The Dirty Secrets of Your Camera's Manufacturer

The Dirty Secrets of Your Camera's Manufacturer

Hey, camera manufacturers! Stop lying to us.

We photographers are environmentally aware. Camera and equipment producers, however, are failing us. Most are only protecting their bottom lines while causing significant damage to the environment.

So, how environmentally friendly is your camera manufacturer? How much CO2 do they produce? Do they use mostly recycled materials? Are their products recyclable? Do you know? If you can’t find this information without difficulty, if it isn’t highlighted in an easy-to-understand format, and if they are making a big noise over small projects, then they are guilty of greenwashing.

Let’s start with the good by celebrating the filter and accessory company Urth, formerly known as Gobe. They produce exceptional filters at far more affordable prices than many of their competitors. Significantly, they more than offset their carbon footprint by actively planting trees in rainforests. Each time we buy a filter from them, they plant five trees. Their website has clear information about what they are doing now and where they are placing effort to improve.

When exploring options to offset our impact, we quickly realized tree planting was the best way to do that because trees sequester carbon, purify water, and rejuvenate ecosystems. We fund tree planting projects run by Eden Reforestation Projects – our tree planting partner – to plant five trees  with every Urth product and provide employment for people affected by deforestation.

So far, they have planted over five million trees, offsetting more than 1.6 million tons of CO2. Their ambitious target is to reach a billion trees by 2032. They are also committed to using low-impact materials. The longevity of their products that results from their quality keeps them out of landfills. All their packaging is recyclable too. What’s evident is their honesty and openness about their products. They give easy to find, precise, understandable data about what impact their products have and what they do to address that.

Consequently, the business is thriving.

Sadly, most other photographic companies are not so open, hiding what little they are doing by greenwashing. These companies do one of two things. They either produce enormous, inaccessible documents that are impressive to look at, boring to read, but have little substance, or they don’t publish data at all.

Let’s take Canon as an example. They provide a mass of documentation that requires someone with lots of time on their hands and a significant understanding of environmental data to find the relevant information. You do have to search hard for the report, but when you find it and scroll through to page 47 of 133 pages, it says that in 2020 the production of their raw materials resulted in an estimated 3,147,000 tons of CO2. The development, production, and sales generated a further 940,100 tons. Transport of their products to their sales and other outlets, 304,000 tons. This amounts to just under 4.4 million tonnes of CO2. That’s before adding on a further 2.264 million tons resulting from their products’ use. They say their total product lifecycle of CO2 is higher than that, at 7.72 million tonnes.

How much does the production of a Canon camera impact our planet? More than many realize.

To put this into context, the average American produces 19.8 tons of CO2 per year.

On top of that, their production process releases 0.8 tons of sulfur oxides, which can dissolve in water to form sulfuric acid. 47.9 tons of nitrogen oxides, which can dissolve to form nitric acid. They also emit 372 tons of controlled chemical substances, as well as discharge 6.755 million cubic meters of wastewater.

In a bold headline of a flowchart is the word “Recycling.” They used 1,248 tons of reused parts and 2,303 tons of recycled materials. Great! Yet, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the 616,000 tons of new resources used to produce their goods.

They claim they have good news, and they make a big noise about their CO2 production has dropped significantly over the years. But it is still huge, and that reduction seems painfully slow.

They also shout about their Bird Branch project, which involves “bird centered activities.” That includes surveying migratory birds, adding nesting boxes to their site, cleaning nests, and encouraging people to photograph birds. Does this sound like a significant contribution to the environment? To me, it doesn’t.

Does photographing birds do much to to help protect them?

Compared to some other big businesses, Canon is doing better, but when you contrast it to the effort put in by the relatively small company, Urth, then they don’t sound so impressive, do they?

It should also be noted that they also help with humanitarian aid to the tune of 8 million yen ($62,462 USD) as part of a total social contribution of 2.2 billion yen (approximately $17 million). That sounds notable too, but with net sales at 5.51 trillion yen ($30.55 billion), it represents about 1/1800th of that. Meh!

