Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Nothing to Add

I usually try to provide original content, but in this case the spokesperson (Trilby Lundberg, of the Lundberg Survey) has expressed her views with such eloquence, that there is nothing for me to add: (updated -- couldn't leave it alone, had to highlight some of the choicer bits of "wisdom")

Q: As far as conservation, what are the trends you are seeing?

A: I'm hoping that consumers will see through the rhetoric about consuming less, demanding less, as faulty. It is not a given that consuming less will be good for our economy or for our personal freedom. It is not even established for our environment that we [should] deprive ourselves of gasoline for our personal mobility as well our commerce. And to suppose that it is good to do that, and pretend that we have consensus and put our heads together to deprive ourselves of this great product that makes the country go around, commercially and individually, I think is flawed. I'm hoping consumers and voters will see through that and be able to ignore some of the most extreme suggestions.

I think that there has been friendly as well as unfriendly brainwashing taking place. And when I say friendly and unfriendly, I'm talking about decades of extremist views that have now achieved mainstream acceptance. And the No. 1 item among those affecting current oil politics in Washington is the boogeyman, also known as global warming.

I don't accept it as established fact, nor do I accept that it would be caused by petroleum consumption, nor do I accept that the human species should not affect its environment. So even if it were someday to be shown to have some small effect on the environment, I see no crime. In fact, taking into account the many, many millions of people around the world that envy our way of life, it would seem more humanitarian to wish them the kind of plentiful petroleum products and vehicles ... that we enjoy ... to lift themselves out of [a] backward, poor way of life.

Friday, May 22, 2009

We Have Met the Enemy

And he is us.

Interesting article by Elizabeth Kolbert in this week's New Yorker: "The Sixth Extinction?". In it, she examines the causes of the five previous "great extinction" events, and proposes we may be at the beginning of a sixth. Except in this case, the cause might be a little closer to home.

Humans now occupy every continent on the planet. We may be the most "successful" large organism in history. We are certainly adaptable and our intelligence has enabled us to dominate our environment like no other species.

Through such "innovations" as industrialized agriculture and high-speed transporation, pathogens can be distributed across the globe in days, rather than millenia. Are we our own worst enemy? Elizabeth doesn't mention it in her article, but I'm deeply concerned about the potential impact of monoculture in farming. Not only are we all consuming vast quantities of a single foodstuff (corn), but thanks to Monsanto, it's all one strain. A single virus could have a devastating impact on the food supply of the entire planet.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bike-to-Work Month/Week/Day

May is National Bike Month. This week, at least in Seattle, is Bike-to-Work Week. And Friday is Bike-to-Work Day. My wife sarcastically suggested that I give bike commuting a try. Which made me think back to when I first started. There was a great deal of trial and error in the first year or two, trying to find what worked and what didn't. Then my commute went from 15 miles round-trip to nearly 40, and I had to learn some more lessons. The good news is that I pretty much have things dialed in, no matter what the distance, no matter what the weather. For those of you thinking of joining us out here in the open ("All bicycles are convertibles!"), there are plenty of online resources to get you started. Here are a few:
League of American Bicyclists
Commute by Bike
Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Happy National Day of Prayer

May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness–
the children, the aged, the unprotected–
be guarded by beneficial celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.