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Common-Sense Environmentalism

I've spent a bit of time lately discussing the hysteria surrounding the environmental movement lately, and it occurs to me that I might be painting with too broad a brush. The whackos do have a few points -- and I don't mean the ones atop their heads, the ones that pinch their brains and compress them into twisted, perverted, unnatural shapes -- and we all ought to do a few simple things to respect the environment.

First off, don't buy a hybrid vehicle. Currently, they're only economically feasible through hefty government subsidies, which means I'm helping you buy that Prius or Insight, and I'd rather not, thank you very much. Further, the long-term environmental costs of those batteries -- both in the manufacture and ultimate disposal -- are very high. Leave the hybrids to the early-adapters, the pious, the sanctimonious, and the professional environmentalists for now, until the real costs have been brought down and more of the bugs worked out.

Next, don't recycle paper. As many people have pointed out (Penn and Teller the most entertainingly), recycled paper is actually considerably WORSE for the environment than "virgin" paper. The chemicals involved in treating used paper are far more noxious than those in making new paper, and further, paper companies plant more trees every year than they cut down -- it's simply a matter of enlightened self-interest.

Also, get Ted Kennedy out of office. In Massachusetts, a company (Cape Wind) wanted to build windmills in the ocean a ways off Cape Cod. But the bloated sot and a bunch of his gazillionaire elitist asshole buddies thought the windmills might somehow blight their view from their beachfront mansions. So they killed the project. (Maybe Teddy heard that the windmills were going to be made out of recycled Oldsmobiles or something.)

Get the best gas mileage you can. Buy the most efficient car that meets your needs. (In my case, my economic straits mean that I currently drive an SUV -- an old, hand-me-down Explorer that I picked up for little more than a steal. I'd rather have something a bit more fuel-efficient, but the price was right on the Explorer -- which Mr. Duckie and I have named "Mongo.") But figure out just how much car you NEED (and yes, you can factor in SOME psychological factors) and don't buy more than that.

Then, drive it sensibly. Drive gently and smoothly, to maximize your mileage. Don't load up the car with crap you don't need. Walk or take other transportation occasionally. Keep your tires inflated properly, change your oil and air filter regularly,

Use less electricity. For god's sake, nearly everyone pays their own electric bill. Do you LIKE giving the utility more money? I sure as hell don't.

OK, that's enough for the personal. Now for the political.

Go nuclear. Apart from one famous incident that can safely be added to the hundred-million-plus body count of applied Communism, nuclear power has an astonishing safety record. Yes, we're still working out all the kinks on disposing of the waste generated, but it's nowhere near the crisis point -- I have heard several theories, including putting them in copper barrels and mixing them into a cement, making bricks, and just stacking them in the desert somewhere.

Hell, France is one of the world's biggest users of nuclear power in the world. If the FRENCH can run nuclear reactors without blowing themselves up, why the hell can't we?

Cut back on foreign oil. Our dependency on foreign oil is a huge vulnerability on so many levels. It's part of the reason we have to put up with so much bullshit from the Saudis. It's part of the reason why we should give a rat's ass about Iran -- they can put a huge hurting on oil traffic through the Straits of Hormuz, where a huge chunk of our oil passes through. And it's part of the reason why we don't either ignore Hugo Chavez or pop him like a zit.

Of course, this means that we need to compensate for the loss of foreign oil. In the short term, we should drill more domestic oil. Right now, Cuba and other nations are going after oil off the coast of Florida -- but we aren't. And we have huge reserves in Alaska, but we can't use THAT. Tightly-regulated development of a tiny fraction of the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve sends the tree-huggers and environweenies and other dipshits into hissy-fits -- and not even the entertaining kind.

I have a rather radical suggestion: offer a tax cut -- a very, very small one -- on domestic oil vs. imported. As we see with Exxon Mobil, the economies of scale will make it very profitable for the biggest companies to invest in domestic production. Note that while Exxon Mobil is making record profits, they are also having record revenues -- and their actual percentage of their profits is fairly low. And I'm a big believer in using tax policy as a carrot, and not a stick.

