Sunday, October 03, 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

asian carp invasion and greenhouse gas regulation

i finally got around to finding out who my representative in congress is, and what district i live in and whatnot and i noticed that one of David Camp's achievements is a bill to stop the invasion of asian carp, which as we all know is a horrible invasive species that obliterates native fish populations and leaps out of the water dangerously when approached creating a spectacular show.

The thought occurred to me that perhaps there are comparisons to be made with the climate change situation. Obviously, the forecasting appears to be a little more concrete in the case of the asian carp. One could argue that the case of the asian carp is not as large scale as the climate issue (though species migration/transportation/relocation is a global phenomenon involving many different species of life all over the world). Its easy to see the change happening with asian carp, you can see the fish...leaping out of the water. of course, with climate change all we have is rampant speculation and guesswork. well, the models predicted more severe weather, not necessarily warmer...ahem...then again, its easy to see melting glaciers and retreating polar ice caps...its easy to see hurricane katrina and snowmageddon.

What about the risks? Whats at stake with the asian carp? fisheries, water quality, ecosystem biodiversity on a local and fairly immediate level. whats at stake with climate change/legislation and reducing fossil fuel consumption? habitability of the planet for us and most of the other species.

The naysayers say its a bunch of hogwash and are gambling the future that massive combustion of fossil fuels which formed over millions of years in a mere few decades time won't have a detrimental effect on the climate/health of the planet. And I suppose the take home message is burn more fossil fuels. dig more up and burn it up, its good for the conomy and creates jobs (not to mention astronomical profits for the ever dwindling number of oil mega corporations).

well, i suppose thats true, but is that really looking long term, do we really envision a world where coal is continuously dug up, mountain tops removed, and burned and spewed into the atmosphere? Does anyone still think that another huge reserve of oil will be discovered and the price of oil will stabilize at record lows bringing three decades of $1 a gallon gas (as opposed to the current upward climbing roller coaster oil market and all the associated war and terrorism that comes with it)? so we don't need to regulate carbon emissions?

If we don't do anything about the carp, its evident that they'll move on in and do their thing. If we don't do anything about the carbon emissions well, i suppose the industrialized world will have postponed the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels by a few decades, the atmosphere will have even more carbon in it (maybe peaking at 2-3x 2010 levels?10x?) and the coal and oil company executives will have their profits, whether the planet will be inhabitable is up in the air however. whether the abrupt dislocations in dwindling oil supply actually contribute to famine remains up in the air. green jobs which could have been created with oil profits won't ever have been created but by that time all the money will have been spent. more people will have asthma and poor air quality...great...

The case of the asian carp is pretty clear. If you just think about it a little, the case of climate chemistry regulation is pretty clear too. Climate legislation to reduce greenhouse gases is the door to the 21st century of our destiny. and we shouldn't let a few more years of the status quo deny us the world we want to live in much less, put us all in peril.

So I think its good that Representative Camp acted so boldly on the asian carp issue and I hope he'll show the same bold leadership with greenhouse gas legislation. Not holding my breath though...

Monday, February 08, 2010

economic reform

so let me get this straight. haha
the only way to keep the current system running was to bail out the biggest banks and financial institutions. well, maybe its time for a few tweaks to the system don't ya think? maybe its time for poor people to rise up and take their share, collectively speaking of course about legislation and national priorities, as opposed to the historical precedents of rioting and looting. i would like to encourage each and every one of you to think broadly about what you think the 21st century economy should look like and your role in it. do we really think we can consume our way out of this situation? i don't think so.

here are my ideas:1)correcting the market for recycling and waste management. there are many jobs to be created with a subsidy for companies that process and sort the waste stream of the current economy. there should be a focus on material flow loops, as opposed to lines to the landfill and ideally every material should be recycled or reprocessed. zero waste is not impossible for a modern society and it might just be the missing piece of the economic puzzle. products should be designed for durability and recyclability. government can provide support for immediate jobs creating and running sorting facilities, that current markets still struggle with. Public goods should be publically reinforced. Every region and sub region should have a "garbage" sorting facility instead of a dump and education of the best way to recycle all materials should be disseminated. enhanced collection of materials can create more jobs as well. commingled recycling containers are convenient for households and for collection, composting of organic waste is a no-brainer, but there are many substances today that even somewhat eco-conscious people don't know how to recycle and just send to the landfill. these are opportunities for research and job creation.
what is our economy for? what is our country for? to be free right? the country is about being free, but is the economy? What does our civilization do? a small handful of elites get damn near all the money and everyone else gets whatever the elites decide. why? when we are all free men and women on this earth now, why should it have to be this way? isn't that what the forefathers taught us? isn't that what dr. king taught us? don't we also strive for justice and liberty? but where's the justice in this economy that we've now bailed out? with no jobs n shit, and the ones there are are shitty...

