When Green Was Just a Lovely Color

There was a time when I heard the word “green” and I’d think immediately of grass, trees, St. Patrick’s Day and candies I usually didn’t like.  Now, when I hear the word “green,” I immediately cringe.

I cringe because I’m sure that the reference to “green” is going to refer to some new-fangled idea which is intended to save hissing cockroaches or giant earthworms somewhere in the world but will not improve my life one iota.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for saving the environment.  Before I bought a used SUV which gets pretty good mileage, I drove a used 1990 Honda Accord for 15 years and my husband is very proud to tool around the island in his 1995 Geo Metro.  I defy anyone to get better mileage than he does in what he endearingly calls his “chick magnet.”  It is red after all.

We actually recycle more than throw out and we feed the wildlife with scraps from the table and use biodegradable garbage bags.  I schlep my reusable cloth shopping bags to the supermarket and donate lots of stuff to Goodwill instead of throwing things away.

Overall, I think we do our part. I’m sure to some, we don’t do enough.  But, hey, what can I say.

Of course, we should have cleaner air to breathe; who doesn’t want that?  But I have to say that some “green” products make you stop and wonder, “is this really worth it?”

For example, last year I read an article about some synthetic reusable shopping bags.  After a “local environmental group” found potentially unsafe levels of lead in them, Rochester-based Wegman’s chain of 77 stores in several Eastern states stopped selling two styles of these bags but said that the 750,000 bags already sold did not pose a health threat.  That’s reassuring.  The problem comes when the bags wear out and their eventual disposal will cause the toxins in them to accumulate in landfills and create an environmental hazard.

I guess Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York democrat, doesn’t have enough to do because he called on the FDA to open an investigation into the shopping bags.  (This is the same Senator who urged the FDA to force the makers of Four Loko to remove caffeine from its alcoholic drink.)

Did you know that there was a 1992 law that regulates our showerheads?  I didn’t but apparently the law says that a showerhead can deliver no more than 2.5 gallons per minute at a flowing water pressure of 80 pounds be square inch.  But now the Department of Energy is saying that a showerhead may incorporate “one or more sprays, nozzles or openings” which are interpreted to mean that all nozzles count as a single showerhead and could be deemed noncompliant.

The DOE, not surprisingly, says “when you waste water, you waste energy.”  Barbara Higgins, Executive Director of the Plumbing Manufacturers Institute says “one person’s waste is another person’s therapeutic use of water.”

By 2014, the way we light our homes will change forever.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, thanks to GOP Rep. Fred Upton and Dem. Rep. Jane Harman, imposes restrictions on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and will phase out incandescent light bulbs in favor of lower-wattage, energy-saving bulbs.  One of the replacements will be a CFL (compact fluorescent light bulb) which works when electric current energizes argon and mercury vapor, which, in turn, causes a phosphor coating inside the bulb to emit light.  Yikes, mercury?  Even though the amount is not hazardous to the inhabitants of a home, if a bulb breaks it has to be disposed of in a very specific way.  An accumulation of broken bulbs in a landfill definitely would cause a problem.  So we solve a non-lethal problem with a lethal problem.  What I find interesting is if Rep. Upton is so proud of this legislation, why doesn’t it appear as part of his achievements on his website?

So now, after I stop cringing when I hear the word “green,”  I think, “Ok, how’s the government going to intrude on me today?  What’s next?  I’m already restricted to the type of light bulbs, refrigerators, toilets and showerheads I can purchase, what’s next?

I think Sen. Rand Paul summed it beautifully during his questioning at an Energy & Natural Resources Committee meeting about the notion of “pro-choice.”  He believed that most officials would probably be pro-choice when it came to abortion but not pro-choice when it came to the consumer’s right to choose what’s best for his household.

When I think of Al Gore’s “green” money-making machine, and President Obama’s pledge to spend $150 billion over ten years to promote “green technologies,” “green” still means one thing – “MONEY” and a lot of people will make a lot of it under the guise of saving the planet.

I don’t get it, but I probably should.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
Author website: http://www.idontgetit.us
  • Roger Ward

    In the end, I believe that most of the green laws will prove to be counter-productive and will produce bigger problems than the ones they are purported to solve.

    To date, there is absolutely no evidence that “global warming” exists and if it does, there is no proof that the basis of this climate change is due to mankind’s activities, rather than being a natural phenomenon. I’m waiting for proof and if I’m wrong, will apologize …. but so far, there’s no need for me to do so.

  • KrisL

    I had to replace the low-flow toilets in my house with more expensive, good low-flow toilets to avoid having to use a plunger regularly. The compact fluorescent light bulbs are irritating. I don’t think fluorescent are good for the eyes, and some fluorescent lights give me headaches. This seems deeply unfairl. I keep hoping someone with sense will stop this law. If not, people are going to be stockpiling the good light bulbs.

  • Konrad Lau

    I live in Washington State. We recently enacted a law regulating the use of phosphorous in automatic dishwasher detergent. Now, our dishes come out with spots so we must “pre-wash” everything before it goes into the dishwasher to alleviate the problem.

    The idea of phosphorous regulation was to protect the ground water. Now we use a markedly higher volume of water to do what was (or used to be) an economic and easy task that was very efficient in its use of water recourses. The whole thing reminds me of the old “King of the Hill” television episode where Hank fights City Hall over the low flow toilets that require four or five flushes to accomplish the mission.

    You are right Leona, the plumber, the manufacturer, the government beurocrats and inspectors all benefit at the expense of the citizen and call it green because their coffers brim with the cabbage of commerce.

    • Woodsman

      Yes, the green machine has succeeded in strong-arming enough states to ban the use of phosphates in dishwasher detergent that the manufacturers of said detergent have stopped using it as a vital ingredient in their product. So now, not only do your dishes NOT get clean, but because the phosphates serve a secondary purpose of lubricating your dishwasher, your dishwasher will wear out much sooner, ending up in a landfill long before its time. How’s that for green? But take heart. You can go to your local big box hardware/lumber store and buy a box of trisodium phosphate. TSP. It is sold in the tile/grout section. It is used to clean surfaces prior to laying tile and grout. It is essentially the same stuff the greenies have succeeded in getting removed from your dishwasher detergent. Get yourself a box (or rather, several boxes, as they are likely to go after TSP in its industrial from next), and add a quarter teaspoon to your dishwasher when you put the detergent in. Your dishes will come out sparkling clean.

      Rage against the green machine.