Weekly Mulch: Would You Eat Bugs to Fight Climate Change?

By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger

Maybe it’s time for environmentalists prioritize do-it-yourself climate fixes instead of looking to politicians. There are all sorts of options, including, for those dedicated enough, switching to an insect-based diet, as Change.org reports.

But in the private sector, inventors, corporations, and small businesses — farmers in particular — are finding more palatable ways to scale down their environmental impact. In short, politicians aren’t the only ones with the power to make high-profile statements and strong choices on climate change.

No solar on the White House

Environmental crusader Bill McKibben had already given up on Congress; now the White House has disappointed, too. McKibben and other leaders in the climate change movement are eschewing lobbying on legislation in favor of pushing for more visible, direct action on climate issues. To that end, McKibben, along with three students, asked the White House last week to reinstall one of Jimmy Carter’s solar panels on the roof. The answer was no.

McKibben describes the Obama administration’s response to his request as “uncool…Asked to do something easy and symbolic to rekindle a little of the joy that had turned out so many of us as volunteers for Obama in 2008, they point blank said no,” according to Truthout.

The administration officials that they met with, though, wanted to make sure that the climate activists knew something was being done to improve the country’s environment. They touted the president’s initiative to green the federal government—federal buildings in particular. One official, McKibben says, spoke more than once about a Portland, Ore., building that would soon have a “green curtain,” likely a hanging garden.

It’s not that McKibben disapproved. “Actually, it’s kind of great,” he wrote. “Still, I doubt many people are going to build their own vegetated fins.”

The talking cure

That’s the ultimate question: What will people build on their own? Solar panels could be one answer, although they haven’t quite caught on yet. There are all sorts of technologies, though, that could help us minimize our carbon footprint. Grist’s Ashley Braun checks out one new idea: drawing energy from sound waves:

Using that standby found in sunscreen, zinc oxide, to turn sound waves into electricity, these scientists have heard the bells of success starting to ring in their ears. Similar to other technologies aimed at harvesting energy from walking or dancing, this concept could also turn the roar of traffic into the hum of low-carbon electrons. How sweet the sound of renewable energy.

Scientists are considering using this technology in cell phones, creating, ideally, a device that would never have be plugged in, assuming, of course, that its owner used it frequently enough, and used it as a phone, rather than an e-mail/web-surfing/GPS device.

Go private?

Another option for climate reformers could be focusing on the private sector. Corporations have gotten the message that consumers buy green products, and more are churning out sustainable, climate-friendly offerings.

Care2’s Emily Logan points to Nestle, eBay, and Sunny D as three companies that have heard the green gospel. Nestle is investing in sustainable coffee; eBay is pushing out reusable shipping boxes; and Sunny D, the beverage company, met its zero-waste goal three years ahead of schedule.

“Of course, like most large corporations who are making efforts toward sustainability, some of these companies have a long way to go,” Logan writes. “But giving credit where credit is due is increasingly important when it comes to the environment.”

You are what you eat

The farm sector is one private industry that deserves more scrutiny and pressure. Recall that agriculture interests ran one of the most successful campaigns to be exempted from the cap-and-trade bill, when it was working its way through the House. Even among liberals, the industry has its defenders: local, sustainable agriculture just won’t work to feed the masses, the argument goes.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that we still haven’t seen how large sustainable farms can grow. Take Joel Salatin, the crusading farmer made famous by Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Salatin has been running a successful operation, Polyface Farm, for years while relying on organic and sustainable methods. As David E. Gumport reports at Chelsea Green, Salatin’s farm has only grown:

Standing in front of a group of about 50 romping pigs, [Salatin] proudly revealed that Polyface has hit the the $2 million annual sales level, while sticking to Salatin’s policy of not shipping food outside a 100-mile radius. The effect, he says, has been to strengthen local businesses–everything from a local breakfast diner serving visitors to his farm to local feed and supply companies.

Salatin is convinced his methods can be used to feed the entire population. What’s certain is that there is room for more of this sort of growth in the agricultural system.

