The environment is the fifth wheel in the crisis wagon. Temporary or permanent cancellation of the environment


The crisis approaching humanity has no parallel in modern history, and as a result, it is not always possible to draw parallels, and it does not work. In the past 50 years, the environmental agenda has been actively developed in all countries of the world, including Russia. Nature conservation, renewable energy, and separate collection and recycling of waste are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many topics dedicated to the environment. If we conditionally divide our world in relation to nature and try to preserve it, then suddenly it turns out that there are countries that care about the environment, and the legacy that they will leave to their descendants. But many countries, in principle, turn a blind eye to a wise attitude to nature, as they do not have the opportunity to do so. Attitudes to the environment can be imposed on the economy of each country, and the connection turns out to be straightforward and uncomplicated – the more wealthy people live, the more they care about the environment. In poor countries, there is no more time for ecology, people have to fight for their survival.

Over the past few years, environmentalists have created more than a dozen different indicators that take into account the size of GDP and try to correlate it with environmental standards. The United Nations has created the System of Environmental and Economic Accounting, which tries to take into account the proportion of human activities and natural resources, as well as the possibilities of their use. The Global Footprint Network calculates its own index, which assesses the GDP and biodiversity of specific countries, the scarcity of areas and the diversity of plants and species. Another indicator is the Environmental Performance Index (EPI), and it serves almost the same purpose – it tries to correlate the environment with GDP, you can find it here.

The table is understandable, although, according to my taste, it is full of methodological inaccuracies, because it shows countries with large GDPs higher in terms of EPI, because it takes into account the declared initiatives, not the reality. On the other hand, almost no one assesses the true state of affairs in ecology; Rather, we are talking about statements, not about how everything happens in practice.

It is important for us to understand that today there are not only a dozen reference points, but you can find an index or scale to your liking, each company or country creates it for its own tasks. The topic of environment is hot, and you can come up with your own coordinate system to look good at. There is one problem here: all of these initiatives are useful, but they cost absolutely nothing in the face of the crisis.

do not believe? Let’s look at the example of Europe, which has declared green energy as a goal. Before the energy crisis of 2021, it was believed that Europe could abandon gas-fired thermal power plants, as well as nuclear power. At the beginning of February 2022, it was tolerated, from now on, certain types of gas-fired thermal power plants are considered environmentally friendly, and an exception was made for nuclear power. This is an example of a flexible approach to the environment, where “harmful” energy sources cease to be due to the general situation when there is a shortage of electricity. And here it is not a question of how green this electricity is, the question arises whether it will be in principle. And if we turn our eyes to Africa, we realize that this is exactly the same problem that the locals have faced all these years – getting something to eat or following elusive rules.

Poverty always leads to a lack of concern for the environment, compliance with certain standards, even if these standards are mentioned on paper. Take China, for example, where several sewage treatment plants and necessary environmental initiatives have been dispensed with for cost advantages, with the tacit approval of officials. Some areas of the country literally look like a scorched and poisoned land, where it is impossible to even breathe without a respirator, as the sand that contains almost the entire periodic table is carried by the winds.

I have never been to rare earth mines in Africa, there is a war that never ends, and gangs have controlled mining for years. But I was in the Golden Triangle, where lithium is mined – exactly the same lifeless Earth that will never be the same again. The miners should be called, and perhaps these miners, though they don’t come down to the face, look as if they came out of the pages of Dickens – emaciated, with a bunch of sores. The mortality rate is very high, as the production is harmful. But they turn a blind eye, because the global economy needs lithium, and companies in these countries may not comply with the laws.

My thesis about the future is simply impossible – in the coming years, ecology will be forgotten in many countries of the world. Europeans will spare in everything and everything that causes internal problems – official laws and restrictions will be in force, in fact they will be ignored. And we will see again the “temporary” cancellation of their work, and the nature of this temporary phenomenon will differ from state to state, and it will not be emphasized in any way. It is easy to assume that the know-how will begin in various fields, including agriculture, where they will use cheap fertilizers that can harm the land. I will not list all the changes, because this does not play a big role, we will see all this for ourselves in the coming years.

