Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Eco-Friendly Hummer Attacked; Earth-Raping Priuses Untouched

The Washington Post carries this story about a man in a nice liberal DC neighborhood who bought a Hummer and was 'shocked' that someone would vandalize it:

On a narrow, leafy street in Northwest Washington, where Prius hybrid cars and Volvos are the norm, one man bought a flashy gray Hummer that was too massive to fit in his garage.

So he parked the seven-foot-tall behemoth on the street in front of his house and smiled politely when his eco-friendly neighbors looked on in disapproval at his "dream car."

It lasted five days on the street before two masked men took a bat to every window, a knife to each 38-inch tire and scratched into the body: "FOR THE ENVIRON."
The owner sounds like a perfectly nice guy, but he can't be very bright if it never occurred to him that 'environmentalists' might vandalize his car. If he doesn't understand that many on the Left are hypocrites who have no respect for private property and societal norms, then he hasn't been paying attention.

The irony of course, is that the Hummer owner is more ecologically-responsible than the Prius owners he lives near. That's both because the Prius battery is an environmentalist's nightmare, and because the Prius lasts only about one-third as long as a Hummer:
The feature that makes the Prius such a draw for the environmentally conscious is really its weak spot: the battery. Like all hybrid batteries, it's of the nickel metal hydride variety. The nickel for the Prius is mined in Sudbury, Ontario, and smelted at a plant nearby. Toyota buys 1,000 tons of nickel from the plant each year.

So far, so green? Maybe not. The landscape around the plant at the city's edge alarms environmentalists. Some eco-activists blame the bleak, lifeless countryside near the facility in part on its 1,250-foot smokestack that belches acid-rain-causing sulphur dioxide...

But there's more. From the Sudbury plant, the smelted nickel is shipped to Europe, where it's refined in Wales. Next, it's sent to China, where it's manufactured in nickel foam. The nickel is then moved to Japan, where Prius batteries are made.

But the long, fossil-fuel-burning journey doesn't end there. After the batteries are placed in the Prius, some of the nickel is round-tripped back to North America while some is shipped to Europe in cars sold outside Japan...

While the Prius digs a deep environmental rut, the Hummer H3 plods on with a much lighter touch. An H3 costs $2.07 per lifetime mile to operate in environmental terms, while the Prius costs $2.87. Figures are courtesy of CNW Marketing, which rates cars on the combined energy needed 'to plan, build, sell, drive and dispose of a vehicle from initial concept to scrappage.'

Then there's the expected life span of the Prius: 100,000 miles, or a third of the Hummer's, says CNW. Toyota would have to go through the same 'build, sell, drive and dispose' process three times for three Priuses to provide the same amount of service provided by one H3.

Investor's Business Daily points out the the most environmentally-responsible cars might be the Toyota Yaris or Corolla. But of course, they're not trendy like the Prius.

But that really is what much of modern environmentalism is about: image. It's not really about protecting the Earth. If it were, everyone would be aware of the environmental problems caused by the Prius. It would be a car environmentalists would want to avoid -- rather than embrace. In a world where protecting the environment was the priority, Al Gore would be warning us not to fall for the slick Prius marketing and Henry Waxman would be subpoenaing Toyota execs to question them about false advertising. And of course, there would more than one lonely story in Investor's Business Daily about this.

But then, in a world where protecting the environment was important, environmentalists would be ashamed of massive carbon footprints, rather than buying 'carbon offsets' that probably do more harm than good. And they would be trying to spread the word about the environmental dangers of eating meat, rather than of using fossil fuels.

I guess I might as well wish for a world where 'environmentalists' didn't think vandalism was an appropriate response to... whatever.

No, most of the modern environmental movement is about controlling the lives of others, and portraying man as the raper of the natural world. Like so much liberal claptrap, it's based on group think and avoiding difficult questions. So the same folks that eagerly establish their 'green cred' by buying Priuses tell us how to live our lives, but don't want to tell us how much it will cost to 'stop global warming.' Or even really tell us why we should try. And if you ask questions -- or think it's OK to own a Hummer -- then you'll get insulted for your ignorance and apathy -- or worse.

5 comments:

lindsey said...

Building a Toyota Prius causes more environmental damage than a Hummer even a Hummer limo that is on the road for three times longer than a Prius. As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.

Arik said...

I live in Sudbury, Ontario and so thought I should point out that you and Lindsay are not really accurate about the environmental impact here. The mines used to be environmentally devestating no doubt, but in the last three decades they have reduced their emmissions by 96% and our air quality is now one of the best in the province (despite all the coal fumes coming to Ontario on the wind from our US midwest neighbours). With further improvements planned, that tall smokestack you speak of will be closed down in about 8 years as there won't be enough exhaust anymore for it to even work. While the ecosystems around were devestated up to the 70's, Sudbury is now a leader in sustainable development action in North America, and has won United Nations recognition for the millions of millions of trees planted in the area, among many other actions. The vast majority of environmental devestation from Canadian mining is for the most part in the past, with massive land reclamation projects underway everywhere, and so it isn't really relevant to a discussion of hybrid cars. Actually, it is a good thing if the nickel is made here, as Canadian mining is the most advanced and low impact in the world (though of course it is still mining, so that only says so much).

Also, the area was never used as a moonscape for astronaut training, that is also a myth. While astronauts did come, it is because of the huge asteroid that hit the area millions of years ago, and the geology that that left behind (which also by the way made it a good place to mine).

You make some interesting points otherwise, and as a vegetarian, I would agree that that has as much impact as the kind of car you drive. Hey, and I drive a Yaris too, nice.

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