I’m An Olive Green, a Rational Environmentalist
On WUWT, a poster had made the statement:
WA (09:57:25) : Perhaps we should distinguish between Those “Greens” / “Environmentalists” who honestly believe that humans are stewards of the earth,
That got me thinking…
I’m an ‘old style’ ‘green’ in the sense of not wanting extinction of blue whales and thinking 50 foot visibility in L.A. in the 1950s was a bad thing and that maybe we ought to get our hands dirty and plant as many trees as we cut down for lumber and fuel.
But I’m quite happy to have farms, factories, a functioning military, roads, trucks, cars, homes and water development projects. I just want them done with a little bit of care for the world.
I would also like lots of parks and some wilderness (and it’s pretty clear we have lots of room for them and could easily leave 1/2 the world empty of people if we wanted to do that; with no real impact on our life styles. It’s all about being smart, not about deprivation.)
But wanting a reasonable portion of the world for people and wanting a modern technical and comfortable life for myself and my children means that I don’t fit in the modern green fascist movement.
So what to call myself?
I think I’ll try ‘olive green’ for a while.
I dig in the dirt and plant things. Mix some brown in with green and it’s a nice olive color.
Olives are productive. We don’t mind some factories that make things and a bit of order in our lives. We share our productivity with those who care for us and provide for our needs. “Will trade food for fertilizer and weeding”.
Olives and farming go well together. We can survive in the wild, but we also get along well with a more formal setting and play well with others, both human and non. We also work well in public places and “present well” in the landscape.
And olive drab even gets along with the military and hunting just fine. Most hunters I have known understood more about sustainable ecosystems that a lot of rabid greens. They know what happens when the wild pig population gets out of control and starts to destroy the rest of the ecology.
Olive is not overstated nor loud in public and olives never tell someone else what to do with their lives…
Olives and Energy
Prudent greens (which I’ve taken to calling “Olive Greens” which I call myself) “get it” that we need smart industry; and responsible business leaders know they live on the same planet and will be sucking the same exhaust…
On the issue of energy (and the need to get more, green or otherwise) I’ve summarized the choices at:
which I would summarize as “Don’t panic! We have all you want!”
An Example from Coal
There was another poster who had raised issues about coal power fly ash. Yes, it can be nasty stuff, but the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra applies here, at least for an Olive Green. I raised the point of fly ash as a resource:
Oh yes, that terrible terrible fly ash…
Have you thought that maybe it isn’t the ‘stuff’ but what you do with it that matters? That everything is a useful resource if you let the engineers make the decisions rather than the politicians?
For example, how about LEED buildings? Platinum level of environmental stewardship? Is that good enough for you? John Deere facilities in Greensburg were destroyed in a tornado, they rebuilt very very ‘green’.
As the city of Greensburg made its recovery, local leaders also decided they needed to build more efficient, sustainable facilities. “There was a ground swell of interest for the town to come back and everyone agreed that to do so, we would need to build green,” Estes says. After the towns leaders decided that all city-run facilities would be built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standard [see story on page 31], Estes decided that the new BTI Greensburg would follow suit.
“A shop is not typically thought of as being green because of the nature of what we do and the materials we are dealing with,” he says. “This might be the first shop environment in the country to be given a LEED Platinum designation.”
As part of the green building plan, recycled, local and renewable materials were used in construction. Cement foundations from buildings destroyed by the tornado were scrapped and much of the new parking lot at BTI Greensburg will be made from recycled cement.
Concrete inside the building includes fly ash, a fine, glass-like powder that is a byproduct of burning pulverized coal. U.S. power plants produce millions of tons of fly ash annually, which is usually dumped in landfills. Fly ash can be an inexpensive replacement for Portland cement used in concrete and is believed to improve strength, segregation and ease of pumping of the concrete. Also, the concrete floors are diamond polished, which Estes says makes them easier to clean and maintain.
Scott is investigating the use of coal combustion byproducts (fly ash, bottom ash) for providing a more durable feedlot surface. Using a coal ash stabilized surface is expected to improve animal welfare and performance, as well as provide opportunities for reducing some of the environmental impacts from feeding areas.
Worldwide, manufacturers are experimenting with using organic waste materials as a substitute for some of the cement used in concrete. These materials can replace up to 25 percent of the cement in the mix. Less cement means less greenhouse gas produced.
A few coal-rich nations use fly ash, a residue created when coal is burned, as a supplementary cementing material. Brazil’s excess of bagasse, the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane, has proved a reliable composite in concrete. Likewise, the fine gray-white ash of rice husks, chemically similar to cement, is increasingly used as a substitute ingredient in Asia.
I’m not a ‘green’ I’m an ‘Olive’
I don’t mind making things better using technology (as in the above examples), I don’t mind make a living from the land, I like farming and construction. It just ought to be done with a bit of respect for the land and the folks who will follow us on this earth. Pass it on a little better than you found it.
And I don’t panic because someone hands me a lemon, I just make lemonade (and a nice olive lemon marinade for the trout dinner… ceviche anyone?) and would love to have that dinner on a fly ash containing “green” patio next to a fly ash containing “green” swimming pool…