By. George P. Nassos
There is no question that the environment is deteriorating in many ways. Global warming, known now as climate change, is causing major heat waves and more frequent massive rain storms. The over consumption of our biological natural resources is causing Earth Overshoot Day to move up every year. And we are consuming more and more of the limited supply of fresh water. Everyone needs to understand these problems and contribute to helping resolve this major issue. But unfortunately, there are too many people that don’t care enough. Here are some examples.
To help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, we must take advantage of the new heating and cooling technologies. The new Inflation Reduction Act even provides $50 billion in funding for the use of more renewable energy like wind and solar as well as greater use of heat pumps which are considerably more efficient than current technologies. Most gas boilers are usually 90-94% efficient which means that some heat will always be lost and emitted from their flue pipes. On the other hand, heat pumps are around 300-400% efficient which means the output is 3 to 4 times the electrical input. The other advantage of heat pumps is that they can be powered using solar energy and not emit any carbon dioxide like the gas boilers. Despite this greater efficiency and government funding to support the new technologies, people are still selecting gas boilers primarily because of their familiarity.
There is a very nice passive way that individuals can help reduce carbon emissions – by using UCapture. This is a website that is connected to over 25,000 other websites that sell services and products online. If someone with an account on UCapture makes a purchase online through one of these companies, that company will pay UCapture a commission of anywhere from 1% to 20% with the average being around 4%. So how does this work? As an example, a nonprofit organization with about 1200 members created an account with UCapture. Every member was then asked to create their own sub-account. This way whenever a member made a purchase, UCapture would receive the commission. UCapture would then take 67% of the commission and invest it in one of about 25 different carbon reduction projects (https://www.ucapture.com/projects) around the world. It would apply 28% of the commission for the operation of UCapture, and the remaining 5% would be donated back to the nonprofit organization. Once a member has signed up, there is nothing else that needs to be done to make this process work. It is very passive and free. In fact, when a member logs in and goes to a website for a purchase, there may be coupons for additional savings. After two years of reminding its members to sign up with UCapture, a total of eight of the 1200 members have signed up. Why only eight? Apparently they just don’t care to reduce carbon emissions nor do they care to have some funds donated to the nonprofit. I introduced this opportunity at DePaul University and within two months over 250 students had signed up. These young people care more about the environment because it is their future.
Here in the Midwest, we are fortunate to be next to the Great Lakes which contain about 20% of the available fresh water on the earth while providing it for just 0.5% of the world population. Most of this water is used for agriculture (60%) and industry (30%) while the remaining 10% is tap water regulated by the EPA for human consumption. Despite the EPA regulations being more stringent than the FDA standards which regulate bottled water, most people continue to drink bottled water. Water availability is continuing to decrease particularly in western America. For example, earlier this month Las Vegas announced that the city has only 50 more days of water available. Yet we still consume water unnecessarily. Just to produce the plastic bottle for water requires almost twice the volume of the bottle. So when someone drinks a bottle of water, that person is really consuming three times the volume. On top of all this, depending on whether the bottled water is purchased at a grocery store or at a sports venue, the cost will be 300 to 3,000 times that of tap water.
I was recently vacationing at a condo association that requires its tenants to dispose of their waste and recyclables in large dumpsters. When I went to dispose my waste, I couldn’t help but notice that the recycle dumpster was empty while the waste dumpster was filled with trash along with plastic bottles, cardboard and paper. Why the mixture? People just don’t care enough.
I contend that there are four reasons why people do not do enough for the protection of the environment. 1) They don’t believe that people contribute to any deterioration of the environment so there really is no problem. 2) They believe there is a problem with the environment, but the governments, corporations, and technology will take care of the problem so they don’t have to do anything. 3) They believe there is a problem and they could do something to help solve the problem. However, it would mean that they have to change their lifestyle which could be disruptive. And if they did change their lifestyle, what impact would it really have on improving the environment. So why bother? 4) This is the worst one. They believe there is a problem but when everyone experiences the consequences of the deteriorated environment in the future, they won’t be around.