Eco is something that does not harm the environment explicitly through its use. At its root, eco is short for ecology, so something ecologically friendly, but not everything that attaches the word eco to it is actually friendly to the ecology of our world.
Some things we do is harmful to the world around us, but fortunately we’re all on a path to be more eco friendly and shave our planet from disaster. Nothing is black and white and surely nothing is 100% eco friendly, so that’s why we’d like to show you how the word is used in the real world with examples and explanations of how they can be improved.
Definition Of Eco
Eco is something kind to the biological environment and the relationships between organisms and their physical surroundings. This is the definition we use for ‘eco’ or ‘ecologicaly friendly’ here at Greenermobiles.com because there is technology out there that may seem eco and thus environmentally friendly at first glance, but isn’t really good for the environment.
To help us understand what eco is in the real world, we’re taking on examples from power, transport and food that will give you a more practical understanding of what eco is and how things can be made more eco friendly.
Power Transport Food: Eco Examples
Technically, the term eco should only be used for things that have a direct impact on biological life, such as detergents which end up back in our water system. We want to look at renewable energy generation, transport and food production and manufacturing processes, thinking about their wider impact on biological life in our world.
Sometimes, things that at first appear to be eco friendly are not, other times they can be eco friendly or made even more eco friendly by making some changes.
Solar power is a great opportunity. We can get all the energy we need for all eternity from the sun. Plants do it and they form the basis for all life, supporting the food chain on land and at sea.
At face value, all of that free energy without any emissions is great for the environment. But once we begin to scratch beneath the surface, we see that the production and disposal of each solar panel can be costly to our ecological habitats.
An entire solar panel is made up of many many small crystalline silicon wafers which are connected together under a pane of glass. Both silicone and glass need high temperatures during the processing stage, which isn’t ideal. The resulting panels are expensive and relatively inefficient.
We definitely need to invest more in solar technology to get more benefit from it and make it more eco friendly. Any aluminium used in their construction can easily be recycled, but other ingredients like silver, glass, lead, tin and silicone can be harder to deal with. Often, solar panels will be ground down into a dust known as glass cullet, but not recycled individually
There are experimental and currently in-development technologies like organic photovoltaic cells and ways of removing individual metals from the solar panels for recycling, but we’re not quite there yet.
The issue with electric cars, electric trains, electric trams, electric bikes, electric everything is not immediately clear to most. The thing we’ve done is exchange pollution we can see and breathe in our cities with pollution in the country side.
Unless we are using renewable energy sources for our electric vehicles (EVs), we’re still damaging the environment. Burning coal is definitely contributing to the rise in global temperatures and as the temperature rises, delicate biological relationships begin to change. Mosquitoes travel further north and can live for longer periods of time, flowers start to bloom at different times, causing confusion for bees.
Another dent in the eco credentials of electric vehicles is around their production. They still use a lot of oil-based products like plastics. For vehicles that use batteries, their lithium-ion batteries batteries require nickel, cobalt and lithium, which have a huge toll on the natural environment when extracted.
On the the other hand, an EV might be great for the environment based on how you use it.
Things change and continue to change as technology develops. Electric cars become greener with time and so will all of the other modes of transportation. Is electric transportation eco? Yes, we think it is, especially as mass transit can transport millions of people per day across large distances. Less so for an EV, but even they become eco after you’ve owned one for a few years as shown in the video above.
At the end of their life, what are the vehicles good for? With batteries that are hard to recycle and designs people don’t want to look at. We do think as the number of EVs start coming to the end of their life, we’ll improve recycling methods for them and they’ll become even ore eco friendly.
Probably the best example, so we saved it till last. Seafood and seafood farming techniques directly affect the ecology of our seas and waterways. So is the seafood industry eco friendly or not?
There are a lot of eco friendly claims, with sustainable fishing banded about. A lot of products get a blue sticker on them, but how can we really verify the fish were caught sustainably? And what does sustainable even mean? As we discovered in the Seaspiracy documentary shown on Netflix, sustainability is something incredibly difficult to define in the seafood industry. On top of that, because ships spend so much time hundreds of miles out to sea and independent observers can be made to disappear, it is almost impossible to verify sustainable fishing practices are being upheld even if we could define them.
Okay, so an option could be to raise fish in farms to be more ecologically friendlyFarm raised fish can live in terrible conditions. While we guess it’s not necessarily bad for the environment if the tanks are not open to the sea and don’t release all those antibiotics used to keep the fish ‘healthy’.
Still, how can it be eco friendly if we’re then ingesting hormone and anti-biotic reared fish and then releasing those antibiotics and hormones back into the waterways through you-know-what? At the end, it certainly isn’t a nice way for the fish to spend their days.
Other food has its problems with factory farming chickens, controversy surrounding horse meat being sold as beef and cows being fed dead sheep. it’s possible that all non plant based food sources are highly damaging to the ecology of our planet, thus we should all become vegan.
How Is The Word Eco Used?
Usually, the word ‘eco’ is attached to the start of a product to define it as being eco or ecologically friendly. Just because the product seems to be eco friendly at the time it is being used, that does not mean it have zero effect on the environment. As we’ve discovered here, the effect can sometimes be invisible to us.