I’ll Get to the Conference Once We Refuel the Jet
We focus on grand causes and demand action, but we are hypocrites because we do nothing in areas where we could. The analogy would be that we’re not merely lazy in having a television remote control, we are frustrated when it’s out of reach and call out kids to bring it to us.
In the British Air lounge in Boston’s Logan Airport, you board the plane directly from the lounge. There is an escalator to take people down to the jetway, and it’s only in use at the boarding times, which are a few times in the evenings. Yet the escalator is constantly on. In many countries, an electric eye turns on the escalator (or a moving walkway) only when someone boards, and shuts down when there is no more traffic detected.
Most toilets overseas—and including the foreign-manufactured ones we have in our homes—offer a half flush and full, to conserve water. But that’s not a feature in most of our public rest rooms, let alone homes.
Europeans, as an example, have far better intercity train service that do we, as well as buses within cities. They have bike paths and you see huge amounts of people commuting by bike and scooter.
Many of our stores are lighted all night, I suppose to thwart robbery, although the alarm systems should take care of that. In fact, at almost an hour of night, flying over a moderate to large American city is like flying over a small sun, with buildings and streets brightly lighted.
We think that recycling is important, but the reduction in the use of plastic would be far, far more effective than residential recycling. (The is a “response rather than prevention” approach, which we also find in cancer research and fire-fighting.)
Hotels, homes, and public buildings around the world often feature lights that automatically turn on and off when people are present or absent. Automatic timers on showers would help those who are conscientious enough to be concerned about water conservation.
If we’re serious about reducing problems then we ought to start by reducing our own hypocrisy. The sight of wealthy people flying to climate conferences in their private jets or arriving in their huge yachts is ridiculous. Yet we laud their support for conservation!
And we deal with the very expensive and damaging problems cause by poor education instead of trying to improve the product.
Talk is cheap, action takes courage.