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And the scale that housing reform happens at is municipal.  A scale where it helps to have concrete examples of success stories to show local officials when zoning law changes or building code changes or fixed structure criteria are being proposed.   And there's a lot more than twelve.  Tiny houses can include a range of builds, from small permanent foundation homes to separate garages that are converted into habitable rentable cottages to units that can be put up on a trailer bed.   When municipal law doesn't choke off the options,  a lot can happen.   As a wiser man than I once said, "all politics is local. "  

It was just one example,  my earlier post was making a broader point about the value of individual choices even when large-scale  collective political forces are caught up in gridlock and grinding along glacially.   It either strikes a chord or doesn't I guess.  

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5 hours ago, Phi for All said:

They probably figured we were already grinding our own beans, assembling our own furniture, DIYing our home remodels, bagging our own groceries, and pumping our own gas so we probably wouldn't mind.

It is not so much that people won't recycle plastics, but that most plastics are not recycled whether we put it in the recycle bin or not. Laying the responsibility on consumers simply lets the manufacturers crank out all the plastic they want.

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Numbers 1 and 2 are relatively recyclable, said Kara Pochiro, communications director for the Association of Plastic Recyclers. These materials get chopped up, melted into pellets and sold to manufacturers for reuse.

Recycling gets more complicated with higher numbers, called "mixed plastic," Pochiro said. This waste makes up around 69% of all the plastic we use...

For example, in Los Angeles, recycling facilities still won't process any plastics with numbers higher than 2. Instead, MRFs are dumping them in landfills or incinerators, The Guardian reported last year.

Hocevar's answer was simpler [on whether or not to put plastics in the recycle bin]: a resounding "no" on numbers 3, 4, 6 and 7. These plastics just gunk up an already strained recycling system, he said. 

"It does more harm than good," Hocevar said.

https://www.livescience.com/how-much-plastic-recycling.html

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"The bottle may look empty, yet it's anything but trash," says one ad from 1990showing a plastic bottle bouncing out of a garbage truck. "It's full of potential. ... We've pioneered the country's largest, most comprehensive plastic recycling program to help plastic fill valuable uses and roles."

These commercials carried a distinct message: Plastic is special, and the consumer should recycle it.

THROUGHLINE     

It may have sounded like an environmentalist's message, but the ads were paid for by the plastics industry, made up of companies like Exxon, Chevron, Dow, DuPont and their lobbying and trade organizations in Washington.

Industry companies spent tens of millions of dollars on these ads and ran them for years, promoting the benefits of a product that, for the most part, was buried, was burned or, in some cases, wound up in the ocean.

Documents show industry officials knew this reality about recycling plastic as far back as the 1970s.

https://www.npr.org/2020/09/11/897692090/how-big-oil-misled-the-public-into-believing-plastic-would-be-recycled

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47 minutes ago, zapatos said:

It is not so much that people won't recycle plastics, but that most plastics are not recycled whether we put it in the recycle bin or not. Laying the responsibility on consumers simply lets the manufacturers crank out all the plastic they want.

I agree completely, and I think this needs to be a government fix if we're to see progress in this area. People are usually willing to do their parts, which proves corporations aren't people.

My point was just that the consumer has been on the stinky end of the whole modern retail model for quite some time. Most of the stuff that's supposed to be convenient is more convenient for the manufacturers and retailers than it is for the consumer. Like overpackaging an item "for its protection" when it's really done to make it easier to ship and harder to shoplift.

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17 minutes ago, Phi for All said:

My point was just that the consumer has been on the stinky end of the whole modern retail model for quite some time.

And therefore doesn't realize his/her own power to force corporations and governments to change the way things are done.

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22 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

And therefore doesn't realize his/her own power to force corporations and governments to change the way things are done.

That power comes in organizing, ergo energy should IMO be focused more on organizing and less on living in micro homes the size of garden sheds. 

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

That power comes in organizing, ergo energy should IMO be focused more on organizing and less on living in micro homes the size of garden sheds. 

Sure, joining an organization is a very good step, and I've pointed to that.

