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Duped into Walking?

Have you ever been duped? I mean really duped?377239545_3e6af87a30_m

Have you ever really been duped into thinking that you are doing something for a cause, and then say, you found out that it wasn’t as good as it were made out to be, or perhaps that there were really no Weapons of Mass Destruction.

After reading this article in the Times Online, I’m feeling duped….

Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

Walking to the shops ?damages planet more than going by car? – Times Online

and that’s not all, from the same article…

  • Traditional nappies are as bad as disposables, a study by the Environment Agency found. While throwaway nappies make up 0.1 per cent of landfill waste, the cloth variety are a waste of energy, clean water and detergent
  • Paper bags cause more global warming than plastic. They need much more space to store so require extra energy to transport them from manufacturers to shops
  • Diesel trains in rural Britain are more polluting than 4×4 vehicles. Douglas Alexander, when Transport Secretary, said: ?If ten or fewer people travel in a Sprinter [train], it would be less environmentally damaging to give them each a Land Rover Freelander and tell them to drive?
  • Burning wood for fuel is better for the environment than recycling it, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs discovered
  • Organic dairy cows are worse for the climate. They produce less milk so their methane emissions per litre are higher
  • Someone who installs a ?green? lightbulb undoes a year?s worth of energy-saving by buying two bags of imported veg, as so much carbon is wasted flying the food to Britain
  • Trees, regarded as shields against global warming because they absorb carbon, were found by German scientists to be major producers of methane, a much more harmful greenhouse gas

So what’s a wannabe greenie to do? Can we do anything right? Are we destined to screw things up which ever way we look at it?

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The solution is in the details.

The either/or may not really be an option in any of the above examples. There has to be a left-field solution out there for every problem, and generally the answer is in simplifying your life.

The takeaway lesson from this is that we should be embrace green concepts, but be weary of any claims of great  environmental benefits, even implied ones.

Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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