Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

[Icehouse] OFF TOPIC - Environmental Issues

  • From"Derek Hohls" <DHohls@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 31 Jan 2006 09:47:10 +0200
This is a completely OFF TOPIC sidebar. It is NOT intended as a criticism of any person here, but more an observation on an issue.  I see someone else requested a poster not to make "politic" remarks.  I would hope that this does not constitute such... if so, the administrator is welcome to consign it to the dustbin :-).   In any event, I do not want to start a whole debate around "rights" and 'wrongs"... simply offer some food for thought to a group that, collectively, are among some of the brightest people I have "met" online.
I see there has been much debate on the list about where to produce IceHouse.  On one hand, I can understand that the makers want to be patriotic and have it made in USA - nothing wrong with that at all (we all have pride in our respective countries). I also support the notion that it should not be made cheaper because of the use of child labour.  What I do find difficult to accept are all the statements along the lines that this must be done because USA is an "environmentally friendly" or "ecologically sound" place.  While USA may have strict laws helping to protect the local US environment; from an external point of view, we need to be aware that, as a major country in the global environment, Americans (as a group, NOT as individuals) are perceived as massive over-consumers with a high negative impact on the environment - especially in the are of gloabl warming.
A few choice quotes (you can find others)...

From Resolution 1292 (World Summit on Sustainable Development):
5. Particularly disappointing is the fact that President George Bush announced that the United States of America now no longer intends to comply with the Kyoto Protocol...
6. Such an about-face by the USA and its withdrawal from the Kyoto mechanisms continue to cause legitimate concern amongst the international community, which believes the protocol to be the first worldwide practical measure to combat global warming.

Or this from a journalist:
From local -
"Dorchester, MA (population 86,000) weekly discards about six times more trash into landfills than the entire city of Oslo, Norway (population 500,000)."
To global - 
"In 1992 at Rio, all the participating countries committed to drafting a game plan that would bring consumption within levels that could be sustained indefinitely. They also pledged to start reducing carbon-dioxide emissions - the primary cause of human-induced global warming - to 1990 levels. At the time, the United States had 5 percent of the world's population but was consuming about 25 percent of the world's energy and 30 percent of its raw materials, according to UN statistics.  Since Rio, US consumption of energy has jumped 21 percent, material consumption is up 10 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions are up 13 percent. Those emissions are expected to exceed 1990 levels by more than 46 percent by 2020.. "

or this:
If we assume that everyone on Earth is entitled to an equal, climatically acceptable level of carbon emissions, then in 1998 each person would be allowed about 2.4 tonnes (14 billion tonnes of carbon divided by 5.9 billion people); in 2010, with an estimated 7 billion people, this would drop to only 2 tonnes. Yet today in Germany, for example, per capita emissions stand at about 10.2 tonnes per year, while in the United States the figure is about 20.5 tonnes per year. In contrast, the inhabitants of Africa and of India currently emit only about 1 tonne per capita per year, and the Chinese, about 2.7 tonnes.

This last article provides much food for thought on what it means, at an individual level to promote sustainability.  I believe that LL are sincere in their desire to support this cause, and have no doubt that they personally strive for many of the ideals espoused in this article (as do other concerned individuals in the US). I just think we need to be aware, when making sweeping statements about the virtues of our countries (whichever ones they may be), that they do not necessarily live up to our personal standards.
Back "on topic", I too hope that IceHouse continues to thrive and prosper and be affordable!
Elegance rules!

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