creating the 21st century transportation infrastructure is another no brainer. i'm not talking about two or three trains, we need to think big and make an investment in the future. mobility is an american right and it should get safer and cheaper with more rails. communities should grow vertically near the rails. and sprawl should contract to transportation lines.
if we really think boldly about energy in the 21st century, there's no reason we can't make the investments now to be completely renewable by 2050. C'mon rich people, the time for partying and big bonuses is over. our civilization depends on you making some hefty investments now. investments in the people. investing heavily in renewable energy creates many jobs and is simultaneously an insurance policy for catastrophic climate change. We can't keep pumping fossilized carbon into the air in the 21st century and expect things to be just fine. It just doesn't make any sense.
So getting back to the topic, what should the new economy look like? the new economy should make a profit for the people. employee-owned should be the 21st century business model. democracy will prevail in the workplace and efficiency, productivity, and quality will all increase as a result. as well as quality of life, to say the least.
While there is much work to be done, it should be tackled at a reasonable pace, therefore, all workers have the right to time off and vacation. we need more time for important things like families and recreation. many jobs are waiting to be created by the building of new and improved skateparks all over the land. the workers of the 21st century will be less stressed out and not all frantic just trying to put food on the table. everyone should have the opportunity to decide what their role should be in the economy of today.
Instead of being all anxious and chicken little, we need to take a collective deep breath and take this opportunity to refocus on what we really want to do with the time that we have here. we have an opportunity for greatness, we just have to be united and show the rulers that we mean business this time. feed the hungry, house the homeless, give jobs to people, provide education and health care and security and ban the idea of waste...not on this planet, its getting too crowded for that. the system should do these things, these are public goods which should be publically financed.

The economy should work to liberate people. We need to rethink what we're doing here and why we're doing it. Are we just here to make babies and keep the whole thing rolling? Is that the purpose of my life? Is that what this brain is for? what these emotions are for?
which brings me to my last point, which is an old one but worth mentioning again. we need cultural transformation. we need a less consumptive and more uplifting culture, less competition and more cooperation. less stress and more fun. we need to subsidize conflict resolution education and research. we need effective responses to bullys and hate and of course, violent terrorist acts. we don't need to babysit everyone or hold their hand all the time, but as i see it, the meek aren't exactly effective in getting their message out and people only get the brash and obnoxious mostly. all people should have the opportunity to formulate and express their opinion in a meaningful forum, that is to say, America, we should reinvigorate the idea of the marketplace of ideas, a place where people actually gather physically to debate and share information. this new cultural institution, i believe has the potential to catapult our civilization into the 21st century. creating a neutral space where anyone is welcome and respected and empowered to share their ideas with others is a public good that serves the public good. Some of you have no doubt heard this from me before, but this is an idea that can create jobs. picture this: a market full of people who instead of vegetables or crafts are exchanging ideas, songs, concepts, facts, and otherwise information. Everyone is free to be themselves and everyone is welcome. Debates will erupt from time to time but tempers will be cooled and misunderstandings will be realized or philosophical differences will be realized and examined. perhaps, and this is my hope, in the midst of all this cacophony and lively exchange, frustrating debate and agreeing to disagree the best ideas will rise to the top and consensus can be achieved. yes, it is a tough hill to climb, but one i feel from time to time compelled to post on the blog about.

you don't need any fancy beliefs in this or that to have purpose. you simply have to make a decision. break free from the old paradigm and lets move with courage into the 21st century economy

Friday, January 29, 2010


the snake run at Venice, CA. Don't know the guy but he was rippin.