Sony’s Road to Zero webpage has impressive infographics that talk about curbing climate change, promoting biodiversity, controlling chemical substances, and conserving resources. But the webpage contains no real substance. Their “aim to provide environmentally conscious products” and “minimizing consumption and maximizing recycled materials,” or their declaration to “establish our own chemical substance management standards” and saying “we are aware that our operations may affect the natural environment in various ways” are all typically vague statements used in greenwashing.

Their global environmental plan says Sony is “striving to achieve a zero environmental footprint” throughout the life cycle of their products and businesses by 2050. Yet this is just a target, not a measurement of success.

You must tap on the small hamburger menu to find their data and their performance results. Even then, they are only shown in percentages. Their highlighted 5% drop of energy consumption doesn’t reveal they are, in fact, still using a massive 25,000 terajoules (25,000,000,000,000,000 joules.)

Delving deep into Sony’s corporate website, you can download a PDF document that reveals their true environmental impact. On page 131 and 132 of a 199-page document, you can discover that in 2020 their sites alone produced over 1.2 million tons of CO2. But there are another 17-million tons produced from other factors such as purchased goods and services, transport and distribution, waste, employment commuting, and mostly the use of their sold products accounts for 11,403,000 tons alone. Note that Sony doesn’t use the metric ton, so the numbers appear smaller.

Like Canon, Sony hides its true environmental impact deep within its website.

They also produced 15.45 million cubic meters of wastewater. However, they have one notable success: of their 51,000 tons of other waste, they recycle all except 1,000 tons of it.

Like Canon, Sony is gradually getting better, but are they doing it quickly enough? To me, it seems like they are not.

Nikon, too, is aiming for zero carbon emissions by 2050. Exceeding its target of an 18.2% reduction from 2014 to 2021, achieving a 25.9% reduction, still averages out at just 3.7% per year. Also, as we saw earlier, a 25.9% reduction of an enormous number still leaves an enormous number.

They too hide their actual CO2 production figures on page 47 of their sustainability report: 182,625 tons. The also emit 3,297 cubic meters of wastewater, 27 tons of Dichloropentafluropropane (stratospheric ozone depletion, global warming, and health impacts), 10 tons of toluene (membrane damage to the leaves in plants, toxicity to marine life, harmful to human health), and so on.

Nikon highlights their participation in Earth Hour. That’s just one hour out of 8,760 hours per year.

Of course, these are just the three biggest companies, and I am sure most other businesses are performing similarly poorly and hiding their results in similar ways. Furthermore, the problem won’t just be limited to the photographic industry, but most manufacturers in most industries. Indeed, Canon, Sony, and Nikon all produce more than just cameras.

So, let’s start pressuring the manufacturers, all of them, to tidy up their acts and let them give us these ten reasons to buy from them.

1. Publish and highlight clear and understandable environmental data that your consumers can easily access and understand.

2. Own up to your failings and address them quickly.

3. Demonstrate your commitment by making ambitious year-on-year targets for reductions in CO2 that reach zero far sooner than 2050.

4. Stop fobbing us off by spinning your data and greenwashing your performance.

5. Offset your entire current CO2 production and more with tree planting in areas that have suffered deforestation, and, like Urth, join the global network of 1% for the Planet.

6. Switch to renewable energy at all manufacturing plants.

7. Change your production processes to reduce hazardous and environmentally harmful chemicals, and prevent them from entering the environment.

8. Make your products recyclable and use recycled materials in their manufacturing.

9. Encourage and help your customers to do the same.

10. Reduce your wastewater.In the meantime, let us photographers shame these big, rich corporations shouting about the minute actions they take. We should also encourage them to do much better by using the power of our wallets. When possible, let’s buy products that are demonstrably better for the planet.

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Russell Hunter's picture

Interesting article. We should all pause and take stock of the waste caused by new gear acquisition syndrome and whether that actually leads to us being better photographers.

Fortunately, a lot of the gear these companies make can last years if treated properly.

Ivor Rackham's picture

That is true, but they also have planned obsolescence and limited life spans until shutters die or parts become unavailable. Thanks for the super comment.

Fra Kresch's picture

While I understand your point; the problem with carbon offsetting is that it don't work that well (probably at all); and it very often serves just as a mean of greenwashing; or worse, a marketing ploy. Offsetting excessive and unnecessary (whatever that means; it's up to anyone to consider; - e.g.: is my g.a.s. really that excessive and unnecessary?) consumption by planting trees is, well...

