Green Fatigue: Is anyone else sick and tired of eco-chic?

Welcome to Phoenix New Times' first Green Issue!

Not.

This week's paper won't feature a photo spread of all-organic fashions worn by sinewy models who subsist on raw-food diets, shot lounging on Crate and Barrel's brand-new line of eco-friendly patio furniture. (Although it does include a profile of a woman who makes vegan bondage gear — we couldn't resist.)

We don't have tips for buying Earth-friendly light bulbs, or a list of Alice Cooper's favorite ways to conserve energy. And we don't care if you put a brick in your toilet to conserve water or drive an alternative-fuel vehicle, because — get this — it really doesn't matter. As you'll learn from the stories here, we have no water shortage in metropolitan Phoenix — not now anyway. It's use it or lose it. And that natural-gas-powered Ford Expedition? It might impress your neighbors and get you access to the HOV lane, but it's no easier on the atmosphere than the gasoline-powered version.

The most inconvenient truth of all, it turns out, is this: The Green Movement might make you feel warm and fuzzy, but it won't stop global warming. Really want to save the planet? Don't drive across town to that eco-fashion show. In fact, don't buy those new hemp tennis shoes, or a hybrid car. Wear your old clothes, drive your old car, and save up for solar panels.

This week, we made the ultimate sacrifice: Our writers put on their thinking caps, got out their calculators, and told the true stories about what it really means to be green in this corner of the desert.

Sarah Fenske wants you to know that she runs her air conditioning only under duress from others, but it's not because she's an environmentalist: She's both frugal and cold-blooded, as you'll learn in "The Green Machine". Because she believes in free markets, it pains her to admit that individuals aren't doing their part when it comes to solar power. But whether they like it or not, they'll be paying up soon.

Growing up in Tucson, Megan Irwin learned to "Beat the Peak" and conserve water, which is why her assignment — "Waterlogged" — was such a tough one. This is a girl who walks the walk (she's got the vintage clothing collection to prove it) and we had to pry her arms from around a tree to get her to report that, although it sounds weird, there really is no compelling reason for Phoenicians to turn off the hose.

Eight years ago, Ray Stern broke the original story about the alt-fuels scandal in Arizona — the one that cost taxpayers $140 million in subsidies for cars that, as Ray reports this week in "Fuelish Mistakes", may not have ever held more than a few gallons of alternative fuels. As Ray reports, there are no easy answers when it comes to transportation. Even bicycling has been discounted by a group of Stanford researchers: Because you'll get fit and live longer, it actually hurts the Earth more in the long run.

Steve Jansen is still crushed because the Tempe woman who makes wallets out of used bicycle tubes never called him back. But he contented himself with conversations with a guy who harvests rainwater, a woman who is concerned your alarm clock might be killing you, and the aforementioned vegan bondage gal.

Robrt Pela tells a funny story about recycling. He was at his parents' house, and noticed that his father kept leaving plastic bottles by the door. Robrt thought Dad had finally lost it, 'til he realized his father was recycling. "So that's what it looks like," Robrt said to himself. As he admits in "Down in the Dump", despite fond memories of Woodsy Owl, he does not recycle, and even a trip to Phoenix's largest garbage-transfer station didn't convince him otherwise.

We sent John Dickerson out ("Recycling 101") to investigate just what kind of damage Robrt is doing by refusing to separate his eBay boxes from his kitty litter. (Here's a hint: not much.)

Crank the A/C, crack open a plastic, single-serving water bottle, and enjoy the read, because next Earth Day, we're writing about something else.

 
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22 comments
Biteme
Biteme

It's all about guilting you to taking your money and ruin your way of life in the process.

Spurwing Plover
Spurwing Plover

Im suffering from green fatigue Im tired of hearing all this GO GREEN poppycock from liberal granola munching green-freaks tell the tree huggers this old shorebirds had it with their poppycock

Flu-Bird
Flu-Bird

I cant afford those silly compact florecent bulbs their too expensive and why dont the granola muncher tree huggers go and pick up trash or plant trees instead of hugging them to death

Birdzilla
Birdzilla

Overkill in green i cant afford those silly compact florecents and greens are idiots

Flu-Bird
Flu-Bird

A few years ago the late DIXIE LEE RAYE wrote a book ENVIROMENTAL OVERKILL thats just hat were getting a bunch of enviromentalists comming up with their rediculous ideas and a all too willing press that is always printing their rediculous ideas

Flu-Bird
Flu-Bird

Im getting so tired of hearing about this GLOBAL WARMING bull kaka i mean its 24/7 lying about this from a bunch of lying hypotcrits including AL GORE who also is a big time hypotcrit and look at JOHN TRAVOLTA and LEONARDO DECAPRIO their blabbering about this GLOBAL WARMING poppycock from their own fancy homes and gore uses $30:000 of electricity in one MONTH thats more that the avrage american uses in ONE YEAR then travolta has a 707 and also theres JOHN EDWARDS,ROBERT KENNEDY Jr and other big time eco-freak hypotcrits

Flu-Bird
Flu-Bird

Im getting so tired of hearing about this GLOBAL WARMING crap its a lie and a fruad and their ulterior motives behind it all theres underhanded persons pushing this green house fruad and AL GORE is just one of the sinister culprits behind it theree also the various green organaiztions like GREENPEACE,WWF,SIERRA CLUB and other was well as various news agentcies as well as the magazines,news papers and the broadcast media and of course sinstser forces from the CFR and UN THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING

moo
moo

Right on....

