Concrete is the second-most consumed substance in the world and causes much environmental damage. Despite this, it's needed for essential infrastructure and, paradoxically, will be needed even more to protect against climate change.
Alongside all of this, it has a lifespan of about 100 years, which means much of our infrastructure is hitting that age limit and starting to rot.
This is a fascinating article on our addiction to concrete and the harms that come with it.
I'm reading the Bright Green Lies book and found this thought-provoking discussion with one of the authors.
As he says, there's definitely an issue with the environmental movement these days being more interested in keeping modern civilization on its current course, rather than trying to protect the actual planet itself like it used to.
And the dominant blind faith in "green" technology does tend to make me uneasy.
An interesting history of palm oil and its presence in an obnoxious amount of processed products, not just food.
Campaigners tend to be more hostile towards palm oil than towards other tropical products such as cocoa and soy which also pose threats to ecosystems. He suggests that this hostility comes down to the fact that ‘palm oil is perceived as being in things, rather than a thing in its own right.’
Cryptocurrencies are regularly criticised for their energy waste and climate impact. In this case, bitcoin is directly burning coal. A Bitcoin mining company bought a powerstation to fuel their mining.
In a deal struck in late 2020, Marathon, a bitcoin “mining” company, became the sole recipient of the power station’s electricity. It established an elongated data center on 20 acres of land beside the facility that is packed with more than 30,000 Antminer S19 units, a specialized computer that mines for bitcoin. Such thirst for power is common in crypto – globally bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than Norway, a country of 5.3 million people.
The problem is that waste has always been a marginal issue, both literally and figuratively. It has been dumped in and on the peripheries, consigned to that mythical place called ‘away’. It has always been an ‘externality’, an unavoidable byproduct of necessary industrialisation. But it is now an internality – internal to every ecosystem and every digestive system from marine micro-organisms to humans.
A great article on our throwaway culture and the central position of waste in it all. This generated waste is, basically, the metabolism behind economic growth.