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  • Writer's pictureNichole Loati

Saving the Earth

“Saving the Earth” sounds good. Too often though, solutions for saving the earth offer pointless and inconvenient solutions to trivial problems or even create problems where none existed before.

For example, fast food and other restaurants in blue states have replaced plastic straws with paper straws that get soggy and collapse. Supermarkets in blue states have eliminated cheap, convenient, and recyclable plastic bags with paper bags that are bulky and tear easily. At a minimum, they’re inconvenient. Furthermore, both paper straws and paper bags require cutting down trees.  I guess we’ve moved on from saving the rain forests? 

Now consider just two larger examples that go beyond inconvenience and actually make the problems worse or create problems where none existed.

The European Union is pushing schemes to reduce the number of dairy cows to reduce nitrogen and methane emissions in order to combat climate change. Fertilizers also contain nitrogen which can contribute to air and water pollution and ozone depletion.1 The government of the Netherlands has allocated nearly €1.5 billion ($1.7 billion) to buy and close hundreds of farms, with the goal of cutting nitrogen oxide and ammonia emissions by 50% by 2030. If this happens, the price of meat, and food in general, seems likely to soar for the general public – you and I. (Apparently world hunger is no longer a fashionable cause.)

So what could replace that steak? According to an article in WebMD, May 26, 2022, “’Mealworms’ are embraced in Asia and parts of Europe. Mealworms are packed with nutrients, especially protein. This nutritious delicacy is fit for both pet and human consumption. You can enjoy it in various forms, including fried, roasted, and even live!” And don’t forget crickets. Just run a Google search for “can people eat crickets?”

Mmm, mmm – Crickets. Medium rare, please!

Or consider Vermont’s planned replacement of traditional cars and trucks with electric vehicles (EVs) by 2035. You literally won’t be able to buy a new gas-powered vehicle in Vermont after 2035 according to CNET. Doing so, if you can even find a dealer who’ll sell one, will be illegal. Vermont will help lead the way into the future, right?

If you live around Burlington or Montpelier, with short commutes and the population density to support multiple charge points, it might work. But what if you live in Stowe or Morrisville or Elmore? You may face long commutes with a shortage of charge points. Not to mention that charging an electric vehicle may take several hours. What happens if all the chargers are in use? You may spend several hours just waiting to get to the charger, but what better place to spend your time than waiting in a charger line?

More broadly, will the grid support the extra load from the EVs? What about the range issue, especially in winter? Many articles suggest “pre-conditioning” the battery to keep it warm to let it hold a greater charge. But many articles also suggest parking your EV away from your house or garage because of the fire risk. I suppose if your house is on fire you’ll at least be warm?

In the pre-EV era, you could be assured of finding a gas station almost anywhere. But in the EV era, you’ll now have to factor charger location and time into your schedule. Driving long distances was something you could do at the drop of a hat. Until now.

It’s apparently worth the sacrifice, at least on your part. As state Rep. Mollie Burke, D-Brattleboro, was quoted in the Oct. 5, 2023 issue of the Vermont Daily Chronicle... “The priorities have been so skewed. People think they have the God-given right to go whenever they want to go.” 

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