With all the bluster over the psuedo-scientific Kyoto Treaty, I am always interested in exploring other areas of environmental concern. Surely, the less we throw away and the materials we use in our disposable products makes a difference to the Earth's health. Europeans are infamous for pointing at the United States as a bad example in environmental leadership.
In most restrooms here in the U.K., there are only hot-air dryers with which to dry your hands. This is, of course, for environmental reasons, so less rubbish is created. Not a bad thing. Even though I admittedly prefer paper towels, I salute the idea of producing less debris to throw away. Guess where every single electric dryer that I've seen in this country was manufactured and sold from?
Berkeley, Illinois. USA. For all the talk of how environmentally irresponsible the U.S. is, every single hot-air dryer in U.K. bathrooms originated in America.
Also, remember during the late '80s when environmental groups demanded that McDonald's cease using Styrofoam containers to sell their burgers in? McDonald's started using paper wrappers for their fast-food in the U.S. and U.K. alike - a move I heartily applauded.
Rewind to two weekends ago, when my wife and I were leaving Amsterdam. We were desperately hungry and McDonald's was the only place in the airport at that time in the evening at which to get sustenance, so we ate there. (I usually avoid McDonald's if I can help it.) Again, Europe is infamous for lecturing the U.S. about its environmental responsibilities, right? Guess what material our veggie burgers were served in, and, having looked around, what other people's burgers came in?
Styrofoam! That's right. In the Netherlands, they are still using Styrofoam in McDonald's. Apparently, responsible environmentalism in Europe means ratifying the Kyoto treaty and nothing else. And it's not just the Netherlands; I remember seeing Styrofoam McDonald's containers in Belgium as well.
Styrofoam creates a lot of trash, and I saw plenty of black plastic bags of it in the corner of the restaurant, and all this material was surely not on its way to be recycled, but to be bulldozer-packed into European soil. How environmentally responsible is that?
Cutting emissions and working on alternative sources of energy is all very well. I have no tolerance for the NIMBY-istic opposition to windfarms. Yet, the Kyoto Treaty apparently will solve what may very well prove to be a solar-influenced period of climate change - from which the heavily developing countries of India and China would remain exempt! This is what European citizens and cognoscenti alike what us to throw our weight behind?
Europe, work on reducing your solid waste instead, huh?