I like to look at issues logically--I know that's a frustrating habit in this day and age. But I really struggle with the "Green movement's" priorities. I consider myself an environmentalist who actually thinks. Styrofoam is a no-no in town. Got it. Gardeners need to buy new leaf blowers. OK. Plastic grocery bags are bad. Done. Bringing my own cloth bags all the time. Bike more--I'm there. Where are you since it seems lonely out there? Test all cars that are more than six years old, but newer than 1975 for emissions--got it. No choice and I don't want one.
So why does someone get to tear down a perfectly good house with a huge amount of embodied energy and send all of the rubble to the dump for free? Here's a six minute TED video on embodied energy that will get you thinking. Maybe the payback is 20 years. Maybe it's 50 years. Maybe we aren't doing half of what Catherine Mohr is suggesting and the payback is 100 years? Maybe the do-gooders in San Mateo County are, as she says, "long on moral authority and short on data"? Maybe there should be a $30,000 or $40,000 tear down fee in town?
What got me thinking on this? Here was a lovely house in my neighborhood that probably had all of the 300 Megawatt-hours Ms. Mohr talked about in it or more.
I'm not just guessing that it was lovely--I was in it three times in the last year. It was owned by an interior decorator who knew what she was doing. It was lovely. Brick fireplace, hardwoods in good shape, leaded glass cabinet doors, beautiful wainscot. And a lot of embedded energy. The eventual demise looks like this.
So bring your bags to the grocery store. Get your smog test. Pedal and walk more. You can even vote for Moonbeam and his cap and trade cronyism, but don't kid yourself that you are doing anything but fiddling about the edges of the problem. Those who speak the loudest on this are saying the least.