Eco Vices

As I’ve become more aware of the environmental impact of things I do, certain things from my day-to-day life jump out at me as being totally environmentally irresponsible. And you know what? I’m probably going to keep on doing them. They’re my eco vices.

Here’s three of them:

Skiing trips – pile the family into a large SUV (need 4WD and room for lots of gear), and drive into the mountains during the harshest conditions. Spend the day on a mix of manmade and natural snow (what’s the carbon and fresh water impact of manmade snow?), hang out in a lodge heated to 60 degrees over the outside temperature, and get pulled up the mountain numerous times by a huge electrical pully system. Best family time we have, wouldn’t miss it for the world. (Note: golf and waterskiing are probably in the same bucket)

Reading the newspaper – each week part of my trash ritual is getting the recyclable paper out to the curb. Generally its a big recycling bin, most of which is newspaper, full of ads and information I could easily get online. The paper is created (huge water usage), printed, driven to my house in the middle of the night, I read about 5% of it at most (all of which is now on the web somewhere), and then its put out to be driven somewhere else to be recycled. But there’s something about sitting down in the morning with a cup of coffee and having the newspaper in your hands.

Heiniken – How absurd is it to sit down at night and drink a beer that was brewed in Holland, or Japan, or where ever? A bottle of fermented water was shipped by multiple means of transportation to your favorite restaurant or beer distributor. In the end the bottle (and the beer) hopefully get recycled, 10,000 miles from where they were produced. Sure I support local breweries, but sometimes there something about a particular beer…

One thing that all of these show is how our current economy doesn’t really account for the environmental impact of many products and activities. Its amazing (at multiple levels) that you can brew beer, make a bottle, package it up, ship it to me from Holland, and I can buy it at a store for around $1, and that money is enough to cover all of the costs and a little profit for all of the people and processes who touched it along the way.

So what are your eco vices?