the county solid-waste authority doesn’t recycle.

          It’s not really that much trouble, once you get the hang of it. We don’t have a basement full of garbage, our house doesn’t smell like garbage (our cats wouldn’t stand for it), and we’re not really doing that much additional work in exchange for lower trash pickup rates.

          • Verdant Pine Trees says:

            No kidding. It’s really not a big deal. If it is, you’re not doing it right.

            Likewise, not all people who recycle etc. are nutzos who badger other people. For the record, we recycle, have a compost heap, some solar-powered lighting and LED lights, programmable thermostat… and no Prius, just a gas-sipping Toyota and a Ford that’s paid for.

            • FigNinja says:

              Yep. I think there’s too much nagging, guilt and holier-than-thou attitude coming from many green folks out there and it turns people off. We should be encouraging people to start making little changes here and there rather than beating them up and trying to make them feel like crap. I’m one of those people with the hybrid car, reusable bags, funny light bulbs, etc. It really doesn’t seem like work to me, but it’s been years of baby steps, making small changes in my habits. Now it’s second nature.

              Besides, not every decision I make is the best thing for the planet. I’m not living in a yurt eating home grown organic oat groats. I just try to do a little better each day. I’m not a saint nor am I a better person than someone who hasn’t started recycling yet. If we come off like a bunch of sanctimonious assholes, no one is going to want to join our club.

        • tungstencoil says:

          Perfect! Well-said.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      We have enough to last a lifetime? The oil that has spilled out might last us a day, but I have hear estimates that say less than that.

      An oil spill should make people want to be more careful, not have them saying that since basically a day’s worth of oil spilled that means we should all get to run amok doing what we want with the planet until we die.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get gas…

    • mac-phisto says:

      part of the ramifications of not conserving resources means that speculators must work harder to obtain these resources. it’s because we’re not working harder to conserve that drilling platforms like the deepwater horizon exist. is there plenty of oil out there to let you & every other person on the planet drive a gas guzzler? probably. but it’s not easy to harvest anymore. & that means a higher likelihood of accidents similar to this most recent one. do you enjoy a weekend at the beach? you won’t if we continue to see accidents caused by experimental drilling.

      there are also the political implications of natural resource harvesting. at least the last 400 years of war all have one common denominator: the harvesting of natural resources. the more you consume, the more we fight. if you don’t have a problem sending troops to foreign lands to protect your right to plentiful & cheap natural resources, then by all means, go to town. but if you’re one of those “support the troops” yellow ribbon types, you should probably consider that your “reckless use of natural resources” is in direct conflict with that sentiment.

  3. twophrasebark says:

    Because we are selfish entitled crybabies who were never told “NO” and think it is our god-given right to have whatever we want?

    Just a thought.

    • VeganPixels says:

      Wut? We’ve been told “NO” for decades.
      No, you can’t have a living wage.
      No, you can’t have universal health care.
      No, you can’t have an affordable and habitable home.
      No, you can’t have an affordable college education.
      No, you still need to ride the bus an hour away for a quality K-12 education.
      No, you can’t keep your job if you join a union.
      No, you can’t have reliable mass transit.
      No, you can’t come to school looking unlike everyone else there.
      No, you can’t have viable third-party candidates.
      No, you can’t refuse to pay for more wars and prisons.

      • twophrasebark says:

        Like I said, we think it is our god-given right to have whatever we want. We have more freedom and a higher standard of living than almost anywhere on Earth and yet we still complain like babies. I’m not saying there aren’t things we don’t get, I’m saying there are very few things we don’t.

        Oh, wait, we were talking about fluorescent light bulbs. Moving on…

    • rushevents says:

      Thank you for the absolutely perfect example of item number 5.

  4. TuxthePenguin says:

    I think there is a difference between “going green” and being environmentally conscious.

    Not wasting water, recycling, keep electrical use under control, driving more fuel efficient cars… those are things that are easy to get people to do, mostly because there is a tangible benefit, ie, the monthly savings.

    There are a lot of other things that people consider “going green” that aren’t really giving those tangible benefits. And yet more that really aren’t green in the long-run – but sound good now (loca-vore, for example – many times its more damaging to the environment on a per-unit basis)

    • jrwn says:

      Um, you can’t actually waste water. There is always the same amount of O and H on this planet, it doesn’t change. Driving fuel efficient cars, yea, my 95 geo metro was one of the be and even better then those $30K green cars they have out now.

      • huadpe says:

        You can in the sense that the local supply of fresh water may be quite limited. Desalination of sea water takes quite alot of energy.

      • Pax says:

        Sure, there’s a lot of water on the planet. But not all of it is DRINKABLE water. And the planet’s capacity for turning the NON-drinkable water into something we _can_ drink, is surprisingly limited … and growing smaller and smaller every day, due to teh damage we’re doing to other parts of the ecosystem.

    • LandruBek says:

      [Being a locavore is] many times its more damaging to the environment on a per-unit basis.

      I submit that this statement is balderdash, poppycock and rot. Or do you have some evidence? Not even J. E. McWilliams will back you up on this one.

    • bigTrue says:

      I’d really like to see what reports say being a “loca-vore” is more damaging then not. If I go to the local farmers market and only buy in season, locally grown crops that were picked the day before and hauled to market that day within an hour’s drive, how is that more damaging then going the same distance to a local grocery store and buying crops that were trucked across country/world and perhaps artificially grown indoors offseason to meet demand?

      I’d really like to see research saying otherwise if you have it. It could be one of those logical fallacies where it sounds like it should work out, but then doesn’t, but I have no idea how that could be true in the above scenario.

      • Tim says:

        You completely forget about efficiency. That produce may have only travel an hour’s drive, but it did so in a relatively small truck. Bigger trucks burn more fuel, but are much much more efficient on a per-food-item basis.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          That would be true if we all shopped at the distribution center. We don’t, and your produce goes the last mile to your supermarket on pretty much the same type of truck no matter where is came from.

          Even if those tractor-trailers ran directly to your supermarket, which I doubt, they would then have to run in city and suburban traffic. Ask any trucker what kind of mileage a fully-loaded tractor-trailer gets when it’s not running at a constant 60 MPH on an Interstate highway.

          • Limewater says:

            Your local grocery store most likely does get most of its deliveries via tractor-trailer. Did you think they pulled those things up in front of the store and go in the same way the customers do? They have loading docks in the back.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        My diet consists only of grub worms, bark, and berries that I I picked up 20 minutes ago in the forest behind my house. I’ll also eat the occasional “found” roadkill. Anything other than that is too much because I simply can’t get enough electricity from bicycle powered generator to keep an ice box running all day. Oh yes, and I make my own soap with the lard I get from the dead animals. I cook it over my campfire made from “local” wood.

  5. DanRydell says:

    A certain segment of the population is actually resentful toward anything that is environmentally friendly, and they make a point of being wasteful. As with anything that becomes a political issue in this country, if one side is for it the other side has to vehemently oppose it no matter how absurd that is.

    Even if you ignore the global warming debate, the simple fact remains that our natural resources are not infinite.

    • TehLlama says:

      I absolutely am resentful of many supposedly environmentally friendly products, and the generally whiny and uninformed attitudes of their proponents, but this absolutely doesn’t stop me from being less wasteful than virtually all of ignoramus hippies zooming by me on California highways in their stupid Priuses (stupid for them at least)

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        I agree with you. I know more than a few people who have taken perfectly good furniture to the dump b/c they wanted to get a chair made with natural organic cotton, sustainably grown wood, and no VOC’s. My best friend actually threw pretty much everything plastic in her house away because it might contain PVC. She bought stainless steel and glass to replace everything she threw in the landfill. I also know someone who bought an SUV because she had a child (that’s one child). Funny thing? It held the same amount of people as the better gas mileage car she traded in, and it seemed like it had better trunk/rear space. And, 99% of the time it’s either just her, or her and her son in the car.

        I’m no saint, but I do have a 13 year-old couch, and 11-year-old low emission car that gets good gas mileage and I don’t replace old things with new things unless the old thing is broken. If people would buy higher quality items that would last and stop trying to find happiness in stuff, that would be a great starting point. Less crap= fewer environmental issues.

        • Dallas_shopper says:

          Outstanding point. People whine at me to replace perfectly functional surfaces and fixtures in my 53 year-old home because they’re “outdated” and “may contain harmful chemicals.”

          Guess what? I know that. Also, guess what? If I’d been building a house from the ground up, I doubt I would have chosen pink tile with a pink toilet, pink sink, and pink bathtub in the master. But guess what? All that stuff WORKS. And tearing out a 50+ year-old bathroom will surely expose you to more “harmful chemicals” than leaving it there would. And it would cost a fortune, and my functional surfaces and fixtures would be needlessly filling up landfill space.

          Some people are so fucking stupid that it blows my mind.

          • knoxblox says:

            Sure, if you intend to live in your house until you die. For some homeowners who may intend to sell someday, some of those hazardous materials are, by code, required to be replaced and/or upgraded before a homeowner can make said sale. Sure, old porcelain can stay by your rules, but asbestos, lead paint, wire-in-wall electrical wiring, and faulty/dangerous appliances must be removed and replaced by law. No ifs, ands, or buts. If you know you will move again, why not make the improvements now, and benefit from a greener living plan?

            Again, if you plan to die before moving again, fine. You don’t have to change a thing. However, if you don’t, explain why this is whiny and wrong to your stupid fucking city housing inspector.

            • Dallas_shopper says:

              You don’t have to abate asbestos and lead paint to convey a property in this city. If you did, my house wouldn’t have any.

              It’s grandfathered in per the “stupid city housing inspector.” So was the non code-compliant wiring in the breaker box, but I DID replace that because I wanted more than 125 amps. Since the lead paint is covered by about 10 layers of non lead-paint and the asbestos is covering a small pipe in a remote part of the attic, I didn’t see the point of freaking out about it. I don’t know about where you come from, but around here people kind of assume these materials will be present in a house built in the 1950s. Most of them can live with the extremely minimal risk posed by these materials…y’know…if they have an ounce of common fucking sense. Like “don’t eat paint chips” and “don’t lick the flue pipe.”

              Really? REALLY????

              • knoxblox says:

                Most of these rules are in place for the safety of children and some adults who may lack the common sense not to eat paint chips or lick the flue pipe. Yes, really.
                You may have your issues grandfathered in, but you probably had to sign away your right to legal redress if you either bought or are renting (I had to sign a lead paint clause when I was renting in Chicago).
                I’m not trying to pick a fight here, I’m only showing that there are two sides to the issue, and that sometimes going green is in our best health interests, not just beneficial for the contractor’s wallet. I spent two years in the acrid air of uptown Chicago, and wound up with nasal polyps for my trouble.