Here, too, would-be reformers run back into politicians: Salatin’s food safety practices are not exactly FDA-approved, and to reseed his methods elsewhere, the government would need to relax safety standards for smaller, alternatives operations.

But for now, this sort of effort, and others outside of Washington seem to be making the largest impact.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment bymembers of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The AuditThe Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

Weekly Mulch: Would You Eat Bugs to Fight Climate Change?

By Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger

Maybe it’s time for environmentalists prioritize do-it-yourself climate fixes instead of looking to politicians. There are all sorts of options, including, for those dedicated enough, switching to an insect-based diet, as Change.org reports.

But in the private sector, inventors, corporations, and small businesses — farmers in particular — are finding more palatable ways to scale down their environmental impact. In short, politicians aren’t the only ones with the power to make high-profile statements and strong choices on climate change.

No solar on the White House

Environmental crusader Bill McKibben had already given up on Congress; now the White House has disappointed, too. McKibben and other leaders in the climate change movement are eschewing lobbying on legislation in favor of pushing for more visible, direct action on climate issues. To that end, McKibben, along with three students, asked the White House last week to reinstall one of Jimmy Carter’s solar panels on the roof. The answer was no.

McKibben describes the Obama administration’s response to his request as “uncool…Asked to do something easy and symbolic to rekindle a little of the joy that had turned out so many of us as volunteers for Obama in 2008, they point blank said no,” according to Truthout.

The administration officials that they met with, though, wanted to make sure that the climate activists knew something was being done to improve the country’s environment. They touted the president’s initiative to green the federal government—federal buildings in particular. One official, McKibben says, spoke more than once about a Portland, Ore., building that would soon have a “green curtain,” likely a hanging garden.

It’s not that McKibben disapproved. “Actually, it’s kind of great,” he wrote. “Still, I doubt many people are going to build their own vegetated fins.”

The talking cure

That’s the ultimate question: What will people build on their own? Solar panels could be one answer, although they haven’t quite caught on yet. There are all sorts of technologies, though, that could help us minimize our carbon footprint. Grist’s Ashley Braun checks out one new idea: drawing energy from sound waves:

Using that standby found in sunscreen, zinc oxide, to turn sound waves into electricity, these scientists have heard the bells of success starting to ring in their ears. Similar to other technologies aimed at harvesting energy from walking or dancing, this concept could also turn the roar of traffic into the hum of low-carbon electrons. How sweet the sound of renewable energy.

Scientists are considering using this technology in cell phones, creating, ideally, a device that would never have be plugged in, assuming, of course, that its owner used it frequently enough, and used it as a phone, rather than an e-mail/web-surfing/GPS device.

Go private?

Another option for climate reformers could be focusing on the private sector. Corporations have gotten the message that consumers buy green products, and more are churning out sustainable, climate-friendly offerings.

Care2’s Emily Logan points to Nestle, eBay, and Sunny D as three companies that have heard the green gospel. Nestle is investing in sustainable coffee; eBay is pushing out reusable shipping boxes; and Sunny D, the beverage company, met its zero-waste goal three years ahead of schedule.

“Of course, like most large corporations who are making efforts toward sustainability, some of these companies have a long way to go,” Logan writes. “But giving credit where credit is due is increasingly important when it comes to the environment.”

You are what you eat

The farm sector is one private industry that deserves more scrutiny and pressure. Recall that agriculture interests ran one of the most successful campaigns to be exempted from the cap-and-trade bill, when it was working its way through the House. Even among liberals, the industry has its defenders: local, sustainable agriculture just won’t work to feed the masses, the argument goes.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that we still haven’t seen how large sustainable farms can grow. Take Joel Salatin, the crusading farmer made famous by Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Salatin has been running a successful operation, Polyface Farm, for years while relying on organic and sustainable methods. As David E. Gumport reports at Chelsea Green, Salatin’s farm has only grown:

Standing in front of a group of about 50 romping pigs, [Salatin] proudly revealed that Polyface has hit the the $2 million annual sales level, while sticking to Salatin’s policy of not shipping food outside a 100-mile radius. The effect, he says, has been to strengthen local businesses–everything from a local breakfast diner serving visitors to his farm to local feed and supply companies.

