“Less Dirty” does not = “Clean”

The whole “clean energy” thing is tricky.  Kudos to Montgomery County and DC Metro for using hybrid buses- and for using natural gas- but is this really “clean” energy?  No.  It’s less polluting- but still far from “clean” or green or whatever you want to call it.


So much of the green movement seems to be so gimmicky.  My friend w/2 kids got a monstrous Ford SUV.  She knows I’m a staunch environmentalist and said guiltily- “Look- it’s got the FlexFuel symbol on it so we can run it on biodiesel!”

First of all, I’m sure she’s never filled the tank with biodiesel.  2nd of all, while kind of a neat concept, biodiesel isn’t very “clean” either.  I suppose the case could be made that it’s better than petroleum, but not much when considering the entire carbon footprint of biodiesel.

Then there are the license plates of Virginia hybrid vehicles.  For years, they’ve always said “Clean Special Fuel”.  This is particularly strange to me.  Does the State of Virginia not realize that Priuses (or is it Prii??) and other hybrids run on the same fuel as any other vehicle?


I look forward to the day when people start to seriously protect and restore the environment, rather than slapping the word “green” or “clean” onto a ton of stuff that substantially produces greenhouse gases.

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5 Responses to “Less Dirty” does not = “Clean”

  1. Michael Greenberg says:

    Scott: this is only tangentially related, but I’ve noticed that MOMs carries items like Horizon cottage cheese and Horizon cheese. Horizon is an example of a company that pretends to be sustainable but really employs unsustainable factory farming practices, if I am not mistaken. For those items, MOMs also carries ethical brands such as Organic Valley (meaning it is not as though Horizon is the only brand available.)

    Would you be able to stop carrying Horizon, or at least be able to do so for items that are also offered from more ethical brands?

    I was at a natural foods store in upstate NY and noticed that there was not a single item from Horizon carried there, which I’m sure was a choice rather than a coincidence.

    Thoughts?

  2. Katy says:

    This whole clean/green thing drives me nuts!! It sometimes makes me feel crazy for saying I’m an environmentalist. Mostly because I know that those “clean natural gas” buses are still polluting. You can definitely tell when you’re riding your bike behind one. It just makes me feel my cause is just a marketing tool for evil companies. It never stops me and I continue to figure out more ways to do things better or more efficient, and that keeps me going.

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