Saturday, June 23, 2007

Conservation and politics

I tend to believe in conservation; however, I take a more "reasonable" approach to conservation then some of those who consider themselves "environmentalists."

Let me give you some examples:

1. My wife and I recycle those items that we can easily recycle in Fort Wayne. We recycle cardboard, glass, etc. We do this once every two weeks by using the yellow and brown bin we are provided by the City of Fort Wayne. I would not recycle if I had to drive across town to do it.

I would not have a problem with any municipality that made recycling mandatory. This is a government regulation that I could live with.

2. I think we are too dependent on foreign oil. I am in favor of mass transit in those areas where it makes economic sense. In the US that is only in the largest of our cities because Amercians do not want to use mass transit. My wife and I drive fuel efficient cars and we do not own SUV's. I have rented a mini-van a couple of times for vacations.

The price of oil and gas is determined by supply and demand. I choose to drive fuel efficient cars, I do not care what cars and SUV's the rest of you drive. I am against most Government involvement on this topic.

3. I am in the process of replacing the light bulbs in my house with compact fluorescent light bulbs. As my old light bulbs burn out I am replacing them with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Note you can easily buy these bulbs at Sams Club in Fort Wayne. You can buy replacements for 40W, 60W, and 100W bulbs at our local Sams. They cost a little less then $2 each.

There is no reason for the Government to get involved in this either...

What is your stand on Conservation?

Mike Sylvester

6 comments:

Tim Zank said...

I have no problem with the theory of conservation, and would do more to conserve I guess, if I felt it would actually do any good.

Let's say to save energy, I don't turn on my air conditioning this summer. As I suffer through the heat being uncomfortable, I will have saved myself some money of course, but what of the energy I didn't use. Does someone in need actually get it? Does it get placed in an energy bank for later use? Does my non-use make it cheaper for poor people to run their air conditioning? When the Earth ends, will it last 3 seconds longer because of my non-use?

"Energy conservation" sounds like a great idea, but like most "feel good" ideas, it won't make a hell of a lot of difference except saving you, the conserving party, some money. Even if all Americans suddenly changed their light bulbs to compact flourescent, the amount of energy suddenly not being used by old light bulbs would immediately be used by something else, as we won't ever stop building, expanding, remodeling, growing communities etc....

Robert Enders said...

Mike, if they made recycling manditory it would be a civil liberties nightmare. We would be required to use transparent bags so that they can make sure we aren't throwing out recyclables. Let's say I use newspaper to line a bird cage, then throw it in the trash when it is soiled. Would I have to pay a fine? You will also find consumers deliberatly selecting products sold in non-recycable containers so that they don't have to rinse it out when it's empty. The city would have to hire more employees to conduct random searches of our trash to ensure compliance. And the city would have to buy more fleet vehicles for those employees.

My family recycled before the city offered curbside service. We took our cans to Omnisource and got money for them. We seperate paper, glass, and number 1, 2, 3, and 6 plastics and took them to a CARE dropoff site. We did it because we cared, not because it was manditory.

Tim,
I certainly agree that energy conservation makes good financial sence. You should also remember that the more energy you save, the more that can be used for building, expanding, remodeling, and growing communities.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Robert:

The entire state of New York requires recycling...

I do not have a problem with recycling being mandatory. YOu do not have a right to have your trash picked up...

Mike Sylvester

Robert Enders said...

It doesn't suprise me that New York has such a rule.

I concede that I only have a right to recieve a service when I enter into a contract for that service. Being a customer of City Utilities, I have a right to get my trash picked up so as long as I follow their policies. I suppose that they could decide to make me seperate my recyclables, if they decide that it is in the best interests of the community at large.

So here are the reasons why it is not in the communities best interests to mandate recycling. http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=14557

Kody Tinnel said...

I am pretty big in to energy and environmental conservation. It is one of the few areas where I think the government should be involved a little for the common good of everyone on the planet.

I wouldn't have a huge problem making recycling a required practice. The way of going about making this happen is the tricky part. Instead of trash pickup the city could instead switch over to only picking up recyclables. Trash would then either be taken to specified dump sites by the individuals or a private company hired to do that job. This could potentially create a business oppurtunities in the private sector. The cost for dealing with grabage would increase and hopefully that would be an incentive for more people to recycle, compost, and conserve more. Obviously this could create some problems. People might just throw their trash anywhere. The best solution for this that I can think of at the moment is a massive increase on the fines for littering. I don't believe that any random searches of peoples' garbage would be needed.

When it comes to driving I am strongly in favor of more fuel efficient cars, mass transit, bicycles, and walking. I recently got a bike as a graduation gift and I plan on riding it to and from IPFW next school year as long as the weather permits. More people in this country should try to ride bikes or walk to the places they need to be when it is reasonable. This would also help with the "obesity epidemic".

Charlotte A. Weybright said...

I absolutely favor conservation, both in energy and natural resource consumption. I have no sympathy for those who drive gas-guzzling automobiles (Hummers, Tahoes, etc); let them pay the high price for gas. It is those individuals barely scraping by that concerns me when it comes to the cost of gas. I have a Nissan Frontier which gets between 25-33 miles a gallon - a decent mileage rate for a mid-size truck. I imagine if I would have bought a smaller size truck I could have gotten even better gas mileage; I had a Isuzu P'up back in the 1980s and gas mileage was great. High-speed rail and mass transit should be getting mcuh more attention.

I do not have any air conditioning at all - not even window air conditioning. I have ceiling fans in many of my rooms - it is an old house in West Central. I know the ceiling fans use energy in the form of electricity; however, I would almost bet that it is far less than running air conditioning.

I did a carbon footprint analysis. The one thing that increased my negative impact on the environment is that I live alone in a 2200 square foot home. If I restore the third floor, I will have 3000 square feet. I keep my heat set on 63 degrees in the winter. Initially I set it so low because of NIPS Co natural gas prices and no alterantives existed to NIPS Co. Now I am used to the temperature, so I am okay with it. I would like to install solar panels if and when I can afford a new heating system.

I also recycle every other Tuesday, and I think it should be mandatory. I think, as Americans, our waste is atrocious. We live in a throw-away society, but nothing is truly thrown away - it has to go somewhere. It is that "somewhere" that makes a difference. Unless someone figures out how to jetison tons of garbage into space (not acceptable either), we need to figure out where to put it.

I do not have a garbage disposal; I am learning to compost for my small garden. I am a vegetarian which cuts down on consumption of meat, the production of which requires an enormous amount of energy - in crops and natural resources such as water.

I work on my home myself, for the most part, and as I renovate, I look for sustainable products. I am working on my kitchen right now. I will be putting in a cork floor because production does not destroy the tree (the tree rejuvenates its bark every 9 or 10 years), it retains warmth, and it is resilient yet comfortable. My countertops will be bamboo, a grass, another natural product, which matures in 6-8 years instead of decades that is required for trees.

I just switched to the compact flourescent light bulbs, and I can't tell any difference in light quality.

Does this take effort? Yes, it does. Do I get discouraged sometimes because I, too, wonder if one person can make a difference? Yes, I do.

But, believing you are defeated before you begin is such a depressing position and is not acceptable to me. If everyone took that position on issues, then nothing would ever get done. What about slavery? What about suffrage? What about disaster relief? What about historical Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board? What about the Civil Rights Movement or the environmental movement? So many situations exist where 1 + 1 + 1 starts adding up.

I know that I will probably be dismissed for some of my statements and be seen as a Pollyana, but that is okay. I love our Earth; we only have one and it is an enclosed, finite system. I will do my best to live a sustainable lifestyle.