Tag Archives: Bill McKibben

Friday Linkage 4/7/2017

At what point do we look into the abyss and see nothing but Donald Trump’s searing ineptitude staring back at us?  Every time the man goes to the podium with a world leader to his right he stumbles through a word salad of “very this” and “tremendous that” without ever actually saying something of substance.

Every time he steps to the podium I am reminded of Robin Williams’ line in Dead Poets Society:

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Unfortunately laziness is now the currency of the land.

On to the links…

The Question I Get Asked the Most—Take a moment and read the entirety of Bill McKibben’s piece at Resilience.org.  Think about the meaning and do something.

Can Steve King be Defeated? History Says Probably Not—People in his district love Steve King.  He is one of the most embarrassing human beings in politics and the people in his district will reelect him in a walk in 2018.   Why?  They are also the same people who are probably standing behind Donald Trump and Bill O’Reilly.

Why Is Trump Ignoring These Good Heartland Jobs?—Why?  It does not fit his easy narrative and the man is lazy.  It does not matter that renewable energy employs more people than coal and that the renewable energy jobs sector is growing.  It also is a narrative that does not line the pockets of Koch Industries and other Trump lovers.

6 Charts That Show Trump Isn’t Stopping the Renewable Energy Revolution Any Time Soon—I hope the conclusion is right.  I just hope that there is enough inertia to overcome the amazing level of stupidity coming from Washington D.C. right now.

US Coal Production Hits 38 Year Low—Here is the thing.  As coal production volumes fall there is a self-perpetuating cycle of decline that follows because it is a capital intensive business.  As coal gets more expensive to mine it gets more expensive to make coal fired electricity, which leads to utilities closing down coal fired power plants.  This causes coal demand to fall further which causes the price of mining coal to increase.  So on and so forth.

While Trump Promotes Coal, Chile and Others are Turning to Cheap Sun Power—Again, it does not fit his lazy narrative.  Plus, solar jobs don’t allow you put on cool hard hats and gesticulate:

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Wastewater: The Best Hidden Energy Source You’ve Never Heard Of—I hesitate to call this renewable energy, so why don’t we go with recovered energy.  Nonetheless, in a system where we are looking for every kilowatt hour that can be generated from non-fossil fuels this is a potential source of goodness.

What Pollutes the Urban Mississippi? Lawns, Dogs and Lots of Pavement Runoff—We may not be able to make rural communities do something about the runoff from farm fields because the rightward lurch of those areas has made progress a daunting task, but there is a lot that can be done in our urban watersheds.

Pot’s Cousin Explored as Viable Crop Option for Minnesota—Illinois is talking about legalization and Minnesota is exploring hemp.  Paying taxes and giving rural communities another crop option is the death knell of federal prohibition.

Ten Cool Facts About Hemp From the NoCo Expo—Did you have an acquaintance in college who spent hours telling you all the cool facts about hemp that “the man” would not allow to become mainstream because reasons?  That person is mainstream now.

Peak Auto? These Charts Point to Industry, U.S. Economy Concerns—We may be “over auto-ed” as a country.  The implications for the economy are fairly dramatic.

The Couple who Coaxed 300 Acres of Barren Farmland Back into Lush Forest—It’s only 300 acres, but it is also only two people.  We have the tools to make the world a better place.  Let’s get cracking.

Friday Linkage 4/13/2012

Friday the 13th always seemed scarier when I was a kid.  Maybe it was too many movies featuring a hockey mask wearing psychopath, scantily clad teenagers of both genders, rusty garden tools, and some kind of cabin in the woods.

I still get a little unnerved turning onto Elm Street though…

On to the links…

9 States Get More than 10 Percent of Power from Renewables–I love stories like these because it shows the progress that renewables have made regardless of the opposition from fossil fuels.  It also shows how much work there is to be done in transitioning from dirty power to clean renewables.

How We Subsidize the Energy Giants to Wreck the Planet–Bill McKibben has recognized the enemy and he is…us!  Okay, we may not really know how we subsidize the burning of our planet.  See how.

What Happens to Coal if We Don’t Burn It–Brad Plumer really pisses in my Cheerios when he shows how a reduction in coal use by the Western world may not matter because China and India cannot get enough.  Joy.

Americans Throw Away Enough Trash in a Year to Cover Texas–This is the first time I have seen Texas’ size used in a context that I agree with.  Usually it’s “Texas is so big….” fill in the blank with something about being the sixth largest something or the fifth largest other thing.  The idea of a trash covered Texas is slightly humorous and disturbing.  But it is an infographic.

