Living a sustainable life is not only changing energy uses and switching to non-toxic cleaners. What you buy is also an indicator of how green you're living. One might argue that buying, say, a more-expensive appliance is no more pressure on our over-burdened planet than buying a less-expensive one, which is true up to a point. But the more-expensive one typically has a higher embodied energy, that is to say it took more energy to produce it, and to that extent the less-expensive one is "greener"
These thoughts come to mind as I obsessively read the brownstoner, a local blog about the brownstone community I live in. In my many comments on that blog (for which I get regularly excoriated as a socialist and even a communist, how quaint, I thought the use of that word pejoratively went out with the cold war,) I try, unsuccessfully for the most part, to point out the follies of buying something just because you have the money to do so.
I will never be a politician, I probably couldn't convince my 10-year-old.
One interesting thread lately concerned the Aga Cooker (actually the questioner was talking about the newer versions, but my automatic rage when I see the word Aga blinded me.)
What, you might ask, is the issue with the Aga Cooker?
Well, this unconscionable British device is a range that has several burners that are permanently on. You read that correctly, the thing uses a constant supply of precious gas, 24/7.
People who have the Aga rave about it's cooking abilities. They seldom mention the steep learning curve involved; since there's no way to regulate the heat, you control it by...get this...altering the distance from the hot spot to the pan! And it has several ovens constantly hot at different (fixed) temperatures, so you bake cookies in one and roasts in another. Saves you from getting carpal tunnel from twisting the oven temperature knob, no doubt?
But that's not the point.
It's the sheer waste of energy. One comment in a magazine that touted the Cooker said "it uses about the same energy as a dozen 100w bulbs." Do the math. That's like having a space heater on constantly, summer and winter. Well maybe in winter it can heat the kitchen as a side-effect, but in summer? And the waste of money too, with NYC rates, that's about $200/month extra. Add the additional air conditioning you will need in summer.
So people with more money than sense still buy this terminally wasteful device. And claim it works better than an adjustable range, a serious case of delusional adjustment if I ever saw one
Oh, and did I mention that it costs over $12,000? And weighs 910 lbs? And that's for the smaller model?
Sure is a pretty one, though.