                Enjoy the volatile compound (organic or inorganic) off-gassing with your righteous indignation.

            • NewsMuncher says:

              It sounds like the Dallas_Shopper is talking about things like the “home makeover” shows, where people just want a new look. When a space really needs to be re-done because you are having movement issues or something, I see that as necessary, but I see a lot of stuff where people just want something to make them feel better, something to be different.

              It’s good for the home decoration economy. It’s awesome for the people who have their spaces redone. It’s entertainment. It’s good advertising.

              It’s a quality of life issue, I suppose. And we do have the freedom to do with our spaces as we wish. But it’s a conscious, thoughtful way of going about it, to consider the ramifications of what you are doing before you do it, and include the aspect of wastefulness.

    • knoxblox says:

      You’re right about the ignorant/stubborn segment of the population, but one can also trace the pattern of reasoning back to the corporations who are defending the petroleum/plastics industries they’ve chosen to support and defend instead of putting more effort into seeking alternative and renewable resources. It’s been going on since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

      If people become more aware of the dangers that chemicals, plastics, petroleum, coal, natural gas or any other industries pose to the survival of the species, then that knowledge poses a danger to the survival of the company. So…send out the lobbyists to “perk” the politicians and the marketers to distract and misdirect the public with slick ads and shiny things. Convince your employees that (now this is a crucial point) financially protecting their families while neglecting the dangers to others is a better rationale than protecting all people as a whole, and preach about the dangers of social programs because they tax the resources of the corporations. Bribe regulators to let your safety issues slide, and when you make an obvious mistake, point out the fact that the corrupt politicians are the problem while doing your best to hide the smoking gun of lobbyist perks and payoffs in the form of campaign donations and reduced fines.

      Now to go out and tell people that the iRenew bracelet doesn’t truly work.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        We’d rather hide in our air conditioned house pretending like recycling cans is going to save the world. Never mind that we get a new car every two years and have had 4 different cell phones in the past four years. We recycle our cans dammit!!!

  6. DorsalRootGanglion says:

    A few others:

    Up here in MA, every single wind farm project runs into one of two problems:
    1) It’s ugly! Obviously, your unobstructed view of the cape > environmental health and energy independence.
    2) Magic burial grounds! Various tribes with completely, I’m sure, unrelated financial stakes in the land have decided that the proposed building sites are holy ground. That means a ton of litigation.

    It’s usually cheaper or the same price to replace vs. repair. This is especially true with higher-end electronics. When’s the last time you heard a repair quote for a cell phone that wasn’t the cost of a better phone? Planned obsolescence pretty much sucks.

    Things are made so poorly that, again, it’s better to replace than to repair them. Our desire for cheap has ended up costing us more. It would be nice to spend, say, $80 for a sturdy toaster than $30 for a toaster you replace every 2 years.

    Recycling isn’t easy if you’re living in the city. In Boston, it’s the landlord’s job to provide facilities for recycling, but 2/3 of the buildings I’ve lived in haven’t had any sort of recycling. What am I supposed to do? Take my trash on the T to a random dump?

    Fluorescent bulbs make me want to kill myself. The coloration is godawful and sickly. It makes having the lights on actively unpleasant.

    • Pax says:

      “2) Magic burial grounds! Various tribes with completely, I’m sure, unrelated financial stakes in the land have decided that the proposed building sites are holy ground. That means a ton of litigation.”
      No offense, but if someone wanted to put a wind turbine in the middle of your city or town’s local Cemetery … would you deride the objectors quite so thoroughly?

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        “Isn’t it time we stopped wasting valuable land on cemeteries? Talk about an idea whose time has passed: “Let’s put all the dead people in boxes and keep them in one part of town.” What kind of medieval bullshit is that? I say, plow them up and throw them away. Or melt them down. We need that phosphorous for farming. If we’re going to recycle, let’s get serious.”

        –George Carlin

      • josephpr says:

        I think the reference to “sacred” grounds in regard to the Massachusetts off-shore wind farm was the native Americans claim that it interfered with their worshipping the sunrise (or some such), not that there were ancestors buried there.

        Of course, I suspect the reason for their oppositon at this late date was spurred by behind the scenes, quid-pro-quo support for that other sacred native American tradition, a casino.

    • silas says:

      Not to mention getting waivers for fish and eagle killing,Cape Wind represents the most expensive renewable power imaginable and will burden ratepayers for years to come.National Grid ratepayers would pay an additional $23 million in the first year of the power purchase agreement, and built-in annual rate increases would eventually balloon the annual ratepayer premium to an additional $37 million in the final year of the contract. National Grid agreed to purchase the power at a rate of 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour. This represents a 256 percent increase compared to the current rate of electricity. Over the course of the contract, the increases would balloon to 420 percent of the current cost of electricity.

    • tsume says:

      Recycling is just as irritating in the rural/semi-rural areas. Unlike trash it is not collected for you, and you have to drive a good distance into the city to drop them off – wasting gas and polluting by driving and somewhat defeating the point.

      • Cait says:

        Only if you’re an idiot and make a special trip. Take them with you when you’re headed to town anyway!

        • NewsMuncher says:

          Yes, and recyclables won’t stink up the car, since there’s no banana peels to rot. It’s mostly just bulky stuff, like milk cartons and cardboard, from my experience.

          I’ve lived places where it’s against the law to throw out recyclables.

    • hansolo247 says:

      Florescent tube lights have the sickly color.

      CFLs, however, have a color closer to natural sunlight. I actually prefer them to incandescents.

    • perruptor says:

      Up here in MA, every single wind farm project runs into one of two problems:
      1) It’s ugly! Obviously, your unobstructed view of the cape > environmental health and energy independence.
      2) Magic burial grounds! Various tribes with completely, I’m sure, unrelated financial stakes in the land have decided that the proposed building sites are holy ground. That means a ton of litigation.

      1. Wind farms are a tourist attraction in some places. Saying “they’re ugly” is a value judgment that many people do not share.

      2. The “holy ground” arguments have been denied by prominent members of the same Mashpoag tribe as those who made them. There is no tradition of worshiping the sunrise as claimed.

      MA does have a terrific incentive program for installing PV solar on your home, worth tens of thousands of dollars in rebates and tax refunds. Look into it.

      The single wind project you’re referring to

    • drizzt380 says:

      +1 because you made me think of discworld.

      At one point a character points out that the rich stay rich because they never have to buy anything. They’ve got shoes that will last forever. But the poor segment of the population has to buy cheap shoes that wear out quick. Then of course they have to buy more cheap shoes. Of course, discworld is very tongue in cheek about it.

  7. balthisar says:

    I “went green” a couple of years ago by installing a ground source heat pump (what casual speakers might call “geothermal”). And while natural gas is cheap, running the heat pump is immensely cheaper. The point wasn’t to “go green” but to save lots and lots of money.

    • Rachacha says:

      What part of the country do you live in? What was the cost differential between a standard natural gas HVAC system as compared with the ground source? Based on your current energy bills, can you estimate your return on investment?
      I am currently building a home in the Washington DC area and would like to look at alternative HVAC systems, but from my initial research, the ROI was well beyond the life expectency of the system, so it becomes hard from a cost perspective to justify. I also have well and septic, and with the existing infrastructure I am extremely limited on where I could place the ground loops.

      • balthisar says:

        Michigan, so it’s used for both heating and cooling as required.

        I based my ROI and the cost differential between a standard, high-effeciency system and the system I installed (Water Furnace brand), not based on the cost of the cheapest thing I could find out there (that was already in the house, and approaching 25 years of age).

        So, the cost differential was only about $5000 (I have a detailed spreadsheet somewhere that covers costs and gas price assumptions, but all I have with me now is round numbers and vague recollections!). I calculated my ROI at just over four years, based on the then-current price of natural gas, and the reduced-rate of electricity feeding the system for summer air conditioning.

        I have a 1/2 acre lot, and so there was plenty of room for the ground loop to be installed horizontally.

        • MrsBug says:

          balthisar,
          Good for you on the geothermal. We didn’t have the money to be able to go geothermal, but we did go with a dual-fuel heat pump (propane) and it’s fabulous. We are also in Michigan and it has saved us a ton of money. We run the heat pump September (when it’s chilly) through probably most of November, the propane furnace runs typically December through February and then the heat pump kicks in March – May. We’ve only used the A/C feature on it twice in three years: this year when we hit the 90s with the high humidity. LOVE IT!!

  8. Hungry Dog says:

    The annoying thing about recycling where I am at is we have to pay additional to the garbage pickup for that service. I put my stuff in boxes and take it to the a center for free to dump off, while they advertise the recycling service as something that will help you earn money as you recycle. Unfortunately how it works is you pay them to take your recyclables and depending on how much weight it is they give you certificates for stores around here and its always something like “spend 30$ and save 5$” and in turn this service does nothing but give you a warm fuzzy and drain your wallet faster.

    • Pax says:

      My city does it differently, at least for those who get curbside trash removal (IOW, “don’t live in apartment buildings”):

      If you DON’T recycle (IOW, if you put recyclable materials in your ordinary trash bags, and get caught doing it), you get a sizeable bill.

      If you don’t pay the bill, you get arrested.

      IOW … “if we’re handling your trash … recycle, or else. If we’re not handling your trash … eh, whatever.”

      • nybiker says:

        Here in NYC, the sanitation police (yes, I am not kidding, there are sanitation police) check your curbside trash, especially on the day where you have both your recycling and your regular trash picked up. And you better not have your cardboard in with your trash. Or your glass bottles in your paper recycling container. Nope, if you do, you get a ticket. The fine, if it hasn’t been jacked up, is $25; at least for residences. I don’t know about the businesses. The problem is that the ticket is mailed to you way after the occurrence. So, all of a sudden you get a ticket that says on such-and-such day in June you put bottles in your regular trash bags. And now it’s July. Like who remembers what was put in the trash a month later? And what if somebody walked by and, thinking they were doing a nice thing by throwing out their trash instead of throwing it on the ground, threw a soda bottle or can into your regular trash container? That’s one reason I ensure the lids are secured on my containers and I put my containers out late at night, not 6 in the evening.

        • montusama says:

          In cities like NY, you need high level of sanitation to help keep the city moving. The only sad part is that smaller cities and towns don’t really “need” to keep the crap out of the area landfill because they have plenty of space. (give or take of course)

        • Geotpf says:

          In my city (Riverside, CA, about 50 miles east of LA), you get three bins-trash, recycling, and yard waste. You put cardboard and glass and paper and plastic and whatever in the recycling, grass and other plant material in the yard waste, and everything else in the trash. The only thing that you might think is recyclable that you don’t put in the recycle bin is styrofoam. And there are no “trash cops”. And, if you are in an apartment, you typically just get a standard dumpster (no recycling whatsoever).

