The Green Consumer

 I am an early adopter when it comes to technology, I make no bones about it, and I also work in the oil industry which makes me a lot of money and lets me afford the pretty MacBook(I find it ironic that it considers that word a spelling mistake) I’m typing this on.


I’m a consumer and not much of an environmentalist, which doesn’t really jive with my freedom loving mentality.  Tyler Durden said it best, “The things you own end up owning you.”  But for me it’s the things I buy that enslave me to keep working hard to afford the next trinket.  However, I’m introspective enough to see these foibles in my own character, and examine them to see where they reform to modern trends and where they don’t.  One thing that I don’t often buy into is the green marketing that’s swept up everyone.  Here’s why:


To keep us healthily consuming away, markets want us to be purchasing a new automobile for personal use every 3 years or so, a new computer about the same, a new phone likely every 2 years, and to be constantly upgrading elements of our home, and life in general.  However it’s in a person’s nature to constantly want those new elements to be or at the very least feel somehow superior to the last iteration we had.  Concepts like Moore’s law have given us the illusion that we can usually have that “upgrade” at the same cost as we paid for the inferior model, so the markets are forced to constantly provide better things each year for us to buy,  but in some cases better is harder to do than others.


Take cars for example, for the longest time it was always about being faster, cooler sleeker, more rugged or what have you…  but more power in a car swiftly becomes irrelevant, sure it’s great to say your car can do 200Mph, but when the hell are you actually going to drive it that fast?  Even if the average person were able to drive that quickly without killing someone, speed limits forbid it.  And more rugged vehicles aren’t in the manufacturer’s best interests, if cars didn’t slowly degrade then where would the impetus be to buy another?


So instead the automotive industry switches gears, they encourage fuel prices to rise in the markets by creating artificial shortages.  They release a few acclaimed movies about how our children are all going to die because of air pollution, and voila!  They’ve just convinced 90% of the buying market that not only is their pickup truck that navigates potholes far too easily and is close to being paid-for but not worn out is draining their bank accounts dry on fuel costs.  All the while elitist friends look down their noses at them for driving something that’s “wrecking the planet” as they munch contentedly on their cordon blue steaks disregarding the fact that the cows that they came from produce an unprecedented amount of Carbon Monoxide as well.


Cars are small, they cost less money in materials to make, and hybrids are specialty cars, which means specialty parts which means you pay more money for them despite the fact that these same parts are made to be lighter and thus less durable, they’re closer to the ground and thus are more prone to damage from rocks, potholes and curbs.  From a manufacturer’s standpoint this is an all-win situation, because more money will be spent on maintenance, and cuts the amount of time that the owner spends between making another purchase as the vehicle has a shorter lifespan.


The green craze hasn’t isolated it’s self to automobiles though, lately the competition war for faster processors has given way to smaller, more energy efficient CPU’s and GPU’s.  Now admittedly this is not a bad thing at all, less energy consumption means longer battery life, less heat produced, and smaller sleeker products.  But if it already works, why should I be spending money on a new one where the only thing I’m getting is less heat and a bit lighter.  For a desktop computer this is utterly irrelevant, though from a laptop standpoint it is nicer.  Now however my old aluminum case is too big for my Macbook, so it’s not taking up any less space when I travel.  I think I’ll buy myself a nice new laptop bag made out of leather… maybe calfskin leather, that way there’s one less cow out there polluting our planet.  I doubt it’ll balance the scales for me though as I have every intention of keeping my V8 dodge Dakota for at least another 2 years.


…unless of course I decide to reupholster the seats with calfskin too.


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About Helmsman

Importing a Vox Blog.
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