Conservance

Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

One Great Step…Backwards?


I was going to post this as a comment in response to this article, but then it grew too lengthy.

I understand that written language is nothing more than arbitrary symbols for sounds we make; but I don’t know if reducing the written language to four shapes and colors is a step forward.

Snapkeys works for us as a means towards an end, but only because we were forced to learn the entire process. But it has the same danger a calculator has. That is: I can skip the process to get to the end result and will never truly understand what has occurred.

Reading and writing is a completely abstract, and unnatural, process. A process that as we learn and understand that process, shifts how we think and view the world around us. The learned behavior to sit still, take in information, develop it and then comprehend it, is an incredibly important skill. That is what “reading” actually is. It becomes a spring-board for other, deeper forms of abstract thought including (I believe) empathy. Neil Postman even attributes the development of “childhood” to reading, and the subsequent “loss” of it to the rise of television.

As we advance technologically we need to still understand the processes that we’ve outsourced. In fact the more disconnected we become from the processes, the more we need to understand what exactly is occurring. Not out of fear of some Skynet created apocalypse, but to address the moment when that technology doesn’t exist. And furthermore to better use it. I can use Facebook effectively because I learned how to communicate and interact face to face, first.


Things have been incredibly busy as of late. Hence the lack of posts.

Quick summation of where my time has been going:

The econo-bike buildoff:

I highly recommend checking it out. If you’ll be in the Columbus area, stop by!

My personal project bike:

This has been taking up a big portion of my time in the evenings and my days off. The big one being all the cleaning the frame needed. It was rusted. RUSTED.

Spring At The Paddy:

Riding season is beginning. What little energy I had at the end of the day, is now gone. Gone to customers needing everything for their ride.

 

Disconnect


People dislike government.

It’s not hard to understand why. While politicians talk about grand plans and high ideals, the day to day interaction with “Government” is terrible.

No matter how great a program might be, the awful service at the BMV, the perceived laziness of road crews, potholes, and the IRS; influence a persons overall opinion of government.

There’s a disconnect. Whether it’s a Democrat or Republican controlled government, the lines at the BMV stay long and slow.

The same thing has been occurring in the environmental movement. Well intentioned teachers taught about the destruction of the rain forest and its endangered species to young students (myself included). Those students developed a disconnect between environmental issues and their own backyards.

Deforestation only happens in the rain forest, endangered species only live in exotic locales.

What’s worse; the debate has moved into the ethereal realm of global climate change or into the visceral realm of whaling.

Like politicians failing to improve the daily interactions with government, the environmental movement has failed to connect people to the environment outside their doors.

There are endangered or threatened species in every state and every country in the world. In some areas, the extinction is so great that native species are considered foreign invaders and vice versa.

“Saving the Planet” starts in the backyard.

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.

 

Reaganomics


Something caught my ear on television today. There’s a special on Reagan’s presidency.

What caught my ear was one of Reagan’s cabinet members mentioned that he often disagreed and argued with Reagan in regards to the USSR’s economics.

What this means is that groupthink was avoided.

That is important. In one of the most heavy-handed presidencies, what Reagan wanted; Reagan got, there was actual discussion and debate.

Contrast this with the current rhetoric in the environmental “movements.” There is no discussion, there is no debate, and there certainly is no dynamic course of action.

It’s all rhetoric. The few people making inroads are the producers of “The Cove” who are slowly stopping the Japanese whaling and dolphin killing. And some automotive makers, who are making great strides in environmentally friendly automobiles.

Meanwhile, various groups with various agendas are still “protesting” and demanding “change.” What ends up occurring is discordant noise.

Intentionality


There are two grocery stores in the area around my parents house. Dad chooses to go to the poorer neighborhood and purchase his groceries.

The selection isn’t as good, the workers aren’t as friendly, the store isn’t as trendy as others. Why go there?

Because it’s the last grocery store in that neighborhood; if it closes, healthy food is no longer an option for hundreds of people.

It’s less convenient at times, but the importance of that small decision can not be measured.

(Yes, this is a metaphor.)

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.

Egypt And The Environmental Movement


If you live under a rock, you can be excused for not realizing that Egypt has deposed their President, and are in the process of building a new country.

Yesterday I received an email from an “environmental” group, the Energy Action Coalition. In no uncertain terms, this was the worst example of what the environmental movement has become.

There’s a spontaneous revolution in Egypt, that was born out of years of anger and frustration. And has resulted in action and change. Serious, historic change.

And then there’s the Power Shift, 2011… A highly planned “protest” that will be big on hype, and movement, but no change.  Like screaming at people, while sitting in a rocking chair. There’s motion, but no movement.

One resulted in real, legitimate change. The other will result in college kids getting drunk, and feeling good about themselves.

Which is going to be remembered in 50 years? I suppose I should give the Energy Action Coalition some respect for having the audacity to try and compare their “protest” with that of Egypt.

Tolerance Doesn’t Work


Tolerance is the cheap imitation of Equality. It is a lie designed to calm and pacify.

A good man cannot tolerate wickedness, just as darkness cannot tolerate light. Tolerance leads to inaction, inaction leads to weakness and weakness leads to injustice.

Tolerance is disrespectful. I can’t accept that your views are different from mine, therefore I’ll tolerate them. How childish; how selfish.

If I respect you as a person, then I will respect your opinion; even if I disagree with it. If I believe you are wrong, I will say something. Ask something. Pursue the issue further. Maybe you aren’t wrong; maybe I am. If I merely tolerate your “wrongness” then we will never learn who or what is right.

There are rights and wrongs. Constants and laws. Good and Evil. As we learn more, we have a fuller understanding of what those absolutes are. At one time, tomatoes were poisonous. We’ve since learned it was a reaction of the acidity in tomatoes with the lead soldering used in pewter plates, bowls, and mugs. Tomatoes weren’t poisonous, but the lead was.

What does this have to do with the environment? Everything!

We need to understand, that the modus operandi of our contemporary world has only been in play for fifty to one hundred years. We’re learning what is wrong or obsolete, and we need to implement what is right.

We can no longer tolerate the wrongness that exists in our societies. We must respect individuals, and begin to address the serious issues we face. To cut away what is wrong (from both sides of the argument), and add what is right.

Slap-dash


The only thing worse than a job unfinished, is one finished poorly.

 

It’s better to have never started.

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