        • NewsMuncher says:

          In Augusta, GA, I ordered a recycling bin, but my husband told me that the garbage pickup guys just dumped it back in with the regular trash. That got under my skin.

      • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

        We have curbside trash pick-up and recycling and I live in apartment.

  9. KrispyKrink says:

    Because I don’t want to paint everything in my life green. Besides, the paint will probably have lead in it.

  10. dreamfish says:

    I sincerely hope Hummers have gone out of fashion. I always thought that, aside from their terrible fuel economy, they were actually very ugly vehicles so tended to interpret ownership as being a big “f-you, I can do this because I can” to everyone (and the environment).

    Also, when in the USA, I would think nothing of walking two miles into the centre of town (and back again) and suspect this made me the exception.

    • andoman says:
    • tbax929 says:

      They haven’t around my area, but I’m in Southern Arizona. We have enough other problems going on with immigration stuff that we don’t really have time to deal with environmental stuff.

    • MustWarnOthers says:

      I completely agree with you, and luckily the Hummer line has been scrapped. It was going to be sold to the Chinese, but that deal went down in flames, and now they’re just slowly winding down the brand and dealerships.

      Good riddance.

    • SgtBeavis says:

      Hummers (the truck) are not only out of fashion, they are out of business.

      Hummers (the more pleasurable kind) will NEVER go out of fashion.

  11. arcticJKL says:

    We used to be told to take care of what we had and be stewards of the land.
    We took care of our trees and those around us. We picked up our tin cans when we left the park and threw our trash away. We were careful not to ruin the water around us because we drank it. We were taught to enjoy nature because it was wonderful to behold. We didn’t take all the fish because we wanted more fish next year.

    Then the earth became a sentient being. She cried, she ached she became angry. We all had to do our part for Mother Earth. We no longer could pic up cans to make money, or to clean up our favorite campground, no we had to do it because it was demanded of us or because we we told would all die if we didn’t.

    Something changed, we started becoming a theocracy of earth and her priests demanded a lot. The government jumped in so now if we take a air conditioner off the street we get fined. People scowl at us if the newspaper we read goes in the trash. There became an accepted way of doing things and an underlying hatred of those who didnt comply.

    Thats what happened.

    So yes, we are Americans and we can have ice in any drink we want whenever we want no matter how much energy it takes to create the things, and thats part of it. But its also a bit of our American rebelliousness lashing out against an intrusion into our innermost thoughts.

    • DorsalRootGanglion says:

      “If you’re going to tell me to do it I don’t wanna do it,” in other words.

      You’re saying that the US has the collective intelligence and reasoning of a 3 year old who needs a nap.

      • Torgonius wants an edit button says:

        That explains the popularity of gods-awful reality TV shows and pop music.

      • DarkPsion says:

        No that is the most basic definition of the Human Race as a whole.

        • veritybrown says:

          Bingo. I had a friend who used to say that the easiest way to kill off the freshman class at the university would be to put signs next to all of the water hemlock plants that said, “Eating this plant would be bad for you.”

      • arcticJKL says:

        No, more like, lets use common sense and concern for our fellow human beings as a rational for taking care of whats around us rather than creating a new worldview that is enforced by government policy, the thought police, nannies and fear.

    • SuperSnackTime says:

      So… are you seriously acting me to pretend like even you don’t know that you just wrote total bullshit?

      That was an empirically-empty statement, lacking a ounce of legitimate theoretical grounding that could possible justify your “causal” explanation.

      • veritybrown says:

        I don’t think that Arctic is “acting” you to believe anything. But Arctic certainly managed to encapsulate my generation’s experience of the environmental movement. There’s a big difference between asking people to do things that are relatively easy because it is recognizably for their own future benefit, and trying to SCARE people into doing things that are contrary to their own current good because if they don’t it will cause some horrible future disaster.

        The ONLY difference between the “green” movement and organized religion is that the envirowackos would deny that they are a religion. Believe in Jesus or the world will end; go green or the world will end. Both groups would scream “But you don’t understand, this is TRUE!”

      • arcticJKL says:

        What if I said, “please?”

    • silas says:

      Arctic WIN !

    • veritybrown says:

      +100

    • asherchang2 says:

      Unfortunately, people are stupid, selfish, short-sighted and willfully deluded. We need advocates and policies to ensure proper stewardship of our planet. If you dislike the “Mother Earth” metaphor (which isn’t even invoked much nowadays, compared to the “common sense and concern for our fellow human beings” which you so strangely claim has been de-prioritized by the “Eco-Cult”; way to go, strawman), then here’s one for you: Spaceship Earth. We’re all stuck on a single rock, with a finite amount of resources, and only one atmosphere, which can be managed by “engineers” (governments and NGOs), or made susceptible to human greed and the collective result of individual decisions ruled by cognitive biases and Status Quo-mongering demagogues.

      I have no clue why the hell you brought up the NYC AC incident and how it is relevant to your argument; the city wanted to protect its revenue from “recycling theft” profiteers. Sure the city behaved questionably, but it was not about compliance with environmentalist moralism, it was about the city wanting to claim what they deemed their property.

      And I feel sorry for you that you either witnessed or experienced a big fuss about tossing a newspaper rather than recycling it; recycling paper, especially paper as low-quality as newsprint, is nothing to bunch panties over.

      But surely, then, you must feel some indignation over our country’s obsession with bottled water, and the pointlessness of buying something worth mere pennies that has–with the help of petroleum in the plastic, and petroleum fueling the trucks– been commodified into something obscene and unsustainable. You must rage at this definitely nonsensical and unconcerned-with-our-fellow-man sabotage of the only planet we have, right?

      • arcticJKL says:

        Cant stand bottled water. a) just a money maker b) your reasons and c) convinces people they are doing something healthy even if its just bottled tap water.

        Ive read through the spaceship earth, and the lifeboat analogies, i’d just like to stick with the stewardship one. We (individually and corporate) have been placed in charge of something that doesnt belong to us. We need to take care of it, just like when we watch our friends dog.

        Education by non profits was working well in the 70s. I cant remember the last time the boy scouts had a paper drive. We had lots of clean up the X days and many parents taught their children to clean up after themselves.

        Part of our problem is, like the bottle water, our consumer packaging – do we need a pound of plastic for a usb drive – and the disposable culture. No more mops, now we have swifers with disposable sheet that get thrown away. I still save boxes and jars.

  12. Beeker26 says:

    Because it’s my God-given right as an American to rape and pillage the environment! Or something like that.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      And use hyperbole when logical arguments have been exhausted. Don’t forget that.

  13. keepher says:

    Seriously? Cost is the biggest blockage to going full out green. With so many unemployed, under employed, the fear the job is going away or with pay checks that do not keep pace with inflation the ability to lay out the big bucks is just not there. The government can talk about their rebates all they want, you still have to have the extra cash to do more than recycle your aluminum can.

    Maybe if the government rebated the companies doing the installations then more could afford to jump in that direction. We’ve been unemployed for nine months now but even before that it was a struggle every month.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      Actually, part of going green isn’t always about buying new stuff. If we all kept our furniture just 5 years longer, or drove our cars for 8 years instead of 5, that would mean that the demand would go down and fewer of those things would be produced. Then, fewer of those things would end up in the landfill, emissions from factories making all that stuff would go down, etc… I don’t know where the idea that going green means having to buy new stuff comes from. There are a lot of meaningful things you can do that will save you money instead of costing your money. You don’t have to have a Prius and front loading washer to be green. Hanging your laundry to dry on occasion saves more energy than a new EE washer any day, and did I mention it’s free?

    • barty says:

      Precisely.

      Most people are not going to “go green” until there is a financial incentive to do so. Right now most “green” technologies cost many times more than the conventional alternatives and the ROI from the energy savings is measured in decades, not years, in many instances.

      On the other hand, practicing simple conservation is probably well within the means and ability of almost anyone, and has a much more measurable benefit for the average Joe. However, this doesn’t bring about the kind of immediate change that the doom and gloom environmentalists pushing the “green” movement want. So we get impractically expensive technologies shoved down our throats to satisfy a relatively small group of individuals.

    • RandomHookup says:

      There’s an awful lot of “going green” that’s easy and free. I’ve seen people drop a can in the trash when it’s right next to recycling bin or have plastic bottles in their trash when they also put out a recycling bin for pick-up. Most will cite the inconvenience or the fact that their own actions won’t make a big difference.

  14. jason in boston says:

    I’m not having kids…I don’t really care about the species. After humans are extinct the earth will be just fine. Hell 100 years afters humans all die off, the earth will forget we ever existed.

    • kurtmac says:

      I somewhat agree, though not quite as fervently misanthropic. I think the “green movement” needs to change its PR message in order to get more people on board. Don’t do it to “save the earth”; the Earth is going to continue orbiting the sun with or without us, like you said. Don’t do it to “save the animals”; we could kill off 90% of the wildlife on this planet, yet life has always rebound from mass extinctions in the past.

      If people are so selfish, then it should play into their hands that we need to change our wasteful ways in order to save ourselves! The stereotypical Right Wing Anti-Environmentalist Climate Change Deniers are most likely also the same ones picketing outside of Planned Parenthood clinics, yelling insults and threats at anyone walking in. So, should they be so concerned with the value of human life and the future generations, then maybe they’ll care that the future is one where the unaborted babies can grow up with clean beaches to swim in and clean air to breathe. If we don’t do it for ourselves then, you’re right, there’s no reason at all.

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      But we’re special!!!

    • Duke_Newcombe-Making children and adults as fat as pigs says:

      Correction: 100 years after YOU die, the earth will forget about you. Fixed.

      Now, how about some consideration for the rest of us who have a slightly cheerier outlook, eh?

  15. ninabi says:

    I think some of it comes down to ease of use and how financially driven we are to pursue the green option. Example- recycling used to be a pain in the ass- load the car up with bags of cans and papers, drive to the center, unload, etc. Now- the big blue bin goes to the curb on Tuesdays where I live. Sorting? Don’t need to worry about it, just put it in the blue bin all mixed together. So easy that everybody does it.

    An example of financially driven- my husband likes having his own car and driving. We moved to a large city where park and ride lots were everywhere. Take a bus? Forget it- not for him. But…he discovered the costs of parking per day by his work and how nightmarish the traffic was and how cheap and quick the bus was- so the only driving he did was to the Park n Ride.