That's good for the short term. Long-term, we need to stop burning fossil fuels. Petroleum is one of the most amazing and versatile substances, used to make a huge plethora of materials, and most often we BURN it. That's just stupid.

We've made great strides in cleaning up coal. When I was younger, "acid rain" was a very real thing here in New Hampshire. I saw a lot of acid-burned leaves on plants, where the sulfur in raindrops had seared or burned through leaves -- sulfur that came from smokestacks in the Midwest. That's largely gone by the wayside, and we New Englanders are grateful. But burning coal is still a pretty nasty process.

Partly thanks to our incredibly short-sighted nature and the suffocation of the space program, this is the only world we have. We need to take care of it -- but in ways that actually achieve something, not in ways that make us feel good.

It won't be easy. But doing things the easy way is a large part of the reason we're in the situation we are now.


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Comments (48)

Conserving/Helping US Energ... (Below threshold)

Conserving/Helping US Energy Needs--Other ideas

LEVEL 1--Individual
1) Carpool (work, errands, etc.)
2) Drive near the speed limit (gas usage really climbs when going over 55 mph)
3) Reduce unnecessary trips (or better plan errands, etc.)
4) Build smaller houses
5) Keep houses more airtight--temperatures cooler during winter (i.e., 65 at night)
6) Cut back on being electronics gluttons: cell phones, TV, computers, IPODS, etc.

LEVEL 2--Gov't
1) Encourage US Post Office to quit delivering mail on Saturdays (in our area, only junk mail is delivered on this day--not a full sort)
2) Raise driver's license age to 18 nationwide.
3) Go back to Blue Sundays--or minimize business to movie theatres, sport venues, church
4) Allow drilling in Anwar & expanded Gulf
5) Reduce "official" gov't trips
6) Request a national "no mail" list like the "no call" list to reduce junk mail: unwanted catalogs, credit apps, etc.
7) Property tax breaks to communities which will allow a refinery in their area

You're proposing to make se... (Below threshold)

You're proposing to make sensible choices based on subjective value judgement and cost-benefit analysis? You heretic you.

But seriously: the idea of using tax incentives is a good one, though only because it has to cut through so much green activist nonsense. Wish you could convince people to lay off the irrational knee-jerking in the first place, then tax wouldn't be needed as a policy instrument.

Cars and trucks simply are ... (Below threshold)

Cars and trucks simply are too heavy to offer decent mileage. I drive a big body 94mpg motor scooter most of the time and a car only for longer trips or extremely bad weather. Most 36-150cc motor scooters range from 70-142mpg, far better than any hybrid automobile. And some scooters range between $800-$1,200 brand new, much cheaper than any car or truck. Parts are real cheap too. Many in Europe and Asia have used motor scooters everyday for decades compared to Americans who pay good money for gas to needlessly haul around 3,000-5,000 pounds of metal and glass driving around some big boat of a car or truck just to buy a 50cent newspaper or one item from a Safeway.

A decent motor scooter gets three times the city mileage of a hybrid automobile and as much six times the city mileage of some normal cars. Like any motorcycle-type vehicle, motor scooters are fast as well compared to most cars due to an excellent power-to-weight ratio. You can drive about two weeks on one gallon of gas with a motor scooter. You can cut your gas pump bill down to $8 or less a month in many cases by driving a motor scooter.

A high quality synthetic oil like AMSOIL offers big mileage and horsepower improvements. My mileage in the scooter went from 83mpg to 94mpg when I switched over to AMSOIL. In automobiles, I've also seen huge improvements as well. With premium fuel at $3.39 a gallon, it makes good economic sense to spend $6.40 a quart on an excellent oil like AMSOIL compared to that cheap $1.49 conventional crap that just wears out your vehicle and robs both power and mileage. I got 254,000 miles out of my 1973 V8 AMC Gremlin with synthetic oil before I sold it last Spring. In my experience, AMSOIL is far superior to any premium brand including ROYAL PURPLE.

