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filling the void

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why the "Environmental Alternative" Fails

I was talking to my roommate the other day about how we're fucking up our environment, and how global warming is just as bad, if not worse, than people are saying.
It just hit me today that as long as there's something out there that fills whatever need you have that's more powerful, cheaper and better than the environmental alternative, people will use it. It doesn't matter if it's a car, a lawn mower, some writing paper or some dish soap. As long as the environmental alternative costs more and delivers potentially less, no one will ever use it.
"But people are buying priuses like mad" you say, well in the bigger picture, compared to how many other cars are getting sold, it's still nothing.

No, the only way to actually solve this is to make sure there is no alternative. Make the products that we buy and use today more environmentally friendly. Why should I buy a Prius when I can buy a BMW for the same money, and get more? If the BMW is just as environmentally friendly as whatever else (lets stick to the Prius for this example) is available, then people can keep buying what they would buy anyway, and save the environment.
People can't change the world. People don't have the means to. Governments and corporations, however, do. getting 10-15% of the population over to the "green side" isn't going to cut it. We need everybody here to get it to work, and the only way to do that is to make sure that people don't have to make compromises when they are purchasing things. They shouldn't have to choose between ecology or cost, they should be one and the same.
I know research results from environmental alternatives eventually make it in to the mainstream, but I think we should start in the mainstream instead. Then companies would have a higher pressure to succeed the first time, instead of shrugging off failed attempts as being in a niche market anyway.

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