    Another example of ease of use- most people have to go out of their way to change over to solar power. And, it’s costly to convert. But we found housing where solar was included- easy for us (no re-doing electrical or waiting for installation), and solar was included in the cost of the home (which was very affordable).

    The question is- if “going green” is an admirable goal (and I believe it is), then it has to be made the most convenient, affordable, reliable choice to reach a wider population. If we want to have a fleet of electric cars on the road then they need to be affordable, attractive (key), reliable and capable of what current vehicles can do (one that can tow would be amazing). But it’s not in everyone’s nature to go out of their way consistently to do the right thing.

  16. ldub says:

    The corporations with the aid of politicians they give billions of dollars to, have worked very hard to make green “uncool” and unAmerican. They’ve been manipulating us for decades and it’s so pervasive most of us don’t even see it anymore. It’s like the air we breathe. The oil spill has caused more of us to lift our heads up and look around and ask some questions – a small silver lining in a very dark cloud. I hope it continues.

    • jurupa says:

      Can we say conspiracy theory?

      • ldub says:

        It’s not even close to a conspiracy – it’s just “good business”. If we all started thinking about our consumer choices and learning the facts about how what we buy/what we do impacts our environment both now and in the future, our consumption would slow way down. The corporations don’t want that (either individually or as a group) so they pay marketers and researchers and lobbyists and pundits to promote and advertise their best interests and to denigrate alternative ways of living or approaching your life and your consuming.

        Now, when lots of stuff was manufactured HERE in the US, you could make an argument (as they did back in the day) that “What’s good for GM is good for America”, but that really isn’t true anymore. What’s good for is NOT aligned with what is “good for America” anymore.

        I only hope more of us wake up and figure that out. .

        • jurupa says:

          Do you or don’t you want companies to stay in business? Less people consume the less business make in turn means less business stay around, in turn mean less people with jobs. DO you want that?

          • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

            You’re kidding, right? Or trolling? Please let it be one or the other.

    • mbz32190 says:

      I was waiting for someone to post something like this, and I agree with you. Oil companies pretty much killed out the idea of early electric cars. Paper companies don’t like hemp because it would cut into their business, etc.

      • Groanan says:

        There is nothing wrong with paper companies that farm trees for paper.
        We have as much trees in America as we had when it was first invaded by the white people.
        The need for paper makes lumber harvesting / growing profitable, and keeps those lands from being turned into parking lots or houses.

        I think what killed hemp was racism back when it was started to be considered a possible source for fibrous materials. The man who owned the newspapers owned the trees and slenderized hemp and marijuana as the drug of lazy minorities. If hatred wasn’t transferred from minorities to the product it might have gained steam a long time ago, and our tables / etc. might be made out of hemp today.

        Personally I think the Government should mow down our national forests and plant them with whatever tree / plant / etc. that scientists say produce the most oxygen per the space they take up and the water they require. After we get some oxygen farms we can start taking the salt out of seawater through some sort of large agriculture project.

  17. ARP says:

    6) Industries and certain media outlets have sucessfully engaged in a FUD and misinformation campaign about the cost, safety, and benefits of going green. Among the most common: Hummers are more environmentally friendly than a Prius, some EV’s might get their power from coal, therefore they are dirtier; CFL’s are horribly toxic and require a haz-mat team if you break one; green technology is more expenisve than non-green (which is true until you add in subsidies and foreign policy/war costs); if any environmentalist wastes energy, it means the whole movement is a farce.

  18. Tiandli says:

    Though it sounds ridiculously petty, those points have truth. Sad it all comes down to money and image. If there’s no money in it, we don’t do it. We would rather look filthy rich and wasteful rather than thrifty tree-huggers.

    Never mind in the long run, being environmentally friendly is going to save us all money and resources. And those people that do wasteful things like buying a phone they don’t need look selfish and uncaring, not trendy and cool.

  19. dg says:

    #4 and the Old Guard who want to keep the status quo in place. So they do whatever they can to ensure that green technologies cost more than the status quo technologies, so people naturally want to save money (or don’t have more money to spend) so the adoption rates are extremely slow.

    Also, no one really wants a windmill in their backyard or neighborhood.

    • RandomHookup says:

      Actually, windmills look pretty cool.

    • MrsBug says:

      dg, I’d disagree with that. I know some people don’t but I think it’d rock to have a wind turbine in our area. I love their streamlined aesthetic, not to mention their “green” power.

  20. Maximus Pectoralis says:

    I think part of it is the attitude of those promoting the “green movement”. As others have stated there’s a difference between being environmentally conscious and “going green”. Just like there is a difference between Vegetarian and Vegan. While in both cases there are some technical differences between the meaning of the words, the latter terms tend to denote more of a following or a social group rather than merely a way of life. I think there is some perception that “green” people, as well as other similar groups tend to be smug and elitist. I think the body of this article is a clear cut example of this. Furthermore, there is always the age-old issue of hypocrisy and the “Do as I say, not as I do” crowd. Take a look at Al Gore and his 20x power usage, house-boat, private jets etc. and Obama with his blistering thermostat. These are the people crying fire and brimstone yet they don’t seem to practice what they preach.

  21. coffeeculture says:

    I like being comfortable, that’s my #1 priority…I’ve spent too long being UNcomfortable on smelly public transit, cutting back on a/c to save on $$, and having to reuse stuff all the time because I had to.

    Now that I can afford it, I’m gonna blast that a/c, buy the comfortable SUV, and never set foot on transit again. Sure, I’ll recycle and not let the water run when I don’t need it, but damn it…you wrung 20 years+ of sacrifice out of me, I’m not gonna take it anymore!

  22. GMFish says:

    Why Are Americans Such Babies About Going Green?

    Because the arguments in favor of “going green” consist of ad hominem attacks against those who aren’t.

    • rpm773 says:

      I’d say that falls under #5.

      Which, incidentally, is the only argument in the list that is at least partly correct – the part in bold text.

  23. jurupa says:

    The real reason we are not going all out green is because the majority of green tech is not economical to switch to. The list is bull crap.

  24. Draw2much says:

    I think it’s mostly about affordability and convenience and ease of use. If something green doesn’t meet at least 2 of those requirements it’s just not going to be adapted quickly or at all. And with the way things are right now, being affordable for the masses is probably got to be the #1 thing going for it.

    That being said, many environmentalists ARE annoying. >_>

  25. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    What bothers me the most about the green movement is the holier than thou “greenies” preaching about using fuel efficient cars, fluorescent light bulbs, solar panels, recycled toilet paper, and on and on…and the next thing you know, they’re hopping on one of their private jets or redecorating their 2 bazillion sq foot house that uses 10x the electricity of a normal house. But, you know, that’s OK, because they’re rich and can afford to buy “carbon offsets”.

    But I’m not rich, and get by week to week, and can’t afford offsets. I have been recycling for years, I don’t waste electricity or water, and yes I use those squiggly light bulbs, even though I hate them. I’d love to have solar panels and/or a windmill to help with hot water and general electricity use, but they are too expensive and the ROI just isn’t there. I can’t justify spending thousands of dollars to save $30 or $40 per month on my electric bill that is only $70-$80 to begin with.

    I guess I feel like if someone is going to preach at me about being conservative with resources, they should do the same and not buy their way out of it with carbon offsets, sort of if you talk the talk, then walk the walk.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree with a lot of your points. I think it comes down to this: A lot of exceedingly environmentally-friendly people are totally and utterly blind to the notion that that kind of change is one borne out of luxury. Buying a hybrid, eating organic, eating local – things like that are especially easy for people with the money and the resources, and for whatever reason, those people who are waving the GO GREEN sign the highest just don’t see the people below them who are still driving their 1997 Hondas and live in small towns far away from local farms.

  26. Steele says:

    Why do I avoid the “green” movement? Because most people turn it into a racket. Perfect example. In most states if you want to recycle, you have to go out of your way, spending your money and your time, where someone else makes money out of it. Where I live, one of the top 10 largest cities in the US, if you want to recycle your glass, cans, paper, batteries, cellphones or plastic, 1. You have to clean it 2. You have to separate it 3. You have to take it to a recycling center 4. You get nothing but a hearty pat on the back while 5. Someone else processes it and sells it at a profit.

    Organic food, less chemicals, higher price. And even the federal guideline for organic means that you can use some chemicals.

    Cleaners that are suppose to be “environment” friendly, that don’t work as well as the original product and are a higher price. And are they really “green” products? Clorox’s “Green Works” products contain ethanol, which has been shown as being neither cost effective nor eco-friendly yet Clorox scored an EPA endorsement for their product line.

    Hybrid cars, why do they cost nearly twice the amount of a “normal” car? Exactly how much gas do you save versus the extra cost of the vehicle? And exactly how much difference does it make when you have to pay for the electricity when you plug it in? It may be a bit cleaner, but overall, the cost to the consumer is incredibly more. And you still end up with a toxic battery in the end.
    Or companies just don’t like the idea of recycling, because it hurts their bottom line. Perfect example HP. If you refill one of their ink cartridges, it voids the warranty on their printer. If you use recycled paper that is not an HP product, it voids the warranty on their printer.

    And if the entire US went green, would it really make a difference when countries like India and China are spewing out pollution that exceeds the rest of the world’s pollution. Focus on the major problems such as these countries.. the US wtih their bandaid ideas won’t fix the gaping environment wound of pollution with China and India (along with Russia at times) continuing on with life as normal.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      Move to New York State, where you get a break on trash collection fees when you recycle. Curbside pickup. No fuss, no muss. The way it should be everywhere.

      Agree with you 100% on “organic” produce. It’s a steaming load, it costs extra, and is isn’t even better produce. To me, “organic” means I picked it from my backyard garden. Now there’s good produce. Worth every drop of sweat.

      As for hybrid cars, I couldn’t agree with you more. The cost of being an early adopter of this cutting edge technology just isn’t worth it to me. I can almost buy two Corollas (39 highway MPG) for what one Prius costs. What I’m really waiting for is the all-electric vehicle. My feeling is that we can have one of those plus one gasoline car (the aforementioned Corolla), and cut our gas bill by about 2/3 because the electric will be doing all that local running around getting groceries and whatnot while we save the gas car for longer trips. Now that’s green, IMO.

      • Geotpf says:

        As for hybrid cars, compare apples to apples. A Corolla is a much smaller car, with fewer features standard, than a Prius. A Prius is Camry-sized. Plus you are completely wrong about the prices. A base model Corolla is $16,210; a base model Prius is $23,560; a base model Camry is $20,355.

