published Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Your new green life

Environmental activists regularly scare Americans about our domestic energy resources — and urge us to abandon development of them. Witness the various efforts to stop hydraulic fracturing, offshore and onshore drilling, and the like.

What life would look like in this new green world, though, rarely gets coverage. Considering environmental activists aren't very secretive about their agenda, it's worth looking at the dramatically different lifestyle they envision for all of us.

When you wake up in your new sustainable home, the first thing you notice is the cramped quarters. Today, the average home size in the United States is around 2,700 square feet. That's about five times more than environmentalists think you need.

The founder of, for instance, just moved into a sustainable home many consider a model for the future. At 420 square feet, the home comes with movable walls to create separate spaces when you need them.

The upside is you won't need much space for appliances. Environmentalist guru Bill McKibben, founder of, notes that a 60 percent reduction in fossil fuel usage — a number many greenies advocate — would result in a dramatic reduction of carbon emissions per person. Sounds great, right?

According to McKibben, however, "If you carpooled [six miles per day], you'd have about three pounds of CO2 left in your daily ration -- enough to run a highly efficient refrigerator. Forget your computer, your TV, your stereo, your stove, your dishwasher, your water heater, your microwave, your water pump, your clock. Forget your light bulbs, compact fluorescent or not."

But surely your electric vehicle will get you around greenly? Unfortunately, no.

A recent study by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership suggests electric powertrains actually have a bigger carbon footprint than internal combustion engines once you take manufacturing the battery and producing the electricity into account. Electric cars don't even out with their gas counterparts for about 80,000 miles.

You'll be biking everywhere. But not to the shopping mall. As McKibben notes, you'll need to "slash your stock of clothes to a comfortable (or even uncomfortable) minimum."

It's a long way down. The Internet, for example, collectively generates emissions equivalent to half the fossil fuels burned in the United Kingdom. That's a lot of CO2. No more web-surfing for you.

But surely we can move heavily into renewables and stave off these extreme lifestyle modifications, right? Again, no.

The Worldwatch Institute notes the problem with that approach, "[I]n order to produce enough energy over the next 25 years to replace most of what is supplied by fossil fuels, the world would need to build 200 square meters of solar photovoltaic panels every second plus 100 square meters of solar thermal every second plus 24 3-megawatt wind turbines every hour nonstop for the next 25 years.

All of this would take tremendous energy and materials — ironically frontloading carbon emissions just when they most need to be reduced."

It turns out that building solar panels and wind turbines takes a lot of power and emits a lot of carbon -- to say nothing of the effects of the extraction of the rare earths, metals and other materials required to produce them.

But don't worry, the same environmental groups opposing oil and gas production are opposed to rare earth extraction. So environmentalists themselves have made sure these alternative energy sources will remain out of reach for some time.

To sum up, you're back in your postage-stamp home after work. Your clothes are sweaty from riding your bike. You can't wash them because you don't have a washing machine. You can't buy new ones, because that is an environmental no-no. Since you can't cook a hot meal, you're stuck with a bowl of raw veggies for dinner. You're off-line for good.

Some life, huh?

Fortunately, Americans still have access to clean and abundant energy and an unmatched quality of life — at least until the environmental wingnuts have their way.

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Anti-environmental activists routinely try to scam Americans about our domestic energy resources and urge us to abandon environmental concerns with scare campaigns. Witness...this editorial.

You're secretive about your agenda, hiding it behind a false concern for well-being and life, but you're pandering to people who will enrich themselves while putting a cost that will be borne by the future. And you do it dishonestly.

You get upset about somebody choosing to live in a very small environment for themselves as an individual, while comparing to an average that would cover families, not single persons. At least mention the average family size. Then consider how much of your average house isn't actually living space, unlike the number given for the site. Yeah, you're kinda obvious in your failure to consider things honestly.

And note how you use the LCVP study, but ignore the real conclusion:

"The study found that some of the CO2 savings made during the use of low carbon vehicles are offset by increased emissions created during their production and, to a lesser extent, disposal. However, overall electric and hybrid vehicles still have lower carbon footprints than normal cars. The report was prepared by Ricardo for, and in collaboration with, the expert membership of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership that includes major vehicle manufacturers and oil companies.

