First, I was told that I need to recycle. Well, it actually started before I was born (or at least before I was old enough to notice) with the whole bottle/can redemption business. Was that started to save the environment or because certain resources, like aluminum, were believed to be scarce? I don’t know (do any I’d my three readers know?). Furthermore, now that “everybody” recycles couldn’t we do away with the whole deposit “thing” altogether?

Anyway, first recycling was just about paper. White paper. Then we added colored paper. But it had to be separate containers. Gradually the recycling gods decided that white paper and colored paper could go in the same bin. Hmm…sounds like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton dropped the ball on calling out the recycling industry (I mean the Green Movement) on their racist undertones.

We of course added bottles and all manner of other things. The plastic bottle rules used to always confuse me as to which number was recycle-able and which weren’t. It seems as though they’ve resolved that now. I just dump them all into my “zero sort” recycle bin from Casella.

Next, I remember being told that switching to solar and wind power would become inevitable. It always seemed like a good idea, but having to manage my fairly uncomplicated household budget I now have a much greater appreciation for the cost of things and both wind and solar have costs that currently outweigh their return on investment. Some day it may be necessary (I.e. no more coal) or some day the technology will improve the return on investment figures, but until that time I want my energy as inexpensively as possible. This doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to be sensitive to environmental concerns, just don’t tell me I have to buy electricity from a solar plant at multiple times the cost of our neighborhood nuclear power plant thereby sending my family and I back to the 1920s standard of living with kerosene lamps for light and ice boxes for refrigeration.

After wind and solar, we have evil oil. Abandon your car! It’s killing the environment! Walk. Ride a bike. Use mass transit. Um, okay. Walking is reasonable, but not a very efficient use of my time. Riding a bike also seems reasonable (if I owned a bike) but somewhat inconvenient in inclement weather (say from November to April in Vermont). Mass transit? In Vermont? Ha! I probably pay more in taxes to support our local mass transit operation, The Bus, then I do on a month’s worth of gas (although that may not be true lately) and I might as well walk by the time I get to where I’m going.

On the subject of cars and electricity…where will the energy come from to charge up an electric car? Where do we dispose of the toxic battery when it goes kaput? Oh well…

Recently, I’ve been told what kind of light bulb I can and can’t buy. Really? I confess to jumping on the fad when compact fluorescents first appeared on the scene, but since then I’ve discovered that there are environmental regulations with which I need to comply when I dispose of them. That, and breaking one of these bulbs could result in the poisoning of my family with the dreaded mercury (of tuna fish fame). I’m significantly convinced to switch back to my incandescent bulbs except now I can’t buy them! What gives? Since when did we allow Uncle Sam such access to our homes?

Speaking of the government in our homes…toilet regulations? Come on. What if your family is as full of…well, you get the idea.

And now, I have to worry about my carbon footprint? Seriously? I thought all of my footprints were carbon (I’m a carbon-based life form, aren’t I?). Will CSI start prosecuting crimes by matching carbon footprints instead of actual footprints?

I’m all for good environmental policies that achieve a balance between the earth and those of us who have no other neighborhood to move to. These recycling fads can’t be used as good energy policy, however.

How Green is green enough?

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