Tag Archives: Sea World

Friday Linkage 7/17/2015

Where do the days go during the summer? Maybe it’s the lament of the modern age, but time does seem to just fly by.

On to the links…

We Broke a Whole Lotta’ Climate Records in 2014—For the record, it is not a good thing to be breaking these climate records. The world is getting hotter. The oceans can no longer absorb the excess heat. Weather is local and climate is global despite what clowns like James Inhofe say. Something is broken and we need to fix it. Fast.

How To Talk To A 5-Year-Old About Climate Change—What do you say, really? I am sorry that previous generations were selfish fools who stupidly left you with a big god damned mess to clean up?

Price of Solar Hits Record Low Again!—I keep looking at getting a solar panel installation on my roof and every time that I come back to the idea it seems like solar has hit a new price record.

Can Installation Innovations Keep Cutting Solar Soft Costs?—While panels have gotten a lot cheaper in recent years, the soft costs of a solar system have been a lot stickier. It just costs a lot of money to put people on your roof installing panels.

Gas Surges Ahead of Coal in US Power Generation—Nobody wants to be associated with coal anymore. The companies that mine coal are losing value like crazy. Power companies want to transition away from the dirty fuel. Customers do not want to pay for an energy source that is killing the planet. Can we finally start playing taps over the body of coal?

Wind Power Generates 140% Of Denmark’s Power Demand—Sometimes these numbers are a result of locally favorable conditions and not a product of long term trends. I still love seeing a country generate so much green power that it almost has to give it away to neighbors.

23% Of New Cars In Norway Now Electric Cars—I know Norway subsidizes the hell out of EVs, but I am impressed by the adoption rate.

Solar Provided 2.4% Of Australia’s Power Generation In 2014—2.4% might not seem like a big number, but it is huge for solar.

Australian Government Curbs Investments in Wind and Solar Energy—About the time you think Australia is on the right path deploying renewables and protecting the environment the government goes all retro on you.

‘Before and After’ Satellite Imagery Shows how Earth’s Prominent Features Change—I could spend hours looking at similar photo sets with sliders showing change over time. We live in the Anthropocene for sure.

Rotterdam may Pave its Roads in Recycled Plastic—Maybe there is finally a use for all of those single use plastic water bottles that seem to multiply when the weather gets hot.

SeaWorld Accused of Sending Employee to Infiltrate Animal Rights Protests—Really SeaWorld? Really?

Walt Disney World is an Environmental Fraud

Across Magic Kingdom and the other parks, especially Animal Kingdom, there are messages about conservation or environmental stewardship or blah, blah, blah…  Why am I unimpressed?  Because it is mostly a fraud or a Potemkin village or a lie or Romnesia or whatever else you want to insert into the phrase to signify false.

Take plastic bags for example.  The large plastic bags you get from a gift shop are proudly emblazoned with the statement that the bags are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic.

Sure, it’s 100% post-consumer recycled plastic but you are handed one no matter how many bags you might have in hand or how little the purchase might be.  Buy a little pin for your daughter’s lanyard?  Get a bag.  Don’t try and ask to forgo the bag because you will put your purchase in a bag acquired prior to the current purchase.  You will get looked at as if you have an alien’s head growing out your shoulder.  About the only thing worse to ask is why Donald Duck does not wear pants.  Seriously, try and ask about the lack of pants.

Composting?  Hah!  In Animal Kingdom there is a little section called Rafiki’s Planet Watch where there are little signs urging you to build backyard habitat or to compost or whatever.  I stopped paying attention because I did not see any effort on Disney’s part to compost.  Separate bins for food waste or paper at the dining options?  Nope.  Just throw it all away.  Never mind all the plastic cutlery and what not that was designed for one short use before being thrown away.

Recycling?  For all the guests saw at the park it was limited to can and bottle bins next to some of the trash bins scattered throughout the park.  Maybe the cast members, as employees are called in Disney’s Orwellian vocabulary, are more aggressive behind the scenes but I would not hold my breath.