    • jojo319 says:

      I was under the impression that pretty much all recycling (except aluminum) was actually more harmful and more expensive than just buying a new product. That’s when you take into account all of the chemicals used in transport and processing. There are 2 things that reinforce this idea (at least for me).

      1. The fact that people will pay you for cans means that it makes economic sense

      2. Most recycling plants are heavily subsidized. Subsidies usually mean that it doesn’t make economic sense.

      Also, I totally agree with the point about India and China. The argument that “you have to start somewhere” doesn’t hold water for me. It’s too much of a risk to assume that these countries will eventually do their part. In the meantime we put American companies at a disadvantage because they have tons more regulations that in the big picture have little or no effect on the environment.

  27. TehLlama says:

    Because the same idiots who can’t comprehend our country’s necessity for energy sources that are economic stand in the way of establishing new nuclear power facilities, and spend time vilifying energy companies instead of fixing local governments that block private citizens from installing privately owned solar collectors on their own land, or demand that coal power plants pay money for useless carbon offset credits instead of using that capital to develop and install cleaner coal technologies.

    • pantheonoutcast says:

      And don’t forget that the very same “environmentalists” who run around spitting in the faces of Hummer owners for gas guzzling have been standing in the way of the growth of nuclear power as a sustainable energy source for decades based solely on fear, misinformation, and ignorance.

    • Bob says:

      Exactly. We have seen the worst case disasters in both this country and the former Soviet Union. Our worst case was 3 mile Island. It scared people because of the minute amount of radiation released and the confusion and FUD surrounding it. Less than 10 years later we have the Chernobyl disaster. Then you had the eco-fundies claiming that that could happen in our nuclear reactors without any real understanding of the technology difference between the two types of nuclear reactors. They didn’t want to understand, they just wanted nuclear power to go away.

      The comparison has proven that American nuclear reactors are way safer than the Russian built ones. In fact if you compare the dangers of the building more coal plants compared to building a new Nuclear Power plant in the US, I think the coal plant will contribute to the early death of people more than the nuclear reactor will. Nuclear reactors don’t contribute to smog that can take years off of anyone who has a breathing problem. Coal fired plants always pollute the air, but In any given year the chances of a Nuclear Power plant causing pollution is much lower.

  28. pantheonoutcast says:

    Because its a meaningless phrase meant to polarize and alienate the people it presumes to protect?

    Even if everyone in America drives a recycled Prius and grows hydroponic organic hemp, we would never offset what developing nations and industrial conglomerates are contributing in terms of pollution.

    • Cait says:

      Mommy! China is still polluting so why do I have to stop?? If China can do it, why can’t I??? It’s not FAIR!

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        By 2012, China will have 22 nuclear power plants under full operation, with 130+ more proposed. During that same time, the misinformed, overrating American tree-huggers and eco-thugs will still be vitriolically and agressively opposing expansion of our own nuclear energy program.

        The oil spill in the gulf? Environmentalists, and their insistence on deep water drilling, versus other methods and locations, indirectly caused that.

    • MMD says:

      So let’s not bother to even try. Seems to be a recurring theme when I encounter your posts.
      I feel sorry for you.

      • pantheonoutcast says:

        You feel sorry because I’m not filled with manufactured guilt? There’s a line between being needlessly wasteful and psychotically “green” and I fall directly to the right of it. I walk to the store when it’s nice out, belong to the Ocean Conservancy, and I think I may have purchased a bottle of water a grand total of a dozen times.

        Other than that, I do what is best for my wallet, my safety, my well-being, my comfort and my goals. I’m not going to bike to work because it’s 7 miles each way via highway, and that’s dangerous (not to mention cold and wet 5 months out of the year). I’m not going to purchase only “organic” foods, because it’s too expensive. I’m not going to wash and separate out each individual piece of garbage for recycling because it’s a waste of my time (as well as a scam).

        I contribute more to the welfare of the planet by not reproducing – all resources are finite, and I’m not going to spawn a bunch of mouths into this already overpopulated world just so I can have some false accomplishment with which to make me feel good about my existence.

        Go take your smug, head-shaking pity somewhere else.

  29. El-Brucio says:

    As other people have mentioned, it’s a combination of economics and usefulness. No one wants to buy a green product that costs the same as a non-green product but doesn’t work as well, or a product that is green but costs much more than it’s non-green counterpart.

    The green cleaning products I buy don’t clean as well as the harsh chemicals, so I still occasionally get them. The organic produce at my local grocery store costs more and isn’t as nice as the regular produce.

    They’ve pretty much overcome these obstacles with compact fluorescent bulbs, but when they first came out, they were expensive and provided horrible lighting.

  30. TheLastGiantRobot says:

    Because we need to give pretentious bloggers something to write about…

  31. DarksSideMoon says:

    Because a fair portion of these things aren’t worth it. Take the CFL lightbulbs for instance- The mercury and added energy used in making them pretty much offset their green benefits.

  32. KyBash says:

    On the one side, we’re constantly told we need the biggest, newest, and trendiest gizmo or we’ll be ostracized by society and the economy will go down the tubes.

    On the other side, dweebs wearing secondhand clothes tell us to buy overpirzed stuff that usually doesn’t work or that uses more energy and/or creates more pollution that what we already use.

    (Anyone who drives a Prius or uses compact fluorescent bulbs should be held accountable for the massive, permanent pollution created by their manufacture.)

  33. Jemaine says:

    Blame it on the hippies… kidding aside, I thought about going green and eating organic food, but I realized it costs a lot more. Going green is the new fad, which means that companies will mark everything up since everyone is doing it. I went in Earth Fare the other day and all their products cost as much as Publix or more, until things get cheaper, I think most people will stay away.

  34. NebraskaDan says:

    I find it amusing that the same people who yell at us to conserve resources and not overuse them are the very same morons who don’t understand that if the government continues to spend more than is brought in, all of your pretty little social programs go kaput, be it sooner or later. Use the same logic for natural resources as you do reckless government spending and maybe the world will change for the better.

    Until then, STFU you bloody hypocrites.

  35. Plasmafox says:

    “Going green” has NOTHING to do with consumers.

    Average citizens do not significantly contribute to the power usage and pollution generated in modern society- industry and corporations such as BP are to blame. Trying to make the “average Joe” feel guilty is part of a decades old media campaign here in America- and it’s bull.

  36. PsiCop says:

    Here’s my take on the issue: I treat the “green” propaganda campaigns as inherently suspicious, because it’s ALWAYS wise to treat ALL propaganda campaigns with suspicion. Especially things that people are being told to do in large numbers.

    Why do I say that? History shows it to be true. During World War II, for example, the Allied governments collected up pots and pans, supposedly to make ammunition. At one point they even collected metal toys from children, for this purpose. But what did they do with all of these donations? Well, not all of it went toward making ammunition or other war materiel, that’s for sure. Household aluminum, for example, could not be used to build aircraft. These collection drives where merely an insidious way of making people “feel” involved in the war effort and maintain homeland morale and support for the war.

    So pardon me if propagandists come along and tell me what I should do for someone else, when there’s no evidence it will help me, or them, in the slightest.

    As for measures like the “cap and trade” plan, which may or may not ever be enacted … this is being done solely to artificially raise the cost of energy, without having to call it a “tax.” It has no other purpose. The problem is that, if it passes, I will be paying more for energy, but will not gain any additional benefit in return for the added outlay. It will simply cost me more to do what I would normally do. The money acquired by “cap and trade” will be shuffled around by investors who will trade it and siphon fees off as they do, but I will get nothing from it. That extra money will line the pockets of Wall Street, and will not do the slightest thing to help the environment … or me.

    Am I being cynical? Damn right. And I plan to remain cynical. Pardon me for being asked to do more, and pay more, but to get absolutely nothing in return for the added work or payment. Sorry, but I’m not dumb enough.

    • vastrightwing says:

      Let me get this straigt, you’re saying that we are being lied to? If that’s what you’re saying, I agree.

  37. vastrightwing says:

    Because our own government isn’t leading by example. Recycling is only done because the towns benefit from the material. They aren’t doing it to be green. Bottle deposits are done so they get to keep the un-refunded bottle money, not because it makes people re-cycle. Red light cameras are not there to make us safe, it’s for the revenue. Cigarette taxes are not being used to benefit smokers and health care, it’s going into state budgets. I could go on and on… my point being that we are told to be green and to recycle for the environment, yet our government lies about its own agendas and yet they expect its denizens to do what it says and not what it does? I have a plan, let’s stop fooling ourselves and start talking straight. Let government lead by example instead of out of both sides of it mouth.

  38. hmmhmm says:

    Follow the money. A majority of people will not change their habits for grandiose ideas like environmentalism especially when the environment being harmed and the people who are suffering are far far away. Their victims are out of sight and out of mind.

    What people do change their habits is their own bottom line.High energy prices result in conservation. That is a fact. When gas prices went through the roof, people wanted smaller cars, took public transportations, and carpooled. Families in Minnesota install heavy insulation in their homes and put in three paned windows to save heating bills. Farmers in rural China up water heating tanks on their roofs so the sun can prewarm the water.

    The current situation in America is that for most families, energy costs are not realistically priced and are low relative to incomes. If you really priced, for example, gas so that it included the cost for environmental cleanups, government subsidies/tax cuts for oil industry, healthcare related to damaged environments and foreign intervention to secure oil supplies gas prices would be much higher and people would save. But of course, that will hurt the consumer-driven economy.

  39. AngryK9 says:

    Simple one word answer: Greed

  40. Groanan says:

    Going green means nuclear power, and a successful ad campaign, combined with unsubstantiated fears, and a ton of bad TV shows and Hollywood movies, has pushed nuclear energy out of our reach.

    Instead of updating our plants that are decades old, to newer safer cleaner plants, we let the price of energy go through the roof, while at the same time, burn coal all day long, spilling radiation, green house gases, and other air pollutants into the surrounding town, while having coal workers die from accidents during extraction and from long term exposure.

    And what do the people who pose as going “green” suggest? Switching to still non-existant solar and wind power that can sustain our population.

    We have the answer right in front of us, it is nuclear energy, what we need is the propaganda machine to be reversed and more true environmentalists to get behind nuclear energy.

    It is like we are intentionally wiping out 50 years of technology to so we can stagnate in the industrial age until we reach the Jetsons age.

    • Groanan says:

      Forgot to tie it together…

      And because we see that the Government and companies that claim to be green are really frauds trying to make money, we don’t accept that what they tell us is green really is good for the environment.

