Quick poll/question on environmental issues

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  • Quick poll/question on environmental issues
  • Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    I had a rather heated discussion with a guy on my course today, it was long and rather tedious, but in short he said “No-one will make any changes to their lifestyle choices to preserve the environment etc unless it’s for their monetary gain”. He also said he just doesn’t care about this issue at all.

    I disagree, but to keep this short – Who is with him on one or both of these issues? No judgement – just what/how do you feel about this?

    ernie_lynch
    Member

    I think the preservation and protection of the environment is too important to be left to voluntary actions of individuals.

    It’s quite a wide ranging subject, from saving energy to not dropping litter, and I would like to think that I occasionally do things which have no direct personal gain for me, but we all need a kick up the arse.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    Thanks.

    Can I have some more opinions please? I’m just after viewpoints – any is good.

    Ta

    [No you’re not doing my uni work for me!]

    jeffm
    Member

    I cycle to work rather than drive for environmental reasons, it actually costs about the same to ride as it does to drive as I have to pay to get the ferry across the Mersey every day.
    Makes me feel a bit better about my impact on the planet, however I often feel that it’s a waste of my effort as I’m in a very small minority. Obviously it makes me a better MTBer commuting so much, double ‘win’.

    aP
    Member

    Ask him if he’d like a power station, or wind turbines, or a new road, or a refuse facility nearby.
    Is he happy about poisoning of rivers by industrial processes, changing weather patterns, increased extinction of species, burning tyre dumps, deaths from air pollution, people dumping asbestos in his front garden?
    Does he ever think about anyone apart from himself?

    I try and reduce my impacts by driving sparingly, cycling most places or getting public transport, I buy good quality clothes made by reputable companies with ethical procurement policies (and which tend to last a long time), I don’t eat meat often (and if I do I don’t buy cheap meat), I’ve stopped eating Skate wings (although they’re one of my favourite foods), I don’t take lots of flights every year, I try and reduce what rubbish I put out and separate different recycling products. I don’t throw much stuff away (a family problem) but what I do I try and ensure that it gets reused by someone else.

    Junkyard
    Member

    They are probably correct that the majority wont do anything that will affect how easy their life is but it is not true of all. I hate it when folk assume that everyone thinks like them and is motivated by exactly the same things as they are. That unpleasant mixture of arrogance and stupidity.

    the reality is humans have known of the environmental impact for a number of decades and have ,IMHO, not done anything substantial to address this

    Its unlikely we can have positive change and keep our standard of living and too many people a re unwilling to pay this price /live a slightly harder life.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    People do make changes for reasons other than money, all the time. Some make very small changes that may not make any difference; some may make big sacrifices; and most are in between.

    vickypea
    Member

    I disagree that most people have a “what’s in it for me”.
    I agree with ernie that the issue is too important to be left to the voluntary actions of individuals. There needs to be a bigger effort to educate everyone convincingly on how we can change our ways. For example, increase recycling and the purchase of recycled goods, quitting the short trips by car and walking or cycling instead, insulating our homes better, etc.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    It came about because I said I didn’t like taking short flights due to the amount of fuel burnt etc.

    http://www.wanderlust.co.uk/magazine/articles/destinations/to-fly-or-not-to-fly?page=all

    and

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/apr/06/aviation-q-and-a

    Suggests I was right about the emissions. I wonder if I should point him at these?

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    I think on a macro scale he’s spot on. On a micro and completely in the noise scale, some chose to recycle cardboard, cycle to work etc, but we’re burning millions of barrels of oil every day to keep our lifestyle going and the only thing that will stop that is the price of oil/gas going up due to supply/demand.

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Subscriber

    We do our best in my house to live consciously with respect to the environment. We’re not perfect by any means; my wife and I have simply tried to raise our kids to not be materialists. Together, we try to be conscious of what we consume, and use vehicles as little as possible.

    Basically, we try to ‘think globally and act locally’, with no specific economic interest.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    Interesting – so- no-one’s going to say “I don’t care” or “Nothing makes any difference”?

    Pigface
    Member

    I met a guy on a Pollution Prevention Visit, who flat out told me he doesnt care about the environment, ran an electrical refurb business in Chipping Norton. He asked if we could see any problems, we said no and he said well piss off then, I explained that this was just advice and guidance and if he had any problems to get in touch, then he started on about who cares about rabbits and that f ing stuff, its all pathetic. On the way out one of his employees just rolled his eyes and shrugged.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    My faith in [STW poster’s] humanity has been somewhat restored 🙂

    5thElefant
    Member

    He’s right. I’d go further in that people, like yourself, who claim to care and claim to do something positive are utterly deluded and as much a part of the problem as the non-deluded realist.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    It depends – you don’t know what I do, or not.

