Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Greener perceptions?

Why is it so hard to get people to do more to save the planet?

A simple question, with a very simple answer. But at closer inspection one can find numerous vices in society today that contribute greatly to influencing your opinion. 

Whether you’re a global warming fan or not, most people with half a brain understand that the world grows more polluted every year and that this is a bad thing. So how come it takes humans so much longer to manage the change needed to correct the problem? One of the biggest reasons is because most of us simply cannot be bothered, another reason being many care more about money, and others feel they wont be around when the poo hits the fan anyway so why worry now.  

On the other hand, you don’t have to look far to find many examples of pro climate change fans abusing the facts and adopting scare tactics to try and make us all stand in line which, is exactly why many skeptics to global warming still exist. Others, mostly the media within the international community, prefer to use the debate of global warming as a prime opportunity to sell more newspapers and generally make you spend more money. Thus, during a time of possible crisis people tend to spend more money to safeguard and reassure themselves. The aftermath of September 11, 2001 is a prime example when many American families were frantically buying gas masks, guns and American flags and any newspaper with the word ‘terrorist’ in the headline.

The subject of climate change and global warming has never drawn so much attention, whilst also earning media organizations so much profit. Often what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ is not a high priority, but more what will sell and what will not. Therefore, ‘Don’t believe the hype’ has never been more apparent.

But what exactly is hype? Skeptics of global warming question the hearsay, scientific reports and general consensus, and rightly so.  However, those who claim global warming is natural, not caused by man, and is part of the earth’s life cycle, don’t seem to realize what that truly means. From now on it will only continue to grow harder and harder for humans to live on earth until the point of extinction.

Taking a snippet of the Australian media as an example, in one corner we have local green groups and government departments telling us that Australia will reduce all emissions by 10% by 2012, and that all traditional incandescent light bulbs will be phased out completely and only energy-efficient CFL bulbs will be made available from next year.

In the other corner however, we have the skeptics claiming that 10% by 2012 is laughable and will make no difference at all, and that switching to CFL bulbs costs twice as much for families and achieves little.

So who is right? Who would you believe?

Often media organizations and newspapers will align themselves with a particular side of the government and support what they say no matter what the long term effects may be. This is nothing new, its how newspapers started so successfully in the first place.  One Australian newspaper for example has pushed a campaign giving out free energy-efficient CFL globes to the masses (yes, free!) in a huge state-wide project to encourage more Auzzies to reduce their carbon footprint, giving out 1 million bulbs in Queensland in less then a month.

An opposing newspaper however, preferred to write long articles about how the government plans to hurt the local economy by forcing businesses to cut back on carbon emissions and thus, people will loose their jobs in a time when the global financial crisis is about to hit hard.

So who is right? The debate continues..

Below is another example of a local British newspaper, The Daily Mail online, claiming that switching to new energy-efficent CFL light bulbs is a scam and a bad idea:

The Great Lightbulb Revolt - Daily Mail (Updated)

Published on:Wed 7 Jan 2009 21:07:31

mail online - 

Revolt! Robbed of their right to buy traditional light bulbs, millions are clearing shelves of last supplies - 

By David Derbyshire - 

Last updated at 9:30 AM on 07th January 2009

End of light as we know it: millions of britons are stocking up to grab the last of the traditional bulbs.

Millions of Britons are finally waking up to the fact that their beloved light bulb will disappear for good after 120 years.

Traditional 100-watt bulbs are vanishing from the High Street because of a controversial European Union decision.

Yesterday panic buyers were snapping up the remaining bulbs in a last-ditch attempt to stockpile the final supplies. Hundreds of leading supermarkets and DIY chains - including Sainsbury's, Asda and Homebase - have already sold their last remaining bulbs after a surge in panic buying.

But experts have questioned whether or not the new bulbs, far from being environmentally friendly, are actually harmful. The low-energy fluorescent bulbs can trigger skin rashes, migraines and epilepsy. There is also concern because the fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, which makes them dangerous to get rid of.

They can also be more expensive. Currently, an average supermarket price for a six pack of standard 60w pearl light bulbs is £1.21, but a single 60w low energy stick light bulb already costs around £2.19.


What the article fails to mention is that CFL bulbs cost twice as much because they last up to 6-8 times as long as incandescent, and use around 1/5 of the energy. The mercury inside each CFL could not fit on the tip of a ballpoint pen and is less then that of the mercury that is inside the fillings in our teeth, and many new CFLs cater to more homes and light sockets and look exactly the same as the light we use now (

So who is right? 

What do you believe?