Change your habits, help the environment

Published: Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 29, 2005 at 10:47 p.m.
After reading Randall Lance's tome of despair (Jan. 25), I sat in wonderment at how he seems to be missing the most obvious solution to our apparent environmental predicament.
It is a common theme that the Republican administration and their big-business puppet masters are the primary source of all ills that their opponents see in our environment. What everyone seems to ignore is that none of these polluting substances are created in a vacuum. All of us are demanding them.
Clotheslines cost next to nothing and have zero impact on the environment, but as I cruise the neighborhoods in this progressive community, they are rare to nonexistent. Apparently, the convenience of an electric or gas dryer is far preferable. But it is Gainesville Regional Utilities' fault that their electric plant produces pollution.
Solar water heaters are an efficient and extremely effective means of heating water, but ownership of one is about as rare as a clothesline. They aren't cheap.
Industry is understandably reluctant to enact changes that might adversely affect their bottom line. Improvements in the way they do business with respect to the environment have largely been forced. For that we all undoubtedly owe a debt of gratitude to public activism.
What has not happened to any large degree is a corresponding reduction in public demand for the products of industry. To the extent that we can afford it, we build the largest houses we can and fill them with as much stuff as possible. Even those among us who claim to be environmentally concerned consume luxuries on a level unmatched historically in the United States and the rest of the world.
It is a blatant hypocrisy to feign a heartfelt concern for what is believed to be an ominous yet preventable global catastrophe, and then proceed in personal actions as if it isn't worth the minor personal inconvenience to change our own habits.
Kurt F. Merritt, Cross Creek

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