The tiny houses are just one of many examples of government resistance to change. It is in the jurisdiction of municipal governments to enact zoning and services that will accommodate the tiny, the conversions, the mobile homes, the multi-family homes, the homeless settlements - and to require all of them, as well as the older kinds of construction, to meet a standard of ecological hygiene. It is far more within the individual citizen's, as well the citizens' groups' power to influence municipal government than federal. Again, a very good step. 

Here is an article https://www.buildwithrise.com/stories/tiny-house-zoning-and-regulations-what-you-need-to-know

Edited by Peterkin
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9 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Like, how much do you spend on gift wrap?  Or overpackaged unhealthy snacks?  Or the aforementioned plastic toys?

As I said earlier, these are examples of meaningless (seriously, how often do you buy gifts/toys in a year?), insignificant efforts per average person, only diminishing the actual waste of energy and/or resources. They only look large when multiplied by the total population. Their impact can be obtained by analyzing the production and sales of toy industry. You should waste more time, on proper identification of places were something can be done and have larger overall influence. Otherwise, it is just a pretended ecological action with no significant results at the end..

For example, US has population of 330 mln people (including children (73mln @ 2019), elders, car-less, homeless, paralyzed, ill, etc. etc.), has 290 mln registered cars, So basically, there is a group of people owning 2+, 3+ cars, and wasting double+ amount of fuel and resources, everything a car needs from the engineer's drawing board to the street and daily use.

These 290 mln cars consume 338 million gallons per day

https://www.statista.com/statistics/188448/total-us-domestic-demand-for-gasoline-since-1990/

Replacing engines in old cars with more modern, economical versions would give a greater impact...

The current approach is: buy a new car (which makes automotive industry happy). And sell the old one (which makes automotive industry unhappy). So it's still in the market. But that 1st market is a poorer person, then a 2nd country like Mexico, then a 3rd world country. While the car engine continues to use more and more fuel (for 20 years or more)..

Proper pro-ecological action can be e.g. design modern economical (electrical?) engine which is compatible with old car design, and can be easily replaced with little costs/DIY.

9 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Which is also a great money-saver.

Debatable..

The problem is that power plants, gas and fuel stations, etc. have their costs. If all the people in the country suddenly start cutting back on electricity use by e.g. -20% *), gasoline use etc., then these companies, in order to survive and keep money flowing to them (and eventually their employees), will raise the prices of their products by +25%..

The poorest people, at the end of the current economic food chain, are always the most screwed.. Therefore there is ground for appearance of anti-ecological movements, global warming deniers, who are upset by the costs paid by the poorest people, while the richest are still flying in the sky by their private jets..

*) after purchasing my watt-meter, I reduced my electrical power consumption by 60% (at least on bills)....

 

Edited by Sensei
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33 minutes ago, Sensei said:

As I said earlier, these are examples of meaningless (seriously, how often do you buy gifts/toys in a year?), insignificant efforts per average person, only diminishing the actual waste of energy and/or resources.

But they make that average person empowered to go on to do more, incidentally saving money, and setting an example.

 

33 minutes ago, Sensei said:

They only look large when multiplied by the total population.

Exactly. No change takes place until somebody starts it. Then other people catch on, and it gets multiplied. Government won't ban gift-wrap; only falling sales will reduce its manufacture. 

 

33 minutes ago, Sensei said:

You should waste more time, on proper identification of places were something can be done and have larger overall influence.

As  @TheVat   said, there is no reason you can't do both. In fact, I'll go a step farther: small commitments that are insignificant in the vast scheme of things encourage the average citizen to feel effective - and there are few things more formidable than a good citizen who has just woken to his or her own effectiveness. Once they start joining the organizations that already exist, they don't each have to do their own research; don't have to waste time on duplicating work that's already been done. 

 

33 minutes ago, Sensei said:

Proper pro-ecological action can be e.g. design modern economical (electrical?) engine which is compatible with old car design, and can be easily replaced with little costs/DIY.

Sure. What's Amelia supposed to do about that? Either she has a car or she doesn't. Either she needs it or she doesn't. Either she can afford to replace it or she can't. She has no say in who designs what or how it's marketed: all she can do is find alternate transportation if it's available.