If your vehicle is any good at all, then spending $6.00 or more a quart on a excellent oil like AMSOIL compared to that $1.49 conventional crap that just wears your vehicle out and costs you mileage and power makes good sense. The average modern car will likely blow a head gasket at somewhere between 80,000 to 150,000 miles nowadays with regular oil, but not with synthetic oil which runs much cooler.

Compact neon lights save big money. Last month I paid no electric bill and got a rebate because I cut electric costs so much by converting 90% of the house over to these. They last a lot longer too. Climbing a ladder to replace a high light once every 5 years is sure better than doing it every month or two. Regular lightbulbs not only waste money, but burn out all the time.

I have painlessly proven that you save huge money on gas and electric with these small changes in my lifestyle.

Be careful about those new ... (Below threshold)

Be careful about those new fangled light bulbs too. They contain mercury. Imagine what they'll do to the environment when discarded in large numbers. Nobody is discarding of them properly. It's no wonder why. You have to use gas and time to drive to a proper disposal center.

If you want to save on energy usage, it's a lot safer bet to just turn the lights out when you're not using them.

I have two of them in my house. I put them in originally because I have two fixtures that burn out bulbs at an alarming rate and these two have actually lasted. I'm sure they're saving on energy, but they don't put out as much light either (they're the same wattage as the regular bulbs were). I began to wonder if that's the only reason why they're more "efficient".

And don't throw batteries in the normal trash either. Find out where in your city you can take them. I have a ziplock bag full of them until I find out where to take them.

Diane, your ideas are pract... (Below threshold)

Diane, your ideas are practical and painless. I am with you. ww

Jay, you missed one thing w... (Below threshold)

Jay, you missed one thing we could do. Grind up commenters who insist on using the comments section to promote their business and convert them to bio-diesel. Add spam e-mailers and Al Gore (should be worth a few barrels by himelf) and we could cut our dependence on foreign oil and Co2 output in no time at all. I could get behind a plan like that.

The compact fluros being to... (Below threshold)

The compact fluros being touted, and in some cases, being mandated by politicians, are going to be an even worse environmental problem.

Once again we have those who are supposedly (in their minds) more 'enlightened' than we common people are pushing a specific 'solution' by government fiat, while ignoring an even better technology or process. (LEDs, which use far less electricity and may indeed, have a better future in terms of improvements, light output, and efficiency.)

The enviro-Left fail to acc... (Below threshold)

The enviro-Left fail to accept the fact that even if we had an alternative to oil today, it would take decades to convert all modes of transportation, furnaces, etc, to this new method. Even then we have further problems:

We would need to develop a method of manufacturing and or refining this alternative on a massive scale to meet the needs of the public. However, considering that even enlarging an oil refinery is near impossible because of governmental roadblocks, setting up a brand-new facility would take decades to get past the planning stage.

We would need a means of transporting the alternative to the public. Right now, petroleum products can be shipped by truck or train, but this must be done in relatively small vessels. Pipelines help, but like oil and gas, building these will take years and may be delayed because of legal challenges.

Converting every petroleum-using vehicle to the alternative will also take decades. Not the least because the average working person cannot afford to convert their car over, or replace it with an alternative fuel vehicle. Truck fleets, which are expensive to maintain, also cannot be converted easily or economically. The same goes for trains, ships, etc.

We can develop alternative fuels, but we also need to realize that we will still be dependent upon oil for decades to come, even if there was a viable and economical alternative today.

Re tax breaks to the oil co... (Below threshold)

Re tax breaks to the oil companies: I dont think that'll do the trick. The problem is the restrictions that our Congress has placed on expanding our domestic oil drilling and gas refining. Restrictions need to be lifted so we can expand off-shore and No. Alaska drilling, build new refineries, and enable true competition in the oil/gas industries. gc

Jay, is this the story that... (Below threshold)

Jay, is this the story that was supposed to make me disown you? Have I not looked deeply enough into Wizbang yet? I think this whole hybrid this and lightbulb that crap is like the "eat margarine"; "no, eat butter" deal. It changes like the wind.

The guy on the motor scooter - I am guessing you don't live in Maine.