      Recycling is a prime example, as we waste energy and water by moving and cleaning glass and plastic. Somehow everyone thinks we do not have enough landfill space or that landfills are unsafe, the math shows that this is not true, and the science behind new landfills shows us that they are very safe (they use large diapers beneath the landfill and they make landfills in dry areas without nearby groundwater).

      We also all know that the EnergyStar rating is something companies pay to put on their product instead of something they qualify for.

      We do not have enough honest information to make green purchase decisions.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        …they use large diapers beneath the landfill…

        They do? I didn’t know that. That’s a helluva big diaper!

    • veritybrown says:

      Aye, there’s the rub. Envirowackos are against using oil, coal, and natural gas. But they seem to be unable to agree with any of the proposed alternatives, either.

      Nuclear: too dangerous!
      Wind: too noisy and ugly!
      Water: OMG, we might murder some fishies!

      Solar has potential uses, and you’ll observe that it has been adopted in a number of consumer goods for the uses in which it is practical. But there are other uses for which is it highly impractical, and we need *something* to provide the power for those uses.

  41. shepd says:

    Why? Because you’re not idiots? You could join your neighbours up north and charge eco fees on prescription medication, like asthma inhalers, along with fees on diabetic syringes! Go for the gold and beat us!

  42. DEVO says:

    Yeah, lobbyists don’t exist on the green side of things to make others uber rich I guess. Any company that’s green must be selfless and just have the Earths interest in mind. It’s kind of like believing the hippies in the 60′s never ripped anyone off or had bad thoughts. The problem not listed here is that intelligent people don’t like to be scammed. Therefore people, not sheeple, like to first know if the technology is cost effective and actually works, and also if the new implementation of a product (that breaks the bank) is actually going to make a damn bit of difference. Believe me If I could be progressive and still maintain any sense of intellectual honesty I would be first on board. I want to live in Eutopia also. Unfortunately there is this pesky thing called reality. I would love to always eat organic and drive a silent hybrid car, but reality of income sometimes gets in the way for myself. I’m sure it would be a lot easier to live in la la land if I were wealthy or a trust fund baby.

  43. veritybrown says:

    The number one reason is the cost. Going “green” is expensive, and that is a luxury that most of us can’t afford. LITERALLY can’t afford. As for Wired’s reasons:

    1. Buying new tech (which I also can’t afford) is relatively small contribution to pollution. And without the willingness to embrace new tech, how is green tech supposed to be embraced? Connecting modern green technology to the conserve-because-you-have-to poverty of a hundred years ago is a wildly false analogy.

    2. Pure strawman. It may be difficult to make people *panic* about going green when there appear to be plenty of resources, but as a general rule, the average consumer doesn’t set out to see how much he can waste today.

    3. Wrong–green is flashy in its own way; the problem is, it’s horribly expensive. And most of it doesn’t work as well as non-green products. Most consumers are (understandably) unwilling to pay more to get less.

    4. What do lobbyists have to do with the decisions of consumers?

    5. Bingo. It is easier to lead people than to bully them into doing what you want. Environmentalism has become a kind of doomsday cult; it even has its own terrorist wing. I believe in being a good steward of the earth, but when “green” is associated with a radical ideology that I’m not willing to be a part of, it is suddenly far less desirable. And when I see the ideology’s “high priest” Al Gore spending more every month on his electric bill than I spend in a year, this “organized green religion” starts to look like something I want nothing to do with.

  44. silas says:

    Please remember,most of the ‘Going Green’ is a play for money and power
    Not saving the planet.
    Who doesn’t want a cleaner environment?
    How our gvt. and wall st. plans to cash in on that:

    (excerpts from Matt Taibbi story on Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone magazine
    “The Great American Bubble Machine”)

    ….the new game in town, the next bubble, is in carbon credits — a booming trillion dollar market that barely even exists yet, but will if the Democratic Party that it gave $4,452,585 to in the last election manages to push into existence a groundbreaking new commodities bubble, disguised as an “environmental plan,” called cap-and-trade.
    The new carboncredit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that’s been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won’t even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance…..

    ….Al Gore, who is intimately involved with the planning of cap-and-trade,started up a company called Generation Investment Management with three former bigwigs from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, David Blood, Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris. Their business? Investing in carbon offsets. There’s also a $500 million Green Growth Fund set up by a Goldmanite to invest in greentech … the list goes on and on. Goldman is ahead of the headlines again, just waiting for someone to make it rain in the right spot. Will this market be bigger than the energyfutures market?

    “Oh, it’ll dwarf it,” says a former staffer on the House energy committee.

    Well, you might say, who cares? If cap-and-trade succeeds, won’t we all be saved from the catastrophe of global warming? Maybe — but capandtrade, as envisioned by Goldman, is really just a carbon tax structured so that private interests collect the revenues. Instead of simply imposing a fixed government levy on carbon pollution and forcing unclean energy producers to pay for the mess they make, cap-and-trade will allow a small tribe of greedy-as-hell Wall Street swine to turn yet another commodities market into a private taxcollection scheme. This is worse than the bailout: It allows the bank to seize taxpayer money before it’s even collected.

    “If it’s going to be a tax, I would prefer that Washington set the tax and collect it,” says Michael Masters, the hedgefund director who spoke out against oilfutures speculation. “But we’re saying that Wall Street can set the tax, and Wall Street can collect the tax. That’s the last thing in the world I want. It’s just asinine.”

    the entire Rolling Stone story:rollingstone.com/politics/news/12697/64796

  45. Rachacha says:

    Why haven’t I gone green…simple economics:
    1) I have switched to CFL lights in many rooms in my home where I don’t have a need for dimming, and where I use the lights frequently (I can’t justify installing a $2+ bulb in a light that sees 6 hours of use every year). The problem I am experiencing is that the bulbs tend to fail faster than their incandescent counterparts. When a $0.50 bulb fails after a month, you don’t worry about it, but when a $2-3 bulb that is supposed to last many years fails, it hurts a bit more.

    2) Solar, while I would love to install solar panels on my house, the efficiency and cost is not quite yet at the sweet spot yet. Sure, let’s just go ahead and invest $30,000 on a solar system that will reduce my $200 energy bill by 10% every month. When my ROI is more than 20 years, it is difficult to convince people that it is a wise decision to make.

    3) Alternative fuel vehicles, I am all for them, but infrastructure needs to be built so when I take my electric or hydrogen vehicle out on a road trip, I can actually “refuel” conveniently and in only a few minutes. Also, alternate fuel vehicles need to be able to comfortably fit a family of 4+. The Chevy Volt might be able to hit the sweetspot in all of these areas for me, but I want to see a real working unit at the dealership before I am ready to say it is a gamechanger and something that could change the minds of Americans.

    • RandomHookup says:

      My CFLs have had extremely long life and I’ve only had to replace a couple. My hardware store gives us one a month for free, but I realize everyone doesn’t have that advantage.

    • veritybrown says:

      I’ve noticed this problem with CFL bulbs as well. I like to use them in locations where lights must be left on for long periods of time, since it saves me money on my electric bill *and* they supposedly last longer than incandescent bulbs (in addition to the little “green” perk, although the whole issue of mercury is making that seem less green). But a number of CFL bulbs I’ve installed have failed to last any longer than the incandescent bulbs they replaced, which tends to offset any energy savings I personally get from using them.

  46. egoods says:

    Can I just say it’s kind of funny to me that the picture on this article is of a nuclear power station producing steam… Yes nuclear power isn’t totally green, but it’s still one of the greener power options being widely used today.

  47. cmdr.sass says:

    People just don’t like to be preached at.

  48. jerry101 says:

    laziness and dumb right wingers who make it their mission in life to “piss off libruls” because rush told them so?

  49. FrankReality says:

    I can’t speak for everybody, but I can speak for me. Here are some real-life examples – utility of the green technology and economics play into the choices made and sometimes other issues come into play as well.

    Mass transit doesn’t exist where I live. It is neither feasible nor economical to move to a location where such transportation is available, nor will mass transit ever be available here.

    I want to put in a photovoltaic grid or small wind generator, but at this point in time it isn’t cost effective. Someday it will be, but I wouldn’t I put an investment that would take 20 years to pay back in a home which I plan to live in only 10 more years.

    I drive a small, but not tiny car. Would a tiny car save fuel and the environment? Yes, but not much – certainly not enough to justify the increased risk of getting injured or killed in a micro-car.

    My wife has a big car, but the difference in going from a 25 MPG car to a 30 MPG car would save her only $250 a year. Once again, the economics don’t work. Buying a hybrid, same song, second verse – not economically viable.

    My job is in a town a bit more than 30 miles away. My wife is starting a new job also in the same town. We hope to be able to figure out a way to ride together, but our different work schedules may prevent that.

    There are companies that want to put in an array of large 450 foot windmills in my area, but no one wants to live near them. Our rural electric coop also won’t get any of the power generated by these – it will be sold to other utilities. So these companies want us to absorb the pain (and windmills ARE painful to live near), while they sell to power to utilities that serve metro areas. Why not save the transmission costs and put the windmills in the metro areas? Because the residents there don’t want them where they live – the very same reason we have nuclear plants in rural areas.

    We have done what what is economically feasible to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy usage – we gradually do more as the technologies improve and the economics get better. We recycle as much as we can, even though to do so requires an 8 mile drive to the county garage to drop them off. I suspect we are like most Americans.

    Somebody had posted that industry is such a huge waste of resources that individuals need not work to be green. The accusation of US industries being wasteful is just not true. It’s a bad rap. American industries and manufacturers (including the one I work for) have been reducing pollution and waste, reducing energy use and recycling – not just because it is green, but because such activities save the companies lots of green – as in money. There is a refinery not far from where I live – 30 years ago it used to strongly stink and was smoky as well, but now there are only occasional light odors and virtually no smoke – the plant is that much more efficient. It’s also expanded its capacity. While there are exceptions, in general, US facilities get more produced with less pollution and energy use than anywhere else.

    Another point is not everybody can agree of what is truly a green technology. Are CFLs really a green technology, considering the mercury vapor that is inside? For decades, the green movement categorically rejected nuclear power, yet now we are seeing some softening of that position – because unlike the burning of fossil fuels which pollute the air it apidly gets dispersed, nuclear has its pollution contained in one place. Are electric cars green? Well, they have to get their electricity from somewhere, so they’re really green only if the source of the energy was green.

    Last, the US is very dispersed – the sheer size of of nation, combined with sparseness of population in rural areas make it harder to adopt new technologies – for example, the sheer size of our country and lack of population density means that high speed fiber and 4G technologies may take the better part of a decade to be rolled out and many areas will never get the technologies. It’s much the same for green technologies that require population density to be practical. Many of the leaders in adopting new technologies are relatively small, and are very dense population centers.

