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One nation under gluttony, avarice, and sloth

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
January 30, 2007


I'm still contemplating the lack of vision put forth in the State of the Union address read by George Dubya. Abnormally sedate, probably due to his dead duck presidency, his eyes dulled even more when he shifted to the energy portion of the industry approved speech.

OK, so the President just doesn't get it, doesn't want to get it, or is intellectually unable to get it. Let's face it, George was never going to champion environmental stewardship, ecological sustainability, corporate restraint, or consumer responsibility.

We the people can no longer afford waiting for someone to save us from ourselves.

The United States, with a population of only 301 million (5% of the global population, now at approximately 7 billion), consumes 23.7 % of energy generated, and consumes 26% of world oil production, at more than 20 million barrels of oil per day. U.S. gasoline consumption accounts for 11% of world oil production. Depending on OPEC and when you ask, daily world oil production hovers between 73 and 74 million barrels.

The production and consumption of coal, in all it's forms, are equally damaging to global quality of life, and the viability of all recognized ecosystems. When you add the unrepairable impact of deforestation and mountain-topping, the biological Environmental impact becomes unfathomable. Both these practices require the use of drag lines.

Drag lines are large excavating machines used in the surface mining process to remove "overburden." Over burden includes all the flora, topsoil, earth and rock , covering a coal seam. Similar to bottom trawlers used by fishermen, animal life is either killed or displaced. And then there is all the heavy metal poisoning of surface waters, and aquifers.

No matter what the coal industry and their hired politicians and bureaucrats say COAL IS NEVER CLEAN.

As for renewable energies such as ethanol, biodiesel crop and plant based fuels, I'm unimpressed, as they do little to shift the climate changing paradigm, promote monoculture, and only shift the environmental damage.

For those of you that think renewables, such as solar, wind, hydro, or tidal, are the answer, think again. The only real short term answer to mitigating the very scary future ahead of us is to consume less energy, across the board, less of everything.

Putting solar panels on your roof, will only make a difference if the house is not full of appliances, and other petroleum dependent products. Toasters, blenders, juicers, televisions, computer parts, printers, light fixtures, coffee makers, coffee grinders, rice makers, DVD players, stereos, hairdryers, curling irons, etc. etc etc. ad nausuem. I mean do we actually need plastic encased power tools? Do you see where I am going with this?

Our commitment to more, continues to lessen our chances of survival.

Now is the time for all good men (and women) to come to the aide of there planet. Now is the time for all good people to say no to Madison Avenue and the temples of consumption. Walmart, Kmart, Costco, Best Buy, and idiot presidents that tell you to go out and shop in support of war, are not looking to the future outside of quarterly profit projections.

We can no longer afford the conveniences that litter our homes, pushing us deeper into financial and ecological debt, and threatening our communities. We just can't. And no amount of Pollyanna thinking, or faith based denial will alter the the inconvenience of the climate change.

In other words? We're toast.

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