Silent Archimedes

Top 10 most wasteful use of natural resources

Posted by silentarchimedes on June 22, 2008

This is my top 10 list of actions in which the ratio of energy expended to the actual action is in the stratosphere. This is just a list off the top of my head and in no particular order. Also, the list does not include why the event is done, the repercussions of the event, and/or the money the event makes. I’m purely talking about the event itself.

Here they are in no particular order:

1. Auto racing – this includes all variants. As much as everyone makes fun of NASCAR for driving around an oval wasting precious fuel, F1 and Indy are just as wasteful. Not to mention all the other variants of car racing and monster trucks.

2. Military exercises – All the military grade fuel that is used for fighter jets, tanks, cargo, and other military vehicles during training exercises is crazy. At times of war, yes, it makes a bit more sense. But to fly jets that burn gallons of fuel per minute for training is totally wasteful.

3. Space shuttle – Just to get that damn thing into space requires three completely filled rocket-sized canisters with fuel. Then the empty canisters are dropped into the ocean before the shuttle hits orbit.

4. Commercial airplanes and private jets – Yes, many flights are almost filled to capacity, but I have been on many flights (especially red-eye flights) where the amount of passengers on a 100-person plane is less than what would fit into a mini-van.

5. Showers – I know it’s about hygiene, but the number of gallons of water just to “clean” ourselves everyday is beyond it’s actual worth.

6. Deforestation for farmland – Destroying one energy source for another. I would estimate a lot of the trees cut down for farming is not transformed into lumber or products. The trees take decades, if not hundreds, of years to grow and they are razed in under one week.

7. 24-hour lighting for security purposes – You ever see stores or office buildings leave their lights on overnight because they want to detract burglars from going in and also so their security cameras can record in the light? No one is in the building and yet the lights constantly stay on.

8. Flyers – There’s something about flyers that piss me off. If I used my own printer and printed hundreds of copies of the exact same thing and just passed them around in the city, I would kill myself. Especially eeing most of them muddied on the streets. Stop wasting paper and ink!

9. Spam through snail mail – Speaking of flyers, spam through the mailbox is just as annoying. All those pre-approved credit card offers, val-U coupons, and advertisements… It’s like print, waste stamps, straight to garbage!

10. Packaging, packaging, packaging – You ever buy something from Amazon and they put it in a box 5 times it’s size and fill it with paper? What about cereal boxes? Resources are being wasted with useless packaging for everything!!


3 Responses to “Top 10 most wasteful use of natural resources”

  1. Sknownotice said

    Hi, I were hooked to this post of yours because it has an eye-opening list.

    I agree with you for item 1,3,4,7,8 and 9 in the list. The rest of the items are perhaps “negotiable”(5,6) and “unavoidable”(2,10).

    Shower is not only for hygiene; its showerhead is actually effective to quickly remove dust and dirt from our body.

    By using shower, less water is consumed compared to a bathtub – only if the showering time is short. Now this is our habitual issue not technological issue, isn’t?

  2. silentarchimedes said

    Hi Sknownotice. Thanks for your comments! Maybe the since it is a habitual issue lies the problem. Our modern lifestyle has stressed that showering every day is necessary for hygiene, but if you search about it online, evidence shows it’s not necessary for hygiene. I still agree, I wouldn’t be able to do without a shower every day, even if it’s mental.

    As for packaging, I disagree that it’s unavoidable. Most packaging is done for aesthetic and marketing reasons. Such as cereal boxes, gift boxes, etc. If we didn’t expect such niceties and was willing to buy cereal with just one layer of packaging, say the plastic bag, what’s the difference? It’s the same product.

    I agree the concept of packaging is necessary, but many things are double, and triple packaged.

    Can you think of any other items that should be on the list?


  3. Sknownotice said

    To add some icing on the cake, I would suggest the following items.

    (11) Non-rechargeable batteries: it can only be used once and the discarded batteries are often hazardous to environment!

    (12) Luxurious dining set plated with gold or silver: human could use gold and silver to create accessories (and coins?) but dining set is exaggerated! Except this is rare in usage.

    (13) Leftover food: say if everyone could eat sufficiently without extra consumption on food, there might be no hunger over the world unlike today!

    (14) Plant-based oil: this really waste tonnes of crops instead of processed into edible products. Should technologists do so, they should use GMO-made crops; not natural crops!

    (15) Plastic bottles: seriously, do we really not having other alternative to package beverages? Aluminum cans are fine since these cans can be recycled.

    At the moment, I could think of these five additional items only. What do you think, silentarchimedes?

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