Is anyone else sick of hear... (Below threshold)

Is anyone else sick of hearing about Hooson's freaking motor scooter?

Hooson: "I have painlessly proven that you save huge money on gas and electric with these small changes in my lifestyle."

Ummm, didn't you wreck your scooter and bust your ass? How is that painless?! Newsflash, most Americans want to ride around in something safe Hooson.

I guess I should mention th... (Below threshold)

I guess I should mention that we went to a push mower - and I mean PUSH MOWER like they had on Leave it to Beaver. But we did it for completely selfish and non-environmental reasons: we wanted the kids to help mow the lawn, and didn't want them to cut a foot off with the power mower.

We stopped recyling when we saw the regular trash truck dumping all of our red recycle bin stuff into the trash truck one week. It really burned my fanny, after I sorted all of that crap out for two weeks, to see it dumped right back into the regular trash. Apparently the recycle truck was out of commission, and they decided not to let us simply take our bins back in for another week.

D-Hoggs, motor scooters are... (Below threshold)

D-Hoggs, motor scooters are seldom mentioned as an alternative to the big boat 3,000lb. family car, but have been popular in Europe and Asia for decades, and in places where gas might be $5-7 a gallon.

I complained to the City Commissioner about the very poor condition of the street with all of the potholes that caused my serious August crash. If you avoid sidestreets and drive on the main streets as much as possible, moter scooters are as safe as any other motorcycle. Part of the street looks like a sinkhole is opening up, and has yet to be fixed. And this City Commissioner wants to be Mayor, even though he can't do the job he has now.

Jay is a typical conservati... (Below threshold)

Jay is a typical conservative, he hates tax breaks for the regular guy, but tax breaks for the well-off are just fine.

"Federal tax rules allow a credit of up to $3,150 for anyone buying a hybrid car. The credit is the same regardless of tax bracket.

But owners of small businesses who buy an SUV weighing more than 3 tons get a deduction of up to $25,000 if they use the vehicle exclusively for work."

Copyright CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 2006

And, battery waste is bad but nuclear waste is OK?

Scooters are about as safe ... (Below threshold)

Scooters are about as safe as bicycles. Bicycles are a lot less polluting, there are some potential ergonomic negatives on health, but aerobic positives are high.

Both however, have a significant risk of death or disabling injury, more so in this country, where too many drivers are not in the mindset to drive safely (both bikers and the car drivers). Portland just had a big memorial/demonstration for the bicyclists killed in the last year in the most bicycle-friendly city in the nation. Hell, my only close call riding there was from a cop car speeding down SW Barbur at 5AM (they were not on an emergency, just zooming along way over the posted limit - and the offending driver had the balls to yell at ME at the next light! His partner looked awfully uncomfortable about it). As a doctor, I've seen plenty of injuries from folks riding motor scooters - you don't need a pothole to cause one. Just a careless driver or someone opening a car door into you.

I was originally in favor o... (Below threshold)

I was originally in favor of drilling ANWR, but heard what I thought was a great argument against it: use it as another strategic reserve. We know it's there, and it's not going any place.

Epador, most motor scooters... (Below threshold)

Epador, most motor scooters can travel at 45-70mph, but many have smaller 10-12inch wheels which are more prone to potholes than the larger tires on either automobiles, motorcycles or even bicycles. But some 2008 model scooters are going to the bigger 16 inch wheels this year, which I think is an important safety advancement.

I appreciate your service as a doctor. When a biker guy like me gets torn to pieces, your help is deeply appreciated to sew up the injuries so I can get back up riding as soon as I can walk again.

Paul, my idea of a scooter ... (Below threshold)

Paul, my idea of a scooter packs 98 cubic inches and doesn't have problems with potholes...

Hey I actually agree with B... (Below threshold)

Hey I actually agree with Barney on something. The tax break given to business owners for buying an SUV is absolutely ridiculous. I believe it's original intention was for pick-ups, but now has allowed real estate agents and etc. to purchase Escalades and write-off half the purchase as a business expense. I say eliminate any and all tax-breaks for vehicle purchases. The government shouldn't have anything to do with them.

