A Competitive Regulatory Environment?

The hawks would have us believe that the EPA is driving all of our manufacturing jobs to other countries. They want to do away with the EPA and all environmental regulations. I would argue that the low cost of labor is probably a more significant forcing than EPA regulations, but for those who still think EPA regulations are unnecessary, you may be interested to hear that Beijing’s air pollution was 40 times the World Health Organization’s limit on January 13, 2013.¬† (ref: http://ecowatch.org/2013/china-coal-consumption/)

Here is what that looks like (photo linked from the cited article on EcoWatch) …

Is this really what you want for our children? Also, before you get feeling all smug about being an American and having clean air to breath, don’t forget that America is a huge importer of Chinese goods. If we hadn’t exported our dirty manufacturing to China, and our consumption of useless plastic crap was as high as it is, we’d have those low paying jobs and high polluting factories here on our soil, and we’d be breathing this smog. As long as we continue to thoughtlessly consume Chinese goods, we are partly responsible for the pollution. (The Story of Stuff)

On a related note: There have been recent discussions about the dangers to birds, posed by wind farms. If this photo is the result of burning coal to produce electricity, I can imagine this would make flying very hazardous; not to mention the damage to the bird’s respiratory and cardiovascular system.

Back to Doom and Gloom

It seems the anti-green people will go to great lengths to resist sustainable solutions; in this case, a wind farm. An offshore wind farm is being sited about 35 miles from me, not too far from Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. The opposition have recently decided that the wind farm might get in the way of military training exercises. They say there is a chance the air station may be closed in the future, due to limitations imposed on it by the proximity of the wind turbines.

First, let me say that the Federal Government (i.e. the Marine Corps) had veto authority on the siting of the wind farm, and they did not veto it. It is obviously not in their critical flight path. Next, I’d like to talk about the bigger picture. If you accept the best science available to us, today, if we don’t do something to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we’re going to see more than a meter of sea level rise on our cost in the next 50 years. We’ve already had 8 inches of sea level rise, here on the North Carolina coast. A meter of sea level rise would be devastating to our coast and our coastal economy. Even the military bases would be impacted. It seems to me that the wind farms are, at least, symbolic of our attempt to prevent an ecological and economic disaster. That, in my opinion, trumps a perceived, potential threat of a base realignment that would result in the closure of the air station.

People probably get tired of hearing me say this, but if we’re going to head off an¬†apocalyptic climate disaster, we’re going to have to get serious. That means everyone has to do their part. Individuals, governments, and commercial entities must all find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Many of us will have to make sacrifices. I have made sacrifices, and I expect to make more.

On the flip side, wind farms are hardly a sacrifice. The wind industry creates jobs and spurs economic growth. It helps us reach energy independence without polluting our precious environment. Wind farms even save millions of gallons of water. Developing better renewable energy technologies will help the U.S. remain competitive, and help us balance our trade deficit. If you’re against subsidizing industry, then stop subsidies to fossil fuel companies and balance the playing field. Also, make the fossil fuel companies pay to clean up the messes they create, and the health problems associated with their pollution.

The days of cheap energy are coming to an end. Investing in sustainable, clean technologies just makes sense to me.

I can see, again!

My distance vision has been degenerating for years. I tried to make an appointment before my driver’s license came up for renewal in the end of 2009, but the optometrist I called couldn’t get me in for 6 weeks, so I decided to take my chances on getting my license without corrective lenses. I just barely passed the vision test.

Fast forward to 2013 … I finally made an appointment at the Eye Care Center in Swansboro, North Carolina. I had my eye exam today. Dr. Cox and her staff were awesome! They were friendly and professional, and they answered all my questions. Dr. Cox was openly concerned for the safety of anyone on or near the streets of Swansboro. She made it clear that I shouldn’t be driving without corrective lenses. She also seemed genuinely concerned for my health and well being. Although I didn’t spend much time with her, I got the impression that Dr. Cox is very good at what she does. In addition to being knowledgeable and observant, she was patient and understanding. I should add that the entire staff was amazing. The entire experience, from the time I arrived until the time I walked out was pleasant and painless. The exam was thorough, and I am thrilled with my new glasses, which they made for me, on the spot.

When I put on my new glasses, I realized how bad my vision had become. It was like seeing the world through new eyes. My new glasses didn’t just bring things into focus, even the colors seemed more vibrant. My only regret is waiting so long to finally get glasses. The problem kind of sneaked up on me.

I know this probably sounds like an advertisement for the Eye Care Center in Swansboro. I can assure you that I’m not being paid to advertise for them, but I am a happy customer, and I am really excited about my new-found visual acuity. I could be in love with Dr. Cox, but that’s another matter. Given my focus on ecological problems and sustainable lifestyles, I don’t find a lot to get excited about. When I do get excited, it’s nice to write about it. I will soon return to my normal “doom and gloom” programming. We still have a lot to talk about.

In Honor of Becky Tarbotton

Some of you may already know that Rebecca Tarbotton died on December 26, 2012 in a swimming accident at the age of 39. She was an amazing activist. I’m still suspicious about her untimely death. She was an avid kayaker, and outdoorsperson. She was practically an unstoppable force of nature, and she was in perfect health. As the executive director of the Rainforest Action Network, I’m sure she made some very powerful enemies. That’s why I’m not ready to just accept the alleged circumstances of her death. You should google Rebecca Tarbotton, if you’re not familiar with her. There is a wealth of information about her on various news sites. Everyone seems to agree on the cause of death. It’s all a little hard to swallow, for me. How hard would it be to poison someone’s drink and pay off the coroner while they were on vacation in Mexico?

Here is a video, in case you have never heard Becky speak …