Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Waste Management

I was a few minutes early for a meeting today and sat down to read an article on colloidal metallic nanoparticles. The back of the journal had an interesting editorial.

From Roland Clift. "What a waste!" Materials Today. 7. (2004):

[Recycling glass] is one of the worst forms of 'profligate environmentalism' -- doing things which give you a warm, green glow even though they damage the environment. In this case your car is likely to emit more CO2 than is saved by recycling the glass."

And then later says we should "stop pretending that there is such a thing as a zero-waste economy" and points out that such a thing is even thermodynamically impossible.

He has a great point. Bush is pushing a hydrogen car, an idea which will do little to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. I'm all for the environment. But I'm also for spending my time and money wisely. We must always make sure that our efforts are spent on something that will give us tangible, measurable progress towards a goal, not just something that makes us feel good. A sense of satisfaction about doing something good, when we haven't really made any real progress, is only counter-productive.

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