 

33 minutes ago, Sensei said:
9 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Which is also a great money-saver.

Debatable..

That was referring to the analysis of one's own energy consumption. If you find out where you're wasting electricity, and turn off appliances and devices when they're not in use, you'll save some money. Just as you will if you figure out alternatives for other expenses. There is no debate about that: when you stop spending on stuff you don't need, you save money.

33 minutes ago, Sensei said:

after purchasing my watt-meter, I reduced my electrical power consumption by 60% (at least on bills)....

So did we.  And since we put in the solar array, we're even more careful, because we pay through the nose for Hydro backup.

How that affects social justice in the thrall of The Market is beyond Amelia's - or my -  sphere of influence.  It's a whole other political park with a whole other set of heads getting bashed in by the same riot police.

Edited by Peterkin
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1 hour ago, Sensei said:

For example, US has population of 330 mln people (including children (73mln @ 2019), elders, car-less, homeless, paralyzed, ill, etc. etc.), has 290 mln registered cars, So basically, there is a group of people owning 2+, 3+ cars, and wasting double+ amount of fuel and resources, everything a car needs from the engineer's drawing board to the street and daily use.

My wife and I have three vehicles between us. We would be hard pressed to use the same amount of fuel in the third vehicle as we use in the first two, as we can only drive one car per person at a time. About the only waste of extra resources is the money we have to spend on insurance for the third vehicle.

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2 hours ago, zapatos said:

My wife and I have three vehicles between us. We would be hard pressed to use the same amount of fuel in the third vehicle as we use in the first two, as we can only drive one car per person at a time. About the only waste of extra resources is the money we have to spend on insurance for the third vehicle.

Not without a reason I have a facepalm on my face in my profile photo...

It appears you understood nothing from this thread..

US has 290 mln registered cars with population 330 mln people, which gives 0.88 per capita.

e.g. France had 32 mln registered cars (2019) with population of ~67.4 mln people, which gives ~0.48 per capita.

e.g. Germany had 47 mln registered cars (2019) with population of ~83.2 mln people, which gives ~0.57 per capita.

Now you go to a thread where we are discussing "how to reduce our carbon footprint" and saying "we are US citizens, we have three cars"... when even two would be too much, per citizen.. where people are talking about too much packaging of toys which are problematic for environment in their simplified view..

Now, show where are you keeping them, in garage, for three (do you have more space for 4th one? Don't you need 4th one? Not possible! Some US are unmet! Buy a new bigger house with more garage space.. that's the way many US/world citizens think, more, more and MORE!)

Your comment was kinda like spitting on face of the all people who are bothering about global warming, resource saving, energy saving, planet saving..

ps. If I would be talking to billionaire, he/she would say to me . <Monty Python mode turn on>"My wife/husband and I have three jet planes between us. We would be hard pressed to use the same amount of fuel in the third jet plane as we use in the first two, as we can only fly one jet per person at a time. About the only waste of extra resources is the money we have to spend on insurance for the third jet.".. </Monty Python mode turn off>

ps2. I don't have refrigerator in my apartment..  it was shutdown 5 years+ ago..

Edited by Sensei
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10 hours ago, TheVat said:

And the scale that housing reform happens at is municipal.

Housing is the US looks like: give cheap credit to NINJA's, who can't paid them back, harvest them to the last penny.. then take house and land.. then disintegrate it.. and give new credits to new people (NINJA-to-be), to buy new buildings-to-be in the same place...

Increase rates, and you can repeat it, once again..

ps. Not without a reason there are afraid of my attendance..

 

Edited by Sensei
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9 hours ago, Sensei said:

Now you go to a thread where we are discussing "how to reduce our carbon footprint" and saying "we are US citizens, we have three cars"... when even two would be too much, per citizen.. where people are talking about too much packaging of toys which are problematic for environment in their simplified view..

...

Your comment was kinda like spitting on face of the all people who are bothering about global warming, resource saving, energy saving, planet saving..

In the US there are lots of things that require cars. It's how the country was built up over the last century, and that can't be undone, and also it's hard to change course.   

