Monday, August 31, 2009

So you think you're green?

Okay folks, is anything or anyone really green? I mean what is your definition of green?

It’s supposed to mean self sufficient, it’s supposed to mean non-polluting, it’s supposed to mean carbon neutral and so on and so on and so on. Ever heard of the laws of thermodynamics? It governs everything we do or create. Essentially you cannot get back more energy than you expend. Bottom line, you can change the elements you work with but you can’t change the physics. If we want to consume energy we have to expend something. You can dress it in whatever rhetoric you wish but the results are still the same. You give to get.

So, you’ve decided to go lithium huh? Where do you suppose lithium comes from? The ground dummy! It’s the 31st most common element on earth but it still has to be dug out of somewhere. Digging takes energy. Transporting it takes energy. Processing it takes energy. Manufacturing it takes energy. Installing it into the cars and products that will use the rechargeable batteries takes energy. You starting to get where I am going with this?

So maybe you stuck with Nickle Metal Hydride batteries. Where do you think nickel comes from?

There is no decision you can make other than to ”off yourself” that can make a major difference to your energy consuming selves. You can change the forms of energy you use, you can change the packaging, the containers and the devices but you still bloody well use energy just to exist. You want to change that, stop existing. Not my option by the way. Worked way too hard to stay alive as it is to give up now.

Then there’s CO2. The average human consumes about 2200 calories a day. For men 2550 for women 1950 – more than that and apparently you’re just plain gluttonous! That translates to 0.82317 Kilos of CO2 per 24 hrs per human. More if you are seriously physically active. If we just hit 7 billion on the planet then we emit about 2.1 billion tonnes a year. Of course the people who are in charge of what we are supposed to think suggest that we are carbon neutral because our emissions in theory are countered by the carbon sequestered in the plant matter that we eat in a year… do you believe that? And so on…

Okay back to the lithium battery conundrum – now you have to charge the damn things. Where do you draw the charging electrons from? The grid? Sure, maybe. Solar panel – good choice. Wind energy? Another possibility. Ever wonder how the electricity gets in the grid? How is it generated? Coal fired generations plants/ Natural gas fired generation plants? Hydroelectric? Nuclear? Wind? Maybe solar in some cases.

Energy is expended to get energy. It takes resources and energy to construct the solar panels. It takes a lot of materials to build nearly anything we use to create energy. Almost everything we use or do starts with cement. Energy to mine the limestone, energy to transport it, energy to grind it, energy to bake it, and again energy to transport it. Same goes for all of the metals used along the way.

Bottom line. We live we consume. Don’t want to consume? Dying is your only other choice. The real issue is: how many people on planet earth is too many people? Then comes another conundrum. Who decides who gets to be here? Why should it be you that stays or even gets to be born?

Yeah well, I think I'm just going to fire up the Hummer and go down to the beer store for a couple dozen, grab a couple steaks, fire up the barby and just kick back. Its all too much for me!

No comments: