Saturday, 16 November 2019

'Green' consumerism increases pollution - this 'mental' world

By libelling as the worst pollutant a non-pollutant - i.e. carbon dioxide (in truth, The Gas of Life); Big Industry is enabled to continue increasing pollution - polluting to provide all the new (compulsory, subsidised, fashionable, high status) replacement technology that claims to reduce CO2 'emissions'...

And there are always new mandatory replacement technologies, every few years; so the consumerism never stops. Buy, buy, buy!

Noise (especially), fumes, poisons, food contaminants, steam, smoke, stench... all increase and pass unnoticed; while the food of green plants and the by-product of animal respiration has been demonised. 

Even at the level of moving a few hundred yards; 'Green' consumerism favours the expensive, resource-consuming and dangerous nuisance bicycles over pedestrians.

A 'mental' world...

 

23 comments:

Karl said...

Tolkien rode a bicycle between his house and his college.

Bruce Charlton said...

I forgive him. Actually, that journey is a bit far to walk twice a day.

Keri Ford said...

Yeah I think you've gone a bit far this time Bruce, Bicycles are boss, mankind's best transport invention. Momentum optimisation machines that don't put you in a bubble. No censure for Infernal combustion engines?

Bruce Charlton said...

@Keri - I have not gone far enough! Bicycles destroy minds (especially the modern bikes do - ones with more than three gears).

The Entitled Cyclist is one of he most horrible psychological malformations of this century.

..."Rip up and reconfigure the entire road system Everywhere! Each strip of cycle track at the cost of months of activity from teams of high tech, smoky, deafening machines; pneumatic drills; new tar, new paints, new signs; employ council PR teams writing and distributing virtue signalling wensites, posters, brochures about all the wonderful new tracks etc.); jam the traffic; cause collisions; Just so that me and a couple of my cyclist mates can terrorize pedestrians on our 1.5 mile 'commute' (but only when it's sunny...)"

Keri Ford said...

That's funny! I take your point, especially if those cycleways don't get used.

I admit that my bike has more than 3 gears, but I do follow the philosophy that you shouldn't buy a bike that people want to steal and they're not a status symbol.

I think the problem is that English roads are very skinny, in the city i grew up all the roads were wide, plenty of room for bikes, most of the pupils as my school road to school. We didn't realise that in the future it would be regarded as special kind of virtue to ride a bike.

There is a park next to me that joins our town to the next and a few years ago they built cycleway/walkway through, it must have cost a fair bit, but I'm very happy with it and it's well used. I think because people now go along that path, they realised that the park was a bit ugly and there has been a lot of planting since. Sometimes when I reflect on the degeneration of culture and spirit happening around us I am a little consoled that at least the park next to me is getting better.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Keri- Yes, and despite all this, bikes were much more commonly used 40 plus years ago than now. I had a 'one speed/ no gears' heavy-framed 'girls' bike as a student, which I used to visit friends around the city in the evenings, up to a couple of miles radius. When hills were steep I got off and walked. Downhill I freewheeled.

Im not exaggerating to say that there are city roads near me - recently converted at huge expense/ use of resources - where the cycle lanes are wider than the motor carriageway. Yet Of Course, cyclists still use the pavements whenever they feel like it; as befits those of superior caste.

William Wildblood said...

I'm with Bruce here. I used to like bikes as a simple means of getting from a to b when they were reasonably close but in London where I live they're a menace with their high speed careering down the road and going through red lights not to mention huge sense of virtue and absurdly brightly coloured lycra.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I date the change in cycling from just something that people did (a means to an end) to the current situation to teh publication and popularity of Richard's Bicycle Book.

Of course, a book rides a wave, and doesn't make the wave - but that was where I first saw the phenomenon of the modern cycist written down and advocated. I mean the smug, entitled, resentment-driven cyclist-identifed individual - who thinks that mounting a cycle is simultaneously an advertisement of superior virtue and a brave act of socio-political activism.

William Wildblood said...

That's exactly it. The change was from a means to an end which you didn't think about in any particular way to the individual with your aptly chosen adjectives.

Keri Ford said...

I don't accept that argument, my riding my bike through the park is no lesser thing for some idiot cyclists dressed in Lycra riding in London. That they're dressed in Lycra is the riders fault and if you're to blaim anything its lycra. I don't see why anyone would want to dress that way in public, I understand this is the fashion in gyms, in which case driving to the gym in a car does spare us the sight of it, and at least they gather together in their strange secular observance worshiping the principle of fitness and paying deference to the one with tautest abs. I am just glad the gyms have no windows.
That the riders are a nuisance to pedestrians is the riders being rude and here in New Zealand people are quite as able to be rude in cars and often with much worse results, we have "hoons" who like to do noisy burnouts on suburban roads in the middle of the night and maybe yell out the window while they do it, drive dangerously fast and consequently have a fair share of accidents where they kill or maim themselves and an assortment of drinking buddies. None of this is intrinsic to cars. By the same logic atheists make the case that said Christian is an idiot therefore Christianity is stupid, it is not so.
But when I stand beside a busy road and take a deep breath or any breath, I smell foul poison and that is the fault of the infernal combustion engine of a car and is unrelated to the virtue or otherwise of the person driving it. Also I'd rather trust a dash across a cycleway than across a busy road because the later has a high chance of being fatal.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Keri - Ha! Yes, I agree cars are worse in an ultimate sense. But cycles are not a solution to environmental damage - because taken overall (as I describe) they have made it significantly worse. The car emissions and congestion are worsened too - since necessity compels most car usage, regardless of how slow and horrible the journey is made - so each car spends longer on a given journey, maintaining noise and pollution levels - and the period of congestion (the 'rush hour') has been approximately doubled by cycle tracks and other linked road changes.