... well, it's counterproductive, to say the least.

Let's continue with undertaking photographic expeditions (sic) by transoceanic flights to locations photographed by innumerable crowds etc., and let's offset it by planting trees (which probably won't survive, destabilize local ecosystems etc.), shall we? I don't believe it's fair to transfer responsibility to the customer; but at the same time, it seems that transfering all responsibility to the manufactuter is also blatantly mistaken. Let's face it - carbon offsetting (at least under current conditions) is an equivalent to the fantasies of finding another planet before it's too late; or more seriously, it's a moral Potemkin village serving to offset the clouds of our conscince and enable us to continue with the party until the dawn of the flood.

Ivor Rackham's picture

I agree with you, Fra. It can be just an accounting exercise. But proper investment in real schemes by these super-rich companies could make a difference. Perhaps we should be looking to our governments to impose restrictions that enforce manufacturers to do more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Fra Kresch's picture

Frankly, I am afraid we are going to continue with business as usual until something happen - well, perhaps the approaching energy crisis (approaching faster due to the absurd war but probably inevitable in medium-term horizon, at least here in Europe) will turn to be a great opportunity. (Not just a business opportunity.) I wholy agree with John Reed's comment bellow.

(It seems Europe planned to rely on gas power plants as a temporary solution replacing coal as a supporting technology mitigating fluctuations in renewable source energy supply, which, frankly, don't seems as a particularly good idea now. I hope we won't try to extend the life of coal power plants.)

Anyway, as others mentioned, thank you for raising such an important topic here.

Deleted Account's picture

Consumers annoy me just as much as the company’s to be honest.

Look at the abuse being levelled at phone and cam companies for removing charging bricks from their products, selfish consumers are more interested in complaining about not getting something they feel is rightfully theirs rather than looking at the bigger picture and see how much waste is reduced by re-using existing chargers.

Ivor Rackham's picture

That is very true. There is a lot we all can do, but changing the attitudes of both consumers and manufacturers is a challenge.

Deleted Account's picture

Absolutely Ivor, i try and do as much as possible in my life to be as neutral as i can. Its good that you are posting these articles about it too.

Tom Reichner's picture

What is a "charging brick"? And why have they been removed from these products?

Ivor Rackham's picture

It's a term for a plugin charger supplied with cell phones, Tom.

Deleted Account's picture

As Ivor said its the charger plug...

The reason they removed it, at least in the case of Apple, there are already 900m of them in circulation (just Apple branded ones) and coupled with the fact many people use wireless charging or other devices (in car charger etc) its economically and environmentally ridiculous to supply new devices with a charger when up to 90% of customers don't physically need one.

For cameras, mainly talking consumer and enthusiast level here, many people simply charge their cameras using a USB cable, also companies have to run different product batches for different areas of the world, so centralising that product to simply a USB cable means a reduction in production costs, packaging costs and also again removing the need to include an item that is not used by the majority of people from the box.

The problem is, some consumers think that they should have a right to have these items and shouldn't have to pay for them, so in their illogical minds they believe that all the products should still include them, instead of seeing the logical solution of those who need one can buy one separately and those who dont can do without, therefore reducing waste and consumption of raw materials/manufacturing etc.

Tom Reichner's picture

Thanks for the detailed explanation, Stuart.

I love to get a charger along with the cell phone, when I purchase a new cell phone every 3 years or so. But if I bought a cell phone and it did not include a charger, then I would not be upset about it. I would just go buy another charger at Harbor Freight or eBay or something.

But there is a problem with that. I very frequently get the error message on my phone:

"Slow Charging: for proper charging, use the original charger that came with your cell phone."

So that is why I like it when I get a new charger included with the purchase - because the Motorola phones that I use charge a bit faster when I use the original Motorola charger that the phone came with.

But I don't have enough of those original Motorola chargers, hence the need to buy extras at Harbor Freight or off of eBay or whatever. But they are not as fast as the original chargers ... which is troublesome because I use my phone so extensively that it runs the battery down very quickly, and I am always needing to charge it back up.