    All you know is I don’t like taking cheap flights [though I will tell you that what I have in mind is that flying when not actually necessary is something I avoid].

    samuri
    Member

    I think most people try to do the right thing because that’s what they’re told to do. They happily recycle waste or turn the lights off but they’re mostly doing it because it’s become the thing to do, not because they’re desperately keen to save the environment or because they think they’re making a difference.

    I’m the same I guess. I cycle to work not because it’s good for the environment or because it saves me money but because I like riding my bike and I detest sitting in traffic. Got to make it attractive to save the environment in some way.

    cynic-al
    Member

    I’d agree with the OP’s nemesis, for the majority of folk

    I try to live an ecologically ok life (with the exception of short flights, hotels 10 or so a year) because I believe it’s the right thing to do in our wasteful and example-giving (to developing nations) society.

    Sadly Joe Bloggs doesn’t give a shit.

    Look at any puncture thread on here – the majority don’t even repair them once.

    wobbem
    Member

    Save the environment, stop breeding. Simple.
    Thus we are doomed.

    5thElefant
    Member

    It depends – you don’t know what I do, or not.

    Not really. The fact you have internet access is a give away, as is your participation on a mountaibike forum, the mecca for those who squander resources on pointless toys. You’d have to be living on a dollar a day not to be part of the problem.

    Not liking ‘cheap flights’ kind of says it all really.

    gwaelod
    Member

    He’s dead wrong about monetary gain being the driver behind behaviour at least as far as car use is concerned.

    Lots of people make short journeys in cars that are much cheaper to undertake by bike or by walking – in this case the environmentally friendly option is the cheaper option, but it isn’t taken due to lazieness, percieved convenience/or percieved status issues or safety concerns. And don’t let him give you crap about time saving effectively being a cost saving as well as many cyclists have faster commutes than car drivers over the same route.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    gofasterstripes – Member

    I had a rather heated discussion with a guy on my course today, it was long and rather tedious, but in short he said “No-one will make any changes to their lifestyle choices to preserve the environment etc unless it’s for their monetary gain”. He also said he just doesn’t care about this issue at all.

    I disagree, but to keep this short – Who is with him on one or both of these issues?

    he’s right.

    how many people would sacrifice their holiday in the sun next year because of concerns over CO2 emissions?

    not me.

    how about you? (cheekily struck out as it’s a bit antagonistic)

    how many couples do you know who’ve decided not to have kids even though they’re really broody, because their descendants western lifestyles will consume too many resources?

    (i would guess; none)

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    The “Under a dollar a day” people are more likely to have >2.1 kids.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    how about you?

    I would/do, yes.

    Premier Icon footflaps
    Subscriber

    I recycle, ride to work, but then I’ll be taking business class flights to Nigeria later this month with work. One flight will burn more oil than is saved by a lifetime of putting vegetable peelings in a green bin (which are then collected by a 15ton diesel guzzling lorry, doing about 2 mpg). I think recycling makes you feel good, but is actually pretty pointless.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    gofasterstripes – Member

    I would/do, yes.

    do you realise this is unusual?

    bokonon
    Member

    how many people would sacrifice their holiday in the sun next year because of concerns over CO2 emissions?

    I haven’t flown in a plane for nearly 10 years for this exact reason – I’ve turned down paid for by other people flights in preference for a ferry I paid for myself, and not accepted invitations for (prestigious but poorly paid – conferences and the like) work overseas on the basis of it – so it’s not that I don’t holiday in the sun, I simply don’t fly – I went to the lake district by train on holiday last year – and it was bloody sunny.

    In terms of the OP – I don’t think that lifestyle changes are sufficient to ensure that we don’t do catastrophic damage to the planet – that’s not to say don;t change your lifestyle – it has a part to play, but we are unfortunately well past the point where that can make a significant difference – we are already at a point where environmental change will have a major impact on the planet in my lifetime, and this will become even more significant in the lifetime of my kids – but it will require a systematic change to really deal with this – no more “carbon trading” and other horseplay around pretending to be doing something.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    ahwiles – do you do make any choices with an environmental aspect?

    I think we should, I think we should make progress in that respect, and saying “There’s no point” or “I can’t be bothered” is not the direction we should be heading in. But I am studying design, so I will focus on my degree and make stuff that’s built like that, as that’s what I believe is important. As you are no-doubt aware – blowing hot air on a forum doesn’t make a lot of difference.

    I guess the reason I asked this was to gauge opinion. I won’t pretend that the motivation wasn’t emotion – I am upset by the attitude of “I could make some changes that make a difference*, but I won’t”.

    I don’t advocate living in a cave, and I don’t advocate taking away choice [banning flying for example], what I advocate is education on the real environmental impact of everyday choices and discussion of how to reduce it with minimal disruption to our quality of life.

    For example recycling [better, upcycling/cradle to cradle] when the facilities exist, buying local produce if it’s available and not using short-haul flights [other people need to join in too on that] with no concern to the fuel used -the example I gave yesterday with regard to that was, use another method for business meetings where it is acceptable, maybe videoconferencing if both sides agree to it. Yes I also keep the heating off unless the house is under about 18, yes I ride my bike to work or uni and yes I use the Chromebook rather than the desktop to browse the web because it saves 100W or electricity use. I also don’t eat meat as it’s much more resource intensive [and for other reasons beyond the scope of this thread].

