Like a growing number of the world’s population I hold to the belief that protection of the environment is of the utmost importance; and that the new role for our political leaders is to work with each other to solve the pressing problems of climate change, impending food and water shortages, and the on-going pollution of the planet. It is becoming more and more obvious to more and more people that the ideological clash between left and right, conservative and liberal, radical and moderate is only of secondary importance to green issues.
Quite simply put, without a world there is no politics, injustice or capitalism. Think of that recent movie ‘The Road.’ Once eco-armageddon hits all of society and its mores collapse. Humans degenerate into cannibals.
I expect that I’m largely preaching to the converted but I needed to state my position so I can introduce my topic. I want to discuss how buying ‘green’ is another consumer trend that big business and internet marketers are exploiting to make money and to do this they are not performing due diligence. Namely, they are not really interested in checking to see if a ‘green’ product is really environmentally friendly.
My first example is the light bulb. We all realize that the incandescent bulb is not the best. It takes valuable resources to make and has a life expectancy of only a year or so. On top of that they use a lot of electricity compared to LED lights. Indeed LED lights are the way forward. They can be easily connected to solar panels via batteries, they last a long time and they are cheap to produce. The only problem is that LED lights often don’t give out enough light. At this point enters the villain, the CFL or Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb. CFLs last 7 times as long as standard incandescent light bulbs, they give off a fuller spectrum of light and they can save you $30 over the life time of a single bulb.
It’s energy saving and therefore fewer fossil fuels were burnt to produce the electricity to power the bulb. That is true, but it is NOT an environmentally friendly product because CFLs contain mercury. Perhaps this problem could be offset by strict laws to dispose of the product. This seems unlikely in Cuba and Venezuela who are implementing a complete change to CFLs. Mercury is a poison that nature cannot easily neutralize. It becomes more concentrated as it goes up the food chain, until it reaches critical mass and causes disease and death. Mercury was number three on the 1997 list of hazardous substances as outlined by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In America one-in-six children born every year have been exposed to mercury levels so high that they are potentially at risk for learning disabilities, motor skills impairment and short-term memory loss. Don’t contribute to the mercury that is poisoning our soil and poisoning the sea food that we eat. In short don’t …