Hot or not, how our vanity bites us back...
One of the big things that makes me cringe is the incredible linkage between status goods and carbon consumption and perhaps bad health. The New York Times has this story on how some granite counter tops are "hot" as in radioactive. The increasing popularity of granite countertops has driven the demand for more and more exotic varieties from Namibia and Brazil. Problem is that some of the granite has traces of uranium which is radioactive and may pose a slight increase in health risk.
There are plenty of local alternatives to mined granite, but yet we somehow need the additional status goods in our kitchen. I wonder if venerable institutions like the French Laundry have granite countertops in their kitchen. I know Momofuku, the it place of the moment in NYC does not. So how does granite countertops improve your cooking. (though I will be the first to admit, a hot pot on granite doesn't burn the countertop).
So for our status (or vanity is there a difference) we have to expend lots of energy to get it out of the ground, we're shipping rocks across oceans and across the land. It's heavy so it take more fuel, and add to that, now you have to expend energy to rip it out of your kitchen.
Hey folks lets focus on what you can do instead of what you can buy to distinguish the kind of person you are.