For example, a typical medium sized family car will create around 24 tonnes of CO2 during its life cycle, while an electric vehicle (EV) will produce around 18 tonnes over its life. For a battery EV, 46% of its total carbon footprint is generated at the factory, before it has travelled a single mile."

So let's see, the carbon footprint is at the factory, where it can be controlled and managed, versus on the road? And there's less toxic tailpipe emissions? My word. What does that mean? You don't care, you're just seizing on the conclusion you want. As usual.

You are repeating the typical lies of the right-wing, trying to scaremonger the population away from environmental concerns, which is funny, because you'd probably feign outrage if somebody wrote an editorial describing the price of pollution, the escalating costs of energy, and the results of not preparing for the future.

Fortunately Americans still have the sense to at least sometimes recognize a load of BS and realize that preserving their way of life requires a bit of forethought and sometimes sacrifice in the present to save the future.

July 28, 2012 at 12:37 a.m.
AndrewLohr said...

Bulbs, if you object to "putting a cost that will be borne by the future," do you object to President Obama's deficits (and President Bush's), and to his defense of the problem against Paul Ryan's attempt at some progress toward solution? If you don't object to President Obama's deficits, does that make you a hypocrite who needs to repent?

July 28, 2012 at 12:45 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Those same environmental wingnuts think that we should take responsibility for the impact we have on land, water, air and all finite resourses. Now that is radical stuff! All those resourses are here for us to use as we see fit. Why should we really care what conditions coming generations have to deal with? We know all about exponential growth, resourse depletion rates,and the problems that failing to be earth stewards will create, but most of thase problems won't become unbearable for several more decades.

It's party time for us, let those fools that get here too late try to clean up the mess. They should have been born earlier.

Money's spoils trump ethical behavior and we are proving it every day.

July 28, 2012 at 12:49 a.m.
stevedj_98 said...

After 14 months and 6,400 miles, I still love my 100% electric Nissan LEAF, to be assembled by year's end here in Tennessee by 1,600 new employees at the Nissan plant in Smyrna. Best car I have ever owned. Recently, I've added a 4.9 kw solar panel system to my home here in Chattanooga. I'll be charging my LEAF for free, and selling excess electricity back to the TVA. By the way, I live in a normal 2,700 square foot house.

July 28, 2012 at 12:54 a.m.

Sorry AndrewLohr, I believe this subject of this editorial is the environment not the politics of the federal budget.. If you wish to discuss that, please wait for the next editorial on that subject, and don't try to shoehorn it in here.

Thanks, I appreciate you sticking to the environment, and not trying to distract us with another subject. If you want to discuss my views, you can look them up, I've said what I believe should be done about the debt and deficit on this site before, but I do not care to repeat them here. As I said, try to stay on subject. Feel free to give your thoughts on Obama's environmental policies. Or Mitt Romney's if you wish.

nucanuck, thinking of the future is so liberal and progressive. Better to be a conservative grasshopper and live in the past.

Ants are the ones who think of the winter, and they're so communist. They live in a HIVE!

stevedj_98, but but, solar panels don't work! Or something. And I'm pretty sure those cars don't work, or somehow lack the manliness that all TROO AMURICANS need.

July 28, 2012 at 12:55 a.m.
EaTn said...

America has become the world symbol for waste in all areas including turning farmland into wasted excessive homes and food into ethanol for gas guzzling vehicles. While most of us don't give a thought about what we're doing to our kids and grandkids, someday they will look back and thank those "environmentalists" who had more than the "I want it all now" mentality.

July 28, 2012 at 7:25 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Extreme ideas are presented in this editorial. No one, even most environmentalists, think that Americans should conform to such a scenario. But to reject it all just because there are fringe ideas, or to let the extreme define the whole movement is dishonest.

Take for example, house size. 1000 ft2 was plenty for the "greatest generation". Houses averaged 1000 ft2 in 1945-50. Now the average is as the editorial states, 2700 ft2. That means that for every family living in 1000 ft 2 there is another in a house greater than 5000 ft2. McMansions use far more energy to cool, heat, and accessorize with appliances like multiple TVs, computers, fridges, etc. Our houses are larger than any in the developed world. No one is saying that we must all live in 500 ft2, but this is one reason why we use more energy per capita than any other nation. Excess.

