2020 – The Year that Wasn’t Easy An Appreciative Lament I started out the year feeling kinda spiffy. Then I fell on my face Until…
My December, 2020 involvement in On-line Forums
(Cleantechnica and KOS, mostly)
If interested, read these Reflections I contributed to on-line forums in December of 2020.
Byrd on KOS in Response to Winter Rabbit’s Wounded Knee – 130-year Anniversary:
Winter Rabbit jarringly reminds us – what we were told was glory was, in fact, gory.
I stumbled upon the now-peaceful fields of Wounded Knee a year back. At the curio shop, a convivial mix of natives and western whites mingled. I picked up a copy of Historical Atlas of Native Americans, but could make it only partway through, so sad, shameful, and angering was the treatment of this land’s native peoples. I can’t bear to finish reading it.
I’m of a northern European mix, of white families long-assimilated here, and have never admired the ways most white men in power have treated the land, animals, and peoples of this bounteous and beautiful New World. I am naturally abhorred by the disrespect, injury, and slaughter of all lives precious — from the forests to the bison to the natives to our own unfortunate lower-classes.
I share the regret for this cruel history – but not the guilt. I’m 75, not 150. I do not condone injury and will not participate in it. I will live with respect and compassion for all others as I go, and I will seek to make a more just and joyful world — culturally, spiritually, and politically (glad for Biden’s choice of Deb Haaland for Interior and similar good picks!).
Slowly but surely, a cooperative mix of people of all colors, who are abhorred by a dismal colonial heritage, will no longer inflict the worst of the Old World, but rescue and revive a New World replete with biodiversity, abundance, multicultural harmony, and mutual wellness.
In response to article on Gina McCarthy’s leaving NRDC for White House Climate Advisor
I agree with Benjamin; we’re in [with his personally offering to help with Gina’s being a crucial part of Biden’s potential Green New Deal]. I was “at least he isn’t Trump” but became more enthused and trustful when Biden announced his environment-related picks.
Maybe now we can switch from exploiting humanity and earthlife to begin rescuing and reviving both.
From Decarbonize, but pay fair share by Bill McKibben
fsc to forum:
“Words matter. We need to spot talking about global warming and start talking about biosphere destruction.
“Warming” sounds cozy. It is the wrong choice of words for talking about a process which will destroy so much.
The range of outcomes for this madness, depending on who you ask, range from “only” population displacement, famine and wars, all the way to a runaway feedback making the planet “similar to Venus and incompatible with multicellular life”, as Hawkins put it. Let me emphasize: famine, wars and population displacement is the BEST outcome of continuing this madness of burning fossil fuels. Every multicellular species gets wiped out is not outside the range of possibilities.
Again: words matter. Branding matters. Talking about “warm” does not convey that reality at all. It is biosphere destruction.”
ByronBradley in reply to fsc:
Words and actions matter. Worse than “global warming” is “climate change.” The latter is ambiguous. Sure, it’s changing; it’s always changing. But how, and to what effect? “Warming” seems cozy, not troublesome and disastrous.
Our ancestors and we have all contributed a bit to the dramatic (in geologic and ecosystem time-frames) damage, which we’re only beginning to grok. As individual and collective corporate and governmental agents have all contributed to the problem, so is it both individuals and collective corporate and governmental agents who must now address it.
Both individual and collective efforts must now be responsibly engaged. It isn’t a dichotomy. I use my electric bike (mostly) and hang my clothes on the clothesline rather than use the dryer (usually) AND I support those scientists, corporations and politicians moving us all to clean, renewable energy gathering and use. We’re all involved (in our limited-but-learning ways) in this humanity-wide effort towards humanity-wide benefits.
A rescued and revived Eden is worth the effort.
It’d be a shame to continue to let an ongoing industrial fart (that lingers for 500 years) into the face of Mother Nature and the rest of us. Humans are better than that – I hope.
I prefer the term climate crisis or climate emergency. Anything that implies warming is going to be used against us by the doubters and fakers, since the effect of carbon dioxide and methane leakage pollution (another useful term, if somewhat long) translates to more extreme storms in the winter, along with the hotter summers. When you simply say warming, you get the idiotic contrarian Republican politicians saying stuff like “But it’s cold outside today” in December.
I get your point and like your terms, but I still prefer saying something like “global overheating,” because that’s what’s happening.
Wacky winter storms due to the wobbly jet stream and heavy occasional snowfall can be explained as generated by an over-energized atmosphere stirring things up along with the increased hurricanes.
We might then ask, “What to do when the Arctic and Antarctic run out of cold?” If they heat, and the oceans sicken and ecosystems die, will our trying to avoid their FUD (Fear Uncertainty Doubt) have been wise?
The carbon/methane problem can be gradually understood and adjusted to when explained in simple, frank terms, I would hope.
It’s just one of the huge environmental challenges industrialized humanity must face, habits we should and can change.
Global warming is the overall problem. Climate change is merely an effect of global warming. It is unfortunate in my opinion that the focus is all about fighting climate change, because you cannot fight it. You can only stop dumping CO2 and CH4 and NOx into the atmosphere and fight global warming.
ByronBradley Well and briefly put, Matt.
In response to Ocean Cleanup Targets Polluted Rivers
Bucky Fuller once considered pollution as “wasted resources.” Great if they can catch and recycle that much plastic.
I wonder if some of some of our “wastes” could be feeding the oceans, benefiting entire life systems from the smallest on up.
In response to:
Bucky Fuller called pollution “wasted resources.”
Would that our wastes feed the system, feed the soils and oceans.
What I’d like in packaging is that it be safely burned in my wood stove or composted in my yard bin.