Recycling will be another blow to the market, which is very good at first glance, since the burden on nature, on the contrary, is reduced. For example, Apple is already one hundred percent self-sufficient in aluminum, which is “mined” from its own devices. Even if more aluminum is needed, overseas purchases will not be huge, putting pressure on manufacturing enterprises. Let me remind you that aluminum is an energy-intensive production, and during the crisis, many companies will close, the cost of aluminum will go up, and you can already see that. And “mining” it from your own products would be a very good way to save money.

It’s the same story with stainless steel. For a long time I was baffled by Apple coating stainless steel in the body color, creating a layer that spoils the impression of the material. The answer turns out to be simple – used iPhone cases can be reused, the outer layer removed, and back to production. Cheap and cheerful, the savings are remarkable.

Why do I think recycling materials will have a bad impact on the environment? The answer lies in the hands of whom this processing will be, it will be the manufacturers themselves. Independent companies trying to regulate the extraction and distribution of by-products do not survive the current energy crisis – the prices of their products will rise after the price of everything goes up. Recycled materials have always been more expensive than virgin materials, but the idea of ​​the environment was forced into this, and users actually had to pay for it, and they did, some willingly, some not. Savings is now the main factor for the buyer, and most of them will not be willing to pay for the environment in everyday products out of their own pocket. It’s a matter of a personal wallet and how much money is in it, and everyone around the world will miss it.

Of course, many companies will leave the environmental agenda, and will promote it, as before. I love the fact that all kinds of tricks are used here to show that the agenda is turning green. For example, someone is promoting the ideas of “green mining”, that is, obtaining cryptocurrency can be environmentally friendly. Not just a utopia, but a substitution of concepts, which shows that this is acceptable and many try to comply with the same agenda.

The corporate world of operators is promoting the idea that each new generation of communications is greener than before. And this is true in their logic, because they create their own reference points – energy costs per gigabyte of data transmitted. And here everything turns out to be great, 1 gigabyte every year requires fewer kilowatts of energy, regardless of the country. This is where the 5G standard appears to be the greenest. But let’s look at a graph showing data consumption by users and how this changes annually.


task for the student. As traffic consumption increases and energy costs decrease per unit of traffic, calculate the overall score in terms of energy costs. It turns out that we spend more energy on it.

The problem can be solved from the other side: How many 5G base stations should be installed compared to 4G in the same area? On average, three times more, and the energy efficiency of such plants varies by tens of percent, but sometimes not at all. And again a problem for schoolchildren.

The GSMA forecast shows how we will use energy in mobile networks.

It is clear that costs will rise. But at the same time, it is impossible to say that communications are the main consumer of energy (the same mining consumes approximately the same energy per year!). It is impossible to say that nothing is being done in the field of renewable energy for operators. But the fact that the cost of this energy is very high and will continue to grow is beyond doubt. Therefore, here the green agenda recedes into the background or the third plan, the main thing is to have electricity, and only then think about the sources.

In many countries, network failures will cause cellular networks to operate in hybrid mode, with diesel generators running for power, and this will happen more or less continuously. Therefore, here it is worth forgetting about the environment.

Wherever you dig, the same picture appears everywhere: ecology is an expensive game at a time when money can be spent on it. But in the event of a real crisis, environmental initiatives are immediately wounded.

I’m sorry that this is happening, because humanity has literally polluted the planet. On the other hand, the epidemic showed that the cessation of industrial production immediately affects the air and carbon dioxide emissions and changes the situation for the better. Therefore, not everything is so bad – there will be a decrease in production, it will be noticeable, so there is hope that with the improvement of the economy we will return to environmental initiatives and they will help us reduce our impact on the Earth.

Do you have environmental habits? Will you follow them further or change your position on this issue?

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