    Any green technology will have a much better chance of being adopted and implemented in my life if it can be done by an individual, done without a significant change in behavior, has equivalent or better utility than the technology it replaces, does not require a significant capital investment, won’t become obsolete quickly, and saves money both in the short and long term.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      “My wife has a big car, but the difference in going from a 25 MPG car to a 30 MPG car would save her only $250 a year. Once again, the economics don’t work.”
      Only because we radically undertax gasoline. If gas taxes had to cover $300BN/year in defense costs, and gas were $5-6/gallon, then the savings would be $500/year, and might start making sense.

      My job is in a town a bit more than 30 miles away. My wife is starting a new job also in the same town. We hope to be able to figure out a way to ride together, but our different work schedules may prevent that.

      “Somebody had posted that industry is such a huge waste of resources that individuals need not work to be green. The accusation of US industries being wasteful is just not true. It’s a bad rap.”
      Agreed. Some of this was because of efficiency, but a lot due to regulation, since a lot of the pollution controls don’t make financial sense for the company.

      “Are CFLs really a green technology, considering the mercury vapor that is inside?”
      Yes, they are. Even if you smash the bulb, the mercury released is materially less than would be released by burning the extra coal necessary to power an incandescent.

      “Last, the US is very dispersed – the sheer size of of nation, combined with sparseness of population in rural areas make it harder to adopt new technologies”

      This is part of the problem. Another reason for materially higher gas taxes, to discourage urban sprawl and rural living. The most environmentally-friendly people in America (in terms of carbon generation, in particular) are urban apartment dwellers.

    • RandomHookup says:

      I’m really curious…why are windmills painful to live by?

  50. EcPercy says:

    Please list the countries that are green. I am curious which ones they are… Everyone seems to want to pick on America, but what countries don’t use a single petroleum based product?

    Also… who is to blame for our throw away society? It’s not just America. Companies don’t make products that last more than a year so that you have to buy another one. That’s not my fault…

    If companies themselves weren’t motivated by greed then they would make products that would last. That’s only part of the problem though. How much technology has been bought by Big Oil and forgotten? Technology that could have made a big difference before now.

    Have you noticed that they (Big Oil) are making sure they are involved in the transition to alternative fuels? WHY? It’s time to let them go.

    Last thought.. I would be all for going green if it didn’t cost so much…

  51. donovanr says:

    Just look at our cars and houses. People today with a new properly built house or a modern car would detest going back to a 70′s house with a 70′s car even if they were brand new So good green will sell but people don’t like the self-righteous green lobby because of all the lies.

    These new compact florescents are a perfect point: They contain mercury, they cast the same crap light found in offices, they are expensive, their savings claims are turning out to be overblown, they turn on funny, and did I mention the mercury?

    So give us green technology that works and people will dive in. LED Christmas lights would be a perfect example. All kinds of advantages at a very low cost and nearly everyone quickly switched.

  52. Jimmy37 says:

    Your post mixes apples and oranges.
    1) I conserve and always have. Having grown up poor, I hate to see things go to waste. It takes just a little more thought not to live a wasteful life. I hate it when certain personalities call conservation a restriction on American’s lives.
    2) Green technology is prohibitively expensive upfront, and the payback period, if any, is extremely long. It doesn’t last forever and its efficiency drops with age. Europe adopted it because they are short on resources and socialist governments prop up these money losers. I’m surprised public transportation wasn’t added to discussion.
    3) Flashy has nothing to do with it. My natural gas furnace and electric air conditioner just run hidden away in the basement. There is a small amount of maintenance. The gas and electricity flow in. I don’t have to worry about things I have no control over, like the sun shining and the wind blowing. I don’t have to worry about replacing expensive batteries, en mass.
    4) There I will agree. Vested interests don’t want to have to replace their expensive, long-term investments
    5) Environmentalists are hypocrites. They want to do as much as they want with the least environmental footprint, and have someone else pay for the inconvenience and technology. How much energy does your boy Gore waste? And where are those supposed carbon credits coming from?

  53. crazydavythe1st says:

    My issue is that everyone seems to want to make environmentalism an all-or-nothing issue. People on one side seem to suggest polluting our planet into oblivion, since “we might as well”. The other side seems to suggest an extreme level of environmentalism that isn’t practical by any means for the typical person.

    In politics it’s pretty clear cut – “conservatives” hate environmentalism and “liberals” love it. I put the terms in quotes because it seems to me that true conservatives would be more willing to adopt certain elements of environmentalism out of cost effectiveness, and at the same time true liberals wouldn’t be willing to put job security, transportation needs, or many other issues secondary to being green.

    In our current scope of looking at things, it may very well be that efforts at being “green” are in vain if it isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor, but it also may be the case that future technological changes might benefit from current incremental changes. I think most people realize this; they just get caught up in all the political crap associated with it and they believe that they have to be green to an extreme, or they have to toss it all aside in favor of industry.

  54. Jojo Pumpkin says:

    Ok, according to this “article” if I am not wealthy enough to afford the “green” life I should be laden with guilt and be making arrangements to off myself and my family. What upper class yahoo wrote this?

    A very small percentage of americans can afford electric cars and solar power. If these products are made here in the U.S. and the infrastructure is put in place to sustain these technologies what do you think will happen? Those industries will be forced overseas in order to make the products affordable unless we resort to China’s labor practices. Not to mention all the environmentalist’s backtracking on their causes when these industries want to build the plants in our back yards. There is nothing “green” in the making of and disposal of batteries. There is nothing green about those stupid light bulbs. Read the box. You can’t just throw them in the trash. Going green by way of mass instruction only shifts the problems from one beast to another.

    There are only two scenarios that come to mind that could come close to helping remedy our situation. The first and most preferred but most unlikely is to eliminate central banking and that big lie called NAFTA all together leaving nations to achieve true value of their currencies and keep their money in their countries which would put nations in better positions to keep their populations working, spur innovations and likely stop stupid wars.
    The second scenario is scary and far more likely since the first would never happen, which would be a huge and quick population reduction. That would make everyone happy unless you are part of the reduction.

    Americans will always be consumers. That is what we have been trained to be. Now Americans are being trained to be “green” consumers. We are being asked to spend more money while making less., driven by the guilt this very article and most media outlets demand that we carry.

  55. Dallas_shopper says:

    I recycle, use my own bags at the supermarket, just ordered separate produce bags with see-through mesh so I don’t have to use plastic bags to contain oranges, apples, etc. I have shoes re-soled instead of throwing them away and buying new. I have clothing repaired and/or altered instead of buying new. I use nothing but filtered water in my $13 Mr Coffee 4-cupper in order to prolong its operating life. I am constantly looking for ways to cut down on my water, gas, and electricity usage. I even keep the thermostat in my house at a warm 81F in summer when it’s a boiling 100F outside.

    I never buy bottled water (incredible waste) either. That’s one of my pet peeves…people buying obnoxious bottles of water then discarding the bottles. Even if you recycle them, you’re still wasting a LOT. Just buy your OWN water bottle and *gasp* FILL IT UP from the tap or a Brita pitcher. WTH is wrong with you?

  56. jojo319 says:

    I do support the green movement! Through the enormous subsidies that are handed out to recycling facilities and millions (if not billions) in tax credits and kickbacks.

  57. u1itn0w2day says:

    At the sametime we’re on information overload and I think the public service messages aren’t as effective in educating the public. I recall as a kid seeing the ‘ give hoot don’t pollute ‘ ads as I remember the American Indian crying when looking at all the pollution.

    You also have the instant gratification society which causes 2 problems the first one with something like a CFL the public gets frustrated when something like a CFL takes longer to come on in cooler weather or has a few bugs like a hum(I wish the public was in upheaval the way they seem to be over an Apple I Pad or what ever).

    Then after being brainwashed all their lives that things like an SUV are the only things hogging energy they cannot fathom how replacing all your light bulbs could help save energy. Part of the problem is a relevant enough scientific education that can teach things like watts or kilowatts.

    Another thing that comes from ignorance and instant gratification is the lack of education on cars in that the faster you go the more gas you burn especially in the city. What good does racing to a red light or stop sign do?- it wears out your brakes faster but what good is it. But everyone is in such a hurry.

  58. Verdant Pine Trees says:

    Honestly, while I think all of them are true (including #5, but only because they are the loud minority), a lot could be accomplished if people pointed out how going green saves you moolah!

    Replaced our toilets and bought a new washing machine = Lower water bills
    Replaced our thermostat with a programmable one, changed to fluro and LED bulbs = Lower electricity bills
    Put up solar powered lights = No electricity cost to light the front door at night etc.
    Recycle bins created, created a compost heap = Lower garbage costs

  59. TimothyT says:

    Somehow, someway “green” will have to be un-politicized to be successful. We ALL have predetermined beliefs that are based on their core “political” ideology. In the US, just over half of the country voted for Bush over Gore. What does that say? It says we are a divided nation.

    Basically, anything that is spoken by Gore (or Bush) will be immediately dismissed as a lie by half of the country. Now granted, we had conservationist before Gore but I believe this took it to a new level of politicizing and division.

    There needs to be a pragmatic, truthful, and unbiased effort in the area of renewable energy and environmental impact of human consumption. Until then, you’ve lost half of us before you even started talking.

  60. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Add me to the list of commenters who say it’s all about money. People aren’t going to make a change that will cost them more, especially in this economy. Most people simply can’t afford it.

    That said, there are simple things everyone can do that conserve energy and save money too.

    –Turn off the water when you brush your teeth. It doesn’t have to run while you’re brushing. Shorten your showers if you can. I LOVE long showers but not high water bills.

    –Buy things used. I know you have to watch out for bedbugs in furniture and I would never buy a used mattress. It won’t last and isn’t worth it. For pots and pans, non-upholstered furniture and other household odds and ends, go garage sale or flea market. Some of the older furniture can be revamped with a coat of paint or refinishing, and is often better made than today’s junk.

    –At work, I recycle folders, boxes and packing material. It saves money. Pocket folders are over $30 a box. I reuse them until they are little rags. We purchase boxes for shipping, but if they’re too big, it costs more to ship stuff. A recycled box often fits the contents better and I’m not using up the bought ones so fast. I have everyone trained to bring me boxes, air pillows, foam and paper padding from things they receive. (Not peanuts! I hate them!) You can do this at home too for presents, if you have a place to put boxes. I know people who save used wrapping paper, but that’s a little too much for me.

    –Keep shades drawn in the summer; helps to keep the house cool. Open them in the winter when it’s sunny and get some greenhouse effect going. It’s so dark in winter this will perk you up as well. Wear a sweater and turn down the heat a bit. Or get one of those programmable thermostat things.

