I tend to get increasingly grumpy as I get to the fag end of final exam marking. This morning provided a classic example. I received in my email inbox a typically sanctimonious, patronising communication from someone in another School who is in the habit of sending frequent unsolicited “environmental sustainability tips” to the entire faculty bulk email list. There is no way to unsubscribe.
I failed to resist the temptation to fire off a retaliatory email (addressed only to the Head of School who I know shares my views) titled “sustainability tips for the non-credulous”:
- Don’t recycle domestic waste in Darwin. It’s uneconomic. Darwin City Council pays $47 million per year for “waste and recycling services”. It’s unclear from their audited annual returns how much of that is paid to make it feasible for the recycling contractor to sort recyclables and transport them to somewhere where they actually have some economic value. If it made sense the taxpayer wouldn’t have to pay anything at all.
- Don’t buy “fair trade” coffee or any other fair trade product. Apart from the fact that it tastes dreadful, the only sustainable way to help third world prosperity is genuine free trade and Ricardian comparative advantage.
- Oppose the plastic shopping bag ban. All it does is force people to buy expensive garbage bags instead of using shopping bags as free bin liners. Moreover the Productivity Commission found that plastic bags don’t present a significant environmental threat anyway (the same report also debunked recycling – see 1. above).
- Don’t be skeptical about all carbon tax opponents. A carbon price only makes sense if most other countries impose one, which currently looks quite unlikely. In the absence of an international price in the next few years all we’ll be doing is exporting jobs in return for a warm inner glow of self-righteousness.
Unfortunately the HoS didn’t resist the temptation to copy it to the entire School of Law and Business bulk email list. I am keeping a watchful eye out for a Green Lynch Mob.