Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Transportation Smackdown

I've been traveling a lot and experiencing a number of different public transit systems. Each one has its pros and cons ... for example the New York subway is
  1. Open 24 hours
  2. Is super cheap (P.S. New Yorkers, stop complaining about subway fares. $2.25 is a ridiculously cheap price to go anywhere in the city.)
  3. Nice and roomy (especially compared to the London Tube)
On the other hand, it is also
  1. Kinda dirty
  2. Difficult to get across town
  3. Doesn't properly service the East Side
  4. Still hasn't moved on to smart cards (Though you could also say that is a 'pro' since you know, people argue that London's smart Oyster cards are yet another way of the police monitoring our actions. To which I say, yes, but they are just SO DARN CONVENIENT!)
Anyway, I was thinking of doing a series of posts on transportation systems and then we could all vote for the best one. So I'm asking you all for your input. What are the transport systems you love? Which ones would you include in the Transport Smackdown?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Monday Non-Depressingness

So sorry for depressing all y'all with my post from Friday. I agree with many of the commenters that sometimes it is necessary to be positive in order to incite people to change. I agree that telling people The End Of The World Is Nigh is not overly helpful for a lot of people. I still remember seeing Inconvenient Truth, being COMPLETELY freaked and also feeling helpless in the process.

So I'd like to reiterate that while I think we may have to entirely change our way of life in order to deal with climate change, I also believe strongly in the power of human beings to innovate and adapt. And I don't at all believe our situation is hopeless, nor do I think the great number of changes we may have to make in the future will be all bad. Change is scary, but change is often more scary in theory than practice.

And today it's Monday. A happy Monday!

So instead of depressing all y'all, I am offering some link love to a couple posts I have enjoyed recently. Leela Raina writes "Why I Shouldn't Date an Annex 1 Guy."

And a rebuttal (of sorts) from Fergus Auld on "Why Annex 1 Guys Can Be A Good Date After All," although Fergus doesn't particularly provide a good defense of his American Annex 1 brothers. Maybe *cough* because there isn't one.

Both posts come from the blog "What's With The Climate," a forum for the environmental youth movement on the Indian sub-continent. I interviewed several people from the youth movement for my MSc dissertation, and I have to say that the work youth activists are doing all over the world is truly inspiring. If you're interested in learning more about the youth movement, check out "It's Getting Hot In Here," which is THE website for the international environmental youth movement.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sober Friday

Well, now that the Crazy Chicken has outed me as "that annoying Bill McKibben hanger-on," I figured I might as well produce photographic evidence of my hanging-on. And maybe my annoyingness, I don't know, a picture IS worth a thousand words, right?

So yes, I met Bill McKibben at a seminar the other day. It was supposed to be a jam-packed event, but then it wasn't, which sucks for the no shows but was awesome for me because I got to ask him a few different questions and then have a short little conversation with him.

I've read "Deep Economy," before, and I have to admit, I've been a little hesitant about Bill McKibben in the past. But I have to tell you that when I met him in person, I was deeply impressed by him.

But I was most impressed with his honesty. I mean I was also depressed by his honesty, so it was sort of a cycle of impressed!/depressed/impressed!/depressed. When I asked him about the critics who say that achieving 350 ppm would be so difficult and result in such rampant unemployment that we simply should not aim for 350, I expected McKibben to offer some false assurances that getting down to 350 would not rock the foundations of the economy. Instead he said that it was a fair criticism. But that he believed the alternative was worse. And that anyone who tells you that responding to climate change is not going to be extremely hard? Is just plain wrong.

And that got me thinking. There is a lot, a lot, a lot of talk on the blogosphere about how we should live simply because it will make us happier. Or that it doesn't really matter whether we believe in climate change because we all can find reasons to "clean up the Earth." Or that any small change can make a difference.

