Griff’s follow-up to Spanky’s easy conservation tip #1

Spanky is absolutely right about the plastic lids and straws. Napkins are another big one. Granted, you don’t want to drip Wendy’s chili or TB bean burrito on your chinos, but one or two napkins should do it. If you actually needed that whole stack of napkins you grabbed the last time you went to BK, you’ve got some problems, and you should probably start working on eating with utensils before you go out in public again.

 A couple of other conservation tips (not fast-food related) from Griff:

  • Use less water in your toilet. If you don’t have a toilet that conserves water (and most of you don’t), fill up a 1/2-gallon plastic milk jug with water and place it in the tank to displace water.
  • Set your computer to sleep/standby/hibernate after a certain period of time (Spanky!). Screensavers don’t do sh#t. This will save energy. For more on this, see http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/computers-sleep.html.
  • Actually recycle. It’s not as hard as it looks. If you live in a city (like ours) where they don’t sort for you, do your own sorting and stick to it. When you go to the grocery store, ask for paper bags. Take these home and use them for recycling. Keep one bag for plastics, one for glass, one for cardboard, one for newspaper, and so on. Once you get used to disposing of your waste this way, you’ll hardly think about it. Here’s a good guide to sorting: http://www.icgov.org/garbage/documents/recyclePage.pdf.
  • Speaking of grocery bags, control the bagging of your groceries. There is no reason to double-bag, or to use a whole plastic bag just for a box of cereal or a bottle of pop. Those pimply, squeaky-talking baggers at HyVee don’t know any better – they’re trained that way. But you do! Tell them how to bag your groceries, if you don’t want to do it yourself. Better yet, bring your own shopping bags. In Germany, you actually have to pay for bags, if you don’t have your own. That’s how it should be.
  • I know we’ve all heard this before, and I know we’re all lazy-ass f*cks, but look at it this way: you’ve been gettin’ a little husky from all that PBR and burrito-binging anyways – why not save gas and work off that spicy chicken by walking or biking to Wendy’s?

Spanky’s easy conservation tip #1

Bro Taguchi is rather upset with the Sierra Club these days, because their tips just aren’t practical. I agree with him.

Here’s one thing you can do that is actually super-easy.

I’m betting that, at home, all of you drink fluids from a cup, mug, etc., with no plastic lid on it. Also, you walk around your home with said vessel with ease. Sometimes you spill. Ok, whatever.

But why the hell do we feel compelled to put a plastic lid on our cups when we dine in at some restaurant? Do we get clumsier when we walk in the damn door? As I’m walking around Burger King, I don’t lose half my motor skills. I can understand using a lid in the car. Fine. But you don’t need one in BK.

Of course, the lid leads to the straw. More plastic. 1,000s of years of plastic. Sweet.

Yes, I’ll pull the standard move: imagine all those goddamned plastic lids and straws piling up. There are a shitload out there.

“BUT NO, Spanky! I don’t want to be clumsy in BK.”

I know from where this tendency comes. It’s because the jokers that have the soda fountains behind the counter put lids on your cups. We’re just used to it.

Just say no to the damn lid. You’ll be ok. I promise.

If you do use the lids, recycle them. Take them home with you, but don’t throw them away. It’s so damn easy.

-MC Spanky McGee

Global warming is not the issue here, dude. A new argument for cutting emissions.

Well, maybe it’s new.

Let’s get some things out in the open here. I accept the old arguments for the conclusion that global warming is occurring and that it is caused by humans. Ok–I feel better.

We could wrangle over the data and findings, and nay-sayers will tell you that it’s possible that the warming is not occurring or it’s not being caused by us. However, we can skip this debate and use a much better argument that should have the exact same consequences if we had all accepted the old argument for the conclusion that we should curtail our carbon emissions. The result should be that nay-sayers will accept the conclusion that thy should conserve energy and switch to renewable sources.
The new argument relies on premises that all sane people accept:

  1. Fossil fuel sources are practically finite, and they are not renewable in a useful way. We use them up at a rate that exponentially exceeds the rate at which dead things turn into oil, for example. In other words, we can’t wait around for new oil to pop up.
  2. As far as I know, nuclear materials fall in the same boat.
  3. As these non-renewable sources become scarcer, their prices will rise, and that rise is not in the self-interest of consumers.
  4. We are going to require energy sources that are renewable at a rate that keeps up with demand. This is also important for economic reasons.
  5. The sun, the wind, and wave power are all good candidates for sources presented in #3, and once the systems are in place, their carbon footprint is greatly smaller than systems relying on fossil fuels, etc. Solar energy, especially, is practically infinite. Of course, the sun will burn out, as I have discussed in OIL ON TITAN? SWEET!
  6. . So it is not absolutely infinite. But it should crank out sunlight as long as we can stick around on this planet, anyway. (And we don’t cloud the atmosphere….)

Though the technology is still in the infant stage, we should research these new systems as much as possible, and implement them as soon as possible.

Concerning 3, we will have to strike a compromise. I’m betting that systems involving solar, wind, etc., will not be able to be able to keep up with projected demand. That means that we will have to reduce demand and conserve. So, we will have to use CFLs, turn out the lights when we leave a room, inflate our tires, drive less, etc.

Here’s the kicker. Once we make the necessary switch to these “renewable” sources, we will find that our carbon emissions will drop anyway. But the new argument relies on relatively uncontroversial premises. Even if carbon emissions drop and the average global temperature happens to keep rising, we will still be in a better economic situation, because fossil fuels and nuclear fuels are practically finite and our reliance on them will become a royal pain in the economic ass.

Bottom line: it’s in everyone’s self-interest to use fossil fuels as little as possible and to make the switch to renewables. Yep–oil companies are going to get hit, but you should keep in mind that they’re going to have to play a new game, anyway. Their oil won’t last forever, and I guarantee you that they are already thinking about new investments.

Duh. They’re not stupid.

-MC Spanky McGee