Deleted Account's picture

Ah yeah if you’re buying 3rd party you should look for a PD fast charger, for example I recently bought a uGreen 65w one for my MacBook, it’s about 1/5 of the size of the OEM unit and it will charge every item in the house, I’m certain it will deliver enough charge to your phone, although I’m not familiar with Motorola phones and it could be an embedded message to try to ensure you’re using their own brand.

We still use my old iPad one in our lounge for most other things, it’s over 4yrs old and can do my headset, Xbox controller, cameras, tablets, phones, power bank etc.

The one I got with my latest phone has been sat in a drawer since I bought the phone so I’ll be more than happy to get my next unit without one as I can just use that.

I upgrade phones at around 6 years so I moved from an iPhone 6 to an 11 pro, the next one should be an 18 hopefully, I have no interest in the latest and greatest until I need to change, same with cameras really.

Garreth Alphonso's picture

Your opinion is highly misguided. Consumers are angry at Apple because they removed the charging brick, but continue to sell the phone at the same rate, with no discount to reflect a missing part.

The cable that was released with the phone is a USB C to Lightning cable, which is different from the USB A to Lightning cable which was available earlier, meaning that the older charging bricks would not work with the new cable.

Do your research properly next time, big corporations do not have anyone's best interest at heart, not the consumer nor the environment.

Deleted Account's picture

I work for a big corporation, i know exactly what the company i work for has been told about reducing waste, from our government and the various groups set up to tackle this crisis.

Your point about the discount is laughable, there is such a thing as inflation and last time i checked, the price of an iphone has been frozen at around the same amount as it has been for a long time, in fact the lower end model is actually cheaper than the previous cheapest option, at £419.

As for the cable, they needed to make the transition across to USB-C so at what point is sensible to do that? im sure 'Garreth' the rando on fstoppers has far more of an idea when to time this than Tim Cook lol. Plus nothing is stopping an existing iphone user from using their old cable, connected to their old charger, or using one of the many USB-C type chargers they own for other items.

Consumers are angry because they are selfish morons who cant see past the end of their own nose, as evidenced perfectly by your comment here.

Now tootle off back under your rock with your 2 comment profile and zero photography on show, on a photography website.

Sam Sims's picture

The other issue is that computer/phone companies have been making devices with built in batteries and built in memory. The only way we can replace them is via very expensive replacements directly through the company. We have now yearly upgrades of the OS and other software, meaning within around 4 or so years our devices/computers need replacing, rather than simply getting a memory upgrade for example. Try to think of the number of perfectly usable devices people throw away simply because their 2 year phone contract allows an upgrade or the desktop/laptop PC cannot install the latest OS, allow memory upgrades or the battery has worn out. This sort of forced obsolescence, whilst already well documented, is doing real damage to the environment.

Deleted Account's picture

To be honest though, my girlfriend has an iphone 7 and she organised a battery replacement at the Apple Store, it was something like 50 quid and we just dropped it off at the shopping centre in Newcastle where its located, did some shopping for an hour then picked the phone back up... it gave her old phone a new lease of life.

I got 6 years out of my iphone 6 and still sold it in working order when i upgraded, and my 2015 Macbook Pro is still being used for DJing, it is a bit annoying im stuck with 8GB of RAM but to be honest the device is 7yrs old and still doing a job.

Ive just bought an M1 Macbook pro and specced it up with enough power to last me for 10 years, i sold my 2010 model when i bought it and it was still in good working order, just old hardware that had been superceded with faster USB protocols etc... so planned obsolescence isnt anywhere near as bad as being reported from my personal experience.

I say this as im writing this post from a Windows 8.1 Lenovo thinkcentre that is 10 years old and still working too, and its not had any upgrades or parts changed.