I get where all these bloggers are coming from, I truly do. And to a certain extent, I agree. Yes, I believe that I became happier when I snapped out of my consumeristic mentality. Yes, we can all find reasons to pollute less, consume less, etc. And yes, every small change does make a (small) difference.


I also think it's becoming increasingly obvious that responding to climate change is going to take more than turning your thermostat down a notch, or carpooling.

In fact, I can't think of a single solution to climate change that won't result in the devastation of certain sectors of the economy.

Let me provide you with an example that I have mentioned before. Britain is one of the few countries that will meet its Kyoto Protocol target. Why? Well, because Maggie Thatcher pretty much killed the coal industry.

Now, it's great that Britain is meeting its targets, no question. But the North of England is still not recovered from that devastation that occurred 20 years ago.

Yes, new renewable energy will provide new green jobs. But a coal miner can't become a solar engineer over night. Which means that unless we invest heavily in job-retraining programs and the like, we will be looking at mass unemployment in various sectors. Even if we do invest heavily in job-retraining, we may still be looking at mass unemployment.

I realize that this post is turning into one very depressing post, but I think we probably all need to face up to the fact that combatting climate change may mean massive unemployment. It might mean a serious scale-back in people's creature comforts in the Global North. It will mean that Northern governments will have to funnel a lot of money to the South for adaptation and technology transfer. None of these things are going to be fun for us in the North. Combatting climate change may very well make us less happy. It might involve way more sacrifices than we wanted to make.

Now, I'm not saying any of these things are certain. Of course they are not. It's possible that in 50 years time, I will look at this post and laugh at how bleak I was.

But I think we need to start confronting the possibility that we will have to entirely change our lives to combat climate change.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Equity, Equity, Equity

Last week, I wrote about what I believe to be the biggest obstruction in getting a global deal at Copenhagen: equity.

This week, further confirmation that the equity issue is going to derail any chance of an agreement comes from the New York Times:
Negotiators have accepted as all but inevitable that representatives of the 192 nations in the talks will not resolve the outstanding issues in the time remaining before the Copenhagen conference opens in December. The gulf between rich and poor nations, and even among the wealthiest nations, is just too wide.

Remember, the United States refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol because the protocol did not limit emissions in India and China.

Now, most of you have probably heard over and over and OVER again about how there is no point for Americans to lower their emissions if China does not because any drop in American emissions will be offset by an increase in Chinese emissions. We have all heard this meme so much, that perhaps it's not surprising to see this FT/Harris poll. According to the poll, 63% of Americans believe that China must lead the way in emissions cuts, and only 1/5 are in favor of offering aid assistance for adaptation from the developed world to the developing world.

I swear, this poll makes me want to cry.

So let me repeat a few points.

Number one, America outstrips China in terms of historical emissions.

Number two, America outstrips China in terms of per capita emissions.

Number three, America outstrips China in terms of luxury versus survival emissions.

Number four, if carbon emissions were calculated correctly* (where carbon emissions are consumed, not where they are produced), America would once again outstrip China in terms of annual emissions. China's emissions are high in part because they are responsible for manufacturing cheap crap Americans CONSUME. They are not high because the Chinese people are cruising the streets of Shanghai in their pink Hummer limos.

The country that absolutely MUST lead the way in cutting emissions is: America.

That's it.

Until America starts getting serious about cutting emissions, we will have no real global deal.

*I understand that this is a normative statement, but it's my blog.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How To Lie With Statistics

The other day, everyone's favorite Fake Plastic Fish wrote a blog post about Tapped, a new documentary about bottled water.

And then yesterday, Tom Lauria of the International Bottled Water Association responded writing:
We at IBWA participated in the filming of “Tapped” and were disappointed in how our informative comments were discarded. Do you realize 90% of bottled water companies are small, family-run businesses? According to plastic industry studies of recycling, empty water bottles are the most recycled item in single-stream recycling programs. Blogs like yours should encourage morew recycling and not discourage consumption of water — in any form. Water is fundamentally good for all people. We live in a busy world and have bottled water there when you want, regardless of what you are doing, is always a plus. If people are going to a vending machine, what should they buy? What item in the vending machine is not made of plastic? Since it all must be recycled, why pick on the healthiest beverage available, namely bottled water?