Salatin is convinced his methods can be used to feed the entire population. What’s certain is that there is room for more of this sort of growth in the agricultural system.

Here, too, would-be reformers run back into politicians: Salatin’s food safety practices are not exactly FDA-approved, and to reseed his methods elsewhere, the government would need to relax safety standards for smaller, alternatives operations.

But for now, this sort of effort, and others outside of Washington seem to be making the largest impact.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment bymembers of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The AuditThe Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

Squandered Political Capital and the Stench of Failure

Not that they’d listen – they don’t listen to anyone – but I’d counsel Republicans along the same lines as the Democrats when they came to power…keep the fist pumps, terrorist or otherwise, to a minimum. Refrain from the siren call to rub it in, lest you be treated to the swirly next election cycle.

Voters partially returned you to power, but don’t mistake that for an overarching mandate. Their opinion of ALL politicians is only slightly higher than that beagle that shit on their new shoes and they’ll tire of you just as quickly if you can’t turn things around within a few months. That’s highly unlikely and some polls already indicate voters believe there will be as little progress under the Griping Old Pootieheads as there has been under the Demojellies. I fear they are right.

Many voters went Republican not so much because they thought Reps were good, but because they don’t like El Jefe and wanted to send a signal. As goes the President so goes Congress in midterm elections.

Walking on Water to Drowning In Water
No doubt, the O-Man has squandered a tremendous amount of political capital in his two years. CHANGE meant continuing or expanding far too many policies he railed against from the last administration. As for HOPE, he left too much of his base and moderates hoping he would get better – while he didn’t. Had he seized the power of his huge win, he could’ve gotten much more done and he and Congressional Dems would stand a better chance of delivering the Hope and Change they touted. Instead, he let the power of NO run his agenda.

But, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before.

Bush the Lesser squeaked into the White House in an election decided by some moronic guy named Chad who couldn’t operate a punch card without putting an eye out. Dub’s first few months were lackluster at best, but then he got the best political gift a pol could ask for – a scruffy hermit with a penchant for bad home movies dispatched some nuts to cause massive mischief on the Hudson.

He, rightfully at the time, climbed up on a pile of rubble, loudspeaker in hand, and railed against the evil trying to defeat America. People rallied around him as they haven’t done since WWII. In a week he went from just another run-of-the mill stumble bum to someone with more political capital than Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina could ever buy… combined.

Imagine What All That Capital Could Buy
With that amazing power, he could’ve done so many things to help this country. For example, and there were many others, he could’ve used it as a bloody pulpit to preach the dangers of foreign oil dependence. Instead, he encouraged domestic and foreign oil companies to poke more holes in the country than ever before at the expense of enforcing any regulation, no matter how trivial. Today we find ourselves not only more dependent, but watching oilagarchs rob the country blind.

He was still riding high at the beginning of term two, although the first rumblings against the most useless and poorly managed war in history were getting louder. By the time Katrina made his uselessness truly evident, the rumble became a shout and he went down in hot flames of embarrassment.

Everyone else’s embarrassment, not his. And all that political capital he crowed about? He apparently banked with Washington Mutual.

Clinton managed to get a few things done in term one, but pissed it away lying about the world’s most expensive BJ. An entire four years wasted, an incredible historical blot on him, and the final death of whatever shred of bipartisanship and civility was left in Washington.

Bush the Elder fared no better. He squandered the terrific political abundance delivered by Gulf War I by encouraging people to watch his lips as they said, “No new taxes”. He then called every new tax a fee until it got to be such a charade he asked people to stop staring at his lips. Voters repaid him by saying, “Watch our lips. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

He did manage to stay out of jail over that whole Iran/Contra thing though. No small feat that.

