Essay talk:Sunday school environmentalism

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Packaging reduction[edit]

This is one that tends to be bought up a lot, the idea that supermarkets need to reduce the amount of packaging on products to make them more green. In practice it just means more goods get spoiled in transit and thrown away before the customer ever sees them, but it looks like you're saving the environment! King Skeleton (talk) 07:39, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Do you really think the people running supermarkets are that stupid? You can commit to packaging reductions where the packaging is unnecessary (which there is still a lot of) without going overboard cutting away useful packaging as well. Packaging reductions aren't just a case of "feel good" either. They help companies save on fuel for transport, for example, which is one of the motivations that companies sometimes bring up for pursuing packaging reductions. Nullahnung (talk) 08:10, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Yes, they are that stupid. There's a sweet spot where you have enough packaging, and they've gone a long way beyond that because if a substantial portion of a box is spoiled they can file a claim for it and get their money back. The result is entire cases of fries coming in with split or torn seams, boxes that don't protect their contents and sag under their own weight, and a lot of stuff coming in smashed just from being pulled over the hump in the loading dock. King Skeleton (talk) 08:22, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Do you have a source that indicates which of the supermarkets that are out there are that stupid? Because I'll keep that in mind the next time I think about buying from them. Nullahnung (talk) 08:41, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
I can say at least the one I work for is (it also fires people for criticising it on facebook, so I can't really say which one) but all the store own-brand packaging is outsourced to what appears to be the same vendor anyway. Our standard own-brand fries are a more expensive chain's saver brand, given there's no other way savers fries with their packaging could have ended up in one of our boxes.
But yeah, overpackaging tends to get into this category. The named brands tend to be better in direct proportion to how expensive they are (McCain's blue-bag Homestyle fries are awesome, their standard yellow-bag fries are apparently sealed using a machine that gets to have days off).
Pre-sorting trash is another good one; they have to sort the trash manually when they get it to the depot anyway because if a card shredding machine eats plastic it'll shit itself and die and they can't trust people to do it properly. It's basically just a ritual to make people think they're doing something for the environment when they're not. King Skeleton (talk) 09:12, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Good source separation of different types of waste is pretty much essential to get an effective recycling business going, but if it's not for resource recovery reasons there's not really a reason to feel like you're "doing something for the environment". Nullahnung (talk) 09:46, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
In theory, yes, in practice they can't even trust businesses to do it properly since lazy staff will do things like toss spoiled pastry in the cardboard bailer because they can't be bothered to write it off. They manually tear those bales down and re-sort them, the bailing's done almost entirely to make the assemblage of random crap most of which is hopefully cardboard fit on a pallet. I can't imagine they do it any differently with recycling trucks.
Really, if you want to make a big difference to the environment you need to be campaigning for your local supermarket to replace their plant equipment and buy modern freezers. Some of the cabs knocking around the business are so old they don't have heat exchangers, they just pump phlogiston out into the yard. King Skeleton (talk) 10:10, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Many paper and cardboard recycling procedures become pretty much worthless when contaminated by some food oils or something like that. If you can't get people to do it properly, then you have only yourself to blame for the low profit margins because you couldn't get high enough quality paper to sell. It's all part of running a successful recycling business. Nullahnung (talk) 10:29, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Or as they say, if you want something done properly... King Skeleton (talk) 10:40, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Which is, I imagine, why they have mixed recycling bins, so they can separate the stuff themselves. Nullahnung (talk) 10:47, 28 November 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I mean. The full presort was pointless busywork that had to be redone, these days they just have you put all in one bag and sort it at the depot because they know the people who have to unfuck the card shredder are the people who aren't going to fuck it up by putting plastic in it. An industrial shredder will happily chew your arm off up to the shoulder if you mess it around, after all. King Skeleton (talk) 11:04, 28 November 2014 (UTC)


Now then, as someone who drives older cars (current motor is a '98 model) I'm told that I'm harming the environment because a new car would be more fuel efficient (true) and cleaner-burning (also true). In fact the government here in the UK funded the "scrapage scheme" whereby people got up to £2000 of the cost of a new motor if they scrapped(!) their old one. (To my great dismay this sent many perfectly good modern classics to The Big Scrapyard In The Sky.) My argument is that as it takes a HUGE amount of energy to manufacture a new car, by keeping older ones on the road chaps like me actually are doing our bit from the environment. Or am I talking bollocks? DeltaStarSenior SysopSpeciationspeed! 10:38, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

While repairing and maintaining old equipment, even if that equipment is inefficient, can work out better for the environment overall, it can also be so inefficient as to ultimately be worth scrapping. So it all depends. You want to look into comparisons of the manufacturing costs and the lifetime effects of such cars among other factors, it's complicated. It would take a proper life cycle assessment (LCA) to tell you how much bollocks or sense you're talking. Nullahnung (talk) 10:53, 28 November 2014 (UTC)

Captain Planet[edit]

I must admit that watching old Captain Planet episodes (many are available on YouTube) at this point is hilarious and highly recommended. - Smerdis of Tlön, for the defense. 04:43, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Convenience cost of public transportation[edit]

All I meant by the changes reverted in this edit was that there are still plenty of cases where the convenience drawbacks of reliance on existing public transportation severely outweigh the environmental benefits. For example, one city's bus system schedules 58 days of downtime per year, many of these days consecutive.[ref]Citilink Hours of Operation[/ref] This can mean a 60 hour wait from Saturday evening, across Sunday (no service on Sundays), across Monday (no service on Memorial Day or Labor Day), to Tuesday morning. Is there a more rational way to phrase this drawback? --Damian Yerrick (talk) 22:42, 30 May 2015 (UTC)


If the energy expended in the recycling process is greater than manufacturing something from scratch (e.g., it takes a greater amount of energy to convert A into B than to produce B from scratch), then it is most certainly not an environmentally friendly option.

This isn't totally off, but it neglects the environmental costs of extracting the raw materials and disposing of the obsolete product in addition to the energy expenditure. Halfspin (talk) 22:26, 14 March 2016 (UTC)

Also transport costs, especially if raw materials come from far away but recycling can be done locally. --Annanoon (talk) 10:04, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

School strike[edit]

Does the Greta Thunberg-initiated school strike movement come under this heading? While Thunberg is a vegan and lives a very frugal life, elsewhere, it the wider movement seems to avoid proposing any major life changes or other solutions, or recognising that political choices are required, and just says "please save the planet" to those already in power. While letting kids take a day off school. Classic "something must be done" liberal handwringing. --Annanoon (talk) 10:03, 29 March 2019 (UTC)

Possibly. Enlisting children has always been a big part of the environmental project; while the children probably have little grasp of the actual issues, they're at least smart enough to realize this is something they can scold their parents about. A 'vegan' who 'lives a very frugal life' is a harbinger of a wretched future; if you didn't like fiscal austerity, wait until you see the hard green version. Smerdis of Tlön, wekʷōm teḱs. 03:07, 30 March 2019 (UTC)

On the local food part...[edit]

...I think it is kinda flawed. I agree that trains use less fuel than trucks, but the part that states that implies that the train drives straight to the store! How are they transporting the wares to the stores? That part needs clarification. I also think we should add a "Too many uncited statements" template to the article.--Alola, my name is Delibirda! (talk) 11:54, 29 January 2020 (UTC)