Oh boy. There are SO MANY things wrong with that statement, that it's hard to even know where to begin. But perhaps my favorite is his statement, "90% of bottled water companies are small, family-run businesses."

Oooooh, Tom, you know, I'm a girl who is a sucker for stats, and you totally NAILED me with that sexy, sexy statistic.

Except, number one, we don't know where the stat comes from. Tom doesn't link to a source, so we don't know where his data comes from. A quick Google search reveals that this is a line that the IBWA uses A LOT. In front of Congress, on their website, on YouTube videos. But I could never find the statistic cited anywhere unrelated to the IBWA.

Number two, it's stupid. So what? Most marijuana sellers could call their business a small "family-run" affair, too.

Number three, it's deliberately misleading. 90% of bottled water companies might be small family-owned businesses, but they might only account for 1% of the market share. Meanwhile, the 10% big businesses may well account for 99% of the market share. That's like Minute Maid saying that the lemonade industry is mostly small and family-run because there are thousands of kids with lemonade stands.

So just to clear up the confusion, of the top 10 bottled water brands in 2007, one was owned by Coca Cola, one by Pepsi, and SEVEN by Nestle Waters (a division of Nestle.) Only one was privately owned: Crystal Geyser.

The point is while Tom would like us to believe that the bottled water industry is really just a bunch of mom and pop outfits, that is not the case. But even if it were the case, it's not a real justification for supporting the bottled water industry. However, it is a nice illustration of why we should always be wary when industries trot out statistics, because stats can be spun in deliberately misleading ways.

Protect your right to water. Drink tap.

Friday, October 16, 2009

California, Here I Come

I'm in California for the weekend, but will be back in New York on Monday. Have a great weekend everyone, and to my Indian readers, Happy Diwali!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Road to Copenhagen

What is the biggest issue that we face in crafting a global deal on climate change at Copenhagen?

This was a question I was asked recently, and for me, the answer was a no-brainer.


In fact, in my opinion, the greatest challenge we face at COP-15 is the same challenge we have faced ever since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

Back in '92, equity was written into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (called the UNFCCC for short. The UN loves them some acronyms.) Article 3 of the UNFCCC states:
The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Accordingly, the developed country Parties should take the lead in combating climate change and the adverse effects thereof.

This section of the convention was included at the behest of developing nations, who wanted to ensure that some concept of equity was included in the text of the convention. Perhaps the delegates at Rio assumed that they were putting the issue of equity to bed. It's in the convention, we're all agreed, and now we can move on.

Except not so much.

Run a quick news search with the words "India + Equity + Climate Change." You'll find countless articles stressing the need for equity to be central to the debate at Copenhagen. It's clear the equity debate is far from over.

But what does equity mean? What are "common but differentiated responsibilities?" What is the disagreement really about?

Well, it's about how we calculate and allocate greenhouse gas emissions. Southern countries want equity of per capita emissions. Why? Because, per capita, Southern countries emit much less than Northern countries. For example, according to 2006 data, China has surpassed the United States in carbon dioxide emissions. However, their per capita emissions are about a quarter of the US's per capita emissions. And when you take into account historical emissions, the United States is clearly responsible for a much greater proportion of historical emissions than China. (Remember carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for about a century or longer.)

Moreover, as The Centre for Science and Environment, an Indian environmental NGO has pointed out, not all emissions are alike, and that it is important to differentiate between survival emissions and luxury emissions. For example, an Indian farmer's cattle might produce the same amount of emissions as an American soccer mom's SUV. But the cattle are very likely necessary for the Indian farmer to feed his family whereas the SUV is clearly a luxury.

