- Buying a Hybrid Car: Recently, Paul McCartney received a hybrid Lexus. The car was flown to him in a jet. According to NPR, with the fuel used to deliver the jet, Sir Paul could drive the Lexus around the globe 300 times. But even for those who buy a hybrid the usual way, most could do more for the environment by keeping the car they own. Sure, you would be saving energy by using less gas in a hybrid, but have you taken into consideration all the energy used to get the hybrid to you in the first place? Think about all the energy required to manufacture the parts, ship the parts to the plant, construct the car, and ship the car to you. Will your energy savings be more than these energy costs? I suspect that for most hybrid buyers, the answer is no. It only might make sense for those who are really in need of a new car (diesel engines are more efficient for highway driving).
- Buying a Solar Panel: Solar cell manufacturers have yet to produce a solar cell that can produce more energy than it takes to manufacture the solar cell. This means that if solar panels are produced at a plant that gets its energy from a coal or oil plant, you are consuming more energy and putting more carbon in the atmosphere by buying a solar panel than if you were to get the energy from the same coal or oil plant through the power lines. Solar cells make sense in certain applications, such as calculators and RVs, but if you want to help the environment, this is not the way to go.
- Keep your car a little bit longer: Imagine how much energy we could save if everyone would keep their current vehicle a year longer than they would normally.
- Take the bus: Using public transportation is a great way to save energy. If everyone who currently doesn't use public transportation would commit to using it just once a month, we could have a dramatic impact on fuel costs.
- Move closer to work: Instead of buying a hybrid, why not use that money to buy a house closer to work. If it's in walking or biking distance, even better.
Can you think any other examples of faux environmentalism?