    Some of these choices also save me money, but it’s not my only goal.

    As I said – it’s the “I just don’t care” bit that bugs me.

    *real information requires research, and takes a little time, hence advocating education and discussion.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    bokonon – Member
    I haven’t flown in a plane for nearly 10 years for this exact reason

    do you think this is common?

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    footflaps – I understand that, of course I do. Are there some situations where a flight can be avoided? As for the recycling, well it’s a drop in the ocean [or not] but if you can do it easily why would one not. As you said, you do.

    ahwiles – yes. But that’s not going to stop me suggesting it to people.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    gofasterstripes – Member

    ahwiles – do you do make any choices with an environmental aspect?

    if i’m honest, … probably not.

    what would count?

    i cycle to work, 8 miles each way, 1000ft of climbing on the way home, not because i’m an eco warrior, but because i can’t afford a car. I’d love to be able to afford to sit in the warm, listening to Eddie Mair, bring on the traffic jams, i’ve only got to start cooking when i get home.

    i don’t have kids, but i suspect it’s only a matter of time.

    i live in a really cold old house – the heating’s on a lot. I’m trying to insulate, but not because i’m worried about the polar bears (i am i suppose), but because i want to live in a warm house.

    i keep my electronic stuff until it stops working, not because i care, but because i’m tight.

    I recycle all our glass/tins/cardboard, not because i care, but because sheffield council no-longer collect the bins weekly, and our bin would fill up too quickly if i didn’t.

    these are a few things i could feel smug about, but i suspect it makes f’all difference.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    ahwiles – it’s not that uncommon, it would seem, in this sample at least.

    Dickyboy
    Member

    the sooner the human race wipes itself out the better for the environment all round, the majority of what is done in the name of the “environment” is mere tinkering at the edges, year on year growth is not sustainable but “make do & mend” does not suit the economic model we are burdened with – for my two pennyworth, I think we should ration energy so the first x kwh (or whatever unit of measure) is cheap but as soon as you reach your allocation the price goes up to 5x – & yes I know there would be loads of ways round it & a nightmare to administer but would sure focus the minds somewhat. I like to think I try but in all honesty nah I do sweet fa that really helps the situation…

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    2 people? in a sample of 10?

    on a thread clearly titled to attract people with at least some awareness/concern.

    good science.

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    I find it interesting you use phrases like “eco-warrior”. What’s the point in labelling and dividing?

    Anyway – I believe I have a moral obligation to do what I reasonably can. As such I’m off to study so I can get a good degree and make decisions that will make some [perhaps small] differences.

    If I’m really lucky I might become famous or influential some day and be able to make and suggest bigger differences in the course the we’re headed.

    Please keep posting answers to the question I’m interested in hearing what people have to say

    Premier Icon irc
    Subscriber

    The UK’s CO2 emissions are less than 2% of the world total. A small reduction in the UK will make no difference to climate. In any case I hear a bit of global warming will be beneficial. So I would never factor CO2 into any choices I made.

    The chief benefits of global warming include: fewer winter deaths; lower energy costs; better agricultural yields; probably fewer droughts; maybe richer biodiversity. It is a little-known fact that winter deaths exceed summer deaths — not just in countries like Britain but also those with very warm summers, including Greece. Both Britain and Greece see mortality rates rise by 18 per cent each winter. Especially cold winters cause a rise in heart failures far greater than the rise in deaths during heatwaves.

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9057151/carry-on-warming/

    Premier Icon gofasterstripes
    Subscriber

    The question was whether “No-one” makes these decisions, so, 2 in a sample of 10 suggests: it may not be the case that “no-one” does.

    It would, of-course, require and more diverse sample and larger sample to draw a conclusion. Especially if the conclusion had repercussions, like banning those flights for example. Don’t try to “bad statistics” me!

    Why is it that people are so keen to put words into my mouth?

    EDIT for example – “CO2″… There are several global issues we face, that’s not the only one.

    Premier Icon ahwiles
    Subscriber

    gofasterstripes – Member

    I find it interesting you use phrases like “eco-warrior”. What’s the point in labelling and dividing?

    we got a request to all staff at work this morning, as we’ve got a load of visitors in tomorrow, can people please park in the second car park.

    i voiced my observation that these emails (we get a lot) never include the request to consider car-sharing, or cycling.

    in the opinion of my colleagues, i’m an eco-warrior/idiot.

    gwaelod
    Member

    I often make comcious decisions that have less environmental impact, but they are more often than not for fiscal reasons…as I explained in my earlier post the proposition is a straw man.

    By the way anyone who references the Spectator in a serious discussion about environmentalism automatically loses.

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