Failure is one of the few things that is truly bipartisan. Whether, like Obama, you negotiate like a fear-crazed 90-year old lady buying a used car at Mad Man Dapper Dan’s Used Car Emporium or are so incompetent you choke on a pretzel, whether you can’t keep your Johnson out of your intern’s mouth or puke in the Japanese Prime Minister’s lap, there are a million ways to fail. Failure is cumulative. Failure is contagious. In short, failure fails.

Unfortunately, I’d say odds are far more than even that we’re well on the way to another failure.

And, it will no doubt be one huge MoFo.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Squandered Political Capital and the Stench of Failure

Not that they’d listen – they don’t listen to anyone – but I’d counsel Republicans along the same lines as the Democrats when they came to power…keep the fist pumps, terrorist or otherwise, to a minimum. Refrain from the siren call to rub it in, lest you be treated to the swirly next election cycle.

Voters partially returned you to power, but don’t mistake that for an overarching mandate. Their opinion of ALL politicians is only slightly higher than that beagle that shit on their new shoes and they’ll tire of you just as quickly if you can’t turn things around within a few months. That’s highly unlikely and some polls already indicate voters believe there will be as little progress under the Griping Old Pootieheads as there has been under the Demojellies. I fear they are right.

Many voters went Republican not so much because they thought Reps were good, but because they don’t like El Jefe and wanted to send a signal. As goes the President so goes Congress in midterm elections.

Walking on Water to Drowning In Water
No doubt, the O-Man has squandered a tremendous amount of political capital in his two years. CHANGE meant continuing or expanding far too many policies he railed against from the last administration. As for HOPE, he left too much of his base and moderates hoping he would get better – while he didn’t. Had he seized the power of his huge win, he could’ve gotten much more done and he and Congressional Dems would stand a better chance of delivering the Hope and Change they touted. Instead, he let the power of NO run his agenda.

But, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before.

Bush the Lesser squeaked into the White House in an election decided by some moronic guy named Chad who couldn’t operate a punch card without putting an eye out. Dub’s first few months were lackluster at best, but then he got the best political gift a pol could ask for – a scruffy hermit with a penchant for bad home movies dispatched some nuts to cause massive mischief on the Hudson.

He, rightfully at the time, climbed up on a pile of rubble, loudspeaker in hand, and railed against the evil trying to defeat America. People rallied around him as they haven’t done since WWII. In a week he went from just another run-of-the mill stumble bum to someone with more political capital than Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina could ever buy… combined.

Imagine What All That Capital Could Buy
With that amazing power, he could’ve done so many things to help this country. For example, and there were many others, he could’ve used it as a bloody pulpit to preach the dangers of foreign oil dependence. Instead, he encouraged domestic and foreign oil companies to poke more holes in the country than ever before at the expense of enforcing any regulation, no matter how trivial. Today we find ourselves not only more dependent, but watching oilagarchs rob the country blind.

He was still riding high at the beginning of term two, although the first rumblings against the most useless and poorly managed war in history were getting louder. By the time Katrina made his uselessness truly evident, the rumble became a shout and he went down in hot flames of embarrassment.

Everyone else’s embarrassment, not his. And all that political capital he crowed about? He apparently banked with Washington Mutual.

Clinton managed to get a few things done in term one, but pissed it away lying about the world’s most expensive BJ. An entire four years wasted, an incredible historical blot on him, and the final death of whatever shred of bipartisanship and civility was left in Washington.

Bush the Elder fared no better. He squandered the terrific political abundance delivered by Gulf War I by encouraging people to watch his lips as they said, “No new taxes”. He then called every new tax a fee until it got to be such a charade he asked people to stop staring at his lips. Voters repaid him by saying, “Watch our lips. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

He did manage to stay out of jail over that whole Iran/Contra thing though. No small feat that.

Failure is one of the few things that is truly bipartisan. Whether, like Obama, you negotiate like a fear-crazed 90-year old lady buying a used car at Mad Man Dapper Dan’s Used Car Emporium or are so incompetent you choke on a pretzel, whether you can’t keep your Johnson out of your intern’s mouth or puke in the Japanese Prime Minister’s lap, there are a million ways to fail. Failure is cumulative. Failure is contagious. In short, failure fails.