I can easily see why a family of sufficient means might have 3 cars. One might be a minivan or similar, for when you need to bring the kids with you someplace, and the other two might be smaller, more fuel-efficient cars for e.g. commuting. That way, you don't drive the less fuel-efficient vehicle when only one or two people are going somewhere. You can't look at such a situation and validly conclude that having 3 cars means you don't care about the environment. That requires a lot of assumptions that you are making.

Quote

 

Proper pro-ecological action can be e.g. design modern economical (electrical?) engine which is compatible with old car design, and can be easily replaced with little costs/DIY.

 

Without infrastructure to charge the batteries, this won't do much.

 

11 hours ago, Sensei said:

The problem is that power plants, gas and fuel stations, etc. have their costs. If all the people in the country suddenly start cutting back on electricity use by e.g. -20% *), gasoline use etc., then these companies, in order to survive and keep money flowing to them (and eventually their employees), will raise the prices of their products by +25%..

Utilities in the US generally have to get approval to raise rates.

Lower gasoline usage last year did not result in higher prices. 

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46356

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9 hours ago, Sensei said:

Not without a reason I have a facepalm on my face in my profile photo...

 

My goodness you are rude.

11 hours ago, Sensei said:

So basically, there is a group of people owning 2+, 3+ cars, and wasting double+ amount of fuel and resources,

Can you please explain to me how people are wasting 'double+' amount of fuel if they own more cars than there are people in their household? You are exaggerating the extent of the problem

9 hours ago, Sensei said:

France had 32 mln registered cars (2019) with population of ~67.4 mln people, which gives ~0.48 per capita.

San Marino has 1,263 cars per 10,000 people. But so what? Is their situation the same as that of France?

9 hours ago, Sensei said:

...

 "we are US citizens, we have three cars"... when even two would be too much...

Yes, because all US citizens live in New York City or Chicago apartment buildings and have ready access to mass transit.

Do you know by what circumstances I came to own three vehicles? Do you know what my third vehicle is used for; whether its function can be met by the other two vehicles?

9 hours ago, Sensei said:

when even two would be too much, per citizen

Yes, my wife and I really should use the mass transit that is so readily available in rural America.

9 hours ago, Sensei said:

Now, show where are you keeping them, in garage...?

No, it mostly sits by the barn except when needed.

Look, you made a factually incorrect statement in your zeal to condemn others. I simply corrected it. I do not appreciate your 'holier than thou' attitude and using me as your foil while you go on a rant about how worthless we Americans are. If you must paint with such a broad brush please use someone else for your target.

Edited by zapatos
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10 hours ago, zapatos said:

My wife and I have three vehicles between us. We would be hard pressed to use the same amount of fuel in the third vehicle as we use in the first two, as we can only drive one car per person at a time. About the only waste of extra resources is the money we have to spend on insurance for the third vehicle.

I take your point,  insofar as miles driven goes.   However,  insurance is not the "only waste" involved in the third car.   Quite a bit of carbon in manufacturing a car.   OTOH,  I could toss you this lifeline of virtue:  if you bought a third car that's got good MPG,  much better than the other two,  then opting to drive it more could recoup some or all of that extra manufacturing carbon and more.   Or you could (now I'm just playing) loan it to an Uber driver,  thereby improving the average MPG of the local Uber fleet.   

Edited by TheVat
Nothing is ever finished
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16 minutes ago, zapatos said:

the mass transit that is so readily available in rural America.

This is a point I would have made, too. Without infrastructure and availability of mass transit, the criticism above forgets the limitations of movement the US faces which aren't as commonly faced across Europe and Asia. One could also argue that citizens should congregate in urban areas that DO have public transportation options, but that's not always feasible for reasons beyond our control. 

25 minutes ago, swansont said:

One might be a minivan or similar, for when you need to bring the kids with you someplace, and the other two might be smaller, more fuel-efficient cars for e.g. commuting. That way, you don't drive the less fuel-efficient vehicle when only one or two people are going somewhere.

Adding to this point, our minivan is MORE efficient than other vehicle. We're getting nearly 40mpg in that >6,000 pound best. Thanks, Toyota! 😎 

Edited by iNow
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3 minutes ago, TheVat said:

I take your point,  insofar as miles driven goes.   However,  insurance is not the "only waste" involved in the third car.   Quite a bit of carbon in manufacturing a car. 