John Reed's picture

Great article thank you Ivor. It does seem that almost all large businesses regard the environment as just a niche interest which provides one or two marketing opportunities. Perhaps a silver lining to the sudden rise in energy prices will be that even in the board room there will be a bit of thinking. For example, manufacturers use the majority of their energy during the day. Photo-voltaic panels on the roof would deliver very cheap electricity on site and when they need it.
So far as I can tell, carbon offsets are almost always greenwash. Much better, I think, for companies to clean up in house rather than throw some tax-deductible cash at a third party.
On a brighter note, compared with many other products, I think digital cameras and lenses are turning out to be durable and nowhere near the planned obsolescence of phones and computers. We can help here by choosing to buy from manufacturers that have effective service and repair facilities.
Reviews almost never refer to reliability and servicing. ‘Build quality’ means what the camera or lens looks like and feels like, not how well it’s going to last. In general the pro kit from the established makers lasts and there is a strong market in their used gear, so that’s a good way to go.

Ivor Rackham's picture

The problem with referring to reliability is that there are rarely definitive data that we can call upon. For example, I hear a lot of talk about a particular camera from a major brand having multiple failures, but the manufacturer is hardly going to start advertising that. Also, when we review, we are invariably looking at newly released products, so it is hard to predict how well they will perform in the long run.

One of the reviews I recently wrote - not published yet - included their switching to solar power. There is a lot further for all manufacturers to go.

I agree most are greenwashing, but there are reputable offset schemes. They are not perfect, and companies should do much more than that, as Urth does.

If we buy any product, there will be an inevitable impact on the environment. I'm certainly using my buying power to support the companies that do the least damage or even give more back than they take. The impact of products is going to be mentioned more and more in reviews. Hopefully, this will persuade companies to rethink their environmental strategies. Thanks for the super comment.

Jake Covington's picture

So I'm going to worry about the 2lbs of metal and plastic in my $4000 new camera body I get every 2 years and not the 8258lbs of Amazon shit and groceries I buy everyday? No.

Tom Reichner's picture

I hear you, Jake!

Cameras are such a tiny tiny tiny drop in a huge bucket.

Another thing to ponder is the fact that carbon and other gases being released into the air is really a tiny issue compared to the REAL threat to our environment, which is human expansion.

When we tear up thousands upon thousands of acres to build roads and houses and apartment buildings and shopping centers and restaurants and parking lots we are DIRECTLY and IMMEDIATELY destroying the precious habitat that wildlife desperately needs.

It seems to me that there is a weird imbalance - among so-called environmentalists, there is such an incredibly huge emphasis being put on emissions and waste, and so little emphasis being put on new things being built.

So the hell what if we conserve on how much fossil fuel we burn, when we go bulldozing thousands and thousands of acres of acres of prime prairie habitat to put in new roads and houses and windmills?

We are literally tearing up so much of the world's most precious wildlife habitat, and nobody is all up in arms about it. Yet when we burn gasoline or throw something away instead of recycling it, people get their panties all wadded up over it. This is a weird and inconsistent response to environmental threats, where we accept the big huge problem as if it is okay, yet pick a relatively insignificant threat and act like that is the primary threat. Weird and mis-informed and easily led like sheeple.

M C's picture

I agree that we should all be aware of and try to reduce our impact on the environment by purchasing "green" products and recycling as much as possible. On the global l scale of things, pollution caused be camera manufactures are a drop in a a bucket.

Deleted Account's picture

Athletes use the formula of 'marginal gains' though, where they make lots of tiny changes that have an overall positive impact, pollution works in much the same manner.

barry cash's picture

Hmm its in general a self repairing system THE EARTH if all of us who live on it would just do our part. Climate change is not just because of people. People are not the main cause of Climate Change. Go Green will not be the cure for Climate Change.

Tom Reichner's picture

What you say is so true. And climate change is not even a very big threat to the earth and its wildlife. Destruction of natural habitat is far more detrimental than gases in the air will ever be.

Ivor Rackham's picture

I agree that we all need to do our part, and lots of us are trying to, but there are individual producers of vast quantities of CO2 and other pollutants that are not. These are primarily big corporations that are also the big polluters.

However, I am not sure where you get the evidence to support your belief that climate change is not mainly anthropogenic; there is a global scientific consensus that it is. Yes, there are other factors too, but every reputable organisation that bases its findings on empirical evidence and the scientific method blame climate change on humanity's activities. Of course, there are investors in fossil fuels and conspiracy theorists who would have you believe otherwise, but the empirical evidence does not back them up.