Is an Egg Worth It?–In the name of efficiency we have dehumanized the production of our food so much that it resembles a scene from Dante’s Divine Comedy.  Nothing was funny about that book and nothing is funny about the way our food is commonly produced.

Worst Farm Bill Ever?–Probably not when you consider what some of the farm bills looked like through the 1960s and 1970s.  Earl Butz anyone? Still, the current bill is pretty bad.  Another example of how our farm policies warp our food supply, endanger our lives, and cost us money.

Science Reveals Agriculture’s True Impact–What we grow and how we grow have a huge impact on the planet.  Duh?  Any climate change solutions, therefore, must  include agriculture as part of the problem and solution.

Organic, All-Natural Faux Blueberries–Yep, those little sugar nuggets posing as blueberries in so many box mixes and baked goods can be organic and all-natural.  What’s not to love?  Oh yeah, it’s garbage.

Joel Salatin Rocks–When you get depressed about the current state of food production in the United States take a moment to consider that there are people out there doing the right things.  Joel Salatin, a hero to the food movement, is one of those people. Take a look at his thoughts on the concept of elitism in the food movement.

The “Dark Lord” of Nutrition–It’s short and sweet.  This little video lays out the debate around high fructose corn syrup in an easy to understand way.  Dig it.

Heritage Field Opens Near Yankee Stadium–In what I consider to be one of the greatest scams, the New York Yankees were allowed to build on parkland in the Bronx for their new cathedral to overpriced infielders awaiting roles as DH.  You have to love a country where a private company–the New York Yankees–are allowed to take over a public resource using financing that is tax exempt.  Consider all of this in light of the fact that our children do not get enough time outside to play.  Seems like a good deal.

Don’t Buy a Volt if You Value Your Money–It’s a good chart that shows the relative fuel and dollar savings of a hybrid/electric/high efficiency car over its more traditional counterpart.  I would quibble with the comparison of a Prius and a Camry because it favor the Prius.  A Prius versus a Corolla perhaps.

Friday Linkage 9/16/2011

The weather turned distinctly fall-like in the span of a couple of days this week.  It was 88 and sunny on Monday, but by Wednesday it was hovering in the low 60s and frost was starting to appear in the morning.  With football on the television it is time to make some chili and enjoy the change of the seasons.

Reinventing Fire—The Rocky Mountain Institute has release a detailed roadmap designed to move the United States to a fossil fuel free economy by 2050.  Is it bold?  Yes.  Is it doable?  Yes.  Who is standing in the way?  Lots of people led by Republicans.

Tar Sands Showdown: The Fight Over the Future of Energy—A decent interview with Bill McKibben from Wired about the Keystone XL pipeline project and the associated tar sands projects in Canada.  I think framing this as the future of energy can be a smart move because it is a dystopian future.  Consider that there is no such thing as a leakproof pipeline.

Cars Don’t Waste Fuel, People Do—The cheapest and easiest way to increase the fuel efficiency of the existing fleet is to change the behavior of the people operating the wheel of the cars.  No one is saying we all need to become fanatical hypermilers, but there is a lot of room for improvement.  I think about this every time I see a Toyota Prius blow past me on the interstate at 90 miles per hour.  How efficient is any car going that fast?  Not very.

600 Tons of Compost a Day—In San Francisco, a mandatory composting law has led to the collection of 600 tons of food waste per day!  It is amazing that this much material is being diverted from the landfill and that this material was landfilled in the first place.  The linked video shows how the city’s facility deals with such a high volume of material.

Why “Killing the Electric Car” is a Bad Idea—The debate continues on the viability of the electric car, but this article argues that the electric car is a component of our transportation future because it offers flexibility.  In other words, electric propulsion is part of a portfolio of transportation options.  In portfolio theory, you diversify in an effort to reduce risk.  Therefore, a variety of transportation options becomes the tool with which we diversify away the risk of future energy shocks.

Urban Foragers Live Simply, Cheaply Off the Land—Do you ever see fruit trees in your neighborhood and wonder if anyone eats those apples?  Do you ever see bushes and wonder if someone picks those elderberries?  Urban foragers do.  The landscape is filled with options if only we will open our eyes to the possibilities.

Is a Bike Really More Efficient than a Car?—An interesting take from a very car-centric blog.  It sort of misses the total cost of ownership, embodied energy, etc. of driving a car.  I do agree that sometimes the expense of cycling can become onerous for those of us who love doodads and exotic materials.  Why yes, I would love a commuter bike make of carbon fiber with titanium bits.