There. I said it.
Hopefully you can find wisdom in the coming rant.
I need to give a shout out to Monica Tischler, my curriculum advisor when I attended Benedictine University for helping me see the truth on this one. All the recycling you could do in your lifetime won't make up for the damage of one automobile factory. Automobile factories only exist because we keep buying automobiles.
Should you recycle? YES! Every bit counts! Should the world ban automobiles? NO! There are plenty of situations where automobiles are valuable, even necessary. Should an automobile cease to be your primary mode of transportation? ABSOFREAKINGLUTELY!!!!!
OK, you drive a hybrid or a smart car. Good for you. But maybe, instead of worrying about your carbon footprint, you should worry about your rubber footprint. It's not just about "what you can do" or "lean manufacturing." It's about a different perspective of life. It's about what we "need" vs. what "makes life easy and comfortable." I challenge you to be honest with yourself here. Most people believe they “need” to commute in an automobile for reasons that are no more than excuses.
Consider these simple facts: The typical motorcycle weighs 400-500 pounds. The typical car weighs 2000-3000 pounds. The typical SUV weighs 4000-5000 pounds. Forget fuel efficiency entirely for a moment. Just consider the physical resources alone that are required to manufacture the machine itself; not even the energy the factory uses, only the physical material that goes into the vehicle.
Let's do a little math. Wait! Don't run away! I'll do the math for us. For the material in one SUV, 10 motorcycles could be made. Each motorcycle can carry two people. That equals 20 people who could be transported on the same quantity of raw material. What company makes a 20-person SUV? And how often are you likely to have a 20-person carpool? And honestly, this is the USA. We don't carpool! I'm from Illinois where we don't even have HOV lanes…
I could go on and on, but for now, keep recycling, plant a tree, and maybe consider signing up for your local Motorcycle Safety Foundation class. Unless, of course, you enjoy raping Mother Nature on your way to work every morning.
Was that too harsh? Probably not as harsh as the look you got from that "green" person at the office when you didn’t recycle your plastic bottle.