The 'greening' movement is basically bunk and should be differentiated from the sustainability movement. The concept of using market forces to resolve the crisis created by 'the market' has yet to analyzed in meaningful way to demonstrate that outcomes would be sufficient to resolve the crisis. The scheme is predicated on faith...the faith that the 'market' will produce technological silver bullets to arrest the situation. At this late stage of the unfolding catastrophe, I would prefer less self-interest motivated articles of faith and more sound reason, analysis, and planning.

For example, energy efficiency is an article of faith among the greening movement an the public in general yet studies of Jevons Paradox recently show the more energy efficient a society becomes the more disequilibrium is created by driving up consumption, production and emissions. Energy efficiency increases energy consumption ... not decreases it. We fool ourselves thinking that we can rationally control the process of capital accumulation.

You can find the paradox operating in everywhere in the economy so the notion that we can solve climate change by buying hybrids, CFL and insulated the house is pretty much nonsense. Rational, self-interested mirco-economic activity unconstrained lead to macro-economic catastrophe. The characteristic flaw of 'free market' extremist ideology.

Faith is markets is a coded way of stated ones belief in unconstrained capital accumulation. Energy is essential to the process as it has been the key to capitalism's ascendancy for the last 100 years. Fossil energy is the basis of most all aspects of our society, not just heating and transport. Everything, from a plastic bag to a microchip. Without super abundant sources of energy to replace fossil energy, capitalism is dead on its feet. We will be going back to a feudal society powered largely by man and animal until scalable resources and technologies mature, if ever. You can't make solar panels from solar panels. Perhaps a couple hundred years. Forget all the renewables bullshit and hype as it will take huge investments and tremendous expenditures of existing oil to not only replace the infrastructure of the world (forget flying) but all the material components that comprise your everyday life. Life will be radical different in 20-30 years.

The message of the greening movement is essentially materialistic and Cartesian as if the earth is machine, as if your dog and your plants are machines and as if you are a machine. Leave it to the technocrats, the engineers and businessmen to fix the problem with the machine as if it was a glitch in production or a error in some calculation in some engineer's model. Climate change is the market failure in history and to suggest the market is going fix it is inane...not to mention insane.

There are two paths for humanity at this point in time. Externalization or adaption. The the prevailing Cartesian world view looks to continue to externalize the crisis through the application of silver bullets and techno-fixes. This is central to the male domination paradigm where control of nature is the central objective. Such thinking is maladaptive and is what drives the ecological destruction of the planet as it creates more and more disequilibrium within the ecosystem through flawed perceptions of reality. This is the mindset that got us here in the first place climate change is an epic battle to restore the equilibrium of the planet. To follow the proscriptions of the mindset is to court disaster.

The other approach is adaption, which is essentially a reflection process that is rooted in biological processes and evolution. That is that we evolve by giving up some aspects of ourselves in order to gain other new ones in relation the changing environment. It call living with versus dominating nature. To engineers and scientists, businessmen and politicians, this is a terrifying prospect as the basis of their power is directly challenged. To restore the equilibrium within the ecological realm, equilibrium must be restored to human scale societies. The power complexes, the mega-machines of industrial technological civilization need to be dismantled gently less they continue to destroy the natural world violently.

bob
bob

It's all green to me.

Lance Boyle
Lance Boyle

I recycle my 9mm cartridges, isn't that enough?

Ryan
Ryan

Well New Times, after the continual personal quests that tattered your mag in the previous years worth of issues, you have finally put that to rest; at least on the cover. The green 'flippage of the bird', though used previously in other ads and articles, was a nice change.

If conservatives and shoot-em up wahoos were your primary audience, I'd have major problems with your choice of bashing the green movement. Thankfully those people don't touch your mag. I thought it was an interesting issue that was not researched or written with enough thought. Wry, witty comments made me not believe the writers gave a fuck. And I know this is not the case. Lets stick with the issues and leave the funny and obnoxious commentary to "The Bird." Quit being so negative and non-chalant about our fair city's efforts to improve the environment, as lacking as they may be. We're getting somewhere, and thats pretty damn good considering our nations elected leader has yet to join the WORLD when it comes to environmental degradation. I'll see you on the light rail!

collia
collia

I think we'd better give a place for GLBT to come out. We all know that health is the most important thing in the world. However, "People live in fear of discrimination and, consequently hide their sexual orientation, hide their families, their children and their lifestyle as a result," Johnson said. "I believe it will positively impact the health of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered community". So I think we should give GLBT more support and understanding. Or For many GLBT who don't want to come out in real life, they may want to try some online service like http://www.biloves.com to release them,come out here totally and find their right place.

