What are you willing to give up to slow global warming?
Things that need to be phased out and out-right banned for the good of the planet:
1) Petroleum based motor sports. Make these sports based on alcohol fuels or get rid of them altogether. Why? Most modern gas engines are engineered on race cars. By making the motor sports industry focus on alcohol fuels we will tap into terrific innovations in making alcohol fuels, cleaner burning engines, and greater performance.
2) Corn based food products such as High-fructose corn syrup and corn oil. Why? These products are generally unhealthy and fattening for humans and should be taken out of the public diet and diverted into domestic fuel production. Since 1966, the US has used an increasing share of the corn crop to make High-fructose corn syrup and since 1966 the average American has gained 60 pounds. The best thing we can possibly do with this product is get it out of the diet and into the fuel tank. Or, even better would be to replace all corn with lower input grasses such as Sweet Sorgum or switchgrass and then turn these crops into fuel. Soda drinks alone make up about 9% of the average diet and replacing that 9 % with a zero calorie alternative would amount to a weight loss of about 20 pounds for each American in just the first year.
3) Strawberries in January. Why? The luxury of having food out of season is out of reason compared to the environmental damage associated with transporting the specialty food long distances to market. Most produce grown for this purpose must be hybrid to survive transport, sprayed with many different chemicals to retard spoilage, and shipped in refrigerated containers that use even more energy to maintain the food. This practice is expensive and globally evil considering the total energy input required to get peaches to Safeway in February. This practice needs to be stopped completely and countries need to return to the practice of growing the foods their own people need locally.
4) SUV's, and pickup trucks. Why? No one in the United States should own any vehicle that gets less than 30 miles per gallon. If you need a pickup you should rent it buy the hour instead of driving one everyday "just in case" you might need it. Get things delivered instead of having the upkeep of a energy expensive gas hog. Many people drive an SUV because they think it is safer but The larger SUV's have a completely different (and lower) standard for crash testing, crushing and airbag deployment. These were never designed to be the primary vehicle, therefore they do not have to meet the same requirements as a designated passenger vehicle.
5) Single-Use Plastic. Why? That is a good question.....why do we allow ANY plastic to be made that is not recyclable? Currently less that 5% of the plastics used in the US are types that are considered for recycling. Plastic is pretty much forever so if we had to keep the other 95% forever we would be pushed out of our homes by the mountain of single-use plastics that enter our lives each year. Luckily for us we can send it to the dump, but the time of being able to dump anything and everything is coming to an end. Currently the Pacific Ocean is sporting a brand new island known as the Pacific Garbage Patch- plastic wastes massing twice the size of the State of Texas. This is where a large portion of the previous 50 years worth of plastic has ended up.All plastics must be made "Cradle to Cradle" meaning they can be infinitely recycled and all plastic manufacturers must be held accountable for their products and take steps to insure that no more of it ends up in landfills or the ocean. Most plastics are made from petroleum--we do not allow used oil to be dumped into storm drains and we need to take steps to stop other petroleum products such as plastic from leaving the materials flow and being wasted in a dump site.
6) Travel. Why? Travel for pleasure is a tremendous waste of natural resources compared to vacationing in your own area. Travel for other than business is a waste that needs to be curtailed. 40 years ago our parents and grandparents saved up for their once-in-a-lifetime trip, today we charge the tickets on our credit card and jump to Hawaii for the weekend just because we can afford it. We never seem to think about what this is doing to our environment because the damage in out of sight. Stay home and invest that money in something that will help the planet because the earth cannot afford it anymore.
7) Public Venues. Why? Despite the amount of cash that is raised by concerts, sporting events, and other huge events, the truth is that these gatherings are terrible for the environment. Teams and performers need to travel to the events, people have to travel to the event, huge buildings are heated and cooled and tons of garbage are produced. Look at the aftermath of any parade and it is obvious that the mess is not worth it. The amounts of energy used to fuel 1 pro football game is staggering and the social benefit of such events are pretty much non-existent. With bird flu and other diseases on the horizon, large public assemblies need to be phased out for health and environmental concerns. Socially desirable programs can be televised to paying customers who wish to pay for the privilege. Others who prefer to opt out will enjoy the benefits of not having to get caught in the traffic snarls or having to put up with the trash dropped by attendees.
8) Bigger Anything. Why? In a period of uncertainty concerning the future, it is even more important to keep things in perspective. A moments thought will reveal the simple fact that bigger is definitely not better for the environment. Bigger TV's, bigger houses, bigger computers, games, and just about everything else multiply the energy used per person. It is time to scale back....get smaller more efficient appliances, live smaller, travel smaller. It is kind of silly to buy a huge house, then have to buy a huge TV so you can see it from across the room when you could buy a smaller house and mount a tiny TV on the arm of the sofa.
9) Made in China. America's dependence on cheap goods made around the world is second only to our dependence on foreign oil. The idea of a $1.00 toy being made in China and then shipped to a Dollar Store or Walmart in the US is sickening. The idea of disposable $49 DVD Players takes all social responsibility out of the equation. Buying items that we will throw away next year has got to stop and be replaced by durable goods that can be rebuilt or repaired. The first VCR that hit the market could be cleaned and repaired by a local craftsman. Nothing sold today is meant to be repaired at all so more waste builds up every year. How long can we continue this pattern? How much stuff can each of us throw away and replace with another cheap item before we are literally buried in junk?