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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Simple Question for Environmentalists


Here is an article contending that environmentalists are now hating bottled water because of the er, well, bottles. Apparently, too many bottles are bad and they need to be added to the ever growing list of stuff we are not supposed to use.

So, here is my simple question for any environmentalist to answer:

Where should the bottles be? (or cans, etc.)

Think about it for a minute. Let's say there is some aluminum sitting in the ground in Colorado. Consequently, I have nothing but air in my hand. Now, someone shapes the aluminum into a can and I obtain it. Now, I have the aluminum in my hand and there is air in Colorado (where the can used to be.) But you see, there is no net gain or loss of aluminum because aluminum is matter (in fact, its one of the elements in the periodic table) and matter can not be created or destroyed.

So what does it matter if the aluminum is sitting in the ground in Colorado, or sitting in my hand while I drink something from it, or sits in my garbage can, or sits in the ground in another state in a garbage dump. The aluminum has to be somewhere!! Why is it better in the ground in Colorado doing nothing?

It's as if when we use a bottle, there is a net gain of earth material in such a way that at some point there will be too much earth which will pile up. But, in reality, there is a finite amount of earth. If there is some more earth over here, then there must be less earth somewhere else. The only possible problem would be if we literally shipped the aluminum by space craft to another planet or something. Would that make the environmentalists happy? Or, would if we just took the cans back to the mine where they originally came from and used the mine as a dump? The environmentalists could then just pretend that nothing ever happened!

That goes for the plastic bottles too. The plastic is made of material. To the extent that the material in the bottle is in my house or at the dump it therefore implies that that material is not somewhere else. And on top of this, the plastic in the bottle is practically inert. It literally does nothing but sit there for eons. (in fact, would if we just turned the whole earth into one giant bottle - then nothing could change which I think is what they want, right?)

I would rather have plastic bottles than something natural like poison ivy or snakes or mosquitoes in my yard. Plastic doesn't itch or hurt or bite or anything!

So, to all environmentalists, tell us, where should stuff be?

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