Similarly, habitat loss is also caused by humans, as is the proliferation of plastic pollutants. It's also caused by increasing numbers of wildfires and drought conditions. These are all interlinked.

As for climate change not contributing the mass extinction event that we are experiencing, that too is a myth. Although not a direct cause, it is the loss or changing life patterns of creatures further down the food chain that is causing extinctions at higher levels. For example, where I live, the increase in sea temperatures is changing the migratory patterns of sand eels. That means that nesting seabirds including puffin and arctic tern that feed on them are having to fly further from their nesting areas to feed and collect food for their young. This is putting additional stress on the populations, which are falling.

Increasing numbers of prolonged droughts in Kenya are leading to huge losses of wildlife.

In my lifetime, the world has lost over 50% of invertebrate populations. 67% of all invertebrates are threatened. Sadly, because they mostly are not charismatic creatures, like pandas, very little money goes into studying why more than 40% of insect species are declining and why a third are endangered. The rate of invertibrate extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. So is climate change a big factor in the total mass of insects falling by 2.5% a year? Nobody has done the research but using heuristic methods one can make an assumption that it is.

Canon, Nikon, and Sony are not the only big polluters and producers of CO2; every industry has its villains. But, we has photographers have a responsibility too, and maybe part of that is pressuring the suppliers of our cameras to tidy up their acts.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Hi Anthony. There's actually a lot of noise made about waste batteries here. In shops where I live (in the UK) there are bins for collecting them so that they can be recycled. We also have regulations that require manufacturers to be responsible for the recycling of their electronic goods. Businesses are compelled by law to send electronic waste to be recycled. Is that different where you are?

Mark J's picture

Now do Environmentalists should stop lying to us…..

Ivor Rackham's picture

How is that a lie by environmentalists exactly? Tha was a big energy firm placing turbines in a bad place.

Sadly the US doesn't have the same placement restrictions as we do in the UK where bird migratory routes are considered.

If you are going to apply that argument, I guess you are going to object to domestic cats. Here in the UK alone they kill 55-million birds per year. You'll also be opposed to car driving as worldwide they kill over a billion birds every year.

Mark J's picture

Because the environmentalists never disclose the ugly side of green as this article is trying to articulate here regarding camera manufacturers. How many windmills do we need to sustain the energy currently required in our cities? I don’t know about the UK, but the windmills need to be placed in areas where there is wind…. In the US that is the flat planes of the midwest, and generally these are migratory paths for birds. I’m pretty sure these companies are getting government subsidies to implement these wind farms, and I’m sure some law maker is getting a kickback, so we have to make sure to bury the negatives associated with it.. But evidently, according to you, its the companies fault, and not the same government that is pushing for green not completing its due dilligence on where to place windmills. Last time I checked, when you build anything anywhere, you need government approval. And I am not the one making the argument for or against, I’m just asking that we be transparent, which is why your rebuttal with cars doesn’t make sense. I live in a world where I understand there are finite resources and there is no free lunch……

Adam Palmer's picture

Switching from film to digital is good for the planet.

Ivor Rackham's picture

The chemicals used in film are environmentally damaging, but so too are the fra greater amounts of chemical waste dumped in the environment from the manufacture of new cameras. Both are harmful to the planet, and it is our responsibility to do something about that.

Malcolm Wright's picture

Here in the UK we had a CO2 shortage due to the rising cost of Gas and Electricity leading to a large fertilizer manufacturer cutting production..
Why do I point this out, well the CO2 by product of that process is a saleable item with important uses. The lack of CO2 actually led the UK government to enter talks, read subsidies, to get the fertilizer plant operating again, as the lack of CO2 caused a nationwide crisis.
The measurement of Environmental impact can't really be simplified down to CO2 emissions alone. It seems like measuring wealth in Butterflies.
Despite the vast reports issued by companies there are no clear cut rules on how to convert one camera made into tons or tonnes of CO2. Afterall if you enter into an agreement with your energy supplier that says all your energy comes from rewables or nuclear, your CO2 usage is less than if your agreement is to use coal, but most countries have a national grid, somyou don't know where your energy really came from.
CO2 accounting is in its infancy, so treat all figures given as made up. Afterall Financial accountancy has been long established and regulated,, but we still get companies 'cooking the books' and going bust despite last years results looking fine,

Ivor Rackham's picture

It's a fair point, Malcolm. There is a lot more to it than CO2 being exhausted into the atmosphere, which is why I pointed out the other pollutants that the manufacturers are producing too, and the amount of freshwater they waste. CO2 emissions are just one of many issues, but it is one of the most pressing, which is why there is so much research and highlighting of it at the moment. You touch on accountancy, and businesses are cooking the environmental books, it's yet another greenwashing technique.