    –Keep tires aired up and drive the speed limit. Saves gas. I have trouble with the second one, but I’m getting better.

    –Someone said earlier to dry your clothes outside. I don’t put clothes out, but sheets, towels, etc. Saves money because 1) you’re not using gas or electricity to run the dryer, and 2) in the summer the AC has to run extra to cool down the house from the hot dryer. Plus, your sheets will smell WONDERFUL.

    That’s just stuff I learned to do as a kid in the ’70s, when my parents had three kids and not a ton of money. Oh, and one Christmas, I guess things were tight and Mom used the Sunday comics to wrap our presents. We thought it was great.

  61. Cicadymn says:

    Green energy sounds great.

    But it needs to be exponentially more powerful and cheaper. It’s just not good enough right now.

  62. JustLurking says:

    Uh, maybe because compact fluorescent light bulbs suck. Hard.

    They don’t last nearly as long as advertised, they contain all sorts of bad stuff inside, as compared to a good, old-fashioned incandescent bulb, they cost a lot more and the light makes me want to puke.

    But, hey, that’s just my $0.02.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I agree the earlier models of the CFLs didn’t have all the kinks worked out but I’m on my 4th year of CFLs bought in 2006-anything from 9-23 watt curly q light bulbs. But that goes back to the instant gratification society. It doesn’t work it’s a failure for life-oh it couldn’t be a defect or design flaw they needed time to figure out-they just suck.

      On the CFLs in particular I think people see the curls and go WTF. But that goes back to the lack of understanding of some basic science and math which includes 23 watts is less than it’s equivilent 100 watt bulb, that’s 75 watts or 75% LESS you have to pay for usage. Most people don’t want to think or even realize whats going on when you turn on light including the heat produced-now that’s a legitamite safety concern with CFLs-heat. But no one thinks or wants to think about those pesky little details -it’s a freakin light bulb for gosh sakes!

  63. tz says:

    Others probably pointed this out, but green makes you dumb:

    “Just remember, your kids are going to have deal with the messes you make. In the long run, let’s hope going green gets a lot cooler, for everyone’s sakes.

    Motorola Droid X Sold Out After First Day [Five Reasons Why Green Tech Has Such a Tough Time In America]“

    The link goes to the right article, but why is it labeled DroidX?

    There is another reason – it is all a scam. Like the oat-bran muffins for weight control, or the toys or whatever to make your kid smarter.

    You forgot Ethanol – the fossil fuel that is at best break-even, where we have to ban imports from Brazil where it is actually economical to produce, it is even legally (but not chemically) oxygenates gasoline! But it is green. As in -backs, not as in anything ecological.

    Lightbulbs? This is like steam-cleaning only one square foot of your floor then calling your house clean – it may help 0.001%. Don’t break one of the florescents if you don’t want to evacuate for a day while the mercury vapors dissipate. And don’t touch the toxic phosphors. How much do they cost? How much energy do they take to produce and dispose of?

    Hybrids? – Takes more energy to make the cars and fender-benders turn into haz-mat sites.

    Before, we had conspicuous consumption, now we have conspicuous conservation. And the government shoving it down our throats by CAFE, bans on incandescent bulbs, and other ninny-nanny regulations so people at the consumerist can feel smug and righteous as priests and priestesses of GAIA with all the subtlety and liberty of Jerry Fallwell.

  64. tz says:

    Even better – you show a picture of a steam tower emitting a clean cloud. I believe this article is part of Wired’s editorials-disguised-as-science-article series that started with an article (later corrected) about all smoke pouring out of those towers.

  65. MustWarnOthers says:

    I agree in that I just hope you’re bored and trolling people, otherwise, please stop posting comments on forums, forever.

  66. JollyJumjuck says:

    Because lots of money-grubbers use the guise of “going green” to part you with your money?

  67. nutbastard says:
  68. RogueWarrior65 says:

    It’s really quite simple: America’s fundamental ideal is liberty (freedom of choice) and NO GODDAMN ENVIRO-NAZI IS GOING TO DICTATE WHAT WE CAN AND CANNOT DO!!! Is that clear enough for you, you sanctimonious morons who believe everything that comes out of Al Gore’s pie-hole?!? But let me put it another way. I have a modest proposal for you: If you seriously believe that humans are killing the planet then I humbly suggest that all of you go commit suicide. If the rest of us “global warming deniers” see that the planet is better off afterward, we’ll be right behind you. No, really, trust us.

  69. SgtBeavis says:

    There are quite a few other reasons that people hate “going green”

    For one, there are too damn many scams. Ethanol from corn being one of the biggest. Wired points to fossil fuel lobbies but totally ignored the rather sizable corn lobby. If we were serious about bio fuels we wouldn’t have a huge tariff on ethanol made from sugar cane. Then there is the intense lobbying to get the EPA to put 15% ethanol in our gas. When that happens, how many people are going to be pissed at the entire “green” industry for destroying their cars and lawnmowers.

    You post a picture of a nuke plant. That would be an outstanding way to go green but only a handful of environmentalist (like the current EPA chief) have the balls to push for it. There is also a real lack of investment in Thorium fueled reactors. France and S. Korea are pushing for it and they’ll reap the benefits while we continue to wallow with our 10% usage of nuclear power.

    I will grant them reason 5. I have a hard time listening to asshats like Al Gore when they are busy making the situation worse. Not to mention that Gore is pushing carbon credits that he stands to gain from financially. I guess he needs something to replace his daddy’s tobacco money.

  70. Jimmy the Spender says:

    Uh, because “global warming” is a scam. You didn’t hear??? Yikes, read the news.

  71. macruadhi says:

    Because most American realise that most of today’s “green” technologies are not the panacea of goodness they are made out to be. Take for example:

    Ethanol: It takes more energy to create a liter of ethanol than it can provide. To be more exact, ethanol contains 2/3 the energy of gasoline per gallon. And produces as much as or more CO2 than gasoline

    Solar Cells: it takes more energy to create a solar cell than that cell will create over it’s usable life.

    The hybrid: The batteries used in hybrid cars require, well, metals. Metals that must be mined. Nickel, cadmium, lithium. What pollutants are released when we strip mine to get them?

    I personally believe that there is no one technology that will save us gas, oil, water, kittens, and babies breath. But if we diversified the fuels used to power our country, it might help. For example, let’s have electric cars, ethanol powered cars, and biodiesel powered cars to go along with gasoline powered cars. Sort of a division of labour for our fuel sources.

  72. Benjamin Stearns says:

    Nuclear power. Nuff said.

  73. smo0 says:

    What is physically happening to the planet isn’t a scam.
    Sure, we might not be the cause, but we sure as shit aren’t helping going the route we have been… maybe take a new approach?

  74. Bob says:

    In 1977-1981 the new conversation movement pushed by the Carter Administration was associated with all the negative things during that time: American “malaise”, stagflation, and unemployment numbers around our numbers today, mortgage interest rates of 18% or higher, and perceived American foreign policy weakness.

    So for many Americans “conservation = sacrifice and hardship for no reason and making the American economy and defense weak and subservient to our enemies”. If you carefully listen to anti-conservation conservatives, between the lines, this is what many of them are feeling. They want to deny global warming, they don’t want to pay more for energy, they want to kill the EPA and they want to drill for oil everywhere, not because they are evil or brainwashed, it is because they have a subconscious association which they can articulate openly only in rare occasions.

    If the liberals, libertarians (they are NOT conservatives), and conservatives would learn to really listen to each other they could learn much more than politicking each other. All sides have legitimate fears and they both resent the effort of others to “force down” anything upon them.

    What many Americans don’t understand is that we subsidize oil. Oil has cost us billions in defense. But for the reasons above many conservatives do not want to believe that America is using our defense forces for access to oil in the Middle East, as least in part. We are not paying for this at the pump and we are not paying for the needed maintenance on our interstate system. But taxing oil products appropriately raised the fears stated above.

    Also environmentalist that get press seem to be boring people that want grey tiny cars, that cannot hold anything but one person, barely, that runs on pedal power and rechargeable D cells and goes from 0 to 25MPH in less than 1 week. Also the environmentalist that get all the press hammer the point that “THIS ONE THING WILL DESTROY THE EARTH” in their speeches. Al Gore hammers on Carbon Dioxide in spite of the fact that Methane and deforestation is a bigger problem. Even in his own papers it is proven that if we can harness methane that is escaping into the air for fuel and reverse deforestation we will actually reduce the greenhouse effect.

    The real scientific consensus is that:
    1. The world’s climate as a whole is getting warmer, that is a proven fact.
    2. World’s climate is not regional weather. Climate is a long term trend of weather, weather is regional or local and seasonal. A hotter climate may mean colder winters or wetter seasons in some places. Because people don’t understand this it is now called “climate change”.
    3. That if the warming of the world’s climate was a fire, we cannot prove the origin of the fire but we know that without conservation of fuel and forests that we are adding fuel to this fire.
    4. People are not computers, we have emotions that have served the human race well for generations upon generations and thus we are emotional creatures. Emotional decisions may not make mathematical sense but they are more “natural” to us and “feel” right. The gut feeling allows us to make quick decisions with limited information. Dry logic that seems confusing and nitpicking goes against the psychology of most people and that scientists have been very poor communicators about this issue.

  75. Blious says:

    Because it costs money

  76. Why Go Green says:

    Still, nature gives us joy and happiness, rest and peace. And this all free of charge – without expecting a consideration, except being left alone as independent.
    However, We, modern people think of ourselves as more intelligent than nature.
    Our products are more perfect than everything what the environment let millions of years grow from the ground.
    We are proud to switch on and off light, heating, dishwashers, lawn mowers etc. with the tip of our finger. In addition we can improve in appearance food and make it long-lasting, now we know to kill flies, spiders and keep them away from house and garden, we know how to force out big shiny tomatoes and salads out of the soil.
    However, these small success don’t make us happy.
    There is not even one snowflake that fall s from the sky without poisoned molecules. In the meadows the small beetles are dieing.
    The wind carries the death from smoking chimneys above fields and forests and the words the downfall tells us: „I can see only an injured environment. “
    Oil-pest, Reactor accidents, Formaldehyde, toxic wastes, FCKW, forest death, diluted acid dumpings, Ozone-opening etc. the nature doesn’t know these words.
    She lays back and leaves us in alone. It is time time, we rethink the protection of environment problems, we become a little more modest, that we do not risk our lifes for the sake of comfort and progress.
    Even the most carefree optimist cannot deny any more that our environment is in the great danger.