Kyle O
Kyle O

I love where I live and would at least attempt to make my world a better place by recycling if I knew it would actually help (I still do..) but I know it's complete bullshit. Pen and Teller had a great episode of their show "Bullshit" which exposed a lot of the same truths. Recycling itself isn't a bad thing, but we need to recycle what's important. How many of you throw away batteries, your precious mercury filled CFLs, your computers, Ipods.. THESE THINGS NEED TO BE RECYCLED, THE REST IS ENVIRONMENTAL MASTURBATION.

The best thing any of us can do is REDUCE, REUSE, and RECYCLE WHAT'S ACTUALLY IMPORTANT.

-liespace

Scott
Scott

So you seem to be missing the point. The staff for sure and some of the respondants as well. Being "green" doesn't require anyone to eat granola, swear off cars, and live in an old used tire. It doesn't mean going vegan. In fact, the best chance anyone has of getting me to stop eating beef is to pry it from my cold dead hands. And I've recently aquired ol' Chuck's handy sidearm to keep it that way. What it means is living more efficiently. The point is to do what you can. Sure there are a lot of "green" posers out there who buy a Prius and think they've done their part. Not all of us can afford that. Nor do we own a home where we can install solar panels even if we could afford them. If you can drive instead of flying do so. If you can bike instead of driving go for it. If you can talk your friends out of having that fifth kid, by all means do it. Changing one lightbulb to a CFL and turning off the water while you brush your teeth does not an eco-soldier make you. But if we all throw in the towel now, well, as GWAR called it, "This Toilet Earth" will pass through that downward spiral faster than you can say Genee Cream Ale. So do what you can. Swim upstream.

Tankilo
Tankilo

Wow. And to think I was just having this discussion. That instead of trying to be green, try to be more efficient and everyone will benefit.

I ended moving almost "across the street" from my workplace to cut down on time commuting and buying gas. I can only imagine how much that lowered my "carbon footprint".

Chris
Chris

THANK YOU NEW TIMES! Sell your beemer and your huge house in scottsdale and buy a crumby prius and a small house...if you can find one. Then take the vacation money you spend flying your family around and drop $20k on solar panels.

If you're not going to do that then SHUT UP all you green posers!

Recycling plastics bag and soda cans is just a farse to make you FEEL like you're doing something.

New Times! How about a follow-up article:

Global Warming: It's gonna happen either way....just like is has every few thousands years historically.

New Times Staff
New Times Staff

we're so alternative we think you actually should expedite global warming with your gas guzzlers and waste water in a drought-ridden desert, because hey it's different!

i'm glad to the see the goldwater institute officially manages all of phoenix's news publications these days.

Miss Mae
Miss Mae

Hey let's talk about the birds and the bees- See what these bird brained scientists are doing with their neurons...I read this on the BBC this morning-here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci...

In synopsis: Mind Control Sex Slavery for Flies

my opinion as a hot chick-

Right now, scientists are wasting their intelligence( or lack thereof) on manipulating female flies into some mind controlled sex slavery. they are training them to perform what traditionally only the males flies do- and most species, a courtship dance to seduce them into submitting to the male. Are you fucking kidding me??? I can't wait to leave this planet. What a bunch of idiots. Seriously, I read this on the BBC this morning. They even have a few fly pornos for your viewing pleasure!!! http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci... You know why the vast majority of the species make the male do the courtship? Because bearing children is enough work!!! And if the girls didn't make the boys impress us with their ability to get the biggest fish and bring it to us with his big biceps, how the hell would we progress? What- are we just supposed to have a yearning to be with all of you, all the time? STD's would run like common colds, retardation would be at an all time high, and we would get shorter, not taller. Not shit would not get done!!! That is why we don't throw ourselves into courting stupid scientist. You don't need a fruit fly to explain that. Survival of the fittest baby. Seriously, let's put this ''intelligence'' to good use and get some mind control in the men. I personally think your courtship tactics are null and void ( like when was the last time I received a bouquet of flowers?!). No, I will not be donating my impeccable DNA to aid in the further waste we have turned Mother Earth into. Get a clue- get off biofuels- stop pissing her off, we are on a crazy train right into a WW3.

- Supporter of The Icehouse Arts and former Phoenix residentI will never move back there!!!

Chris
Chris

A liberal rag telling people that the green movement is really a scam and the real way to conserve and fight global warming is to be cheap and save money? Say it ain't so!

Mike Public
Mike Public

Dear Phoenix-New Times Staff,

If you're going to criticize people who try to make the world a better place, people who aren't completely motivated by selfish impulses, couldn't you just do it on your myspace blog? This really makes Phoenix, Arizona look worse than it already is.

Do better, please.

Charles
Charles

Let me redo that: It's all about gulit tripping you out of your money and ruining your way of life in the process,

 
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