Like most modern fake-environmentalist things, the harm the environment by boosting (economically profitable, to the Green-technologists) environmental destruction; while making people feel smug and superior about it.

(Like a friend I was visiting, and this really happened, who drove a ten minute round trip from home to the recycling bins and back - I was an incredulous passager - solely to drop off two empty plastic bottles. It really felt like a satantic ritual observance!)

Keri Ford said...

Bruce, good points, that's a crazy recycling story unfortunately easy to believe.
Thanks, I have enjoyed this exchange.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

I hardly dare ask what you think of us motorcyclists!

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm. Self-identified bikers are usually pleasant people, good company. But not bothered about health (a lot of obesity) or life expectancy (doctors call bikers 'organ doners'). This, and the high prevalence of tattoos suggests an underling despair being addressed by attempted Original Participation - the Luciferic approach.

But you ride a motorbike, rather than being A Biker, I guess.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

You've guessed right, of course. I live in a place where motorbikes are taken for granted as a normal, convenient form of transportation, and where "bikers" are no more a distinct subculture than are motorists.

William Wildblood said...

Well I claim to be the most virtuous because I don't have a car or a bike or a motorbike! I either walk or take public transport. I'd quite like a boat though.

Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I'm the same, although my wife has a car; but migraines stop me driving more than half of days. I've always preferred walking to cycling since I was an adolescent; because you can't do serious thinking on a bike (esepcially not riding in the city) whereas walking is an ideal basis for (my kind of) meditation.

However, it seems everyone else disagrees, or else wants to avoid meditating, even by accident -- since almost all pedestrians round here are curved over their mobile phones ('banana people') and/or have anti-think ear-buds inserted.

William Wildblood said...

Exactly. A good half of people I see when walking have things stuck in their ears. They are cut off from their environment and unable to think. Walking is a kind of contemplative activity or should be.

Hrothgar said...

The city where I live was notoriously, or perhaps I should say motoriously, planned and constructed in homage to stark concrete and glass modernity and the rise of the automobile. Much of it is an absolute nightmare for pedestrians to get around due to its implicit reliance on the car and road system, and the huge expanses of unwelcoming empty space dividing any places where people live or you might want to go from each other, in which can be found little shelter from the elements (hot sun and heavy rains, depending on season), etc, etc. There's also a sizeable poorer underclass who cannot afford to run a car or balk at the cost of using one to get around, and a fairly minimal public transport system.

Yet the only cyclists I ever see are lycra-clad weekend warriors on Saturday or Sunday mornings, riding expensive imported bikes that cost more than you can obtain a decent second hand car for here, righteously trundling (always in groups) around the margins of the most exclusive suburbs where diplomats, high-ranking government officials, and the like live - or along the main roads that connect these places to each other.

If people can't afford a car or don't want to spend the money on fuel, they catch the bus, then walk, despite the inconvenience. On the other hand, if they need economical personal transport, they ride small, practical motorbikes. (Large noisy motorbikes are, like bicycles, apparently more of a weekend toy for the wealthy.) I honestly have never seen someone on a bicycle here (ever, even once) who looks like they are using it to get from one place to another, rather than for the mysterious pleasure of dressing in the appropriate livery and riding it round in circles for a while with several like-minded companions.

I agree that walking is better when what you want to do is think, and may actually help stimulate this (it certainly does in my case). My impression, though, is that most people nowadays don't actually [i]want[/i] to have thoughts of their own if they can help it, and may even be actively avoiding their dreaded intrusion by the displacement activity of putting their bodies in motion when they don't have something more purposeful to do (pedestrianism being antithetical both to this endeavour, and the purer self-denying Righteousness of Exercise).

a_probst said...

@Hrothgar: Sounds like you're describing Brasilia!

a_probst said...

On the lighter side, Lycra outfits can be seen as colorful tokens of streetwear from the imaginary Buck Rogers future emerging into real life.

Unknown said...

Bicycles should be banned entirely
Anything that convinces fat middle-aged men to wear Lycra is a crime against humanity

Hrothgar said...

@a_probst - I must belatedly acknowledge that I am! It is a much stranger place than I can describe within a couple of short paragraphs, to put it mildly.