If we were limited in space, like Europe, or had to pay more for energy, we'd build houses that were more efficient and were appropriately sized.

As for renewable energy, no one source can do it all. But for every kilowatt obtained from a renewable source, or every kilowatt saved by efficiency, is a kilowatt not generated by fossil fuel, domestic or imported.

It is interesting that, while all the shouting and denying and ridiculing of environmental ideas by conservatives, tremendous progress is being made by big businesses and industry. Why? Because it is good for the bottom line. Efficiency pays for itself. Conservation is good business. Green buildings, efficient lighting, and renewable energy saves money. If there was trickle-down, this will be it, as we the consumer will benefit from the savings and the R and D these companies perform.

July 28, 2012 at 7:28 a.m.
conservative said...

These environmental kooks would collect condensation in their front yard if they had a river in their back yard!

July 28, 2012 at 9:19 a.m.
Easy123 said...


The river is poisoned. But you wouldn't know that. You're too busy ignoring facts and evidence.

July 28, 2012 at 9:24 a.m.
nucanuck said...

steve, it sounds like you are working toward a reduced carbon footprint. The earth thanks you for that. How are you doing with other carbon reduction and resourse preserving strategies?

My family has made progress in lifestyle changes that are more sustainable, but my granddaughter tell me that our family of six is still consuming at a rate that would require 2.3 earths to supply. She said that her best friend's family was consuming at a 4.7 rate. The only conclusion possible is that we all have some changing to do.

July 28, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

conservative, this is the second thread you have come to with insults and nothing of substance. What would Jesus think of some folks on this planet using potable water to flush toilets and water lawns, and trucking tap water in fancy plastic bottles back and forth across this country when so many others go without safe water? As a Christian, you should be leading the way to educating all of us on the importance of not wasting resources. The building I was employed in used cisterns to collect rain runoff, and that water was used for toilets and irrigating the landscaping instead of using municipal water. We should all be doing this, especially those living in areas drawing aquifer water that is not being replenished.

We should be leading the way. My brother is seeing 3000-4000 wind generators coming into his home port from Brasil, to be shipped inland and installed in west Texas and New Mexico. Why are we not building them here in the US?

July 28, 2012 at 9:31 a.m.
conservative said...

Solar is such a joke, only the wealthy can afford it and even then their cost is offset by other people's money. They receive tax credits which are a form of tax cuts for the rich!

Did you ever notice the Liberal sheep (sheep are dumb) who often comment here are silent about these subsidies for the rich? Yes, I know these sheep don't pay taxes and it doesn't come out of their pocket but that has never stopped them from whining about tax cuts before.

July 28, 2012 at 9:58 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Again, conservative, do you have anything of substance? Anything at all, to offer? You insult, shift goal posts, call names, but offer nothing. What would Jesus think?

July 28, 2012 at 10:04 a.m.

I'd be quite happy if we had a municipal solar program that worked to serve the needs to the people by investing in direct solar implementation. Heck, I'd be happy if instead of funding companies with loans the government just committed to purchasing locally produced solar panels and installing them on their own buildings.

But we can't get that, can we? That's apparently European Socialism. And we know that doesn't work, look at Germany, utterly failing as an economy!

So all we get is tax cuts and loan programs.

And yes, I did complain about that idea from Republicans, but no, none of you listened, you just wanted to engage in your own narrative about corruption and incompetence while ignoring whose idea it really was. At least own up to your ideas.

No wait, that'd take responsibility. Republicans don't have that, not that it ever stops them from whining about others not having it.

July 28, 2012 at 10:17 a.m.
conservative said...


"The river is poisoned" - you are backtracking

Let us go down memory lane :

easy July 18, 2012

"We have utterly destroyed the planet."

July 28, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
Easy123 said...


Now you're getting the picture! Congrats!

July 28, 2012 at 10:21 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

conservative, we are waiting. You are making baby Jesus cry with your dodging.

July 28, 2012 at 11:11 a.m.
conservative said...


From the Merriam Webster dictionary, you may have heard of it.

Definition of UTTER

: carried to the utmost point or highest degree : absolute, total <utter stranger

"We have utterly destroyed the planet.", is that still your story?