The carbon that went into manufacturing my third vehicle is a sunk cost, so to speak. I did not go to the dealer and buy three new cars. Rather than trade in my ten-year-old minivan when it was time to buy a new car I converted it to use for hauling hay, compost, lumber and other items.

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1 minute ago, zapatos said:

The carbon that went into manufacturing my third vehicle is a sunk cost, so to speak. I did not go to the dealer and buy three new cars. Rather than trade in my ten-year-old minivan when it was time to buy a new car I converted it to use for hauling hay, compost, lumber and other items.

Nice.   And that conversion might give better mileage than hauling that stuff in a pickup truck.   Anything hauled in an open bed has more air resistance than enclosed in a van.   (and,  from sad experience, I know it's hard to haul anything that comes in 4x8 sheets in a fuel efficient light truck like an S10)

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We are not talking about the usefulness of a thing 1st world citizen poses and why it is a must have for you. I am certain that even Queen or King of the UK or a billionaire would give us some good reasons why they have dozen of cars in the garage and/or jet planes (how they could get fresh French buns in rural house for breakfast after all?!).. We are talking about how to reduce our carbon footprint.. You firstly do actions which 10x increase your carbon footprint and then  wonderfully taking step back (or talking about) actions with 1x influence giving overall 9x.. To me, some of you here, are simply mocking from it, or from me, or from global warming and ecology..

Statistical double or triple the usage of energy by average US citizen per capita, than in EU, and much more than the rest of world, didn't come from nowhere.. 

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3 hours ago, Sensei said:

You firstly do actions which 10x increase your carbon footprint and then  wonderfully taking step back (or talking about) actions with 1x influence giving overall 9x.

Where did you get your data?

Quote

Statistical double or triple the usage of energy by average US citizen per capita, than in EU, and much more than the rest of world, didn't come from nowhere.

No, it didn't. But also, it's not necessarily by personal, individual choice. 

 

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Amelia Wierman, was asking, from an entirely personal, presumably 1st world middle class position, what she herself could do to mitigate climate change. From this simplistic POV, a number of constructive suggestions were made.

Her influence on the mode of electric power generation, automotive design and marketing, resource extraction practice and funding is, and will likely continue to be minimal, and only minutely amplified if she joins the largest organization for climate change mitigation. Her influence on municipal government regarding zoning regulation and public transport might be somewhat more evident, especially if a lobby already exists in her community. Her influence on the industry in which she works could conceivably be noticeable - at least locally.  Her influence on social media, political campaigns and popular attitudes of her cohort can be anything from zero to Jane Fonda, depending on the level of celebrity she achieves - odds are closer to the zero end. Her household and lifestyle decisions are guaranteed to make a difference in her personal and family life and have a significant influence on her child.  This last area is the only one she can actually control, even if it has the least impact. 

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8 hours ago, Sensei said:

You firstly do actions which 10x increase your carbon footprint

Which is what. Exactly.

I'm getting rather tired of you telling me how bad I am then ignoring my requests for clarification. It is arguing in bad faith and simply trolling.

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15 hours ago, Sensei said:

We are not talking about the usefulness of a thing 1st world citizen poses and why it is a must have for you. I am certain that even Queen or King of the UK or a billionaire would give us some good reasons why they have dozen of cars in the garage and/or jet planes (how they could get fresh French buns in rural house for breakfast after all?!).. We are talking about how to reduce our carbon footprint.. You firstly do actions which 10x increase your carbon footprint and then  wonderfully taking step back (or talking about) actions with 1x influence giving overall 9x.. To me, some of you here, are simply mocking from it, or from me, or from global warming and ecology..

Statistical double or triple the usage of energy by average US citizen per capita, than in EU, and much more than the rest of world, didn't come from nowhere.. 

!

Moderator Note

I think members are a bit frustrated by relatively vague assertions connected with belittling their points. I would be very helpful if you an refer to specifics and provide some data that we understand what the foundation for the discussion should be. Thanks.

 
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