In addition (I told you this was complicated) many scholars are now arguing that calculating emissions produced is wrongheaded. The real question is: where are the emissions consumed? So China may produce more emissions than the United States in part because of China's large manufacturing industry. But if those manufactured goods are then consumed in the States, is it really fair to allocate those emissions to China? (Incidentally, this is why people are completely off base when they argue that they shouldn't change their consumption habits because Americans can reduce their emissions and it won't matter because of what China does. China's emissions are linked to American consumption. )

So now some of you may be reading this and thinking, "Gee, this sounds like a huge clusterf**k, but why should I care? Does it REALLY matter how emissions are allocated anyway?"

First of all, I would argue, that yes, it does matter. But really, you should care because, frankly, we will never achieve a global deal on climate change until we resolve the issue of equity. Until we agree on how to allocate emissions. Until we agree on North to South technology transfer. Until we agree on whether the North should have to fund adaptation efforts in the South. Until we realize that there is no them, only us. So yes, we should rally for a deal at Copenhagen. Participate in the International Day of Climate Action. But we need to rally mindful of what is necessary.


Shopping at the D'Ag is a Drag

I have to admit that for the past several years, I have been very spoiled by my supermarket options. When I lived in LA, I lived a few yards from a Trader Joes and a Gelsons. When I lived in London, I lived around the corner from a Waitrose (cue chorus of angels and shining lights. Waitrose is the bomb, dude.)

So I always had a good store very nearby to go to for all my staples: peanut butter, jam, pasta, etc. Sure, none of the stores had bulk bins, but they did sell less-processed food that often came in glass jars. I could find peanut butter that was made solely with peanuts. I could get jam with no high fructose corn syrup. Gelsons carried local milk in returnable glass bottles. Waitrose carried an extremely wide selection of fair trade products. While my ideal was always to do my shopping at the bulk bin store and farmers' market, a lot of time that just didn't happen. But these stores were not bad alternative options.

Now, living in New York I live further away from a grocery store than I have lived in years. And the closest store is a D'Agostino. Which means that that is where I end up shopping.

First of all, it's a little bit of a shock just how small grocery stores are in New York City. I kind of don't understand it. I mean I know it's a small island, but they seem to have plenty of room for you know, Chase bank branches on every corner of every street. They seem to have scarily large Duane Reades. So I'm not sure why all the grocery stores I've been into are so teensy tiny, but whatever.

And then, once you're in the teeny tiny D'ag, they only seem to sell processed brand name food. Peanut butter with thousands of ingredients. PICKLES with high fructose corn syrup. Produce flown in from all over the world (though I guess I should be thankful that my grocery even HAS a produce section.)

And that's when I realized that this is how Americans shop. I've been on planet hippy grocery stores for the past few years, and I'd sort of forgotten. I'd forgotten that everything is Kraft, Nestle, General Mills, Heinz, Oscar Mayer. I'd forgotten how HARD it is for the average person to avoid high fructose corn syrup. I'd forgotten what it was like to live in a world where you had two choices: Skippy or Jif.

Now, I know, I know. New York has lots of good farmers markets. And I can go there. And I should. And New York even has a Trader Joes. And I'm sure if I tell you all where I live, someone can point me in the direction of a natural food store or bulk bin store not far from me. I know there are other options and it is possible for me to find them.

But that's not going to change the fact that *most* people don't shop at natural food stores. Or bulk bin stores. Or Gelsons. Or Waitrose. Most people shop at Ralphs. Or D'Ags. Or Walmart. Or Tesco. Or Asda. Where it is almost impossible to find food without high fructose corn syrup or palm products or industrial soy and corn.

And that's the problem.

We can, as individuals, aim to make better decisions. We can try to be better consumers. But ultimately, it's not fair to blame the consumer because they shop at the grocery store next door and not the one that you have to take two subways to get to.

Now, I do believe things are slowly changing. D'Agostino carries quite a few organic products, and frankly, I know industrial organic has major issues but yes, I will take some Earthbound organic spinach and Horizon Organic Milk in a pinch. There are more whole wheat products out there, and there are some alternatives to high fructose corn syrup. But there is still a long way to go.