Mongo like candy.T... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:

Mongo like candy.

There. It had to be said.

Now I feel better.

Clancy, there's a few 250-5... (Below threshold)

Clancy, there's a few 250-500cc scooter models. Some touring style motor scooters are like a big motorcycle as well. There's even one Italian job with two front wheels close together as well some automatic transmission motorcycles and even some motorcycle/automobile 3 wheel hybrid vehicles that look like a sports car from the front, with a motorcycle sticking out of the back that get 60mpg. A few big engine scooters can top 90mph, although most fall into the 45-70mph range. Even the little 49cc models can go about 45-50 with minor modifications to the muffler, clutch varator or CDI. There's plenty of choices out there for two wheel fans to choose from. Most offer far better mileage than a car, plus a real thrill factor that you don't get from a car.

A motor scooter won't get m... (Below threshold)

A motor scooter won't get me through 5 inches of snow, and it's not fun to drive in a Chicago blizzard.

"Is anyone else sick of ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"Is anyone else sick of hearing about Hooson's freaking motor scooter?"

Amen D-Hoggs. If smugness we money Hooson'd be richer than any Democrat running for President.

My main concern is that I can no longer travel to the Northwest as I'm afraid I would not be able to resist the urge to run over every motor scooter I see while driving around in my enormous SUV.

As far as recycling paper g... (Below threshold)

As far as recycling paper goes, I disagree. Clearly it should be re-used. As fuel used to generate electricity. It's silly to put combustibles into a landfill when we can use them to generate more power.

J: In 1987, Republicans tri... (Below threshold)

J: In 1987, Republicans tried to introduce a bill in Congress that would add a $5 tariff for every barrel of imported oil. They would use $0.25 of the money to administer the program and the other $4.75 would have been applied to the National Debt.

The purpose? Three-fold: First - give our, at the time, floundering oil industry a competitive break. Second - help pay down the National Debt. Three - Be the first major step in weening us off foreign oil. The Democratic majority turned the bill down. Their rationale? It would raise the price of gas by 7c a gallon thereby putting an undue burden on the poor.

Had the bill passed, we would have zeroed out the National Debt by 2001!

The Thunder Run has linked ... (Below threshold)

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 11/21/2007 A short recon of what's out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...

It's easy to see why Barney... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

It's easy to see why Barney is so devoutly a neo-communist. He's too stupid to understand the difference between a business tax deduction and a person tax credit.

The Sun Times is probably hoping their readers are too stupid to understand that either, and based on the fact that the elected Durban and Obama, the Sun Times is right.

Barney said- "And, battery ... (Below threshold)

Barney said- "And, battery waste is bad but nuclear waste is OK?"

Barney, you can remove the question mark. All the nuclear waste ever created could be stuffed into a space the size of a Best Buy retail store. I can't remember how much space disposed batteries occupy, but I think it is three times that size, per year. Containing decaying nuclear waste is easier because it is much more compact.

The preceding information is a simplified summation of a complicated physical reality. To learn more talk to the US Navy re:Careers, Nuclear Engineering. Do not try this at home.

I tossed all those compact ... (Below threshold)

I tossed all those compact fluorescent bulbs and stocked up on 40 and 60 watt incandescent.

Full spectrum light. I'll never buy another CFB again.

1. How about a tax-break fo... (Below threshold)

1. How about a tax-break for businesses that allow employees to telecommute one or more days per week?
2. Get a job closer to home. The unemployment rate has been very low lately... its a "buyer's market"... Gas mileage becomes a non-issue when you work close to home.
3. Paul, I'm a motorcycle guy, and even I've heard enough about the scooter. You made your point - don't wear it out. Riding a two-wheeled is more dangerous than driving... and some people just plain old lack the skills to ride safely (actually a suprising number of people apparently lack the skills to drive safely as well - but that's another post). On the side, I'm a part-time motorcycle safety instructor, and I teach as many as a dozen people once a month or so how to ride a motorcycle, so I'm doing my part.
4. Locally, I keep seeing busses with "terminal" on their route displays clogging up freeways during "rush hour". Seems to me like if they are driving empty buses when demand ought to be the highest, there is a scheduling issue. Somebody with some common sense ought to check that one out (had to throw that one in). Similarly, it seems to me that driving large trucks through large cities during rush-hour is also particularly wasteful both of time and fuel (not sure how you could fix that without hurting the trucks) - maybe a significant tax break on diesel at large truck stops purchased at night.

