Watching a local Sacramento newscast last week, I was struck by the fact that the only comments about the Bay Bridge demolition work were that it was very expensive, and that some artists were willing to buy pieces of the bridge to use in works of art.
This was disappointing to me, being very concerned about global warming and world sustainability. The demolished portions of the bridge are not simply scrap that had to be removed piecemeal at a high cost because they could not be blown up and let to fall into the bay (blocking shipping lanes), they are sources of valuable materials.
Stepwise demolition of the span will allow recycle of the steel and concrete, after reprocessing, into useful building materials, saving the dollar cost of mining the raw materials to manufacture recyclable products, as well as reducing the energy and carbon dioxide release penalties, and the associated other pollution releases of mining and manufacturing.
These avoided costs are very important to the future of life on Earth, a fact that we are still having trouble recognizing and making an essential part of our daily thoughts and actions. Every opportunity to incorporate this learning into the public’s mind is useful in emphasizing the need for current efforts to mitigate the serious global ecological damage resulting from careless human activities.