The Corner

Happy Earth Day II

For Earth Day this year, I curled up with hours of programming from Planet Green — the Discovery Channel’s all environmental programming cable network — and wrote about it for NRO. It only served to dramatically confirm one of the things I most dislike about the modern environmental movement. It’s packaged and sold as a luxury lifestyle:

After offering the host a cup of fair-trade coffee, they explained how they installed eco-friendly radiant heat in the floors, but there was one problem:. They wanted hardwood floors but they couldn’t find many woods that could tolerate the heat in the floor without being damaged.

“I found this bamboo flooring, and it was $176 a square foot, and these are six-foot lengths. Which is fabulous — that’s really affordable,” explained Reiner. The show’s host nearly spit out his fair-trade coffee. “You are not going to convince anybody this is affordable,” he said.

Among untold hours of watching shows such as Renovation Nation, World’s Greenest Homes, and Ed Begley’s reality show (he tools around various celebs’ homes) — this was the only time I saw anyone mention that all the solar panels, grey-water-recycling pumps, custom-made reclaimed-barnwood cabinets, etc., are really, really expensive. From a design and engineering perspective, it’s all very interesting, the kind of stuff you read about in Popular Science and marvel at. In the real world, Planet Green’s “remodeling tips” are rarely more than unattainable nonsense. It will likely be years or decades before any of this is affordable. In that sense, the epithet “limousine liberal” has outlived its usefulness. “Wind-turbine liberal” is more like it.

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