Things are clearly not as bad now as they were before Election Day. However, we should temper our celebratory mood by considering:
1. Nancy Pelosi, the next likely Speaker of the House, supported the war until her constituents in San Francisco made it politically impossible for her to continue doing so. As we say in Earth First!, war is bad for all species, and for the land, air, and water. This is a huge environmental issue, and if the Dems don’t withdraw the troops from Iraq very soon, the reason for the victory Tuesday will have been drowned in a sea of political baloney.
2. Using wind and solar as sources of energy is much less harmful than using fuels that must be extracted from the earth, but unless Americans and others who consume way too much reduce their consumption, this is all rearranging the deck chairs, so to speak. For example, I haven’t heard any Dems talking about creating communities where people don’t drive private motor vehicles, or getting Americans to consume less fuel (and everything else).
3. Many of the newly elected Dems are right-wingers, not progressives. We must work very hard to push the party toward progressive policies and away from business as usual.
So, let’s celebrate our election victories, especially the ones we personally worked on. But we still have our work cut out for us. There are no magical, technological solutions to overconsumption. We simply have to consume a lot less.
San Francisco, Calif.
Normally, I love all things Grist — there’s just something too fabulous about smartass environmentalism that an inveterate smartass like myself finds hard to resist. But the comment in a recent Grist List regarding virgin eyes and linking to a photo of an older couple was a little rude. I don’t know, maybe I’m way off base and you were being ironic about the phallic design on the T-shirt and not the condition of the lady’s legs, for example. If so, I apologize. If not, phooey on you all. Age happens and it ain’t always graceful. It is, however, always interesting and, in its own way, quite beautiful. Kudos to both the lady and the gentleman for having the courage to be pictured in their undies for all the world to see.
I must know who writes those chirpy, pop-culture-laden headlines for the Daily Grist. Is it a single person channeling a lifetime of slogans, songs, and bad puns into pithy, all-caps zingers? Or is it a panel of Gristonians sitting around a conference table SNL-style trying to come up with the ultimate groaners? Do tell. The green world wonders.
Editor’s Note: Our pun-dit this week is Benny Andersson, the keyboardist from ABBA, and next week we’ll be channeling the pop-culture knowledge of that girl who played Vicki on Small Wonder.
Re: Ethanomics 101
Unfortunately, you have been sucked into the “sham” of Big Oil’s propaganda on ethanol!
Your citation for energy balance information is a year old. Since then, the journal Science has shown — beyond any doubt — that ethanol is much better on energy balance than gasoline. Tad Patzek is a former Shell Oil executive and David Pimentel is a radical anti-growth guy who is an entomologist by training — their study you cite is horribly flawed and not one other researcher has ever come to their conclusion! Not one …
Corn farming is much more environmentally friendly than it was even five years ago. Yields are dramatically higher and conservation practices have reduced soil erosion by a factor of 100! Nitrogen applications have been cut by two-thirds. It’s still not prairie grass, but once the corn-ethanol industry infrastructure is in place, it becomes a lot easier to develop cellulosic ethanol, which is the environmental nirvana — sustainable, low-carbon energy.
Wisconsin Corn Growers Association
Re: Home Is Best
Thanks for including this well-written review of Unbowed. I was contemplating getting the book and am now eager to purchase it.
San Francisco, Calif.
Phoenix may not be Seattle, but we have a very active sustainability movement, several embryonic eco-hoods, and quite a few people who are very active in the environmental and sustainability movements. I may not want more people to move here, and I may not like the summers, but please don’t write us off as doomed! Check out the Phoenix Permaculture Guild’s active listserv and I think you might change your opinion.