Saving the World: Hotel Towels and Wind Turbines

You know what pisses me off? When I go to a hotel and see a sign in the bathroom that says, “Save our Planet: Every day millions of gallons of water are used to wash towels that have only been used once.” These signs give the appearance that they are trying to save the world. At first, reading them makes me feel good that Marriott, Hilton, and other hotel chains fall in line with Greenpeace and other environmental advocacy groups that actively push policy to save the planet. At second glance, I realize that the hotels that install those signs are the same ones that give out Styrofoam plates, cups, plastic forks, spoons, knives, and coffee stirrers during breakfast.

Ultimately, businesses are businesses, and hotel businesses are designed to make money. For many hotel chains it is cheaper to buy plastics and Styrofoam rather than employing dishwashing services or purchasing biodegradables. The reason that they place water conservation signs up in their hotel bathrooms is to save money because washing towels costs them extra money on water, detergent, transportation, and human services. I do not want to suggest that Americans should throw their hotel towels on the floor and ask for new ones every night, I would like hotel companies to be honest about why they place these signs in the bathroom. They should say, “Save us Money: Every day hotel chains spend millions on detergent and water to wash towels that have only been used once. Please reuse the towel, and we will split the difference by lowering the rate of your room.” It seems that when businesses find that they can make money they all become environmentalists.

One of the big issues that I have with the opponents of wind turbines is that they are nearly all Republicans who support gas and fossil fuels, and they nearly always use environmentalism to criticize green energy. On countless occasions I have heard Republicans tell me that wind turbines are horrible for the environment because the rotating blades kill birds in flight every day. Simon Chapman and Fiona Chrichton, who wrote Wind Turbine Syndromestate “[F]or every one bird killed by a wind turbine, nuclear and fossil fuel powered plants killed 2,118 birds.” While Republicans are correct that wind power companies require the same kind of regulation that oil companies do to ensure that wildlife is protected, it is entirely hypocritical of them to use environmentalism to attack green energy, such as wind power.

Republicans have spent endless amounts of money to support, lobby for, and create the infrastructure for fracking, which has arguably done more environmental damage than any other source of power in the United States. Oklahoma, which traditionally is an earthquake-free state, not lying on fault lines now averages 400 tremors a year (from previously 5). Oil spills and leaks wreak havoc on bird wildlife. In the end, Republicans do not care about birds and wildlife; they only care about profits. They hate wind energy because they know that it can disrupt the balance of power in energy. Wind energy poses a threat to Exxon Mobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, Valero, Energy Transfer Parners, Chesapeake Energy, Anadarko Petroleum, and others. The world has a finite amount of dead dinosaur fossils in the world, but an infinite amount of wind. The wind energy still has room to improve its environmental record, but the next time you hear a Republican cry “Save the Birds” know that energy companies have an economic incentive to push this narrative.

 

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