If you're anything like us, you do your fair share to preserve this fragile planet of ours for future generations: You recycle your plastics, you take a carpool to work rather than driving your monster truck, and you enjoy black rhino steaks only on special occasions (such as a successful black rhino hunt from the window of your monster truck). But it turns out that even staunch conservationists like ourselves can be unknowingly dealing Mother Nature swift and repeated kicks to the shin, because the little things we do every day without so much as a second thought can have unbelievably massive effects on the environment. For instance ...
5Your Video Game Console Wastes Energy When You're Not Even Playing It
This one's going to sting a bit, so let's just grab the Band-Aid by the horns and rip that sumbitch clean off: By owning a video game console, you're killing the planet. You will be remembered as one of history's greatest monsters. And here's the kicker: It doesn't even matter if you use the damned thing.
The problem, as we've discussed before, has to do with vampire drain -- basically, the tendency of modern appliances to slurp electricity even when you're not using them. The newest round of game consoles are guilty of this, and in fact they take that shit to a whole new level, like some kind of super vampire. You know, like a video game boss.
"Why do you think the air looks like that?"
Most appliances that suck up energy in this fashion do so because they're never really turned off but rather in a constant sleep mode. Your video game console, on the other hand, sleeps with one eye open, listening to you. Always listening. With the move from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One, for example, Microsoft transformed the Kinect from an utterly superfluous peripheral into an always-on device. This is ostensibly so you can power on the console by angrily shouting at it, but it also means the console is perpetually draining electricity. The PS4 isn't much better in this regard, with most users putting it into a "rest" mode that lets it download software updates and such overnight. In fact, all modern consoles have been shown to use more power per year while they're "off" than they do when they're actually being played.
How bad is it? Well, a report found that Xbox Ones and PS4s would combine forces in supervillainous harmony to dump 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thanks to energy usage that's two to three times that of previous-gen consoles. Oh, and that's only considering the units sold within the first two months of their release -- 8 million total -- not the over 55 million that have been sold to date. Go ahead and extrapolate those numbers if you feel like making Al Gore shit himself inside-out.
"Honestly, my lift doesn't go any higher."
To put this all in even more perspective, it takes the average American around two months' worth of driving to produce just one metric ton of carbon dioxide. So, basically, doing actual donuts in a mall parking lot is only marginally worse for the environment than doing the same in Grand Theft Auto, assuming you don't take out any strollers in the process. You could just unplug your system every time you finish using it, but then you wouldn't get the aforementioned automatic updates required to play every modern video game until the next time you turned it back on, and most of us would rather slowly poison the Earth than have to wait for a download.
4Chewing Gum Creates More Waste Than Car Tires Do
Once we finally grew tired of giggling at our toddlers' attempts to operate Zippos and finally listened to what Russell Crowe was trying to tell us in The Insider, gum-chewing surpassed smoking as America's No. 1 pastime. In fact, there's a damned good chance you're chewing gum as you read this, in which case we have some disturbing news -- you're generating more landfill waste than the tire industry.
Don't feel too bad, though, because you're not alone: The world chews around 560,000 tons of gum every year. As a point of comparison, Americans burn through about 3 million tons of car tires each year. Big deal, right? Gum is candy; tires are part of a huge manufacturing industry. Now, here's the more important statistic: Thanks to recycling, only 10 percent of those tires -- or 300,000 tons -- end up in landfills. When's the last time you spat your gum into a recycling bin?
Probably never, because there's no such thing as gum recycling. All that gum goes straight into the trash, then into a landfill, or spat onto the sidewalk where it costs cities more than $2 per wad to clean up.
The free elves option was struck down by unions.
For those wondering why we used tires to put this issue in perspective: It's because Goodyear, the famous tire/blimp conglomerate, also manufactures the base ingredient of most chewing gum. See, at some point humanity decided that natural tree resins weren't nearly as fun to chew as a crude oil byproduct that will never, ever go away (unless you're referring specifically to its flavor, which vanishes almost instantly). So while gum doesn't really stay in your stomach for seven years if you swallow it, if you spit it out it absolutely will remain undecayed in a landfill until the heat death of the universe.