Thursday, January 13, 2011

Green Motoring Starting To Rust

A new Harris poll indicates that the "back to the caves" movement is beginning to falter. Despite the best efforts of the Green Weenies and government fellow-travelers, Americans are simply not buying into the doom and gloom scenarios about what will happen if we don't start heating our caves with driftwood and riding horses to our former jobs.

A large percentage of the people surveyed indicated that they are all in favor of more fuel-efficient cars, better use of natural resources, and cleaning up the air and water around them. But that didn't mean they were ready to sacrifice all their modern conveniences for draconian green schemes that are unproven, inefficient, and could do more harm in the long run than just continuing with our current usage as genuinely green technologies evolve.

In the midst of belt-tightening in the private sector and continued profligacy in the public sector, 8 percent of those surveyed said they had purchased a hybrid or more fuel-efficient car in 2010 as against 13 percent in 2009. 1% had purchased a hybrid, down 50% from the 2% in 2009. And automobiles were hardly the only area affected. Across-the-boards, Americans decided the sky wasn't falling after all, and maybe there was more hysteria than sound reasoning in all the dire warnings from the eco-extremists.

In 2009, 60% of respondents said they were making a major effort to conserve water. 57% said so in 2010. Those purchasing locally-grown products were at 39% in 2009, 33% in 2010. Locally-manufactured products scored 29% in 2009, 23% in 2010. Purchasing "organic" products dropped from 17% to 15%. The same result for composting food and organic waste.

Energy Star products inexplicably dropped 6%, even though this program long precedes the current green hysterics. 9% fewer donated or recycled electronics. 6% fewer bought bottled water, a trend back to tap water and less plastic in the environment (OK, plastic containers and yuppies sucking on water bottles has always bugged me). Cleanliness and sanitation are up by 5% as people replaced their low-flow showerheads and godawful low-flush toilets. In some states, people are actually breaking the law by installing real-flush toilets. Good for them.

Recycling, one of the great scams of the 20th and 21st centuries, is up, however. Perfectly sensible activities like carpooling and bicycle riding are up a bit, but substantially unchanged. A telling part of the poll was that respondents specifically stated that they were consciously avoiding many of the "green" activities, and a majority said they either had or were going to abandon "green attitudes." 28% said they considered "green" initiatives to be important or very important to them in deciding on which candidates to vote for. 36% said it was important in 2009.

This is all beginning to sound like normal people being wise about their environment rather than acting precipitously by supporting unproven pie-in-the-sky schemes that are likely to make things worse all the way around. Many of he same people who consciously abandoned "feel good" schemes were proud to call themselves "conservationist" (17% in 2009, 20% in 2010). 18% called themselves "green" in 2010 versus 13% in 2009, and 16% called themselves "environmentalist" in 2010, whereas 13% used that term in 2009.

Given that the numbers are well beyond the statistical threshold of a "standard deviation," the conclusion I draw from this is that good old-fashioned sensible use of resources and technology is making a comeback, while blind faith in the eco-gods is on the wane. The Bible admonishes us to be good stewards of the earth. The ecofreaks want us to worship the earth. Gaea is apparently losing ground.

30 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

An interesting article, Hawk--though the poll results don't really surprise much if any. Still, the post begs at least two serious questions:

1) to what extent can the Republican House keep the heat on EPA and other executive branch end runs to backdoor cap and trade type policies?

2) How can one actually locate a real toilet to replace a low-flow? Damn, man if they are actually available, that is great news.

AndrewPrice said...

Yep, there's a huge difference between "I want good things" and actually being willing to pay for them. I'm all in favor of flying cars, I just don't want to pay what it cost to make one.

BevfromNYC said...

TJ - For the low-flow toilet issue, I suggest going to Dave Barry's blog. He has a plan. I believe you have to either steal one from a house built before the rules or sneak them across the Canadian border in the middle of the night. There is quite the black market in flush toilets in the US...

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: To question 1, the only answer for now is "the power of the purse." Until we have control of the Senate and White House as well, there isn't a lot we can do about the massive bureaucratic takeover of the functions of Congress and the executive branch. But considering the greediness of public employees, I doubt the EPA zealots would be willing to work for free or pay their own fare to some remote location to look for endangered fleas.

To question 2, we have a few places in Bakersfield that have them tucked away, back in a far corner, unlabeled, and gathering dust. It's a badly-kept secret. Reminds me of the days of the first "adult" video sections in video stores.

ScottDS said...

"Low-flow? I don't like the sound of that." - Seinfeld

Penn & Teller did an episode of Bullsh!t about recycling. I wouldn't call it a sham, however they did mention that, in the case of plastic bottles (or aluminum cans, I don't remember), it takes more energy to recycle one than to create a new one.

As for bottled water, you try drinking tap water in Orlando! :-)

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Ain't that the truth? And with some of their schemes, even if we're willing to pay for them, they don't work or one set of green weenies is blocking another set of green weenies from operating because of the above-mentioned EPA.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: You have just given me a brilliant idea. We Southern Californians can contact the drug cartels and have them smuggle their drugs across the southern border inside full-flush toilets. The drugs are going to get through anyway, and at least we'd get something useful out of it.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, this is encouraging news, but don't count your chickens just yet. As is typical in such matters, the leftists in the EPA and other bureaucracies know that things like this are just too important to let a fickle public decide whether they want it or not. If they can't be persuaded, they'll have to be coerced. Until Republicans really crack down on regulatory excesses, we should expect to see more green-by-bureaucratic-fiat policies.

