Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Things Worth Reading

David Roberts - Grist's best and most thoughtful writer, in my opinion - considers whether it's wise to "rebrand" environmentalism as yet another form of hip, self-absorbed consumerism, and comes down on the side of the angels:

I have no objection to short-term tactical considerations, appealing to people's base interests. But we should never stop trying to convince people that they've been lied to about what they are and what they can be. The ties of place and family and community are not annoyances to be escaped when finances permit. They are the very stuff of being human.
Also at Grist, John McGrath notes the serious problems with carbon sequestration, and uses them to smash the cornucopian halfwit Marc Jaccard (author of Sustainable Fossil Fuels) into his constituent atoms:
While he [Jaccard] disdains the idea of a (perhaps) more expensive, (perhaps) less efficient renewable-energy future because it would require rebuilding the entire energy infrastructure of western civilization, he neglects the fact that his ideas do the exact same thing. Modern industry is not built to capture and sequester CO2, and in large part it simply cannot be. Moreover, the policies that would make oil and coal cleaner and more efficient are being fought tooth and nail by the very industries Jaccard is championing....

Or to put it more bluntly: Our society is currently reaping the consequences of our fossil fuel addiction, flopping around on a bathroom floor with a syringe in our arm and a dirty spoon nearby. And Jaccard thinks all we need is a mop.
In reality, of course, our fossil fuel addiction calls for a mop and plenty of thermobaric weapons:
As with the SMAW-NE, the new thermobaric grenade has received very little publicity in spite of its effectiveness. (The Russians also sell a multi-shot grenade launcher with thermobaric rounds for urban combat.)
Read the whole thing at Defense Tech, keeping in mind the relaxed screening techniques currently favored by our military recruiters.

BLDGBLOG reports on the "biological invasion" of Antarctica:
[W]e do the migratory work of other species for them. We take them with us. Importations of even the smallest microbe can sufficiently alter an ecological niche, opening it up to further changes – then compounding over time into whole new landscapes. What would happen naturally is accelerated: a thousand years in a decade.

It shouldn't surprise us, then, to learn that strange things are afoot in Antarctica.
The Seattle Times describes a different type of biological invasion, stemming from the fact that it's often cheaper to fly to another country for medical treatment than to get it in the United States.
"The hospitals have a monopoly; they don't care, because where else are patients going to go?" said Bonnie Blackley, benefits director. "Well, we are going to go to India."
As long as the fossil fuels hold out, anyway.

No comments: