Friday, October 14, 2016

Aren't humans a little weird?

Just a little note about something I noticed a few days ago in a hotel room. Note the ubiquitous sign where they ask you whether you want to be environmentally friendly by not having your towel replaced. I don't think there remains a single hotel in the whole world where they don't ask you that.

But, in this case, the sign is placed right near the tower rail heating system; it is electric, not part of the room heating system. And there is no obvious way to turn it off in case you feel that your towels are warm enough at the temperature of the room.

Maybe you could make an LCA study that will tell you that an electric rail-heating system is less energy hungry than having a towel washed. Or maybe not. But it is funny that how successful a plea for being environmentally friendly can be. And how meaningless, considering the amount of energy that the people staying in hotels must have used to get there.

So, in the end, asking you if you want your towel washed or not seems more than all a little propitiatory spell to make you feel good. Maybe you flew there all the way from the other side of the world, spwing untold amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. But, what the hell, you are a friend of the environment and you will keep your wet towels on that electrically heated rail!

Aren't humans a little weird?


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)