LawHawkRFD said...

Scott: I saw that episode. I loved the yuppie ecoweenies who thought it was a good idea to segregate their trash into seven containers of seven different colors without having any reason why they would need to do that. Also, they were fair enough to point out that aluminum recycling is one of the very few items worth recycling, cost and environment-wise.

They also did one about my other pet peeves--bottled water. They set up a fake "designer water" restaurant, with fancy labels and exotic names. The yuppies bought right into it. They didn't know that Teller would take the empty bottles out in back, and refill them from the hose. The yuppies were waxing poetic about the wonderful flavors and clarity. My favorite was "tarantula water," with a real dead tarantula in it.

StanH said...

It is an imperative that we all be good stewards of our environment, however that does not mean to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Ever since the Indian began crying on the commercials in the late ‘60s we’ve lost our collective minds when it comes to proportionality. As we have discussed the environmental movement is where the Marxist landed when the Soviet Union began to collapse. By their attempt at controlling energy they hope to achieve de-facto Marxism, or redistribution of the wealth as Barry says. That being said we must be good stewards of the earth, just get the Owlgores, and his fellow travelers the hell out of it.

Speaking as a wild eyed Southern Boy, we could use some global warming around these parts.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: I do think it's going to get worse before it gets better. Obama and the leftists are scrambling to transfer power to every alphabet agency they can think of before they lose control. It certainly won't get cleaned up overnight, and Republicans will need to take a strong stand on it when they're back in power.

LawHawkRFD said...

Stan: And like most of the phony-baloney from the government power-grabbers, it turned out that even the Indian was a fake. You're absolutely correct about the shift in emphasis from communist ideology to bureaucratic control. It is all about income redistribution and control of what wealth remains by the government.

Stay warm!

BevfromNYC said...

I admit, I am a rabid recycler. I have been conditioned to separate my paper and plastic/aluminum/glass. I can't help myself. I MUST RECYCLE.

Joel Farnham said...

Careful LawHawk. What you are engaging in is Hate Speech about the enviroment. ;-)

T_Rav said...

And I don't really mind the people who do recycle, eat organic crap, and all that. If that's what they want to spend their money on, that's their business, and occasionally it does have some positive effects. What I mind is when they begin thinking they're the only ones who care about the environment, and that it's up to them to save everyone else from themselves. Although I occasionally feel Glenn Beck goes a little overboard, that is latter-day Progressivism in its purest form.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: The gummint is counting on you! LOL

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I know. There are armed green weenies coming up the road this very minute to put duct tape over my mouth and sew my fingers together so I can't type.

Tennessee Jed said...

Stan - if memory serves, that crying Indian was the great actor Iron Eyes Cody, but your point is solid! ;-)

Hawk - the farmers around here are peddling switchgrass. I'll trade you some for 5 low flows :)

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: I call your attention to the South Park episode in which a giant smug cloud was floating their war from San Francisco where the smuggies knew they were the only really correct people in America.

LawHawkRFD said...

T_Rav: We're having problems with the internet, so I had to type between glitches. What it was supposed to say was: "a giant smug cloud was floating its way from San Francisco." That made no sense the way I originally typed it.

rlaWTX said...

I'm with Scott - our local water is awful tasting.
my mom's well, however, lovely (hard and minerally, but yummy)
so in town, it's bottled water or verifiably RO water - even in the ice!!!

I think that this is one of those subjects that the crazies took over and so the normals avoid it like the plague (or low-flow toilets - isn't that what portapoddies basically are?? )
maybe the normals can get it back...

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I only have to walk a little way to find wacky tabacky growing on "untended" land. As for the crappers, I think the merchants deny that's what's in the box until they're sure you're not a cop or a fed.

T_Rav said...

LawHawk, I remember that episode and loved it. "I'm sorry to report that San Francisco has disappeared up its own #%@hole." Something I dream about often, in fact.

Still, I could put up with this smugness if it was limited to places such as your former residence. What bothers me is that this green movement seems to have found a home in a sizable proportion of the middle class, the ones who think of themselves as standing between rich and poor and therefore superior to either. Although I wouldn't exactly call them "liberals," they do have sympathies with certain aspects of that group, and a similar moralizing attitude. This is also the part of the population which supported the Progressives most strongly a century ago, which is where I get my comparison from.

LawHawkRFD said...

rlaWTX: Bwah, hah, hah. I have you all beat. I have my own fresh well with sweet water. I hate admitting it, but the tap water in San Francisco was not half bad, and except for a slight odor of chloramines, the water in L.A. isn't awful either.

Lest you think I'm not with you on the low-flush nonsense, the house I bought in Caliente was built in the 70s and has two low-flush toilets. I HATE THEM. I'm going to break into one of the bathroom supply stores in Bakersfield and steal two real toilets from their secret stash.

BevfromNYC said...

I have you all beat! NYC water is the best in the country. Ne-ner-nee-ner-neeeee-ner...

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I remember that over the years it was always NYC tap water to which all the designer waters were compared. And your tap water always came out on top on taste and purity.

Patti said...

bev: my city just got rated best in texas. it's a limestone filtered aquifer. yurm.

BevfromNYC said...

Woo-hoo, Patti! Texas is always No. 1 in my heart! But don't tell anyone.

However, NYC may have great water, but our pipes are so old that it kind of negates the "purity".

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: There's the same problem in San Francisco. The water is just fine, but all the major pipes delivering it are expected to collapse during the next earthquake.

rlaWTX said...

Patti - you're in Central TX, aren't you?

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