Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

The miracle of impotent symbolism

Posted by Ron Coleman on December 4, 2007

The Jerusalem Post reports on a story that proves that environmentalists’ tunnel vision and tin ear to public sympathy is more or less universal:

In a campaign that has spread like wildfire across the Internet, a group of Israeli environmentalists is encouraging Jews around the world to light at least one less candle this Hanukka to help the environment.

The founders of the Green Hanukkia campaign found that every candle that burns completely produces 15 grams of carbon dioxide. If an estimated one million Israeli households light for eight days, they said, it would do significant damage to the atmosphere.

“The campaign calls for Jews around the world to save the last candle and save the planet, so we won’t need another miracle,” said Liad Ortar, the campaign’s cofounder, who runs the Arkada environmental consulting firm and the Ynet Web site’s environmental forum.

Well, this campaign is sure to get support from England, France and of course the Muslim world — see, everything really is the Jews’ fault! Fifteen grams of CO2 per Jew!

What dim bulbs.


5 Responses to “The miracle of impotent symbolism”

  1. Pete Madsen said

    I can’t help but wonder how long Liad Ortar would have to hold his/her breath to achieve the same CO2-reducing effect as this ridiculous campaign would.

    The dimbulbs who natter on about carbon dioxide miss two big points. First, it’s not a pollutant but the life-sustaining gas that plants need the same way that animal life needs oxygen. Second, it’s one of the main products of combustion – and respiration – and can’t reasonably be reduced as though it were a trace by-product like carbon monoxide, ozone, or nitrogen oxide. (To say nothing of its lack of causal effect on global warming.) The only way to get less CO2 is to breathe less or to have less of an economy – that is, to burn less fossil fuel. Period.

  2. Jack. said

    If you’re just symbolically impotent then you should go ahead and try a nice toddy and a warm blanket. Maybe some light conversation first.

    Just relax a little, take your mind off of it, and it’ll pretty much fix itself.

  3. Right. THIS kind of thing is stupid, as if candles were the problem.

    But that doesn’t take away the power of mass boycotts of the consumer and industrial goods and fuels that are closer to being “the” problems. Why equate petty obnoxious empty sacrifices with potentially effective and popularizeable movements or ambitions towards longer term solutions?

  4. OK, YL, so we mostly disagree about the empirical question of what is and what is not likely to do any good.

  5. craig mclaughlin said

    “What dim bulbs.”

    Or guttered candles. I don’t know candles, but I know gutters.

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