So, I think I'm going to keep shopping at D'Agostinos for a while. Not the least because I'm lazy and I will always take the option to buy my groceries on the walk home from work. But also because it is a good reminder for me that the rest of America does not live in my happy grocery bubble. So we have a lot of work to do.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Congrats to Elinor Ostrom

Yesterday, Indiana University political science professor Elinor Ostrom became the first woman ever to win the Nobel prize in economics. I'm not going to comment on other Nobel prizes given out this year, but I am extremely happy that Ostrom won.

Ostrom won for her work on common pool resource management wherein she challenged the "Tragedy of the Commons" theory. The "Tragedy of the Commons" essentially states that an open access resource, such as an open pasture, will inevitably degrade. This is because each individual using the pasture will act selfishly and use as much of the natural resource as possible. What's best for the individual will trump what's best for the society at large and eventually the pasture will be barren. Anyone who has had to deal with a nasty kitchen at the office can see the "Tragedy of the Commons" at work. Since the communal office kitchen belongs to everyone and no one, everyone leaves their dirty dishes in the sink, and no one bothers to clean them.

The "Tragedy of the Commons" theory led policy makers to conclude that the only way to manage common property would be to a) privatize it or b) put the property under national control. Forests all over the world were nationalized in a misguided attempt to prevent inevitable environmental degradation. But a strange thing happened when forests were placed under national control. A lot of them experienced worse environmental degradation than ever.

See, what Ostrom realized is that many common pool resources are not just open access but are unofficially managed by communities in various ways. To go back to the office kitchen, the kitchen could degrade. HR could step in and officiate over the kitchen. The company could "privatize" the kitchen and decide that actually the communal kitchen is now Sue in Accounting's kitchen. OR, the workplace as a whole might come up with informal means of managing the mess in the kitchen. For example, you might give Bob a dirty look when he leaves his dish in the sink without washing it, thus prompting Bob to wash his dish. Or you and your co-workers might decide that everyone is responsible for maintaining the kitchen once a week.

Ostrom's work demonstrates that common pool resources are managed in a number of different ways by communities, communities can often best manage these resources themselves, and that the "Tragedy of the Commons" is far from inevitable. Her contributions to the field of natural resource management are invaluable, especially now as we attempt to deal with the numerous environmental crises facing us. So congratulations, Dr. Ostrom on your well-deserved honor.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Your Questions Answered by Orangutan Outreach

Orangutan Outreach was nice enough to leave a lengthy comment answering some of your questions and comments from this blog post. I'm reproducing it here in its entirety so that everyone can see it. If anyone associated with RSPO would like to respond, I would welcome a continuation of this conversation.

The RSPO [Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil] is nothing but a greenwash. It is a great idea, but in reality it is doing absolutely nothing to affect real change on the ground. Its most powerful members are actually some of the worst offenders in terms of deforestation. They just smile and keep having meetings while the destruction continues. They make great fanfare about their desire to have a whopping 20% or so of palm oil be sustainable by 2015. This is a complete sham, because if the destruction continues unabated, the entire forest cover of Indonesia will be gone by then... with but a few token parks left over to gloss over the harsh reality.

Many well-meaning companies use the RSPO as an excuse so as to not have to deal with the ugly truth that they are knowingly choosing to use ingredients that are actually contributing to the devastation of the planet. The greenwash has been going on for a while as this Greenpeace article from nearly a year ago demonstrates. Another good report by Friends of the Earth can be read here. Only New Zealand is effectively fighting back against the palm oil industry because of its horrific ecological destruction. The problem is so acute now that even the World Bank has agreed to put a moratorium on loaning to palm oil companies. Companies such as Lush are paving the way for a palm oil-free product line.

