We have all seen many things through the ages be labeled as “Bad for you” or “Bad for the environment”, only later to have ‘the experts’ change there minds. This is most common with food, and usually changes when we invent a new way of analyzing or looking at things, and is most commonly seen in the ‘things we put in our mouth’ category. If you still don’t understand what I’m talking about, then I’ll just hint at Eggs and Cholesterol if your old enough to remember that debate.
But in recent history we have seen perceptions change not due to how we perceive things, but because of changes in technology and how we use (or more importantly RE-use) things. A prime example of this is methane sequestration from land fills to generate energy. Methane is one of the few examples of gasses that is better for the environment after combustion than before. So burning it is actually ‘green’, and so long as they are burning it go ahead and turn some of that into energy so we don’t have to burn coal instead. If you want to know more: http://tinyurl.com/3fobyrz
My newest favorite example of “Bad for you” becoming “Good for you” is a process that converts plastic bags back into usable petroleum. http://bit.ly/qBr2ta
It has been common for a good while to convert plastic bags into other usable items. And at the industrial level people have been converting plastic bags into oil for around half a decade. Not too long, but long enough that someone has finally made that technology efficient and accessible enough for wide spread use, and even consumer access.
While all of this is well and good, and hopefully you’ve learned something by this point in my blog, but I still haven’t made an actual point yet…
YESTERDAY DOE announced $41M in research for carbon sequestration. http://1.usa.gov/n6yRMW
You may be saying “TJ while this is great news for the environment, CO2 is still BAD”. Yes, yes it is. And while petroleum, methane, and CO2 are not at all the same things. We still use compressed CO2 in solid and gas for a variety of things. As it’s easy to create CO2 it is often done as part of the process in which it is used or stored. But what if we didn’t just find a way to clean up all the smokestacks in the US? What if all of these brilliant minds and Millions of dollars were used to not only sequester CO2, but use it?
Carbon is part of every consumer product I can think of. I’m sure we can make this environmental FAIL a WIN. I have a few ideas… but that’s proprietary 🙂