July 28, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.

Looks like all conservative has to offer is pedantic nitpicking over language.

Thanks for admitting that you have nothing substantive to contribute.

As usual.

July 28, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
lkeithlu said...

Oh, well, I had my hopes that a TROO (TM) Christian would see that wasting resources was morally wrong and be able to say so. Guess I'll go eat a kitten, since that's what atheists do.

July 28, 2012 at 11:39 a.m.
Easy123 said...


Are you recycling posts now? Keep grasping at straws!

July 28, 2012 at 11:52 a.m.
joneses said...

When Al Gore, the Kennedy's, Robert Redford, Don Henley and other hypocrites of note decide to make all their multimillion dollar homes 480 square feet I might start respecting these misguided, hypocritical liberals. But that will never happen.

July 28, 2012 at 12:59 p.m.
Easy123 said...


I'm sure you could fit a few solar panels on your shanty.

July 28, 2012 at 1:01 p.m.

When joneses decides to pay off government debt through voluntary contributions, I might start respecting these misguided, hypocritical conservatives. But that will never happen.

July 28, 2012 at 1:13 p.m.
conservative said...


From the Cambridge dictionary and


Cambridge : to damage something so badly that it does not exist or cannot be used

<p> : 1. to reduce (an object) to useless fragments, a useless form, or remains, as by rending, burning, or dissolving; injure beyond repair or renewal; demolish; ruin; annihilate. 2. to put an end to; extinguish. 3. to kill; slay. 4. to render ineffective or useless; nullify; neutralize; invalidate

Remember your words?


Are you still sticking to this story and is this story your reality?

July 28, 2012 at 3:32 p.m.

Are you still bickering over that pedantry?

Ok, then why don't you ask this editorial writer why they claimed the president of moved into a home, when the reality is that it's an apartment in New York City. How's that work? Why did they leave that detail out? Really, trying to compare a nationwide average to an apartment in a high-density urban area?

I think it was quite a bit misleading. But will we see conservative say one word about that? No, for some reason we won't hear a peep.

It is funny seeing conservative go into a spiel about somebody else's intemperate language. It's like conservative thinks we don't recall his own hyperbole-ridden posts.

July 28, 2012 at 3:36 p.m.
Easy123 said...


We've already gone over this, sweetie. You're incapable of meaningful conversation. You ignore facts. Maybe it's your Conservative ideology or maybe you're just dense. Or maybe it's both.

Would you like to talk about this article or just keep running headlong into your brick wall of ignorance?

July 28, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.
conservative said...


", but my granddaughter tell me that our family of six is still consuming at a rate that would require 2.3 earths to supply."

Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi! What brand of cereal did that earth gage come from? Do you also get a secret decoder ring with it?

July 28, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Your ignorance is palpable. Do some research next time so you won't look so out of touch with reality.

July 28, 2012 at 4:11 p.m.
nucanuck said...

c-man, are you opposing the concept of individual responsibility for the earth's stewardship? Should mankind attempt to live by sustainable standards? If so, what should we do differently?

Try participating in a constructive conversation.

July 28, 2012 at 4:37 p.m.
conservative said...


", but my granddaughter tell me that our family of six is still consuming at a rate that would require 2.3 earths to supply."

With his mansion and all of that jet travel, how many earths do you believe it will take to supply Algore's carbon habit?

July 28, 2012 at 4:56 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Moving the goal posts, AGAIN!

July 28, 2012 at 4:58 p.m.

Ah, somebody's bring back their Al Gore obsession again. Such theater shows how you'd rather focus on other than take responsibility for yourself.

Tell you what, you want to calculate the costs and apply a fair tax to everybody, go right ahead. For every Al Gore there's probably at least a thousand corporate CEO's.

Oh wait, that WAS your idea. Till you refudiated it.

July 28, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
conservative said...

nucanuck writes :

"Try participating in a constructive conversation." after writing :

", but my granddaughter tell me that our family of six is still consuming at a rate that would require 2.3 earths to supply."

Just think, people will spend 20 bucks for a couple of hours of entertainment at a movie theater.

