Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Through the Looking Glass

I just received this email.  Really, I did.

Dear Duke Employee, 

We are graduate students in the Nicholas School of the Environment working on our masters' project. The project is focused on analyzing the bicycle manufacturing process and using the results of our analysis to drive change in the bicycling industry. As part of the project, we are also conducting a survey of the Duke community to gauge consumer demand for sustainably produced bicycles. You are receiving this email because your department was randomly selected. We would greatly appreciate your help with our project! Every individual who takes the survey will increase the success of our project and the impact on the cycling community. Please note that you may skip any question you do not wish to answer and we guarantee that your answers will be kept strictly confidential. Thank you very much for your time and assistance! 

So....smart, highly educated young people are spending time and money trying to save the environment by making BICYCLES more environmentally friendly.  Think of all the margins on which we might work to reduce our environmental impact (suppose you care about that.  You may not, but suppose for the sake of argument you do...)

How far down the list of "biggest problems" would you have to go to find "improve bicycle manufacturing process"?  You skip over coal-fired power plants, efficiency of aircraft engines, incentives for burning / clear-cutting forests in developing nations. 

 And get all upset about those nasty, polluting bicycles.  Amazingly, this is actually a thing.

6 comments:

Jeff R. said...

I'm amused by the almost Orwellian named "Nicholas School of the Environment." I'm guessing that real study of the environment is already covered in other departments (oceanography, geology, climatology, etc), but they naturally couldn't admit to anyone, probably including themselves, that they're just handing out fluff degrees in environmentalism, which isn't a scientific discipline, so much as its a cultural/political movement. So they couldn't call it the School of Environmentalism. Instead they wound up with the awkward sounding "School of the Environment." What parts of the environment, exactly? All of it? Does that include our solar system? The Milky Way Galaxy? Our universe, or the entire reputed-to-exist multiverse?

Pelsmin said...

I'm with these brave makers of green bicycles who have the courage to speak out against Big Bicycle. Every time I see someone ride one of those polluting bikes to work it makes me sick.

We need more active people like this, and like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who are helping build self-composting houses in New Orleans.

Gene Hayward said...

I can cut bicycle manufacturing emissions by 50%. UNICYCLES!

Ok, next issue. :)

TimmyD said...

This is kind of like making sure the wheat grass you buy from Earth Fare is 'non-conflict' wheat grass.

BR said...

I hate to think of all the carbon dioxide bicyclists expel en route to Starbucks. What mother earth needs is a technology to get all humans in a vegetative state and burning as few calories as possible.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, applaud their efforts. Every second spent thinking about improving bicycle manufacturing is a second they don't spend thinking about how to get the government to make my life less free. Do you really want THESE people thinking about jet engine efficiency? What are the odds the conversation goes thusly... Student A: "Jet engines pollute." Student B: "YEAH! We should work to make them more efficient." A: "Engineering is hard." B: "Yeah. Let's just get the government to say they HAVE to be more efficient." A: "THAT WOULD TOTALLY WORK!" A & B: /selfrighteoushighfive