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April 06, 2007

How To Be An Environmentalist

The Guardian provides us with a list of ten easy things to do to reduce your impact upon the planet.

1. Switch to a green energy supplier on the web

This is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to reduce your energy use

So the first thing you should be is deeply confused. Who supplies your power and how much power you use are not particularly connected. If you want to reduce your energy use you should use less.

2. Change your light bulbs: well, no, you don't want to go completely compact flourescents. There are times and places (little used, used for short periods of time) where incandescents are still more efficient.

3. Use less hot water. Yes.

4. Lower temperatures and cut draughts. Yes.

5. Equipment on standby. I'm not sure I believe this one about how all that equipment left on uses gazillions of power.

6. Use less paper

Chopping down forests to feed our paper habit are a major contribution to climate change.

Err, no. Growing forests (as we do) to make paper extracts carbon from the atmosphere. We waqnt to do more of this, not less.

7. Recycle

On average every person in the UK throws away their own body weight in waste every seven weeks.

No. Recycling uses more energy than landfill for almost every product. There are exceptions, aluminium cans and the like, but for the vast majority of domestic waste recycling increases, not reduces, you energy consumption.

8. Less meat and more local organic food.

Meat, yes, but local organic? No, this can mean significantly higher energy consumption than imported food.

9- Smart meters. Yes.

10. Join Greenpeace or something. Presumably so that the activists can fly to international meetings.

April 6, 2007 in Climate Change | Permalink


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Tracked on Apr 7, 2007 4:31:23 PM


'more local organic food' -

Sure, if the supermarkkets who've hammered the farmers into the ground think it's profitable.

The Guardianistas really do live in a wee world of their own.

Posted by: Martin | Apr 6, 2007 9:30:47 AM

On the other hand, that typo I just did looks quite funky.

SupermarKKKets? I can live with that...

Posted by: Martin | Apr 6, 2007 9:31:56 AM

In fact, they're right up there with the banKKKs...

Posted by: Martin | Apr 6, 2007 9:48:18 AM

"Lower temperatures and cut draughts. Yes." No, not necessarily. It depends on your current choice of temperature and ventilation level. My own guess is that most British houses are grossly overheated but under-ventilated.

Posted by: dearieme | Apr 6, 2007 9:53:03 AM

Lazy environmentalist? More like lazy journalism. Much as I hate to agree with you Tim, poor Vicki's confusing her energy, carbon and footprints (ecological and carbon), which is why 6 and 7 don't make sense - she's given the wrong context.
"Being greener really all comes down to just one thing - using less energy." - ummm - no.
But I do disagree with you on 8 - she did say 'seasonal'. Whilst growing tomatoes in Spain is better than in greenhouses in UK, they're not seasonal in January, so we shouldn't be eating them at all. A rather sack cloth and ashes approach to green, which sits contrary to the rest of the article. Like I say - lazy journalism.

Posted by: Mel | Apr 6, 2007 10:40:53 AM

Much as I hate to agree with you Tim, poor Vicki's confusing her energy, carbon and footprints (ecological and carbon), which is why 6 and 7 don't make sense - she's given the wrong context.

The average environmentalist you see on the TV has little comprehension for the science of such issues. They can only proceed on simplified impressions. Hence you get a situation where carbon dioxide and global warming is a catch all for anything the environmentalists don't like, regardless of whether or not it actually relates to the greenhouse effect or climate factors.

Lib Dems are notoriously poor at being able to understand which environmental issue is which. Here's one example. Another would be that Lib Dem activist who appeared on 18 Doughty Street and got ripped up for confusing ozone depletion with global warming.

Posted by: Josh | Apr 6, 2007 11:54:15 AM