Sam, the questions is, are we really going back to our polluting ways ? I don't think so.
Cars, trucks, busses, even lawnmowers now have to meet ever increasing clean air standards.
Wood stoves have had to make big changes. And new wood stoves are possibly going to have to meet even stricter pollution standards required by the EPA later this year.
More and more communities (my own included) are banning outdoor wood boilers.
The price of oil is driving more new construction homes to using natural gas heat and making others update their old oil burners to NG heat, or like my area a lot are switching over to electric heat. Plus, gas burners now so efficient that many models only need a pvc vent pipe to exhaust outdoors.
For the first winter in the 22 years that I've lived here, this past winter (one of our coldest) we never had the early morning "oil burner haze" and the reek of it, hanging over this valley village that we always had on those below zero clear-sky mornings.
And, yeah I see garbage along the roads, but nothing like it was decades ago. Mostly I only see more roadside garbage whenever the county makes it more expensive to use the dump instead.
But, we recycle more now than ever , ....even during the war drives of WWII.
I first learned to shoot a .45 1911 by blowing holes through an old refrigerator dumped in the woods near my brother's house. Now, that refrigerator is worth money at the many scrap metal recycling places. Heck that's become so lucrative and competitive there are a couple of scrap yards near here that advertise on day time TV. You know what just one of those TV commercials costs ?
And we've gotten rid of the ozone depilating chemicals in refrigeration and paint.
We've gotten away from the high VOC paints both for home use, and commercial. I know cause I can't get lacquer paints for my customers who want the original look for their antique cars !
And new spray equipment has greatly reduced over-spray into the air (and clean up in my paint booth
In the past two years, I've saved $300.00 dollars off my village electric bills by buying new, high-efficiency washing machine and a dish washer. The $150.00 per machine rebate is done through our local village electric department. Plus I got quite a few dollars for each of the old machines at my local scrap dealer.
Antique stores, thrift shops, and yard sales are more plentiful now than ever. And places like eBay and Craig's List are turning a lot of things that would have been dumped (some shoulda
) into cash instead of tax burdens.
And I see more companies taking over cleaning stretches of highway and county prisoners picking up trash along highways too.
Very little, if any of that was happening only a few decades ago. And it is making an difference.
I'll stay optimistic.