Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

Category: environment

San Francisco Sewers

San Francisco has pushed for low flow toilets to reduce water usage in the city. The results have been less than desirable. Many will be quick to draw their own conclusions from the report, and all sides will use this as ammunition. That is unfortunately going to distract from the larger problem.

The brushfire argument will center on low-flow toilets not working with the sewer system in place, and therefore should not be used.

The real issue is the sewer system!

San Francisco’s sewer system is over a hundred years old. It’s been operating well beyond its lifespan, and well beyond its capacity, with patch after patch after patch to try and make it work. It’s old, well past its usefulness.

The problem isn’t low flow toilets, or what will be needed to clean the sewers in San Francisco. The whole system needs scrapped and a new one installed.

We’re no longer at a point where temporary measures, fixes, or stop-gaps can be used. Our infrastructure needs to be reinvented.



Wolves To Be Delisted?

This is an old fight, but a new round is occurring.

Since Roosevelt established the National Parks, the debate between state and federal management of ¬†wilderness areas has been ongoing. Personally, federal management is superior in my mind. It’s insulated from smaller, extremist groups on all sides and federal management involves local personnel. The individuals tasked with enforcing federal laws, are locally based. In my mind, the National Parks (and NASA) are the two best examples of government that works.

The delisting of wolves, is worth a closer look.

Wolves as an apex predator, have a natural check to their population numbers. The availability of prey. Unlike humans: wolves and other animals will reach a natural balance dictated by available resources. It’s impossible for wolves to “overpopulate” an area, unless they’ve been forced together through the encroachment of man.

In regards to elk and livestock dangers. The elk line is a new twist, and a clever bit of rhetoric. Except elk are a protected species as well. Wolves are being delisted because they’re a “threat” to certain constituents in certain areas. It will only be a matter of time until elk are a “threat.” If livestock are sick enough to be taken down by wolves or other predators, are they really healthy enough to be sold as meat? Doubtful. Furthermore, coyotes supposedly are a threat to livestock as well, as are buffalo.

Wolves control coyote populations and buffalo populations. Either the livestock industry is confused about what a threat is, or they’re lying.

If wolves were delisted; there will need to be a large, federally protected corridor immediately put into place. It would connect the Rockies, and other state and national parks, and place all of the wildlife therein under federal regulation. Being delisted from the Endangered Species list, means that our intervention was successful. We helped bring a dying species back to life. That doesn’t mean protections should be removed. A large territory of mixed use, federally overseen corridors would ensure the ongoing health of many species, including livestock.

It’s a victory to delist wolves and other species and also a loss. To delist without any forethought or safeguards means simply: Delisted species will be relisted.


Is the hot spot for tech and the environment. I have serious, serious issues with that.

Tech-wise: Products are developed that constantly decrease productivity. Sure, plenty of things occur, but not much is actually done on an iPhone. It’s like using a rocking chair; you’re moving, but you’re not getting anywhere. Think if Windows had been developed in Indiana, a state of common-sense/no nonsense thinking. Windows 3.1 would have been spectacularly productive. And Millennium would never have been spawned.

Environment-wise: Most of SoCal is utterly unsustainable for the number of residents. Yet, they’re championing solar power and electric cars. Meanwhile most of their water and electricity is shipped in from out of state. In fact, the water table keeps shrinking and shrinking.

Don’t get me wrong I’ve enjoyed my visits in California, but it is a textbook example of our current schizophrenic society. A completely unsustainable model that espouses the need for environmental responsibility.


Winter is a time to engage in labor. A chance to see the world in its cold, naked beauty.

Tonight is the first snow flurry in Ohio. I hope it won’t be the last.

There’s something about the cold. It magnifies sounds, creates a sense of isolation. In that isolation, for me, there’s a sense of renewal and refreshment.

Come February, I’ll be a miserable as everyone else I’m sure. But until then, let’s enjoy the changing of the seasons.

And hot chocolate!

Fear And Action

Halloween is coming very quickly. Does anyone remember the “razor blade” scare? Or the poisoned caramel apples? Or any of the other scares?

Those all got news coverage, and yet not a proven case.

No one ever found a razor blade in a candy bar, nor was there ever a poisoned caramel apple.

Two instances of action based on needless and unfounded fear.

Yet, when presented with enough evidence to warrant some action, we’re unable to do anything.

Look at climate change, CO2 emissions, renewable energy, drained oil reserves, MPG and efficiency standards.

All have reasonable amounts of evidence to warrant some action. And yet:


Nothing. No action. Just bickering. Politicking. Fighting.

Ghandian Engineering


“When you wish to achieve results that have not been achieved before, it is an unwise fancy to think that they can be achieved by using methods that have been used before”

Sir Francis Bacon.


There’s a move to restore Detroit. I have friends from Detroit, and I love the tenacity of much of the city’s denizens. However, we can not restore Detroit to it’s hey day. The golden years of the automobile have passed on. What we can and should do: is to rebuild Detroit. Remove what is no longer used, what no longer works, what is no longer relevant; and rebuild.

Compare Akron to Toledo. Toledo is stuck, trying to restore itself. Akron is seeking to rebuild itself.

What does this mean for the environment, for sustainability? Our current society and culture is no longer feasible. We have two paths to choose from. One will lead to the downfall of America, the other towards a new America.

