Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: January 2013

I wrote most of this between Christmas and New Years but hadn’t  the chance to post it. I’ve added some things to it over the last few days.

Tragedy

The carnage at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut cannot be condemned strongly enough. I believe in the second amendment, but I do not think civilians should be able to buy an assault rifle at Walmart. I also do not think that any civilian needs to be able to fire 100 rounds of ammunition in two minutes. To say that such weapons are valid for hunting or home defense is ludicrous.

I also think there should be greater access to mental health services. We need to talk about this as a society. Why is it easier to buy a gun than it is to see a therapist? My personal opinion is, aside from an overdeveloped shame reflex for anything related to a malfunctioning mind, that health insurance companies may bear some responsibility for this. They really hate psych cases because the care and treatment of an injured human mind is a costly and time consuming process. They hate therapists and do everything they can to influence the care-giving process even to the point of dictating treatment. They’d rather doctors dispense drugs and send people on their way after a cursory fifteen minute visit. Easier to quantify. Easier to bill.

It is my most fervent prayer that some good comes out of this tragedy. Something tangible that moves us forward instead of constantly marching in place to the tune of those who bankroll our elected officials. This is the season of hope and against the desperate pain playing out across the news right now, I hold up the hope that we will rise to embrace the better angels of our nature.

Triumph:

A fuel that actually removes carbon from the air. That’s a game changer. Imagine filling the tank of your car and driving it knowing that what you’re burning actually removed greenhouse gases from the air.

It works like this: they are using genetically engineered algae to manufacture a fuel which can be burned in existing internal combustion engines. Basically a form of gasoline. But here’s the kicker: the process by which the algae grows and reproduces and produces this fuel removes tremendous amounts of ghgs from the air. Much more than can be put back into the air by burning the fuel. It’s a fantastic idea and one that if it can be scaled up for production, would be a game changer.

Now, there will be people who say it’ll harm car engines and all that but if you look really hard you might find that these people are shills for the fossil fuel industry. Their going to fight tooth and nail against it because their business model is to burn every drop of recoverable oil in the ground. A business model that virtually guarantees that much of the life on this planet will go extinct.

Knowing what the science says it never ceases to amaze me how they can be so short sighted.

How can we fight for such a fuel and against the fossil fuel industry? Vote with our wallets. If it makes it to market, buy only the fuel that will help ensure we leave a livable climate to our children and grandchildren. Simple. Effective. A solution.

There are more solutions coming around. The electric cars made by Tesla are putting the automotive world on notice. The Tesla Sedan was unanimously voted 2012 car of the year by motor trend. I’ve seen them up close. They are amazing cars. Right now they are pricy, but Tesla is working with Toyota on an affordable model. An electric Toyota RAV4.  More cars without exhaust equals cleaner air. And if you live in an area where your electric power is generated by nuclear, wind or solar, you’re driving almost emission free!

More and more wind and solar power is coming online every day. Here in the US, solar industry grew at 13.5% last year.  In Germany, Europe’s economic powerhouse, 25% of their electric power is generated by renewable energy. When they quit nukes after Fukushima everyone thought they might go back to coal, but they didn’t. They recognize the urgency of our need for clean renewable energy. They are on their way to meeting their goal of 80% of their power generated by renewables by 2050. They understand, far better than our politicians, the need to fix the mess we’re in.

Why are ours so stupid?

Ricardo Radulovich of the University of Costa Rica is floating the idea of Growing crops on rafts floating on freshwater lakes.  (sorry for the pun) There’s an interesting idea . There would be water for the crops and it would probably slow evaporation of the lake water at the same time. I guess it would depend on the size of the rafts. They’re looking at this for Africa and I guess anywhere else where they have trouble growing food due to lack of water.

Anyway, more soon.

MAD