Tuesday, August 11, 2009


I have something to admit: I don't know everything. I know this disclosure will upset some, but I must confess there are things in this world I ponder over and just can't understand. Here are a couple of enigmas, for example:

The Hand Dryer
After washing my hands in the restroom at the local mall, I went to grab a paper towel from the dispenser. The dispenser was empty -- as were the other two down the aisle. I had to resort to one of those reverse vacuum hose electrical dryers that take time, peel the skin off my hands, and really don't work that well. As I was rubbing my hands gently under the airflow, I read the sign posted next to it -- "Go Green, Reduce, Reuse, Renew." The implication was this air hand dryer would protect the earth and its resources for future generations.

I don't get it. How can using an electrical device be better for the environment than using paper products? Paper products are made from trees that grow again and again. Trees are a renewable resource. Throw a paper towel in the dump and soon you will have -- compost. That's not too shabby. Throw an electrical hand dryer in the dump and you will have -- an electrical hand dryer. Trees versus electricity.

Where I live, electricity is made from coal. A byproduct of this process is mercury, dust, smoke, and pollution. So, I need to save the earth by using more electricity? I don't get it. (Although the electrical hand dryer does move air around, which can be a good thing in a men's restroom.)

Nope. I don't mean the Canadian Football League, even though I will never understand Canadian football. Compact fluorescent lamps are supposed to save us energy and be good for the earth. Again, I'm all for saving the environment, but I wonder how using a mercury-filled light that works awkwardly in light fixtures and costs from three to ten times more than regular lights, is something we should be forced to use.

I'm not ready to return to whale blubber oil lamps, bee's wax candles, or kerosene lanterns for nocturnal indoor lighting -- although the romantic ambience is sometimes a boon. I'm just mystified at the wisdom of replacing what we have with something that is arguably not a whole lot better.

Lest one should get the wrong idea, I'm all for progress, convenience, and the wise use of our limited natural resources. As a Christian and a responsible citizen, I have a double desire to use what we have to the best of our ability. Truth be told, I think we need the old-fashioned cloth towels to dry our hands and I'd be happy to just light the house by the glow of the TV set. Alas, that wouldn't be prudent or responsible.

I write this to get you thinking about your use of God's gifts. When given a choice, I will always try to err on the side of responsible use of resources -- even if I have to stand in line in the men's room to dry my hands or figure out how to screw in a funny looking CFL.


ottlinnebr said...

thanks for these starter thoughts and i am mostly in agreement and many times question the environmental "kooks" the likes of al gore. when i was a farmer i tried my best to conserve the soil and keep the rain drops where they fell rather than fill the gulf of mexico with nebraska topsoil. now i live in k.c. area and when i go for a walk i carry plastic bag and get additional bending excerise picking up other people pop and beer cans there is more to the polution than CO2. our small town considered manufacturing "front ends of horses and sending to D.C. for assemly.

Anonymous said...

I think both of you should run for office. At least we'd have two in office that aren't completely crazy.

It's amazing to me that politicians and media can take a good idea and make such a mess out of it. Conservation of God's resources is generally a good thing. It shows respect for God's gifts. However, it seems to me that most of them are recyclable. It always amazed me when you would see a sign in your hotel room about conserving water. It isn't water they are trying to conserve. It's the labor to clean the towels. If they can convince you that we are using up all the water in the world, so you should reuse your towel to conserve it, that's one less towel they don't have to spend the money on to wash. Water run down the drain, evaporates into the air, collects in the clouds, and returns to the earth as rain. Where is the conservation? Unless humans suddenly have the power to create and destroy, everything on earth in one way or another recycles. If that weren't true, shouldn't the world be shrinking? After all, haven't we all been "using up" the world since the beginning of man?

I always believed that God put His resources on this earth for man to use. And then He recycles them. That includes oil. So why is it such a terrible thing when we use His gifts? I think the answer is, there are a lot of people like Al Gore out there who will twist the facts of any situation if it results in a profit for them. I heard just last night that someone (I think it was someone from the UN - there's a surprise), claims that if we don't fix "global warming" in the next 3-4 months it will be a worldwide catastrophe that can never be fixed. I guess we are all just doomed. Considering the fact that the biggest polluters in the world are China and India, and they have no intention of getting on the global warming band wagon, we apparently have no hope. But I'm sure that President Obama will do his (no capitol necessary) part, and force cap and trade and who knows what else, down our throats at the expense of our citizens, and for the profits of a few pushing the hoax.

By the way. I went out a couple of weeks ago, and bought about a lifetime supply of good old fashioned incandescent light bulbs for 4 for $1, instead of waiting until you can't buy them any longer, and have to pay $13 a piece for the new mercury filled ones. Unless God decides differently, I'm pretty sure 100 years from now, other people will still be certain that the world is heading for an eminent catastrophe, if something isn't done immediately.

A friend of mine summed it up for me one day while we were discussing the "world's problems" when he said, "You want to hear something really scary? You and me. We're two of the smart ones." Now that's really scary!