CO2 is required for life. The problem is that we have too much of it in the wrong place.

What we can do is pressure the businesses into tidying up their acts. What drives them is money. So, if their dirty methods start to lose their customers, then they will sit up and listen. As a writer with a readership in the thousands, I hope to have some small influence on that and hope other writers on other sites will start to apply pressure too.

Christian Fiore's picture

No matter how much pandering they do for environmentalists, the "solution" to the problem is just another problem being pushed off onto someone/something else. Just like with electric cars. Where do you think the electricity powering your planet-saving cars is coming from? FOSSIL FUELS!

Tom Reichner's picture


And wind energy is even worse. Using big windmills to generate electricity is extremely detrimental to the environment, and it's adverse affects on wildlife are direct and immediate.

And it has nothing to do with birds flying into the windmills and dying. That is just a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of thousands of acres of prime nesting habitat that is torn up and destroyed forever when they clear native prairie and sagebrush habitats and bulldoze them all down to clear the way for the windmill sites and all of the miles and miles and miles of roads that go from one windmill to the next, to the next, to the next, etc.

Millions upon millions upon millions of birds and insects are being slaughtered and left with nowhere to live because of this form of energy that is deceptively referred to as being "green". Wind energy is destroying our planet, and yet most people have been duped like sheeple into thinking that windmills are helping our environment. Are we, collectively, really going to continue to be that stupid?

Can't people go out and spend a few weeks in the windmill sites as they are being cleared and constructed, to see for themselves whether they are "green" or not? Or are most people just going to read about them and form an opinion on what the media is telling them? If people are going to have opinions on these environmental issues, their opinions should be developed by personal experiences and what they see for themselves, not based on what they read in newspapers and what they see online.

Ivor Rackham's picture

Thanks for your replies. What you are suggesting is true, Christian. Big industries, not just photography, are not giving solutions but hiding the real damage they are doing. We have two choices, sit with our heads in the sand, pretend it's not happening, and live (or die) with the consequences, or we can do something about it.

I don't think this is about pandering to environmentalists; It's about addressing fundamental problems in the best way to have minimum impact on the planet's limited resources and put a stop to irreversible damage caused by changes we are making to our environment.

The operative word there is minimal. Everything we do impacts the environment to a greater or lesser extent. It's about achieving the balance to minimise that.

If you look at the USA's largest windfarm on Google Earth, Tehachapi Pass measures about 8-miles by 8-miles in the widest area. Although it is not square, it is estimated to grow up to 50 square miles in size. Yes, there is an environmental impact, but that is outweighed by the damage caused by the alternative coal-powered generation that would produce approximately 9-million tons of CO2 per year, plus 4-million tons of methane, and 5-million tons of octane, all greenhouse gasses. Added to that are all the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide that are immediately harmful to the environment.

50-square miles is a big area, but relatively small, 0.012%, compared to the size of California.

If we don't want the impact of power stations, wind and solar farms, then we must find some way of reducing the energy we use. It's simple math. We are doing it in our homes by fitting LED lights, insulating our lofts, and turning off unused appliances. Surely we should expect big businesses to do the same and reduce their usage and emissions.

In the long term, wind farms will become a thing of the past. They are a stop-gap until nuclear fusion becomes a viable alternative source of power. But at the moment, they are helping to minimise the damage.

Mark J's picture

I still wonder what caused the Laurentide Ice sheet that spanned from the Canadian Arctic down to Missouri and covered some states with over a mile of ice to melt 20,000 years ago?

Tom Reichner's picture


I keep reading and re-reading your comment, and I don't understand what it has to do with the current discussion, or with my comment, which it was a reply to. Could you please explain?

Thank you