The most ridiculous counter argument of all is that the fight against palm oil is some sort of 'Western' or 'neo-colonial' plot to hold back the 'developing world'. This is a complete farce. First of all, the poor farmers are not improving their lot in life because of palm oil. At best, they become slave laborers on mega plantations-- earning so little money that they are still living well below the poverty line. Nearly all the profits from palm oil go to wealthy investors who are as often as not Westerners themselves-- or Malays and Indonesians who are anything but 'local'. They are fat cats living far away-- often in Europe and North America. Indigenous Dayak people are duped out of their land and then forcibly removed by the corporations. Then even poorer people are brought in from outside areas to work the plantations.

No one is trying to 'deny the poor the right to develop'. In fact, the same people who are trying to stop palm oil development are always in favor of some other type of compensation for keeping the forests standing-- either through REDD, carbon trading or local investment in agricultural practices that maintain the integrity of standing forests-- such as sugar palms instead of oil palms. This investment is meant to go to local people-- not politicians and businessmen in Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur.

This is not a conspiracy to keep down any one group of people. It is a global problem that needs to be dealt with NOW. Saying "You destroyed your forests so we can destroy ours!" will simply result in a planet in which we all suffer.

Indonesia is the 3rd largest carbon emitter on earth-- after China and the US-- and it is not even an industrialized nation. All the carbon comes from deforestation and the burning of peat. This goes hand in hand with palm oil development. It is often the same companies working both sides of the deal. The cash from the timber is used to pay for the oil palm seedlings.

So even if you don't give a damn about orangutans, maybe you care about your own future? Or your children's future? If those forests go, we're all going with them... human and ape!

Visit the Orangutan Outreach website to learn more!

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Moment of Hope

It seems like so much of the news these days is scary, bad, and depressing. Health care doesn't seem to be moving forward much. There are grave doubts about our ability to get a global deal at Copenhagen. Sometimes, I feel the whole weight of the world, and I want to throw up my hands in the air, and say, "What's the point?"

And then, I see a little something that reaffirms my faith in humanity. That makes me realize the capacity of people to do good in the world. That prods me to work harder and reach for more. Because if a boy with no resources and barely any education can build a fricking WINDMILL in his village? Then surely we all can achieve so much more.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
William Kamkwamba
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Palm Products Are Killing the Orangutans

So yesterday, I went to see a really moving documentary about the rainforests in Indonesia. Without words, the film was able to convey the damage being done both to the rainforest and to the orangutans who are apparently going extinct as we speak. It was quite a remarkable piece, and as soon as they get the film online, I will be sure to link to it. After the film ended, the director and another orangutan activist spoke a little bit about the film, their efforts, and what is causing the destruction of the rainforest in Indonesia. Basically, the problems are: the timber industry and the palm industry. The timber industry destroys the rainforest for lumber, and the palm oil industry cuts down the trees for their palm plantations. Which means that palm products are killing the organgutans. And this is a problem because according to the director of Orangutan Outreach, palm products are in EVERYTHING. So while it is very difficult to live a palm-free life, "It is possible," he assured us.

So now, my sadness seeing the film was compounded with the growing horror that palm oil, sodium palmate and other palm products are now on my growing list of Things to Avoid. You know, along with:

High Fructose Corn Syrup
Industrial Corn Products
Industrial Soy Products
Factory Farm Meat
Food in Plastic
Non Fair-Trade
Non Local/Non-Organic

Is this even POSSIBLE? Actually, yes. If you bought most of your food from a farmers market and found a natural food store (preferably bulk bin), you could avoid all these items in one fell swoop. (The palm products are probably in your soap and make-up though, so watch out there.) However, if you shop at a regular old grocery store, like the D'Agostino I patronize around the corner, then I would say, no. It's just not possible. Which is again why it is important for us as individuals to change our practices, but that's not enough.

The ever controversial Crunchy Chicken posted today about whether you can eat meat and still call yourself an environmentalist. Most of the commenters simply argued that it was silly to set an extraordinarily high threshold for the label "environmentalist." Moreover, many argued that as long as you ate sustainably raised meat, that was okay.