I'd like to see more emphas... (Below threshold)

I'd like to see more emphasis in the U.S. put into developing Hydrogen Fuel Cells (for home use) and Solar Power. Living in the SW, an energy source that produces water is very interesting and I have lots of Solar just waiting to be harnessed. For solar I'd like to see improvements in using/storing the energy, I am not real thrilled with the battery banks required at this time.

If the gasoline companies a... (Below threshold)

If the gasoline companies are barely making a profit today, they should have all gone out of business 5 years ago.

One thing they never did was in anyway absorb the price of oil. In fact when the cost of gas is only partly based on the price of oil, gas should never increased anything like oil. But it sure has. Even prior to 9/11 there was a sharp increase in the price of gas (almost 50%) when oil prices were relatively stable.

Companies can hide profits easily. Especially when they are international. I wouldn't trust an gasoline profit claim as far as I could through it. I look at the profits gas companies claim as the profit they couldn't hide.

We looking at $3-4/gallon gas and I say somethings got to change. If that's the new status quo, it isn't going to last. Gasoline companies are about to screw themselves on multiple levels.

But instead of backing off on gas prices to drain out the political will behind change, they're on a public relations campaign to convince everyone to maintain the status quo.

Here in Wyoming, we also ha... (Below threshold)
stan25 Author Profile Page:

Here in Wyoming, we also have a lot of oil reserves and a lot of them have drilled, but are capped. These wells were capped, because of government and environmental regulations. If these capped wells were ever put into production, that would help to reduce the importation of foreign oil somewhat, plus give a boost to the state's economy (which is badly needed).

As for nuclear, I say build as many power plants as needed. I am in an area where there is plenty of uranium. As stated above, more jobs and with the reclaimation technology that is available now , open pit mining more cost effective than underground mining.

I don't where a lot of my fellow commentators live, but here in Wyoming, SUVS are a must; due to the deep snow drifts that we get in some areas. These vehicles are also used to take care of the day to day chores of the farming and ranching industry. A majority of these chores involve the hauling of heavy bales of hay to feed livestock in the winter time.

I have the perfect solution for the enviroweenies and Ted (Chevas) Kennedy: strip off all of their clothes and make them forage for their sustanace, like the caveman did. Just maybe then, they will be more appreciative of the modern world.

Hooson, and the Hooson detr... (Below threshold)

Hooson, and the Hooson detractors:
2 wheelers can be great on the pocket. But they aren't practical for most people, and the safety level is very low compared to any kind of 4 wheeler.
I own and ride a motorcycle, and weather permitting, I take it on my 42 mile (each way) commute to work. This year, sadly, all of required roads between my home in Camden and my job in Chester county were being repaved. From spring into the late fall the roads were torn up and covered with debris. Taking my cycle with its excellent MPG to work daily would have been a suicide mission :)
In the winter, or in heavy rains, also would mean putting myself at more risk than I could justify.
When I lived in CA, a cycle was all I needed given how seldom it rained.
Given this situation today I also own a car. Very often I need to move more people and/or stuff than my cycle can carry, and do it in weather condiditions that leave the cycle in the shed.
If I lived in the city, and could fall back on PT when weather made the cycle unrealistic, maybe I'd only have a 2 wheeler. Not that I'd recomend 2 wheeling in any of the cities near me... the drivers are too eratic and the intersections are terrible.

BTW, Hooson, to call yourself a biker, you need to be on an actual cycle, not a jumped up moped.

Tell ya what, Barney. I got... (Below threshold)

Tell ya what, Barney. I got a little deal for ya.