If the packaging isn’t one of these two ways to “replenish the earth” or be returnable for deposit or recyclable (in a system that actually recycles) then it should be mandatory that the retail seller has to take it back. He or she can then return it to the wholesaler, who has to take it, who returns it to the manufacturer, who has to deal with it.
Expecting consumers to deal with complex and exotic materials is backwards. The whole system is involved and responsible; it’s an us-and-them situation.
Packaging needs more material design scientists and engineers, and those closest to their manufacture ought to promote it or deal with the massive wasteful consequences. What injures the long-term health of our planet ought to be illegal. What reinvests in its well-being should be praised and promoted.
Reply to Steve Baker, who wrote, “He is a hero for a world that has few” regarding Elon Musk getting Axel Springer Award for his “inventive and innovative accomplishments.” Elon Musk had helped many Flint youth enter STEM education, a few among a nation needing more.
True. Perhaps he helps the few become the many. Flint’s 7th and 8th graders are just one example of Musk’s many situations generating inspiration and ability.
Mathias Döpfner’s words are fitting for this brilliant and visionary man [Musk]. His “massively transformative purpose” is opening the ways to cleaner, more earth-friendly driving and living. One day all suitable rooftops will be part of our cornucopia of abundance.
What I don’t get is how Elon gets dissed, and how those who admire him get accused of being “fan boys” or “worshipful.” He and his wizards in his companies are getting a lot done, yet, as I quipped here once, he’ll be accused of having “dirt on the soles of his shoes.”
Yes, any hero can have faults, but does finding them negate all else he or she might do? Which parts of which people deserve our attention and praise? Awards, such as Axel Springer’s, are a fitting part of the process of humanity’s progress. Give the man his due.
They block the view, take up too much space parking, spew more pollutants, cost more to run, and menace smaller vehicles in crashes.
Vehicles should have exponentially higher license and insurance costs according to their larger size and heavier weight – to compensate for the wear, impediment, and threat they impose on our shared roadways.
The problem is they’re used as the regular around-town car instead of being reserved for hauling lots of people or weight. To help balance for the higher license and insurance, they should be charged insurance only when in use. That way, the big trucks and SUVs could have the incentive to be left at home while smaller, lighter, less lethal vehicles would still get our needs met.
I’ve been using my electric bike for about two years, eliminating perhaps 80% of what I would have used my V-6 for. Not just less ff pollution and saved money for me, but that money stays in town. It isn’t sent to Houston, New York, or Saudi Arabia. Ideally, I’ll charge the bike via solar panels.
Parking bikes is a hassle. They easily fall over and there are few places to secure them from theft. Bike racks are often hard to hook to.
Thumb-activated turn signals should be built into the bike or the helmet. Hard to signal to drivers and pedestrians when steering.
Carrying cargo should be easy and secure.
We don’t need dedicated bike lanes so much as all users of the road safely adapting with each other.
In small towns like mine, cars aren’t needed so much as currently used. Electric bikes, trikes, scooters, wheelchairs, skateboards, and roller shoes can get us around with more space to maneuver when making slightly slower trips that are more enjoyable, healthier, and better for each other.
Responding to: Ford Creates 30 Acre Walkable Community:
Ironic and perhaps emblematic use of a former train station in the former auto capital of the world, since deteriorated. I hope it’s not just hype.
Detroit, once the source of almost all U.S cars, avoided mass transit, lost its electric trolleys, opted instead for expressways channeling thousands of gasoline-powered cars in concrete trenches cut under the existing city streets. There they’d sit, engines running, clogged in huge daily jams before and after work hours. We’d choke on the costly toxic fumes.
To add injury to this insult, Detroit carved huge tunnels in the salt under the city, spreading it on the icy roads in the winters for a bit of traction and a slight bit of melting, but spreading also acid from the salt which rusted out the cars in about two years. Good thing was, those working in the factories could afford to renew their cars often. Bad thing was, all this hurried obsolescence, deterioration, and voluminous fuels (which cost to buy and pollute to burn) cost a lot of materials, energy, and lifetimes to operate.
This was a fossil fuels/automobile manufacturing dream and a commuter’s nightmare.
The irony deepens, for founder Henry Ford had a larger vision for his industry, workers, and society. He kept farmers busy in water-wheel-driven shops in the winters churning out parts for cars assembled later. He brought soybeans and made dashes and other parts out of them. He tried to pay his workers a decent wage so they could buy cars too, but was overruled by a Dodge-backed suit that denied his social conscience in favor of his fulfilling his fiduciary responsibilities to the stockholders only.
Detroit went on to develop big cars as over-hyped as the Edsel with miles per gallon almost the same as nearly a hundred years earlier.
Now that Ford has made significant moves towards electric (and General Motors finally relents, slowly) and Detroit embarks on this large pedestrian-centered micromobility experiment, I wonder how innovative and responsible (socially and environmentally) the intent and results will be.
We humans just need to get here and there without too much extraneous iron and waste to do it. I’ve seen kids with a wide, flat wheel in the heel of their shoes gliding along the floor, sidewalk, or street. How long before those are electrified? How easily could we be getting about in our towns and cities?
But what about mass transit over longer distances? I hope Detroit keeps some of those old rail tracks and experiments with vehicles that run on only one of them, freeing up to other for the bi-directional traffic. Steel wheels on steel rails is one of the most efficient ways to move weight at speed, and we have a lot of barely-used train tracks available in this country.
The old Detroit collapsed. Factories sat vacant. Houses built of the finest old-growth forests for knocked down by the thousands. But maybe innovators with conscience can devise city design and mobility (from personal to mass) that revisions how we can be together in our towns and cities.
A former train station in a city that choked itself with cars makes an interesting location for rethinking and retooling for how we live and move about.