J500 Media and the Environment

A little Black & Blue makes Green by Dave Dunn
June 26, 2009, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Energy + Climate, J840 Week 2, Society + Media | Tags: , ,

I slightly wince at my computer screen as I type in the darkness of my lower level.  My lights are off in an effort to conserve energy and I’m downstairs because it’s the coolest place in the house.  A bead of sweat nearly develops on my brow as my thermostat’s set higher in another eco-friendly effort.  I believe a little “Black & Blue”, like a bruise, to your daily living habits and/or to your wallet are necessary for considering oneself as being “Green”.no pain no gain

Becoming “Green” may be like the old saying, “No pain, no gain.”  Rather than environmental efforts that are simply a by-product of convenience or saving money in the short-term, real environmental action must include sacrifices both financially and socially.

As an example of sacrifices, in a radio interview on the “Brian Lehrer Show” (4/20/2007), NY Times Columnist Thomas Freedman talked about rising the price of oil for 5 years. He said while it would produce short-term financial pain for consumers, it would force the development of energy alternatives, which would eventually drive down the price of oil for good.  Freedman’s key to Environmentalism on a larger scale is higher governmental standards.  And he said higher standards will drive innovation, and innovation will drive green (and green will drive to long-term financial savings and more jobs).

On an individual level, I think being green is holding oneself to higher standards, and to do that includes lowering ones “standard” of living.   With all the confusing and contradictory messages on living green as reported in the New York Times article (“That Buzz in Your Ear Might Be Green Noise”), I believe sacrifice is a big part of determining what is, and what is not, green.

-Dave D.


3 Comments so far
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It really is the things we do every day that can affect the business of energy and so the global economy on the subject of Green. Your comments around individual high standards leading corporations to respond gives us all another great reason to make choices that seem a little personally painful at first, but lead to big gains for us all.

Comment by carrieshoptaw

Hi Carrie!
Yea, I think it’s definitely going to take some serious and maybe painful sacrifices for a real environmental movement. I hope I didn’t make it sound like just lowering your thermostat a couple of degrees and working in the dark makes you Green maybe it’s more of an attitude, as opposed to just actions, that defines Green.
And speaking of higher standards, looks like Obama’s Legislation to reduce green-house gas emissions, the America Clean Energy and Security Act, has passed one hurdle to becoming law…but still one to go.

Comment by davemd

One of the only positive outcomes of the country’s financial meltdowns is that people are thinking twice about all expeditures, including energy-related ones. Therefore, I disagree that being green is all about financial sacrifice. In fact, it is more cost-effective to reuse items and purchase (or recycle) used items. If people used Freecycle more, they would save money and keep items out of the landfill.

Your comments on the thermstat and lights are great. I wonder if in the end it is still a sacrifice once you get used to it? I know that I found it an adjustment when I went from a way-too-air-conditioned office to a home office. Ultimately, I learned to dress in lighter clothing and drink more water.
Holly Eitel

Comment by hollyee

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