We are the land of change. Every new generation has left its mark, for good or bad. But we’re at the crux of our society. And the decision before us is not “save the planet or not” it is “do we continue to exist or not.” Will we continue to be relevant, or will we slide like every other great nation, empire, city-state that has come before us?

What the sustainability movement is about, is a better way of doing things. Getting more, from less, for more people. Why aren’t we doing this?

Cost? Costs have risen every year. We might as well derive some benefit from higher costs.

Jobs? Jobs are cut and lost every year. Look at Detroit to see that.

Will it work? When US scientists set off the first atomic bomb, there was a real belief that it would trigger a chain reaction that would ignite the whole planet. Decisions are made, and put into effect without knowing the full consequences every day.

Is it entirely true? Nothing is entirely true, nor can anything be verified beyond all doubt. Define and measure gravity. We know it exists, we know it has to do with mass, but we can’t quite put all the pieces together. Try and prove evolution. Try and prove almost any scientific theory widely believed to be “true.” It’s almost impossible. We operate on partial information every day, and we’ve done incredibly well for ourselves over the thousands of years that humanity has been in existence.

It is time for us to clean house. To sweep out the old, and attempt the new. The old ways of doing things were wonderful, and marvelous, and should be retired with reverence and respect (mostly). However, it is time to implement the next phase in humanity.

Western Style Waste In Africa

The country of Tanzania is considering a road that could effectively end the Serengeti as we know it. And for no reason whatsoever.

We’ve done it. We’ve finally gotten Western Civilization to take route in Africa. After this monstrosity, next will be MTV, Prozac, teen bullying deaths, and workplace depression.

A few things need to be understood. The cause of Africa’s problems today can be linked directly to tribal differences aggravated by European/western interference. French and Belgian colonists even irreversibly changed the ecosystems of equatorial Africa, hundreds of years before the words “global” and “warming” were put together. Africa and South America’s systemic corruption, violence, pollution, and more are the results of Western meddling.

Don’t believe litter is a serious issue? Look at the Amazon river around major cities. Like your tuna? Poaching and bushmeat sales increase exponential in the wake of international fishing fleets operating off the coast of Africa. Want to see the cost, in human lives, of mining? Visit Sierra Leone.

Now an idea for a road is being considered that has no real purpose or merit, and is winning out over a better plan with less environmental impact, less cost, and will have more positive social/economic impact.

We’ve finally done it! Africa has been modernized.

Isolated Incidents?

I posted a quick link yesterday on tumblr, and I’d like to expand on it. Love Canal, Picher, Centralia (the real life inspiration for “Silent Hill”), River Valley, The Yangtze, and other similar situations.

Everyone acknowledges how dreadful these events were, how sad, how terrible, how wrong. And yet, that’s it. The causes of these events are all similar: the desire to cut costs, make money, avoid responsibility. All to fuel our desire for cheap goods and services.

We don’t want to admit that this is a systemic problem because the guilty party is us.

Look at the outcry against BP, but note that our driving habits didn’t change.

Look at the backlash against violent video games. Before that it was television, then movies, then music. As opposed to actually saying “Our current society is detrimental to families.”

These aren’t isolated incidents. These are symptoms that something is violently wrong with our current society. It’s time to change.

A Few Thoughts That Should Come Together

I’ve got “Factory Floor” on television right now. One of the clips is about plywood.

The quote was “because it’s man made it’s stronger than any tree.”

I had to think for a second about that statement, and the answer is yes; We can often engineer some specific characteristic to be better than what is found naturally.

Obviously then, we can improve on what is found in the world around us. Meaning we can improve the world around us.

Secondly, this post. Note further down, the ideas on taste and bad culture. Currently, our society as a whole is operating with this slow moving, bad taste culture.

The good ideas are either not being implemented, being poorly implemented, or only implemented in certain areas/sectors. What good changes that are implemented in one area (say MPG standards) are ignored or counteracted within other circles (Oil Production).

Societal costs raise every year. Yes some of the environmental changes will also raise prices. However the trade off (better city planning, more jobs, cleaner energy, more fuel efficient cars and vehicles, proper mass transit, a more integrated culture, etc) is worth it.


But again, prices will go up regardless of what we do. We might as well do the right thing.

Plans For Today

Today I have 2-3 goals depending on my level of energy and dedication.

Goal 1:

Replace the flex-plate on the BMW.

Goal 2:

Clean the shed.

Goal 3:

Finish the speedometer/gauge assembly for the Death Machine, Black Lightning.

Why are these goals being posted on my (semi)professional blog?

Simply because I can. Seriously though, the BMW is a 528e. One of the most economical vehicles still on the road today. Once I replace the flex-plate, I can start getting 30-35 mpg driving all over town again.

The shed is becoming home to my next venture: taking the Conservance philosophy and style, and applying them to motorcycles and whatever else I damn well feel like. A good cleaning and reorganizing will make my life so much easier. It also will be nice to have a place out of the elements to work on the motorcycle.

Once I finish the gauges, the bike is effectively done. The last major hurdle will be the BMV inspection.

If all goes well: two stylish and efficient vehicles will be ready for the open road. Huzzah!

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