Because itís notÖ

 

The other day I saw an article about a replacement to plastic shopping bags.

(I should point out that I didnít read the article. I only read the blurb. But the blurb is where the content appeared that bring this essay to a start, and not the deepest and detailed specifics.)

Without sharing what the replacement was, the general idea presented was that you would need to use it hundreds (and likely thousands) of times in order to balance out the environmental impact that compared the impact of one plastic bag against that of one replacement. Within such a concept is where people begin ticking me off. Because this is a great example of a problem.

Isolated and narrow-minded thinking, designed to support oneís opinion and then come to a full stop. Get the information that defends what you think, then ignore anything and everything else.

Letís step away from bags. Letís talk about organic produce.

Did you know that when you find vegetables labeled as organic, it doesnít mean anything about the quality of the vegetables?

True.

Organic usually comes with requirements about the use and presence of things like chemicals (fertilizers and pesticides would be examples). Organic usually considers that the lands used for growth have been free of specific items for a number of years. Organic can move into paperwork, where there are records concerning the production and ultimate distribution. And, organic usually means that facilities have been subjected to occasional inspections.

Organic is not a word without some meaning behind it. It does have some weight and power when it gets awarded. StillÖ

Organic does not mean any specific levels of nutritional value. Organic does not mean that it is healthier for you to consume. Therefor you cannot issue as fact a blanket statement saying organic produce is better produce. That would be false.

I occasionally bring out an idea that people tend to forget the reaction part of an equation. Take any action, and there will be a reaction. A second event will occur. But people tend to rush to judgement, those rushes are always limited by early details and a lack of depth to available information, and then once opinions and reactions are in place, they donít keep in mind that there could be additional parts of the story. (Back to the bags.)

Are reusable bags a bad idea? Yes. They are. But that reality does not mean that every reusable bag is good, or that every reusable bag is better than a plastic bag. Itís two separate ideas, with the result measured out by both the action and reaction elements of the story for every candidate in consideration. Not as simple as saying itís not plastic, it is reusable, so it must be good and better.

The dangerous part is that this truthÖ all actions are not necessarily improvementsÖ is generally ignored by some of the loudest to shout and quickest to jump. No thoughtÖ no discussionÖ no education becomes involved. Itís ďIíve got an opinion so Iím inserting my fingers into my ears now and canít hear youĒ at its finest. Itís good against bad and you need to pick a side.

Electric cars. (Oh yes, hold on, because Iím going to electric vehicles.)

Are zero-emission vehicles better for our planet? Seems like a no brainer of a question. ButÖ

When considering each vehicle and company making them, what did you look at? Did you consider how much energy is used to recharge the batteries on that vehicle, how often it needs to be charged, and how that energy is produced? Remember, once you plug the car into an outlet, even when that power is not coming from a vehicleís gas tank it is still being produced in some way. And, yeah, then those pesky batteriesÖ

How were the batteries made? How long will they last? What was the production of the vehicle like?

Now, Iím not going to wander down paths such as cost or how far you can drive on a single charge. Thatís not the point. And the reason itís not is because alternative fuel sources are an amazingly important subject. We do need to improve how we do things, from broad sweeps of ideas to very specific items. Electric carsÖ zero-emission carsÖ are good. But every electric car, every zero-emission car, is not automatically less harmful to the environment than every car running on gas. We all need to understand and admit that they are good when done properly, and that they need to be even better.

Take off the blinders. Learn the realities. Understand that itís great to want to do things better. Understand we need to do better. Just realize that not every alternative is an improvement, because itís not.

 

If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com