You show me where I actually argued AGAINST a tax cut for the "average guy," and I'll let you write an article and post it here on the main page. And it's gotta be a valid one, not the one you cited -- which is more of a subsidy to the carmakers than anything else, to get it so people might actually BUY the electric or hybrid cars.

On the other hand, if you can't find that example, you STFU and go away.

Think of this as "I'm tired of you making shit up," put in an entertaining fashion and offering you an incentive to play along.


Scooters and some motorcycl... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

Scooters and some motorcycles do get good mileage and save some gas, but they don't have catalytic converters. So while Hooson is smugly and self-righteously riding around on his little scooter, he is doing far more harm to the environment than an average full sized SUV.

But it's easy to be a neo-communist like Hooson when you're ignorant and oblivious.

EAT RED MEAT,RECYCLE ALL YO... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:


JT,Mongo!? Whatev... (Below threshold)


Mongo!? Whatever happened to the "Shaggin Wagon"?

....Next, don't recycle ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

....Next, don't recycle paper.

Being a Northwesterner, I'm going to disagree with this sentiment--though there is some validity to it because, as with many things, there are trade offs. In this case, bad chemicals used to break down the paper.

Then there's the flip side.

If you're ever lucky enough to fly out to Portland or Seattle during daylight and when it's clear (good luck), look outside the window and you'll notice that our state landscapes resemble that of a checkerboard--deforested areas that are as damaging as they are ugly. (To see how ugly, go to maps.google, type in Seattle, WA, hit "satellite" and scroll down toward Mt. Rainier and look at Rainier's west-facing slopes. Just ugly.)

For years, timber companies mismanaged our public forests and lands, relying on clear-cutting techniques that stripped forests literally down to the roots. This technique causes big erosion problems, choking off streams with silt and debris where salmon spawn. We've seen a significant decline in salmon runs and it's had a profound and direct impact on the salmon/fishing industry here in the NW. Of course, it's also meant the destruction of other wildlife habitats as well.

The good news is that most timber companies now employ select-cutting, using only mature and damaged trees, which is still profitable for timber companies. They also rotate their cutting of forests like they were crops--a practice that is starting to amend all the years of reckless clear-cutting.

Of course, tress are a renewable resource. But a renewable resource after only so many years. This is why recycling paper plays a significant role in the managing of our forests. Something has to fill the gap between the harvesting and then planting and then re-harvesting of the trees so that one does not out pace the other. Recycling paper takes pressure off the forests and off timber companies to harvest recklessly just to stay afloat as a business (and potentially, if grossly mismanaged, as an industry). Doing so keeps our forests healthy, timber companies businesses healthy, too, ensuring employment for thousands for years to come.

I'm not advocating going out and hugging a tree or saving a spotted owl or putting spikes in trees as Earth First! likes to do, no, most of you know me better than that. But DO recycle your newspaper (if you still get one) and DO recycle your junk mail and Tuesday mail fliers. Recycling paper technology has greatly advanced in recent years, continually using less and less of the harmful chemicals like chlorine used to make recycled paper. (Of course, hydrogen peroxide and sodium hydrosulfite are still used, but to a lesser extent.)

So keep on recycling your paper, please. It does more good than harm.

Hooson, I'll give you $100 ... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Hooson, I'll give you $100 to ride your Quadrophenia scooter on I-880 in the Bay Area or the I-10 in L.A. or I-5 through downtown Seattle during rush hour without you soiling your shorts.

My father-in-law, a neurosurgeon, refers to scooters and motorcycles as "brain scramblers".

Ah - the old "Google Earth ... (Below threshold)

Ah - the old "Google Earth planet is being deforested" trick.

Google Earth uses strong compression algorythms to store terrain information. In areas with no interesting features (IE, no buildings), they store very low density compressed representations of what's really there. The vast majority of the planet has no visible trace of mankind - its not like we paint everything with a sort-of grey checkerboard pattern... its just that it's easier to represent it that way.

People who make statements like the one above (about using Google Earth to find deforestation) are liars, idiots, or a little of both.