July 28, 2012 at 5:29 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

conservative, you still have not dealt with the issue of Christian responsibility. Is it not appropriate for Christians to promote sustainable use of natural resources? Clean, safe water for everyone? Preventing waste? Or are these tasks left to Godless liberals while religious conservatives take more than their share and fail to educate the young on the finite resources facing an ever expanding human population?

July 28, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.
conservative said...

easy said :

"You're incapable of meaningful conversation"

easy gives an example of "meaningful conversation" :


July 28, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
Easy123 said...


You never cease proving my point.

Again, would you like to talk about this article or just keep running headlong into your brick wall of ignorance?

July 28, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.
nucanuck said...

c-man, your right, Al Gore talks the talk without walking the walk, but what about you? Are you or your family even trying to move toward resourse conservation? Only if we all try to reduce our impact will we be able to make a difference. We don't get two bites at this apple we call earth, we need to work as a team to find ways to keep her healthy.

You don't seem to be on board.

July 28, 2012 at 6:51 p.m.
conservative said...

nucanuck and easy vie for the biggest mea culpa of the year :

nucanuck : ", but my granddaughter tell me that our family of six is still consuming at a rate that would require 2.3 earths to supply."


Cast your vote.

July 28, 2012 at 7:05 p.m.
Easy123 said...


Your dumbassery has hit an all-time high. You can't help yourself. You love beating your head into the wall. Please keep it up. I enjoy watching you destroy your own credibility and hang yourself with your own ignorance.

July 28, 2012 at 7:13 p.m.

nucanuck, actually I've seen the right-wingers complain that Al Gore is also investing too much in green technology, to the point where he's making too much money off of it.

Apparently there are some ways of making money that aren't acceptable.

conservative: I'm sorry, but you're not going to win the lifetime achievement award over Mitt Romney, he's got a lot more people to life for him than you do.

July 28, 2012 at 7:29 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Yep, your not on board. You belong to the Takers let others do the heavy lifting. A human pest who adds nothing to the commons on your journey through life. In case you don't know I will tell you something. You are no Christian and you don't even know what a conservative is. No after life for you, little man.

July 28, 2012 at 7:38 p.m.
conservative said...

easy seeks credibility with this gem :


July 28, 2012 at 7:50 p.m.
conservative said...



July 28, 2012 at 7:58 p.m.
aae1049 said...

HappywithFreeGovBlubs has started yet another name calling episode.

As a 20 year, NPDES program developer and regulator, this second phase of tree hugging in the name of carbon footprint reduction is a trendy marketing strategy for suppliers of environmental sustainability products. Smoke and mirror regulations indented to mandate a market to a specific sector.

Environmental regulators at EPA and TDEC have seen this cycle for decades where environmental regulations are driven by product lobbyist, ie green roofs, porous concrete, called in vogue products that have the gloss, but little capital or energy return that will amortize. Since these sustainability products do not have reasonable rate of return, Gov loves these in the red products, and the private sector is forced to purchase these products without valid reason or benefit through mandated regulations.

July 28, 2012 at 11:11 p.m.

LOL, accusations of name-calling. Now that's an amusing whine from the right-wingers among us that continually manages to be indifferent to their own examples of misconduct while faking outrage over imagined offenses.

You want to talk about smoke and mirrors(besides your own, of course!)? Try the companies that really want us to believe that they're not doing anything dangerous, that nothing they've put in the groundwater has been PROVEN to cause harm. That's why they get to write the regulations to grant them immunity and protection, where they don't even have to admit what they're doing. Then of course, when their ideas are implemented, they pretend they're draconian strictures that hamstring their free market performance in order to get us to let them get away with even more!

As far as roofs go, if you haven't tried a cool roof, you're missing out. Even George W. Bush put one on his house. And pervious concrete isn't about energy return, it's about water management.

Which is a concern that private property owners will have to deal with the expenses of anyway. Or do you really think that there would be no consequences to pay from indifference to the problem? That it will solve itself? That's funny too.

July 28, 2012 at 11:35 p.m.
mikebfromky said...

Happy with the new bulbs handed Drew his lunch so I'll just say this.

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher ' standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque flower is a right as unalienable as free speech.

These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast, and until science disclosed the drama of where they come from and how they live. the whole conflict boils down to a question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress; our opponents do not. - Aldo Leopold

July 29, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
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