Optimistic environmental article

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Optimistic environmental article

Postby Fred » Tue Nov 23, 2010 5:34 am

Being tired of always being the pessimist, it was nice to run into an optimistic article today having to do with green enterprise. Basically, the European company that makes those water purifying "straws" that let you drink out of a polluted puddle has figured out a way to use the carbon offsets market to fund free distribution of a family-size version of the filter to poor people in Africa. (They think it will save enough carbon that would have been used in boiling the water to sell on the offset market that they can come out ahead.) This is pretty cute. The comments are also worth reading. Of course there were some that basically thought carbon offsets were the spawn of the devil or maybe Karl Marx; I don't mean those. Others were thoughtfully critical. Will they really be able to show enough carbon saving to fund the project? Is the offsets market really a stable funding source for anything? (The Kyoto accord lapses in 2012 unless the US ratifies, which ain't gonna happen.) Is the project really sustainable (are they going to just keep handing out the filters ad infinitum)? Can you call this a real solution to the water problem, or just a giant band-aid, since it never puts the solution in local hands? All pretty thought-provoking. The thing I like is that it provides the first example that makes real sense to me of how green capitalism might work -- a company does something good for the environment and makes a profit at it, at least in principle. Of course, the market forces that make this work are not natural--governments create the carbon offset market--but I'm very far from a market fundamentalist, so I don't care. (I guess I should care that the carbon offset market is probably a regressive tax on the customers of polluters who are forced to buy the offsets. I'll have to think about that. The market fundamentalists get that it's a tax, which of course makes them crazy.)
Ain't praying for miracles, I'm just down on my knees
Listening for the song behind everything I think I know
And everything I think I know is just static on the radio.

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