There’s an old saying that goes along the lines of ‘once in a while a blind owl finds a mouse’. A couple of weeks back (yet only a couple of post back – apologies for the piss-poor posting habits of late) I suggested that in the grand scheme of things, Hummers were possibly more environmentally friendly than so-called eco friendly options such as the Toyota Prius.
Imagine my surprise (ok, ‘delight’) when I came across an article yesterday that actually supported that position – that if you factor in the entire environmental cost of each vehicle (looking at the whole supply chain and life of the vehicle, instead of fuel consumption & emissions alone), the Prius really isn’t that green at all.
Here’s the juice:
(Apologies for not linking to the original piece – site was down when I went to grab the link)
As already noted, the Prius is partly driven by a battery which contains nickel. The nickel is mined and smelted at a plant in Sudbury, Ontario. This plant has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers. The area around the plant is devoid of any life for miles.
The plant is the source of all the nickel found in a Prius’ battery and Toyota purchases 1,000 tons annually. Dubbed the Superstack, the plague-factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.
“The acid rain around Sudbury was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside,” said Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin during an interview with Mail, a British-based newspaper.
All of this would be bad enough in and of itself; however, the journey to make a hybrid doesn’t end there. The nickel produced by this disastrous plant is shipped via massive container ship to the largest nickel refinery in Europe. From there, the nickel hops over to China to produce ‘nickel foam.’ From there, it goes to Japan. Finally, the completed batteries are shipped to the United States, finalizing the around-the-world trip required to produce a single Prius battery. Are these not sounding less and less like environmentally sound cars and more like a farce?
Wait, I haven’t even got to the best part yet. When you pool together all the combined energy it takes to drive and build a Toyota Prius, the flagship car of energy fanatics, it takes almost 50 percent more energy than a Hummer – the Prius’s arch nemesis.
Paris Hilton spent more time behind bars than OJ Simpson