The coal industry gives their two cents…

Hello Thinkers!

(Watch the latest Anti-Clean Coal ad campaign. Its short and funny!)

I know, long time no hear from! But here I am, today was a news day and I must react to the madness in my inbox! I came across a blog posting on about the coal industry’s reticence to fund and develop clean coal technology that would make possible the capture and storage of coal pollution. The thrust of the article is essentially that coal companies have admitted to incredibly low spending on clean coal research and technology. The article cites various sources that provide this information, including a statement from “the CEO of Duke Energy, a major producer of coal power:

Asked how much Duke Energy has invested in carbon sequestration technology so far,” Rogers said, “We have not invested any dollars in the technology, per say. We have spent a lot of time and money reviewing and analyzing the various technologies.” “

Well, to this, I say “REALLY?” Of course the coal companies are not going to invest in clean coal technology. It isn’t realistic or ‘good business’ for them to do so! We live in a capitalist regime which is based on models of surplus and scarcity. Usually we HAVE a surplus, but corporations and manufacturers make it seem scarce for as long as possible so as to keep prices high. For example, think about how the hottest technologies, iphones, wii’s etc begin with a short supply and premium prices. Over time, there are more of them and the price drops. From the debut date, the producers have the stock ready that they don’t make available. The pretense is usually one of scarcity or ‘rareness’ so that people will spend early and much for elite, early access to the product.

So is the same with coal production and distribution, we have been mining and burning coal SINCE THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION…at least in massive climate changing quantities, for sure. In over one century of mining, isn’t it reasonable to expect that the coal industry would have amassed a gargantuan surplus? For them to truly fund clean coal technology now, they will have lost all the potentiated surplus that is the coal that has already been mined and not sold. It will only be  when all possible coal stores are exploited that business will fully and deliberately look toward alternate forms of energy on which to capitalize. I posit, that until that day, coal companies will continue to set aside only 2-cents of every profit dollar toward clean coal technology. It is not a profitable research venture to fund right now, and this clearly shows that coal companies are not concerned with climate change as much as they are enthralled by the prospect of continued profits using their antiquated energy product.

What do you think?


Greenwashed Canaries are Expensive!

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Calling all Thinkers!

I found this ad on , it speaks for itself. It does however raise a pet topic of mine, “GreenWashing“.

Greenwashing is insidious, it has infiltrated the advertising of every industry from automotive manufacture (i.e. Chevy and BMW : at what point did 30mpg highway become good?), to chemical companies like DOW (who presumtively offer to guide the Government in drafting a comprehensive energy plan), to your exclusively priced consumer goods like you find at Gaiam.

Greenwashing is seductive; the advertising pulls on your emotions and amplifies concerns you may have, however they bank on your passive acceptance of their imagery rather than critical analysis.  The next time you see an ad that:

  • has copious amount of the color or the use of the word green 
  • showcases incongruous amounts of plants, mountains and sea birds surrounding a green MACK truck
  • on a perfectly sunny day, makes you want to cry or hug your neighbor’s dog.

Before allowing your senses to be completely seduced, you should ask yourself…

  • Where do those products come from?
  • What is the health of the trees, water, animals, insects and local people as compared to before the factories?
  • Who made those products? and who actually uses them?  Are they the same people?
  • Why do I feel like crying right now? Where’s my puppy Shay Shay, I need a hug!

So, my dear detective friends, you may say, oh, I can look for that information. I challenge you to do so! These real impacts are purposely kept hidden because the truth, well, the truth might not set you free, but it would certainly wake you up! 

So you may ask me “Just what are you trying to say?” I am saying:

  •  If the ad does not answer those questions, then you’ve been greenwashed.
  • If you cannot find those answers on the packaging or the company website, then you have been greenwashed.

The production of truly ‘Organic’, ‘Environmentally Friendly’ or ‘Sustainable’ is completely transparent from cradle to cradle. Think of a farmers market: you can meet the people who grow, bake or processes your food, wine, yarn etc,  you can visit the farm, and you can talk to the farmers, workers and ask them questions about the entire process (and actually receive an answer, and maybe an invitation to experience it firsthand!). I dare you to try that with any mass producer of so-called ‘green’ goods.

So, to wrap up, if any part of the production process is hidden from you, not easily accessible on wikipedia, their website or the ad itself,

Don’t Believe the Hype! Green is just a Marketing Type!