The waste must be incredible.  This is the part of the park that is not normally accessible by guests because it would “ruin the magic.”  I think it is because the magic is made possible by a giant industrial beast not unlike the beating heart of some newly industrialized British city center in the 1800s.  All that is missing is belching smokestacks and glowing furnaces.  You get a little taste of that in the lines at the Tower of Terror.

In this behind the scenes look there are some interesting numbers.  In the Magic Kingdom alone, the park with the big castle in the center, 23 tons of garbage per day is funneled through an air powered tube system where it is supposedly separated—look, recycling in Florida—and the remaining waste is burned.

69 tons of laundry producing 1 ton of lint?  Mind blowing.

I think about toilets and urinals a lot.  It’s a weird fascination, but what is someone supposed to think about for the thirty seconds or so they are standing in front of a urinal at a theme park?  Really?

Most of the urinals I saw in Disney World were the traditional 1 gallon per flush models.  One gallon per flush is a lot.  Most residential dual flush models do the job with less and commercial urinals are doing the job with a lot less.  How much less?  Try none.

At Sea World most of the urinals I encountered were waterless types.  Heck, even parts of the Magic Kingdom are doing better.  In the bathrooms near Gaston’s Tavern in the new Fantasyland the amount of water per flush is 0.13 gallons.  A big improvement over the more commonly seen 1 gallon per flush, but really only impacting a small part of the overall picture.

If this seems like a rant, it is.  After six days in theme or amusement parks my mind really began to wonder about the possibilities for education and awareness building.  Each of these parks has a captive audience receptive to the message being sent out.  Don’t believe me?  Watch the herds of people mindlessly listen to the instructions all day long and you will begin to wonder just how much free will humans possess in general.

Granted, Disney World does not seem to be the lone standout in Florida for lack of environmental consciousness.

Recycling in the Shadow of the Mouse

For ten days I called Orlando home.  Actually, I called a townhouse in one of those master planned gated communities south of Disney World home but who is arguing.

Nothing struck me as more odd than the lack of recycling.  Every day, except Wednesday, a pickup truck drove down the relatively densely populated street of townhomes and collected white kitchen bags full of trash from little bench receptacles on the front steps.  Everything went into the white bags and out to the trash.  Cans, bottles, paper…it did not matter because there was no option for recycling.

If you had more garbage than could fit into one of those tall kitchen bags then there were several community dumpsters available throughout the compound, but no place to take a six pack of empty beer bottles or an empty jar of tomato sauce or anything that was not really trash back home.

Apparently, there is no recycling in Windsor Hills where the townhouse was located.  This strikes me as totally ludicrous.  Sure, it seemed like a hotbed of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan so the tendency toward reactionary hatred of anything sort of “lefty” was probably guaranteed.  However, it would seem silly to pay tipping fees for garbage when recyclables were being thrown away every day.  Don’t even think about community composting.  That is just crazy hippie talk.

Over the course of my ten days this absence of recycling struck me as even more odd given a few things.  The townhouses were relatively dense, which is derided by a lot of non-progressives as some kind of European conspiracy to deprive people of ridiculous suburban mini-estates, and each only had a single car driveway.  The pool and other community features, watch out for that sharing talk because it sounds vaguely communist or socialist, were walking distance and people actually walked.  Heck, low speed neighborhood electric vehicles, we call them golf carts in the rest of the world, were an acceptable option for transit.  The landscaping was even watered with reclaimed water.

Why the hatred of diverting recyclables from the waste stream?  Silly.

Nonetheless, it was not the only oddity I encountered while on my vacation in Florida.  Don’t even get me started on the stories about early voting that I listened to for the entirety of my vacation.  You would think that in 2012 there would not be a full throated debate about the efforts to suppress the votes of poor and minority people across an entire state but Rick “I am just a fraud when it comes to government health care billing” Scott has managed to bring back the specter of Jim Crow like none other.  Way to go Florida, you have proven that 2000 was not an aberration in your voting history.  Rather, it is the theme of your voting history…all jacked up.

I can’t wait to see what tonight brings.