This brings to mind the old late-night gag about competition between blockbuster films of yore: Jaws 2, Capricorn 1. Didn’t say it was a good joke. (Herrrrrrre’s Johnny!)
But energy security and climate goals, too, do not and should not be considered as competing interests. The framing represents implicit bias in favor of fossil fuels and needs to be recognized as such. Why isn’t wind or solar-generated energy over [your country name here] considered homegrown? Because it is.
Is renewable energy, in fact, more supportive of energy security? Depends on storage, transmission systems, the amount of harvestable sun or wind available. But so too fossil-derived fuels depend upon availability, refining capacity, and environmental regulations, not to mention military conflicts necessary to secure said security.
Also too, it is quite supportable to see fossil fuel dependence itself as a security vulnerability, as it most assuredly is in even many non-dramatic scenarios. This addendum only informs the debate further in the direction of truth – again, this is all we’re trying to do, see things for what they are. The global energy supply chain is ludicrously rickety, in need of constant expensive propping up [see wars, many through most]. It is THE sector most in need of innovation if not wholesale change. But worms are starting to turn.
And as we continue to depend on the media to inform us about real vs fake debates – whether about Taylor Swift or energy security (probably an actual NPR segue), we must remain critical about framing, context and terms of such debates.
Among the great things about college radio from back in the day – King Missile, Bong Water, a cast of many – ours played recordings of MLK sermons every Sunday morning. It was a great thing to catch, then remember and wait for, “Martin Luther King Speaks,” brought to you by the SCLC. It was Sunday, after all.
I can’t find where these are available, but they have to be. iTunes has a dozen or so formal speeches, many are familiar and all are great. Here’s one he delivered as the keynote speaker of “Religious Witness for Human Dignity, “a multi-faith event held at the Los Angeles Coliseum on May 31, 1964.
But the sermons are more everyday/week Dr. King, and you hear the anger and impatience, along the savant perceptions and legendary cadence. If you can find them, give them a listen. We could definitely use them now.
In this time of solemn reflection, and perhaps significantly more time to read than we might normally, one of the works I’ve turned to is a book I’ve long known about but never read. Thanks to Mrs. Green for remedying the latter, and to Ms. Jacobs for bringing the het-up light:
There is nothing economically or socially inevitable about either the decay of old cities or the fresh-minted decadence of the new unurban urbanization. On the contrary, no other aspect of our economy and society has been more purposefully manipulated for a full quarter of a century to achieve precisely what we are getting. Extraordinary governmental financial incentives have been required to achieve this degree of monotony, sterility, and vulgarity. Decades of preaching, writing and exhorting by experts have gone into convincing us and our legislators that mush like this must be good for us, as long as it comes bedded with grass.
Automobiles are often conveniently tagged as the villains responsible for the ills of cities and the disappointments and futilities of city planning. But the destructive effects of automobiles are much less a cause than a symptom of our incompetence at city building. Of course planners, including the highwaymen with fabulous sums of money and enormous power at their disposal, are at a loss to make cities and automobiles compatible with one another. They do not know what to do with automobile sin cities because they do not know how to plan for workable and viable cities anyhow – with or without automobiles.
That’s just from the introduction, but any two paragraphs pulled from the first 86 pages so far would be at least as insightful – originally published in 1958. Her majestic explanation of the importance of sidewalks to civilization is worth the fare alone.
Do yourself us all a favor and pick up those books you have kept around for a reason. Stay in, be well.
Image from the author’s kitchen table today.
Post title, with apologies to the late Mr. Silverstein.
Cassava root, corn, soybean, and hemp could re-make sustainable packaging and are all in fact proving to be promising feed stocks for new containers. Scientists are exploring, companies are investing, and new factories are cranking out product. And yet a major caveat remains, one what hints at the actual problem of the problem:
Containers made of NOT PLASTIC are more expensive, but they are better for the environment.
Seeing the environment on its own terms, do we do anything beneficial – do we help, do harm, are we ambivalent? It seems clear and simple that some among us might choose to help, to maybe even do the right thing.
Seeing our relative individual wealth on its own terms, it also seems rather obvious that we would only and ever choose to spend the least to get the most, consequences be damned. This is our actual problem.
The video at the link clearly lays out the plastics problem – especially the ‘tossed away minutes after use’ issue. But the selfish short-shortsightedness of this tendency requires a deliberate decision on our part, a habit of decision-making, really. Is it a difficult choice to use a more expensive, inferior product because it’s better for the earth? It’s a choice we don’t want to talk about – unless we’re complaining about the government. It’s also a choice we don’t want to make, definitely. But one we are making by not making all the same, which in turn makes everything else more difficult and more expensive, not to mention less fishy and more polluted.
So the worthwhile efforts of clever companies aside, there are far more options for replacing [your] plastic, and not all of them have to do with new plant-based bowls for your to-go salad.
The Afghan poppy crop could be repurposed away from illicit drug production, and towards manufacturing licit opioid analgesics to address unmet needs for pain palliation, particularly for diseases such as HIV/AIDS and cancer in the developing world—that is, illegal opium could be converted into legal pain medicine, solving two problems at once.
Are they saying that you could actually think about a problem differently and then do things differently to achieve a desired result? Instead of being a’scourge’, opium production in Afghanistan could be channeled into a legal, profitable trade that would reduce pain and suffering worldwide? Wha? Would this sort of change in thinking be open to other issues, or is this a one time offer? I think we should still take it.
Bonus question: What’s the drug war going to say about this? I’ll bet it will worry and won’t be happy.