Unfortunately, I’d say odds are far more than even that we’re well on the way to another failure.

And, it will no doubt be one huge MoFo.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Squandered Political Capital and the Stench of Failure

Not that they’d listen – they don’t listen to anyone – but I’d counsel Republicans along the same lines as the Democrats when they came to power…keep the fist pumps, terrorist or otherwise, to a minimum. Refrain from the siren call to rub it in, lest you be treated to the swirly next election cycle.

Voters partially returned you to power, but don’t mistake that for an overarching mandate. Their opinion of ALL politicians is only slightly higher than that beagle that shit on their new shoes and they’ll tire of you just as quickly if you can’t turn things around within a few months. That’s highly unlikely and some polls already indicate voters believe there will be as little progress under the Griping Old Pootieheads as there has been under the Demojellies. I fear they are right.

Many voters went Republican not so much because they thought Reps were good, but because they don’t like El Jefe and wanted to send a signal. As goes the President so goes Congress in midterm elections.

Walking on Water to Drowning In Water
No doubt, the O-Man has squandered a tremendous amount of political capital in his two years. CHANGE meant continuing or expanding far too many policies he railed against from the last administration. As for HOPE, he left too much of his base and moderates hoping he would get better – while he didn’t. Had he seized the power of his huge win, he could’ve gotten much more done and he and Congressional Dems would stand a better chance of delivering the Hope and Change they touted. Instead, he let the power of NO run his agenda.

But, it’s not like this hasn’t happened before.

Bush the Lesser squeaked into the White House in an election decided by some moronic guy named Chad who couldn’t operate a punch card without putting an eye out. Dub’s first few months were lackluster at best, but then he got the best political gift a pol could ask for – a scruffy hermit with a penchant for bad home movies dispatched some nuts to cause massive mischief on the Hudson.

He, rightfully at the time, climbed up on a pile of rubble, loudspeaker in hand, and railed against the evil trying to defeat America. People rallied around him as they haven’t done since WWII. In a week he went from just another run-of-the mill stumble bum to someone with more political capital than Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina could ever buy… combined.

Imagine What All That Capital Could Buy
With that amazing power, he could’ve done so many things to help this country. For example, and there were many others, he could’ve used it as a bloody pulpit to preach the dangers of foreign oil dependence. Instead, he encouraged domestic and foreign oil companies to poke more holes in the country than ever before at the expense of enforcing any regulation, no matter how trivial. Today we find ourselves not only more dependent, but watching oilagarchs rob the country blind.

He was still riding high at the beginning of term two, although the first rumblings against the most useless and poorly managed war in history were getting louder. By the time Katrina made his uselessness truly evident, the rumble became a shout and he went down in hot flames of embarrassment.

Everyone else’s embarrassment, not his. And all that political capital he crowed about? He apparently banked with Washington Mutual.

Clinton managed to get a few things done in term one, but pissed it away lying about the world’s most expensive BJ. An entire four years wasted, an incredible historical blot on him, and the final death of whatever shred of bipartisanship and civility was left in Washington.

Bush the Elder fared no better. He squandered the terrific political abundance delivered by Gulf War I by encouraging people to watch his lips as they said, “No new taxes”. He then called every new tax a fee until it got to be such a charade he asked people to stop staring at his lips. Voters repaid him by saying, “Watch our lips. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out.”

He did manage to stay out of jail over that whole Iran/Contra thing though. No small feat that.

Failure is one of the few things that is truly bipartisan. Whether, like Obama, you negotiate like a fear-crazed 90-year old lady buying a used car at Mad Man Dapper Dan’s Used Car Emporium or are so incompetent you choke on a pretzel, whether you can’t keep your Johnson out of your intern’s mouth or puke in the Japanese Prime Minister’s lap, there are a million ways to fail. Failure is cumulative. Failure is contagious. In short, failure fails.

Unfortunately, I’d say odds are far more than even that we’re well on the way to another failure.

And, it will no doubt be one huge MoFo.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

Diaries

Advertise Blogads