In areas with no interes... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

In areas with no interesting features (IE, no buildings), they store very low density compressed representations of what's really there.

You sound smart, but you're actually talking out of your ass, technically speaking. Just because an image is a low-density compression images vs. high density res. images does NOT mean that what is seen in the satellite image is not an accurate visual portrayal. It may not be detailed down to showing you trails, etc. but it is visually accurate and correct.

So you don't believe Google maps because of some nefarious and obscure Google conspiracy theory. Who knows. Fine. Then maybe you'd like to argue with NASA and attempt to lamely debunk their satellite images, too:


Moreover, your little "theory" really only applies to out of the way places like, say, Turks & Caicos where some off-shore sandbars and small islands are not seen. Your "theory" does not apply to an area like the United States, which has ooddles of extremely detailed satellite mapping imagery and history.

People who make statements like the one above (about using Google Earth to find deforestation) are liars, idiots, or a little of both.

And people like you who didn't read what I said about actually flying over the area I was pointing out on the Google map, an area I fly over and hike in routinely, can shampoo my crotch. M'kay?

right...1985... (Below threshold)
"Get the best gas mileage y... (Below threshold)

"Get the best gas mileage you can," so exhorts Mr. Tea. Then we find out that the guy owns an SUV! AN SUV!!! Damn. So many conservatives with so VERY LITTLE interest in CONSERVING!!!

As for me, I get around by bike (a Bacchetta Corsa). I know you conservatives don't give a damn about polluting the air that I breathe, but if you want to lessen our country's dependence on foreign oil, Jay Tea and other conservatives, GET OFF YOUR FAT LAZY ASS AND GET ON A BICYCLE!!! The Europeans (as usual) as well as the Columbians (!) can show you how it's done --> see the video:


I drive a Prius and I am no... (Below threshold)
kieth Nissen:

I drive a Prius and I am not sanctimonious. Nor pious. The Prius is a good car and I am glad I bought it.

Ordinary people who, for one reason or another, do not drive a Prius think there must be something
wrong: "he's driving a car that gets 40 miles to the gallon...my car gets 17 miles to the gallon...ergo: the Prius driver is a twit, he's looking down at me.... injustice is being done.. he's probably a liberal".

Lay off the Prius. Some of your other ideas are not bad.

computerguy:I neve... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:


I never said it was trending one way or the other, now did I? No. Something you would have noticed had you bothered to read my post.

The evidence and the scars from clear-cutting are as plain to see and clear as day. With the select-cutting technique (a technique you're obviously adept at with this lame diversion into trying to debunk Google sat. photos), you will not get as noticeably barren areas as you do in clear-cutting.

Anyway, all of this misses my friggin' point: Keep recycling paper. It's good for the forests. Good for the timber industry and its workers. And good for those of us want to preserve the outdoors as much as we can while still maintaining economic growth. All of which are consistent with conservative POV (think: Teddy R.).

Ordinary people wh... (Below threshold)
Ordinary people who, for one reason or another, do not drive a Prius think there must be something wrong: "he's driving a car that gets 40 miles to the gallon...my car gets 17 miles to the gallon...ergo: the Prius driver is a twit, he's looking down at me.... injustice is being done.. he's probably a liberal".

Two things, as a man who is 6'5, I wouldn't feel comfortable in a Prius. Two, it looks ugly. Really simple as that for some of us.

I only offered constructive... (Below threshold)

I only offered constructive steps I've taken in my own life to dramaticly cut both my own oil and electricity consumption. How some can extend that to some sort of smugness is simply outageous. But then again I'm talking to a few folks whose best idea of "recycling" is sending young men and women on endless serial tours of duty through Iraq in the latest war for oil so that they can continue to put $60 fillups in their $40,000 SUVs. Wars for oil cost moms and dads their sons and daughters. We owe them some shared sacrifice on our part to make their life sacrifice for oil less necessary to support our bloated American lifestyle of big and wasteful everything. Making the Iranians and Arabs oil-rich hasn't done much positive for most of the people of the MidEast either.






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