Thursday, May 28, 2009

We're Doomed!

Did anyone else catch this story on climate change: US Wants to Paint the World White to Save Energy?

The meat of it is
"US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday the Obama administration wanted to paint roofs an energy-reflecting white, as he took part in a climate change symposium in London.

The Nobel laureate in physics called for a "new revolution" in energy generation to cut greenhouse gas emissions."

Would you ever do this? This may be fine for new construction. Maybe it should be legally mandated for all new construction. That would be fine with me. But I'm not painting my rooftop white. Hypocritical? Maybe. But my house is a hundred years old this year and a) aesthetically, it was never meant to have a white roof top and b) by buying a house of that age instead of a new house in the sprawl, I figure I've already done a huge service to the cause.

Perhaps Mr. Chu should focus on the cattle industry. Greenhouse gases, deforestation, contamination of ground water - the cattle industry is a major source of all.

Allow me to saddle up my high horse for a moment. I haven't eaten meat in 21 years; I don't have an SUV; I don't have a swimming pool or a huge lawn or a yard littered with Fisher-Price toys.

I don't even cut down trees for Christmas (or have a plastic one).

But I'm not going to paint my roof white. That's where I draw the line.

OK, I confess. I do take longish showers and a I don't take public transportation. In a different city I might. But not in this one.

And I'm not painting my roof white.

But it's like I always say about going to opera - "If people like us don't do it, who will?"
We can say what we want, but we're not prepared to do what it takes to save the planet. We're just not. You're fooling yourself if you think you are. Seriously. It would mean living like the Amish or LDS Fundamentalists (except without the plural marriage part).

I don't mean to be a downer, but . . . I wouldn't stock up on any wool sweaters, even on sale.

Side note: I remember in my childhood there were houses with white roofs and sparkly white rocks all over the roof tops. My elementary school may have had that treatment. What was that all about? Are those houses still around? Was that the one futuristic '60s look that may actually be part of our future?


Jayne said...

I'm not painting my roof white, either. Not gonna happen. And the flat roofs with the rocks on top? The fire station I work at has a roof like that. I don't know if the rocks are white or not.

Christopher Busta-Peck said...

I have to wonder how long said roofs might stay white. When we were evaluating various possibilities for our roof repair, one option for the shed dormer on the third floor was to replace the slate with EDPM. The material was only available in black or white. Black was obviously too dark, and white, too white.

The contractor pointed out that the white would quickly gray, given particulate in the air, etc. I have to wonder how long any white roof might stay white. Perhaps if it was enameled metal - that might look quite nice, too. Otherwise, I have to wonder how much energy might be consumed in keeping such a roof clean.

modernemama said...

I think this would work for large scale industrial construction, it wouldn't look noticeably different from traditional roofing

Why S? said...

Christopher, you're right. Wouldn't stay white at all. I'm just blocks from a freeway so I've got particulates all over the place.

Modernmama, you're right too. This suggestion was probably meant for industrial use. I thought of that later, after I posted. As self-centered as I am, I initially only considered how it would affect me.

modernemama said...

Sdyney Opera House, pretty white too:)