Mining makes your life possible
Say thanks to a coal miner for the privilege. And don’t forget the hardrock miner. Not to mention the smelter crew and the roughneck yanking pipe on some frigid drill rig.Oh, and say thanks to the trucker hauling canisters of molybdenum, titanium or tungsten concentrate or the geologist staking gold, silver or rare earths deposits.Without them and the industries that employ them, you’d be walking, not biking. Even the road you’re riding on is a product of mining, engineered to reduce friction so you roll more easily.The building you work in, even if it’s a wood frame structure, is full of metals and plastics in the form of steel framing and connectors, wiring, lighting, office equipment, insulation, surfacing, window frames, roofing, plumbing fixtures and so on.Even the ceramic cup from which you drink your coffee while reading this contains the mineral zircon.And if you get around to sending me a snarky email regarding my insensitivity to the environmental benefits of biking to work by drawing attention to this pardon the pun irony, you’ll be using mined minerals to deliver the message.Computer keyboard, petroleum derived plastics; circuitry, rare earths and special metals; screws, frames and fasteners, steel, aluminum and other metals; flat screen display, metals and plastics; battery, metals and plastics; case, metals and plastics.Want a more detailed list?Your computer, tablet or smartphone contains iron, titanium, aluminum, copper, zinc, nickel, gold, silver, lithium, magnesium, mercury, yttrium, palladium, tin, cadmium, indium, lead, samarium, tantalum and, if you are still running an optical drive, gadolinium and dysprosium. The plastics are heat resistant with melting points above the boiling temperature for water and are comprised of acrylonitrile, butadiene, styrene and carbon.The total greenhouse gas emissions associated with a MacBook: About 460 kilograms of carbon dioxide.In fact, there’s even a calculation for the carbon footprint of an email. A long and tiresome one amounts to about 50 grams of C02, which doesn’t seem like much until you total them, and then the Internet turns out to have a carbon footprint of around 300 million tonnes a year. So keep it short.If you want your criticism of these observations to be truly green, I recommend a stylus and beeswax tablets they worked for the Roman army or clay tablets like those on which we are still able to discern the grumpy note a Sumerian teacher sent home to parents complaining of a wayward boy’s lack of attention in class.Don’t mail them, though. The postal service is heavily reliant on replica watches uk mined metals and petroleum based plastics.And while I’m an advocate of green transportation, bike riding in particular, which lowers the human carbon footprint, I don’t buy into the sanctimonious righteousness that so often accompanies th replica watches uk e decision. We’re all in this, not just some of us.The analysts who crunch these kinds of numbers calculate that manufacturing the average bicycle, using steel, special additives, plastics and rubber, results in the release of about 240 kilograms of greenhouse gases. Every bike manufactured uses about the same amount of energy and metals as a car door.To recover the initial carbon footprint of your bi replica watches uk ke, you have to ride it at least 643 kilometres. Analysis comparing the carbon footprints of a family sedan and a bicycle conclude that assuming you cycle 12 kilometres a day for 15 years, the impact of the bike is one tenth that of the car.I relied on several sources for these insights, including one by a graduate student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is quoted in The Guardian newspaper; Mike Berner Lee’s fascinating book How Bad are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything; and The Numbers Game: The Commonsense Guide to Understanding Numbers in the News, in Politics and in Life by Michael Blastland which The Economist cited as a best book in 2007.So, riding a bike to work instead of driving three tonnes of steel and plastic has enormous merit.Biking reduces the carbon footprint of your daily commute, it helps eke out increasingly scarce and therefore increasingly expensive resources, it reduces the wear and tear on road surfaces and finally, it’s good for your well being which is an especially beneficial considering what would happen to our health care system were it to do without replica watches uk steel for gurneys, beds, operating room mirrors, sterilization units, wheelchairs, X ray machines, scalpels and syringes, etc.The truth is that even the highest virtue is dependent upon one of the industries that is increasingly popular for those who don’t think too deeply to dismiss in knee jerk reaction as dirty and unnecessary.