"Green" Builders are at It Again
From my naïve political point-of-view the environment is by far the most compelling issue. If it goes, we all go; at least so I hear. (I can't help but ponder the doom and gloom scenarios, though, when I think of the asteroid that blasted the dinosaurs into extinction and gave us the space to grow up in. Speaking on a very subjective basis, I like that change. It follows that I am willing to accept the idea that we homo sapiens may, after our demise, be replaced by something even more interesting.) At any rate, it's only after my ecological meanderings that I think about national security when I am at the polling place.
Given those priorities, I have had no one to vote for in the last fifteen years, at least, but I don't let that discourage me. There is always the write-in slot so I just sort of vote and hope for the best. I accept my political naiveté and wear my viewpoint on my sleeve with honor.
However, to the point of keeping the planet a comfy place for me and others to live, I do take some hard positions. Alas, those are usually against environmentalists. I believe that poorly reasoned, unsubstantiated approaches to environmental issues erode the nobility of protecting one's abode. (Should I cite the hyperbole, nay insanity, surrounding the concept and immediacy of global warming?)
A project we recently completed involved underpinning a nearly new home. It had been constructed, we were told, by a "green" builder. The fact that we were there as problem solvers should be the first clue that things had not gone exactly as planned. Cause and effect of the structural problems aside, I was astonished to learn of a new building genre: Bucket Walls.
Yes (sigh), five-gallon plastic pails filled with concrete and stacked, then plastered. I am almost at a loss to describe the absurdity. What on Earth was conserved? Plastic is infinitely recyclable to say nothing of handily reusable. And concrete? Green? Readers of this column may remember my analysis of Rastra block and recall the fact that its promoters seem to have forgotten about the imbedded energy in concrete. Portland cement requires a vast amount of resources to produce and get into place.
This is a prime example of environmentalism gone amok. The "green" builder has taken something that can be recycled if one is so inclined, and condemned it for the next billion years or so to a static existence embedded in an inert material that cost its weight in coal to produce (hmm, I wonder if that works out; I'll bet its close).
Do you know what a better, less expensive and truly noble alternative would have been?