10 Environmentally friendly decisions that backfired in strange ways

Doug Williams

Ever since Al Gore released An Inconvenient Truth, the world has jumped on the bandwagon to become more environmental friendly. However,  some backfired in some eerie ways. Here’re some actions that were taken with good intentions but completely backfired.

10 Artificial Reef Pollutes Ocean

Public Domain
Public Domain

In the early 1970s, there was a brilliant idea. Almost a million tires were strategically placed of the coast of Florida to create a simulated reef. The hope was that the collection of tires would create an ecosystem by attracting fish that would create the base for a coral colony. The terrible demise of the idea happened as the tires started breaking into pieces and polluting the surrounding area while simultaneously making the “fake” reef completely useless. Sadly, the coral reefs in the area were killed off from the pollution from the tires.

In 2007, a serious cleanup operation was started, and divers managed to extract ten percent of the tires from the ocean floor.

Although Florida had plans for removing more tires, half a million of them are still located at the bottom of the coast. Slowly but surely, this project will help restore the coral reefs in the area, but it may not happen in time to save the ecosystem along the State.

9 Germany Phases Out Nuclear Power Plants

After the disaster that rocked Japan in 2011, a huge back-lash occurred in nuclear energy across the world. One of the biggest opponents of nuclear energy was Germany.

The result was a quick but ineffective plan that promised to have the country free of nuclear energy by 2022. The side effects of the decision have been harsh. Pollution has spiked creating a health problem for the country’s citizens in its major cities due to the fact that coal is the only current substitution for the country.

By 2014, almost half of Germany’s power came from power plants that were fueled by coal leaving the country’s economy trapped and addicted to coal.

8 Rat Problem Replaced By Rabbit Problem

By Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0,
By Larry D. Moore,   Image source

In the earliest part of the second millennium, the small Scottish island called Canna invested half a million euros to relieve the country from an overwhelming rat population. The population of rats was so lopsided, that the four-mile long island was killing off the island’s birds almost to extinction.

So after a long reflection, the island hired some pretty effective exterminators that set thousands of traps around the island. After years of patience and a pretty messy cleanup, the island had successfully killed of the entire rat population.

And with the rats now extinct, the rabbits were introduced to paradise, and their population has exploded. The small island is actually home to crucial excavation sites that are now being decimated by the burrowing rabbits. Before the rabbits had a scot-free life, the rats kept them in check.

But now, the fluffy animals have only one predator which capture a small amount of the population. Luckily, the islanders thought of a great way to fix the problem. They are implementing rabbit into their diet, but food coma after food coma has left the rabbit population to thrive.

7 Anti-Poaching Creates A Poaching Problem

Just months before 1990, a huge anti-poaching project was launched across Colorado and northern New Mexico. The operation involved hundreds of officers and even air support to aid in the raid. Officials captured a couple of hundred hunters and convicted them of poaching. The sting lasted for two years but ironically enough, the operation itself created the poaching it was desperately trying to prevent.

Sadly it was because a Federal Agent got in tight with town locals acting as a taxidermist. He quickly spread the word that that he was interested in exotic animals and offered hundreds of dollars for elk and eagles. For years, the agent convinced the locals to kill almost a thousand animals even though just one bald eagle would be considered a crime worthy of jail time. Sadly, the long drawn out sting depleted the already low population in the area.

6 Protecting Endangered Meadows Made People Destroy More

By Nikater - Own work, Public Domain,
By Nikater – Own work, Public Domain,

English meadows are considered to be an icon for Britain and has inspired some of the most famous books and artists in history. Sadly, these gorgeous grasslands are becoming terminally ill because they are no longer protected by law due to the extinction of its ecosystem.  The death of English legends was a combination of urban development and a shift in farming at the same time as the UK slashed the wildlife budget. The deadly result is that only two percent of the meadows across the beautiful country side due to agricultural expansion.

In 2012, the EU declared that it would enforce protection for the grasslands but greedy farmers beat the government to the punch and decimated the country side before the laws went into effect.

