Friday, May 11, 2012

Environmental Reactionaries

We’ve known for some time now that if you replace plastic grocery bags with hemp or burlap ones you are providing a perfect culture for disease germs. Link here.

Yesterday, the AP reported on an incident that afflicted a middle school girls soccer team from Oregon two years ago. The girls all ate cookies out of an environmentally-correct grocery bag. Seven of them fell seriously ill with norovirus.

All told, norovirus afflicts 21,000,000 people each year and kills 200,000 children.

You would think that responsible government officials would think twice about banning plastic grocery bags. You would be wrong. The Los Angeles City Council is about to do just that, thus creating a new environment that will be friendly to  norovirus and its cousins.

The Daily Caller offers some perspective:

 In 2010, University of Arizona researchers tested 84 bags collected from shoppers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Tucson, More than half were contaminated with bacteria. Twelve percent of the bags contained E. coli, a sign of fecal matter, and many contained even more dangerous pathogens.

Environmentalists will tell you that you can solve the problem by washing your burlap shopping bag each time you use it. But, then you will be using phosphates in your detergent and will be wasting water.

Between us, how many people are going to wash their shopping bags each time they use them?

Anyway, this little anecdote leads effortlessly into a report about a nation that must be leading the world in environmental correctness: Germany.

Yes, Germany is green. Germany is greener than green. Germany has developed programs for environmental purification that are the envy of environmentalists the world over.

The German nation has risen up as one person to rid itself of environmental impurities. One might say that it wasn’t too long ago that the German nation rose up as one person to rid itself of what it saw as human impurities, but that would not be very nice.

At the least, the environmentalist mania is a reactionary movement. It’s goal is to sue us and regulate us back to the Stone Age.

Being ideological zealots environmentalists do not much care about the results of their activities. They are self-satisfied members of a nature cult.

You might prefer to think that environmentalism is a radical leftist ideology. Since we are going to be talking about Germany, it is fair to notice that environmentalism was perfectly attuned to National Socialism. It still is.

Read this from the current website of the American Nazi Party:

National Socialists are vehemently opposed to the destruction of our world, our wildlife, and our natural resources in the name of consumerism and greed.  The excessive materialism in America has led us to think that we NEED things that we would be just fine without.  A National Socialist government in America would not only encourage its citizens to recycle, but also to USE LESS in the first place.  As National Socialist Germany was able to make numerous advances in fuel and other products, so will an NS America push for better, cleaner, and more efficient technologies so that demand for our precious natural resources will become greatly diminished.  These technologies are currently being discouraged by the capitalist greed of global oil companies (now being subsidized with US taxpayer money to the tune of $4 billion per year) and other monopolistic international corporations whose outrageous profits would suffer if more efficient and advanced products replaced theirs.  National Socialism works for the good of the common citizen, rather than for the few ultra-wealthy.

In truth, German environmentalists in the 1930s signed on to Hitler’s National Socialism because he was preaching a religion of nature.

Be that as it may, today Germany is awash in an environmentalist mania.

Its measures are well-intended. Unfortunately, they often have environmentally unfriendly consequences. Besides, they are making life more miserable for the average German.

Recently, Der Spiegel reported on the phenomenon. In an extensive report Alexander Neubacher showed how the best laid environmentalist plans often caused more pollution than they stopped. As you might expect, environmentalists do not really care.

Being an environmentalist means never having to worry about the real consequences of your policies.

Neubacher describes the new German attitude toward the environment:

Our newest goal is to minimize our ecological footprint. Thursdays are veggie days, and old-fashioned, hand-cranked washing machines are back in vogue. Websites offer environmental tips for all kinds of situations, from cosmetics based on the phases of the moon to vibrators made of plastic without toxic chemical softeners. There are urns made of cornstarch and coffins made of cardboard, so that we can embark on our final journey in an environmentally correct manner -- a final good deed before everything turns to compost.

When something benefits the environment, the need to justify it suddenly disappears. The green label eliminates all controversy. And political parties are essentially in agreement that society cannot do enough for the environment. No progressive politician wants to expose himself to the career-ending suspicion that he lacks environmental consciousness.

He describes the practical consequences:

We buy organic food, put E10 in our gas tanks and switch to green electricity. Our roofs are covered in solar panels and our walls plastered with insulation. This makes us feel good about ourselves. The only question is: What exactly does the environment get out of all this? Let's take a look at our systems for dealing with garbage, water, light and insulation.

Having recognized the need to preserve water the German nation has made an especial effort to induce everyone to use less water. Less water to shower, less water to flush toilets… the nation is on a crusade to preserve water.

What could be wrong with this?

Neubacher explains:

This is all very well and good, but there's only one problem: It stinks. Our street is filled with the stench of decay. It's especially bad in the summer, when half of Berlin is under a cloud of gas….

