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Cures and Their Conundrums: Eco Silver Bullets Are Hard to Come By

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Author: the Inkslinger

Silver BulletEverybody loves a silver bullet. Load the chamber, pull the trigger, stop the beast in its tracks. These days the biggest beast we’re facing is unquestionably climate change.

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Good Night & Have a Pleasant Tomorrow…

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Author: the Inkslinger

So remember how I said yesterday I had a mountain of stuff to dig through? I did. Until my e-mail crashed this afternoon precipitating two hours of empty folders where there should have been big piles of blog fodder and triggering a tide of rising panic that threatened my cranium with explosive decompression. It’s all better now thanks to my friend Google and some laborious repairs. But it does make you think…

When I moved this summer to my new house, I found the now ancient memo I wrote to Jeffrey asking permission to spend $30 a month on an internet subscription and an e-mail address for the company. It’s dated June 15, 1995. In it I carefully explain what the World Wide Web is and how it all works and how it’s maybe going to be the Next Big Thing and maybe we could even someday sell our stuff on it. A couple of people were already via these things called “web sites. The idea seemed to have potential, I wrote.

How far we’ve come in just a decade. Now e-mail is a necessity. The net is all. And life without either, as I found out this afternoon, is a bleak nightmare of technological despair in which I don’t really remember how we functioned. We stream. We download. We play. We blog. And we report newly rescued news items like these…

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Does Local Equal Greener?

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Truth is, I’ve always accepted the logic that local is best when it comes to produce. And local, organic is always even better. Andrew Martin, one of the New York Times best writers, takes a thoughtful step back
to examine those assumptions.

Do the strawberries that are transported in the back of a pick-up truck from three hours outside of San Francisco to a downtown farmers market have a smaller carbon footprint than strawberries that travel by tractor-trailer to a Chicago supermarket? Not necessarily. As with most things in life, the simple rules we crave do not necessarily hold up to scrutiny.

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Film of the September Global Warming Protest

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Greenpeace staged a protest against the Bush Administration’s meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change in late September.

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David Gershon and the Low Carbon Diet

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We are working with David Gershon's program (presented in his book Low Carbon Diet) at 7th Gen and in local Verm

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Big Think

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Author: the Inkslinger

See…this is what I’m talking about. This is what I meant in my post of the other day. We gotta think big and we gotta think outside the box. That’s how we’re going to get where we need to go with this whole wacky climate crisis thing. Screwing in a couple of compact fluorescents and making our next car a Prius, while good and necessary and satisfying and righteous, aren’t going to cut the melt-down mustard. Not meaningfully. Not ultimately. Not when anybody who knows anything about climate and atmospheric science says we need a 90% reduction in global carbon output in the next 20 years tops or we’re toast. For that we need to dream and scheme and not just think outside the box but take the box out behind the barn, smash it to splinters, and torch whatever’s left.

We need big thinking. Huge ideas. Like Ausra's. Think of it. Ohmigod it’s glorious. It shines and beckons like a heated swimming pool in January surrounded by scantily-clad supermodels in the gender of your choice and filled with 25-year old single malt scotch. It makes me quiver in ways and places that are illegal if not at least frowned upon in certain jurisdictions below the Mason-Dixon line. Virtually every single kilowatt hour every single man, woman and child in the entire U.S. of A could possibly need to do every single thing they want to do from watch Admiral Adama find Earth on 60" of pure plasma glory to make blueberry scones for breakfast, all produced without emitting so much as a single atom of carbon using little more than bunch of mirrors on a forsaken slice of desert scrub just 92 miles square, a plot of land that represents a mere 10% of all the Bureau of Land Management holdings in just Nevada, upon which would happily and sustainably sit (and this is the best and most uncontrollable giggle-inducing part) technology we’ve got today.

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Thinking Outside the Tube

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Author: the Inkslinger

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” --Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

When it comes to the big global environment problems like the climate crisis, I’m pretty much in the camp that believes we can think our way out of it. That human ingenuity is going to beat the problem. Certainly some personal changes are required, some level of action, and a good amount of making do with less is going to be a part of the solution, but I think that the collective hive mind is going to figure out a way for us to do that without really noticing much that we are.

It’s sort of like the front loading washing machines my wife and I have been looking at. They use a whole lot less water and energy, but you don’t really notice they do. Your clothes are apparently just as clean. The only difference that’s felt is in your utility bills and your carbon footprint.

So it’s not like we can’t have appliances doing the dirty work for us. We just have to invent really smart ones so that we can enjoy these and other things without generating any negative environmental impacts in the process, and then we have to share these efficiencies with the rest of the world so that the have-nots can enjoy the good life, too. We don’t have to all go off and live in caves to beat climate disruption. We don’t have stop driving cars. We don’t have forgo mangos at the supermarket in January. We just have to get super smart about how we do all these things and figure out how to live well while also living intelligently and regeneratively.

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Out of the In-Box

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Author: the Inkslinger

Time to empty out the in-box and see what riches the gods of information have deigned to deliver unto us upon the quivering wires…

Carbon labeling is coming to a product near you. And about time, too. We label for just about everything else under the sun but until now we’ve overlooked what’s by far the biggest elephant in the better shopping room. It’ll take ahwile for these labels to become ubiquitous, but this pachyderm is loose at last and there’s no closing the barn doors now.

By way of Treehugger comes this cool list from Coop America of 21 things you didn’t know you could recycle that’s definitely worth recycling here.

As a big tiger fan (and I’m not talking baseball), I’m encouraged by the news from India that a bunch of these big beautiful cats have just been discovered
in a mountainous jungle region some 30 years after experts thought they’d gone locally extinct. Proof that when we have the wisdom to leave well enough alone, Nature is quick to bounce back.

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Energy Changes

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Author: the Inkslinger

Almost three weeks ago, my family moved to a new home. As much as I love it here, I’m finding that I’m missing our old home’s energy systems, which were fairly sustainable from a climate crisis perspective. Over the course of our decade-long occupancy, we had gradually replaced all the existing appliances with new EnergyStar models, and all the lighting with CF sources. We phased out our furnace and learned how to heat entirely with wood, a renewable local resource we burned in a catalytic stove. Our hot water came from electricity, which in Vermont comes largely from our one nuke plant and from Hydro-Quebec. (I know both of those sources have some serious environmental problems associated with them, problems for which I’ve actually been arrested protesting, but from a carbon POV, they’re alright.).

Now we do it all with oil. And because the new place has no basement, the furnace sits in a utility room directly behind my home office. Whenever anyone runs the hot water longer than 15 seconds or so, I hear it kick it in and burn, burn, burn. The carbon counter in my head starts spinning. It’s driving me completely nuts, and the heat’s not even on yet. Combine that with old appliances, too much track lighting, and a wood stove so ancient it looks like Ben Franklin himself built it, and I’ve suddenly got an energy problem.

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