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It’s going to be a little quiet around here during the next couple of days as most of the staff heads to the hills outside Stowe for a two-day retreat. That makes it a perfect time to dump my virtual in-box out on the table and see what seems post-worthy.
A new survey finds that Americans are getting ahead of the political curve when it comes to the climate crisis. 62% think that we’re headed for major trouble if we don’t act decisively and soon. Encouragingly, 40% say a presidential candidates position on this burning issue will be extremely or very important to them. Still, we apparently aren’t quite ready to put our money where our viewpoints are. 67% are against carbon taxes on gasoline and 71% are against taxes on electricity. In other words, we don’t want to pay the price of global warming but we don’t want to pay the price of avoiding it either.
But here’s the thing: with a little investment, we could all cool out. According to a study released last week by the alarmingly named National Security Space Office, we have the technology necessary to build a bunch of giant solar space things that could collect enough energy from the sun every year to supply the entire world with all the power it could squander seven times over. The energy would be beamed back to earth via lasers or microwaves (will we also be able to set our bowls of ramen noodles outside for convenient heating?). Of course, we’d have to build these orbiting juicers and get them up there, but with crude oil closing in on $100 a barrel, giant solar space things are actually getting cost-competitive. Something tells me that if you (ahem) taxed petroleum and other energy sources to account for the environmental damage they cause, we’d be launching them even as I write.
Speaking of heat, Apple Computer is taking some for it’s admittedly fabulous iPhone. Seems that in order to download the new Springsteen album while searching for decent nearby Thai takeout while e-mailing your mother, calling your brother, and taking a photo of the auto accident you just iCaused, Apple thinks you need brominated flame retardants and phthalates, two toxicological bad boys that Greenpeace found hiding inside the iPhone when it disassembled one for study. Really no excuse since other cell phone makers have figured out how to do without. C’mon Apple. I love your toys. How come you can’t be as smart about designing their insides as you are about designing their outsides?
Here’s some toxicity of a different kind: In June, the EPA proposed new limits are air pollutants. You’d think that would be good news. But the agency ignored the unanimous opinion of its 23-member scientific advisory panel not to mention a zillion doctors and experts nationwide, all of whom said the agency should adopt much stronger new standards than those actually suggested. Adopt the Sky has launched a worthwhile on-line protest. Adopt a square mile of sky over a randomly selected state (too bad we can’t pick the sky of our choice) and add your signature to a petition protesting what amounts to a brazenly shameless free pass to polluters courtesy of your pals at the Corporational Protection Agency. Check out the cool home page with all the floating clouds and bubbles. Trippy, man. Almost as far-out as the colors I see during my particulate-inspired coughing fits. Please pass the dextromethorphan