5 LED Traffic Lights Cause Car Crashes

LED has become a wonderful way to preserve both energy and cash flow, so many cities across the United States switched out their old school traffic lights for new LED lights. To the drivers dismay, LED light don’t radiate heat so to keep the lens free from frost and ice –  the lights completely disappear during winter leaving the roads more dangerous than ever. Sadly, the perfect combination that saved the budgets of so many towns, was reversed by the installation of heaters on the traffic lights. Some smaller towns used the road crews to knock down the snow off of the lights during storms but shockingly, the rise in dangerous intersection accidents rose.

4 Energy-Efficient Windows Burn Things

Windows that are energy efficient actually do the exact opposite of what they were intended to do. Save money. The smart windows are coated with metal making them more energy efficient, however the same windows that saves energy in the home is directly responsible for saving money because they reflect light while maintaining more energy.

These types of windows are getting so renowned that some counties are making the window installation mandatory for the new homes as they are being built. To the home owners associations’ dismay, the windows are so effective that the sunlight reflections melts important things around the house. Even homes that are located across the streets are being heated. Parked cars are also being damaged and are even having problems with the mirrors on the side of the car melting which is a far cry from the initial cost  and energy efficient homes.

Even hotels in large cities are reported being responsible for burning tourists and residents because of the smart windows and the problem is becoming dangerous across the US. The problem is being ignored leaving home owners responsible for paying tens of thousands of dollars in damages. The problem is becoming so bad that home manufacturers have begun warrantying their products for the damages caused by energy efficient windows

3 Mining Company Pours Concrete Into A Stream

The Australian outback is known for its wild life and eclectic culture but it’s been in the news for something far less ecofriendly. A coal mine in the country is responsible for damaging the country’s famous rock formations .

Facing pressure from the government and its people, a mining company tried to make things right and repair its image. The company’s solution was to lay concrete over the cracks to stop the damage from spreading but the plan quickly back fired. One  of the repair attempts poured concrete from a dozen trucks filled to the brim. Little did the project manager know that underneath the mine created crack was a lovely creek. Over four hundred yards of concrete destroyed the ecosystem of the area.

A couple of years later, the government charged the company for breaching environmental law. The fine was considered a slap in the wrist to the company who has profited heavily since the breaches.

2 Waterless Urinals Caused Urine Leaks

By Dick Johnson - Flickr: Cinema Mediage, CC BY 2.0,
By Dick Johnson – Flickr: Cinema Mediage, CC BY 2.0,

In 2010, the city of Chicago started a project that would make the city’s urinals completely waterless throughout their city hall.  The plan quickly backfired as the bathrooms had to quickly be reinstalled back to traditional urinals shortly after installation of the new bathrooms that were designed to help the green future of the city.

The problem was the urine had corroded the drain pipes and created a pile up of pee inside the walls of the city council chambers.

The problem occurred because after the urinals were installed, the janitors of the city hall weren’t informed on the proper maintenance of the urinals. They had no clue that the cartridges had to be exchanged on a consistent basis. Even though, waterless urinals have had their problems, hybrid toilets are making a splash in bathrooms across the world due to their ease of maintenance combined with old school flushing systems.

1 Meddling With Macquarie Island

Macquarie is an island that is located close to Antarctica. Since mankind has set foot on the island in the early 1800s, the island has been over run with rabbits that have already driven two species to become extinct. The animals that humans brought with it to the island have also decimated the island’s vegetation leaving little remains of the beautifully untouched island.

In the 1970s, scientists tried to help protect the island by poisoning the rabbit population but the plan quickly back fired. In a twist of fate, the cat population began to thrive and ended up eating more of the vegetation than the rabbits did when they were the dominant species of the island. Quickly after the cats took over the land, conservationists made the executive decision to hunt the cat population to save the island but the rabbits ran wild without a predator to keep the population at bay. The efforts to help protect the natural habitat led to the island losing almost half of its vegetation from the exploding rabbit population.

In 2007, scientists finally did justice for the island and eliminated both species from the island allowing for the vegetation to grow back untouched and unharmed.


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fmssolution is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival