Friday, May 29, 2009

RFK Ball State University Speech on Environment

Robert F. Kenndy Jr’s speech at Emens Auditorium was primarily a pitch for a new clean energy economy and how it can happen. In making this pitch he discussed the politics that have impeded this transformation as well as how policies should change to pave the way, the technologies he believes will best bring clean energy to the U.S. and how much this clean energy will benefit our environment, quality of life and economics.
In discussing why we have not made more progress RFK blamed what he calls “corporate crony capitalism” that reflects business as usual in Washington. He placed blame on former President George W. Bush for expanding on this damaging Washington culture, even calling out numerous Bush cabinet members and backers as being part of the oil, coal, and pharmaceutical industries that they were meant to regulate. He also argues that a true free market that eliminated subsidies for coal and oil would do for energy what the breakup of telecom giants did for the price of telephone service. He also advocates increasing CAFÉ standards and a carbon cap and trade system...continued

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Human Societies Choose to Fail?

In “Lessons from Environmental Collapses Past Societies” Jared Diamond states “We are the ones who cause the problems, and so we can stop causing them.” He speculates that this can only be done given the proper political will and that we can solve these problems tomorrow if we all agreed to. I speculate that this idea may be true; however I fear that even with the political will it may be too late to prevent collapse. Can we even gain political will on all pressing issues if as Columbia University Psychologist states humans only have a “finite pool of worry?” (American Psychological Association, 2008) Our ecosystem is complicated with many feedbacks, some of which are only partially understood and others which have yet to be discovered. With this in mind, it is possible that infinite political will could be summoned today, and a perfectly sustainable system be implemented only to be undermined by our past follies. In either case success or failure was chosen at some point in our society’s history...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Climate Change, Live and Let Live, and Freedom

The Ethics of Climate Change by John Broom asserts that “some people—chiefly the better-off among the current generation—will have to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases to save future generations…” This is part of the conflicting interests that demand ethical questions involved in climate change response. Broom also states that “those who benefit from something should not impose its cost on others who do not” and most people recognize that you should not do something for your own benefit if it harms others. The issue is then to understand the sometimes complex, domino effect manner in which your actions can harm others. The other and perhaps even more difficult issue is the qualifier “most”. An example of this stems from a conversation with a fellow student, whom I loosely paraphrase as stating, I do not believe in ethics, as my philosophy is live and let live, so we should not be telling anyone how to go about living their lives. John Ehrenfeld may see this as a symptom of “hyper-individualism” which he describes in Sustainability By Design. Lester Brown in a May 2009 Scientific American article points out that when a government can’t provide security or basic services the breakdown of society in these countries overflows and has consequences to other areas such as spreading disease, weapons, and violence. This should appeal to the self preservation side of anyone. The irony of “freedom” is that it can lead to the absence of it....continued

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Eco-effective Paper Plates

Using papermaking byproducts with natural pulp chemicals such as resin is the traditional way of making paper plates. Consisting of trees mostly from managed forests and tree plantations the traditional paper plate industry is more environmentally-friendly than in the past. There are still issues such as lack of biodiversity and segmenting of biomes that cause environmental harm. Read entire article!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home Energy Monitors

The need for these home energy monitors is genuine. There are numerous ways to monitor home energy use. Home energy consumption is reduced when people are seeing their consumption as they consume. So everyone benefits!
Choosing a home energy monitor can be daunting. Home energy monitors have different features and applications. So how do you choose one?