We probably shouldn't be proud of the fact that the United States continues to be a global leader in carbon emissions, but apparently some people want our country to be first place in everything. "Rolling coal" is the new anti-environmental viral sensation, where people modify their trucks to expel bigger, thicker clouds of black exhaust as a form of political protest against President Barack Obama's stance on addressing climate change.
Sadly, rollin' coal isn't the first instance of people deliberately neglecting the environment to make a statement. Corporations, politicians and citizens with doubts about climate science seemingly feel no remorse about making things difficult for Mother Nature. Below are six instances of groups of people working to push climate change along in the wrong direction.
Conservatives Won't Buy Green Products -- Because F@#$ The Environment, Right?
Scott Olson via Getty Images
A study from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business has found that moderate and conservative customers are significantly less likely to purchase products labeled with pro-environment messages. When presented with two lightbulbs, with only facts about their energy use and price, liberal and conservative participants were equally likely to buy the more energy efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) bulb. Interestingly, when the CFL was given a label saying "Protect the Environment," the conservative participants shied away, opting for the more inefficient incandescent bulb. This avoidance of the green movement may be attributable to the stigma the right has placed on it, especially in the wake of comments from politicians like Michele Bachmann.
Tea Party Activists Don Tin Foil Hats, Fight Sustainability Movements
Corporations Fight Against The Power Of The Free Market To Box Out Cleaner Energy Sources
If you're interested in solar, you've probably heard about how you can send the energy your panels generate that you don't use back to the grid and get paid for it. This is called net metering, and a corporation is trying to change the rules in Arizona so it becomes harder for solar to compete with coal. The proposal from Arizona's major electric utility charges an additional fee to Arizonans who use solar panels, drawing the ire of those who feel that this rule unfairly promotes the non-renewable energy industry and penalizes them for taking advantage of the abundance of sunlight. The problem is that the Arizona Corporation Commission, the governmental body responsible for policy relating to the state's utilities, is heavily influenced by non-renewable energy corporations, and will likely rule against taking advantage of Arizona's prime location for solar energy in favor of a power source that hurts the state's residents.
Republicans De-Green The Capitol To Spite Democrats
People Refuse Clean, Recycled Water Because It's Icky
ROSLAN RAHMAN via Getty Images
Recycled water may hold the key to keeping up with the growing demand for drinking water, but it faces scrutiny from people who are grossed out by the idea of drinking sewage. Recycled water is hugely successful abroad in places like Singapore with the NEWater program and even at home in drought stricken areas like Orange County, California. However, despite recycled water being above typical drinking water quality standards, the "yuck factor" provides a mental block that makes people averse to drinking "toilet water." The problem lies in psychology; the perception of water being dirty will prevent people from feeling safe drinking it, even in spite of hard science. Considering accessible fresh water is roughly only 0.007 percent of the Earth's total water supply, it is extremely important that we use water as efficiently as possible. This debate for and against recycled water most famously presented itself in Australia in 2006, where a town voted down using recycled water despite being in an extreme drought.