An Inhabitat post caught my eye: Underwater Skyscrapers Recycle Waste From Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It was an interesting and well-written piece. In fact, initially I thought, wow, what a great idea! Trash the floating dumps, create eco-friendly high-rises and provide office space and residential living space, all in one shot.
Then I thought – wait a minute – is this feasible? Who wants their office in the middle of the ocean, let alone their primary residence miles from the nearest Starbucks? Which of course, got me thinking about other problems like: Domino’s delivery, sugar from the neighbors, and duh, walking the dog.
As I read a little further though, I realized these multi-use ‘trash towers” are architectural dreams; a contest winner not currently in use or even on the drawing board. Which is fine, but why the headline suggesting these babies are out there right now, sucking up garbage as we speak?
One person commented, “I find this error over and over again in the eco-reporting industry and I think it contributes to the loss of authenticity. Please stop.”
I’m also questioning the fantastical nature of the photos – like Jaws meets the Jetsons. With my crystal ball in the shop, I have no idea what the future holds; perhaps someday these structures will dot the ocean like dandelions in a field. And I want people to get excited about the green possibilities down the road.
But right now, I wonder if sci-fi pics like these actually do more harm than good for the green movement.
I harp on this is because I’m seeing more and more over-the-top green ideas that I feel are watering down the movement’s efforts, rather than building them up. Convincing the skeptics is hard enough, but are we sinking an already cynical ship by presenting unrealistic “what if” scenarios as reality too soon; instead of waiting for the hard facts to surface?
I base my reasoning not just on my own opinion, but on comments that followed the posting. Thoughtful tidbits, such as “How would these monstrous structures, that would need to be incredibly complex to withstand a tough and dynamic ocean environment, ever contribute more to the environment than their substantial nature detracts?” and “The idea of office space is a bit bizarre though, unless you could persuade large organizations to relocate for tax reasons?” and finally, I paraphrase this one: how much energy is needed to heat the waste?
The good news is, more and more people are jumping on the green bandwagon. The bad news? As our numbers grow, the honeymoon period when posting anything-remotely-green-is-okie-dokie, is ending.
Green living is no longer a novelty to chat about over cups of Joe, but a serious subject that has taken on a whole new audience.
That’s why it’s so important for those of us who write, blog and spread the green word, to avoid sensationalism and provide information that people can not only relate to, but makes sense to the populace.
We’ve come too far to backslide now.