Our consumption has declined so much that there is not enough water going through the pipes to wash away fecal matter, urine and food waste, causing blockages. The inert brown sludge sloshes back and forth in the pipes, which are now much too big, releasing its full aroma.

The water authorities are trying to offset the stench with odor filters and perfumed gels that come in lavender, citrus and spruce scents. But toxic heavy metals like copper, nickel and lead are also accumulating in the sewage system. Sulfuric acid is corroding the pipes, causing steel to rust and concrete to crumble. It's a problem that no amount of deodorant can solve.

And then there’s the problem with eco-friendly light bulbs. You recall, the ones that our government is going to force us to buy, the better to save electricity.

You know that these eco-friendly bulbs are filled with mercury. Mercury is a poison. If you break one of those eco-friendly light bulbs and get exposed to mercury you are going to have a serious medical problem.

In Neubacher’s words:

Scientists with the German Federal Environment Agency have done tests to determine how dangerous energy-saving light bulbs are. They broke bulbs from the product line of a European brand-name manufacturer. Then they measured the concentration of toxic materials in the air of the room, once after five minutes and a second time after five hours.

All readings were well above permissible levels. In some cases, the mercury level was 20 times as high as the benchmark value. Even after five hours, there was still so much mercury in the air that it would have endangered the health of pregnant women, young children and sensitive individuals.

And then there’s the problem with the new insulation requirements for German housing. German laws want everyone to save energy by installing mattress-thick levels of insulation in their homes.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Neubacher explains:

There is another problem, however: the people who live in these thermally insulated houses and are complaining about their "poor ventilation behavior," as a brochure published by the Federal Office of Construction calls it. Unfortunately, it's all too often forgotten that any insulation changes the interior climate. For example, it can lead to mold spreading in places where it would never have been expected, like inside the roller shutter box, behind radiators and underneath the windowsill.

When mold has penetrated supporting beams, the house has to be abandoned, particularly as the insulating panels become increasingly moist over time. "It's like putting on a wet sweater on a cold day," explains a construction expert. "Yes, we're becoming the world's best insulators," says Boris Palmer, the Green Party mayor of Tübingen near Stuttgart, "and yes, we are deliberately spoiling our building stock.

For Americans this should be a cautionary tale. It’s best not to jump on the newest and trendiest cause without thinking things through.


n.n said...

Two words: paper bag. Not only is it environmentally safe, but it is also manufactured from a renewable resource.

We need to be good stewards of our environment, not fanatics.

Oh, and the out-of-sight and out-of-mind principle is not a solution, which means the so-called "green" technologies are fraudulently marketed. That, and they are only suitable for limited and circumstantial distribution.

I wonder how often "environmentalists" conspire with industry and other interests. It happened with the promotion and lobbying of CFLs, and there is no reason to believe it doesn't happen in other instances, including "global warming" and similar schemes.

JP said...

Isn't primitivism (along with individualism) one of the naturally occurring ofshoots of Western civilization?

In any event, throwing toxic heavy metals willy-nilly though an ecosystem is just dumb. I hate mercury products.

n.n said...


Recognition of individual dignity was ostensibly the cause for ending slavery and arbitrary discrimination. Its elevation in our civilization represents positive progress. Whereas primitivism seems to be associated with a decadent condition where individuals suffer from a progressive dissociation from reality. Of course, individuals can choose to regress on their own terms, but that right ends when they cross other people.

anna said...

this is useful information, I didn't know about that risk. This excessive moralism of the left is as weird as the kind on the right, like using hot water to wash out plastic bags before recycling them, how much energy does that use? Yes, paper is now sustainable, and also recyclable. I don't think it's collaboration - I think it's sanctimony. The jouissance of being better than the next fellow. Collaboration would have the advantage of being self-serving. Sanctimony is just creepy.

Jim said...

Having worked in manufacturing for decades, including at factories overseas, it is not well known that US factories are the cleanest and safest plants in the world. US plants must comply with the most stringent environmental regulations that are more demanding than any country. Before the fall of the Soviet Union, German factories disposed of their toxic solid waste by shipping it to Eastern Europe.

CatherineM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CatherineM said...

I brought up the dangers of mercury in CFLS at a Community Board meeting where we had a speaker from Con Ed. I believe Con Ed says if you breakf a cfl, you should open a window and leave the room immediately for 5 hours until the mecury in the air disspates. That seemed crazy to me, but I was waived off by the Con Ed speaker and members of the audience - it was decided that CFLs are the future. Period.

They also brought up fracking at another meeting as they are afraid of farmers in upstate NY selling their land to gas companies and our water being ruined in NYC. It's lunacy.

It's a religion and it turns out that many of my neighbors worship at the Church of RFK and his "River Keepers." That's where all of their scripture is learned.