Now, I totally agree with both these points. However, I also think it's important to point out how difficult it is for many people to find sustainably raised meat. Again, if you just shop at the major local grocery store, which most people do, a lot of times, you won't find that option. And that's a problem that we urgently need to fix.

In the mean time, avoid the palm products, fellow eco-nuts. And for more information about the orangutans, visit RedApes.org.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Yes, that's right folks. I am the proud owner of the Kindle. For a birthday present/graduation gift, my sister and mom chipped in and bought me one.

And after a month of owning it, I have to say, I heart my Kindle. I am the person who always carries around 10 books on any trip I take ... even if it's for only a day. The Kindle allows me to do just that. Everywhere I go, I have a choice of reading. Plus, it's small and light and fits into my bag. As for reading on the Kindle? Well, it feels a little weird to curl up on the couch with a small white screen, I do admit. But honestly, after a couple of pages, I get lost in my book and none of that matters anymore.

Okay, so the Kindle is great for portability. But how good is the Kindle for the environment? Well, the answer to that is of course ... it depends.

A study by the CleanTech group factored in the environmental costs of producing a Kindle, the environmental costs of producing and shipping paper books, and the environmental savings from buying e-books. The study concluded that if you replace over 22.5 new books with e-books over the lifetime of a Kindle, then the Kindle comes out on top.

This means that the Kindle is great for people who buy a lot of new books. However, I've spent the past couple years buying used books most of the time. So for me, the Kindle probably isn't the most sustainable option. While I probably will purchase over 22.5 books during my Kindle's lifecycle, I will mostly be replacing used books, not new.

But, it's still not a bad option, I am using the heck out of it, and considering my current nomadic existence, the Kindle is really the perfect gadget for me. Plus it was a gift!!

And hey, now that I have my Kindle to play with, I no longer have a burning desire to buy an iPhone.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Congressional Calls

I recently went to a panel discussing the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade legislation that was approved by the House, and is waiting ratification in the Senate.

It was a very interesting discussion, though there were parts of it that were slightly depressing. Like when ALL THREE panelists agreed that we simply could not bring the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million.

One of the panelist's comments really stuck with me. She basically was arguing that we need a stronger bill than Waxman-Markey, but the problem is, we environmentalists are getting clobbered. The other side, she said, is mobilizing, they are calling their Senators and Representatives. But for whatever reason, environmentally minded people are not doing a good enough job in mobilizing.

This kind of surprised me a little, but maybe it shouldn't have. After all, I haven't called my Senators about Waxman-Markey. I haven't called them, because, well, I have my reservations and disagreements with the bill. But what I realized, from this woman's comments, is that, even if I have reservations with the bill, I need to be calling my congresspeople to simply affirm my support for SOME climate change bill.

Here's the thing. The next two months leading up to Copenhagen are crucial. We cannot afford to let them pass without making our voices heard to our elected leaders. It is crucial that our leaders understand that there is a sizable portion of the electorate who wants a global deal for climate change at Copenhagen. That we care. That this matters.

So, I'm going to start by writing my Senators. I'm going to write about Waxman-Markey. I'm going to write about my reservations, and I'm going to write about the things that I feel are important.

And then I'm going to call my Senators to follow up.

And then I'm going to write the White House.

Because yeah, I have my misgivings about Waxman-Markey, but I've realized that the point isn't Waxman-Markey and the text of that specific bill. The point is that I need to register my support for environmental legislation.

What about you? Have you called your elected reprentatives about climate change?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Oops, I Did It Again

Oops, I did it again.
I failed with my blog.
Got lost with real life.
Oh, reader, reader.
Oops I screwed up a tad
But please don't get mad.
I know I'm not that innocent.

More regular posting schedule coming your way this month. I swear ... by the moon and the stars in the sky. Okay, I'll shut up now.