Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Environmental purity hard to find

The debate that's heating up over whether Hailey should ban plastic shopping bags illustrates how difficult it is to find environmental purity in today's complex and confounding world.

Carloads of contradictions characterize debates over clean air and water and vanishing wildlife.

The soccer moms who transport kids from one field to another in gas-guzzling SUVs are likely the same people who demand cleaner air standards from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The soccer moms aren't the only ones who're conflicted.

Some readers of e-books and online newspapers smugly proclaim they've reduced their carbon footprint. Yet, server farms—massive air-conditioned buildings full of computers—suck up wattage 24/7 to generate documents.

Even with the addition of solar- and wind-generated power, the vast majority of the electric power the nation uses still comes from fish-killing dams, coal-belching power plants and waste-producing nuclear reactors.

Electric cars, anyone?

Or, how about the much-touted "clean" and abundant natural gas proclaimed as the go-to source of energy for the U.S. for the rest of the century? Just when Americans thought they might have dodged the pollutant bullet, news of health problems that may result from fracking, the injection of water and chemicals into gas deposits, is giving us second thoughts.

Then, there's the problem with pitting a clean environment (reusable bags) against jobs (plastic bags) when jobs are scarce.

Manufacturers meet the demands of individuals. The question is not plastic vs. reusable bags. The question is whether we humans will ever be able to align our material desires with the need to restore the health of the planet that sustains us.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.