Tag Archives: Tim DeChristopher

Friday Linkage 4/26/2013

I hate Earth Day.  Not the actual day itself or the activities that people get involved in because anything that raises awareness is probably a good thing.  No such thing as bad publicity, right?

What I hate about Earth Day is that it begets Earth week or some company claims it is green by changing its logo for a few days and putting some preachy PSAs on the airwaves.  Big freakin’ deal.  Not to get too negative, but the problems we face are about more than recycling or changing a light bulb.  It’s about trying to reorient our way of life to something that is more sustainable.

It would mean something if I saw a PSA that said eating meat is one of the most environmentally destructive choices that an individual makes in a day.  Too bad the beef and pork producers would be all over the network that airs that little tidbit.  Money talks and conscience walks.

On to the links…

Climate Activist Tim DeChristopher Released from Prison—Has there been a person more railroaded by the justice system than Tim DeChristopher?  If an oil company bid on leases and failed to pay no one would go to jail.  But because DeChristopher was unrepentant at trial the judge decided to put him away as an example.  An example of what?  How the system protects the interest of the oil companies over all others?  Pretty much accomplished that your honor.

13 Reasons to be Glad George W. Bush is not President Anymore—I wonder why the good folks at Think Progress stopped at thirteen.  This could have become one of those running memes, like Chuck Norris jokes, that evolves into entire websites.  I also think that they forgot to mention one critical reason I am glad W. is no longer president…we no longer have to hear the “leader of the free world” mispronounce the world nuclear.

What The House GOP Doesn’t Want You To Know About Wind Vs. Oil Tax Credits—Why we subsidize the most profitable industry in the history of the world is beyond me.  Sorry, I cannot figure it out.

Fast-Growing U.S. Solar Industry Now Employs Over 119,000—When does the realization that the solar economy is real hit people?  When someone in your neighborhood puts panels on their home?  When someone in your neighborhood is employed by a solar company?

Could an Artificial Leaf Power Your Car?—It sounds like the Holy Grail of biofuel—an organism that secretes the raw ingredients of biofuel—but researchers appear to be on the right track to developing or isolating organisms that do just that.

Electric Taxi Experiment to Begin in New York City—I cannot think of a more brutal proving ground for a vehicle than being a taxi in a major metropolitan area.  Okay, maybe being owned by a high school kid who is the only person with a license in their circle of friends is also a brutal proving ground.  The experiment may not be totally successful, but the lessons learned will be invaluable.

Europe’s Carbon Market is Sputtering as Prices Dive—I think the drive to establish complicated markets to trade carbon is a dead movement.  It’s much easier to tax carbon at the fuel level and let the economics work themselves out without complicated schemes.  Plus, given the insanity in securities markets I have no faith in the same people to do anything good with carbon markets.  Trust Goldman Sachs?  Sure…

Confused Koala Discovers His Home has been Cut Down—The pictures in this article just made me really sad because this little guy seems to be emoting.  Why do we still allow clear cutting when it has been established that healthy forest ecosystems can be maintained with selective logging?  It seems insane.

Giant Animal Invasions—What is it about Florida and invasive species?  If there is some nasty invasive species, chances are that will be prevalent in Florida or start in Florida or be Florida’s state creature.  That state really is Satan’s hemorrhoid.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Make a Comeback—Here was a fish that people thought was extinct that is making a comeback.  If we are to preserve our natural world, humans need to take an active role in actually restoring what we have destroyed.  A passive approach will not work.

Colorado Program gets Dirty Autos Off the Road—This seems like a great program that could be replicated nationwide.  Granted, here in a state that gets snow and, therefore, uses salt on the roads rust tends to claim vehicles before they become rolling relics of a different era.

Natural Gas Use in Long Haul Trucks Expected to Rise—This is a great example of an appropriate technology being used in a targeted way.  It’s insane to think about recapitalizing all private automobiles and fueling stations to a new paradigm, but commercial trucks can make the conversion because the routes are more constrained, the purchasers more concentrated, and the economic imperative more immediate.

Chris Bianco Talks Pizza and His New Place in Tucson—Chris Bianco is the man!  I have been to his pizzeria in Phoenix once—it was worth the wait—and enjoyed every pie that we ordered.  Now with a sandwhich shop and outlet in Tucson his reach can be extended.  Purveyors of great food should get lauded every chance we get.

The New Modern Garden: Edibles, Chickens, and Creativity—It’s so awesome to see gardens moving beyond the sterile, tilled rows of my childhood.  There is something intrinsically beautiful about these gardens that embrace organic lines and chaotic structures.  Plus, chickens are kind of cool.

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Friday Linkage 12/7/2012

It’s December.  If I thought the holiday spirit of crass commercialism, bad songs, and even worse parties was in full gear last week it’s like a double barreled blast of nasty in my face now.

On to the links…

Tim DeChristopher Blocked from Doing Social Justice Work—What a joke.  Considering that he was imprisoned for protesting something that was later ruled invalid is just the beginning of this sordid tale.  At the end of the day the U.S. federal government has appeared to be nothing more than a petty bully.

Cornstalks Everywhere, but Nothing Else—It is sad to drive past acre after acre of corn planted in fields realizing that none of it is really “food” in the traditional sense.  It’s not like I can take an ear of field corn and consume it or get any nutrition from it.  It appears that is true for the natural world as well.

Tree Puts on More Wood at 3,200 Years Old Than Younger Trees–Amazing, simply amazing.  The more we learn about the natural world the more I am convinced that we have not explored the potential that is present.  But, we have managed to produce Honey Boo Boo so humans are doing something right.

Countries Spend Five Times  More on Fossil Fuel Subsidies than Climate Aid—This really should not surprise anyone.  For all the talk about how dynamic the oil and gas sector is in the economy, it truly is one of the most subsidized and supported industries in the modern economy.  About the only thing worse is the military industrial complex.

Will India Surge Ahead of the West in Renewable Energy?—India seems to be the new laboratory for renewable energy because the current infrastructure is so decrepit that the hope is India can leap beyond the step of a centralized system—a la the West—and to a distributed generation model.  Hmmm….

U.S. Energy Outlook: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly—With all due apologies to Sergio Leone, the U.S. energy future is a mixed bag.  A lot of this depends on one thing: the price of natural gas and the ability of companies to continue fracking.  If natural gas gets a lot more expensive than renewables become even more attractive vis a vis coal due to the truly brutal negatives for coal generated power.

Chevrolet Volt Owners have Driven 100 Million Electric Miles—The Chevrolet Volt seems like one of the most interesting stories in next generation automobiles.  Every day there is a story about the insane amount of data that is being collected about the driving behaviors of the owners that speaks volumes more than any anecdote ever could.

Good News for Coffee Drinkers: It’s Basically a Nutrient—Essential for my daily life, but a nutrient?  Sweet.  Now all those late nights and early mornings at my “real” job can qualify as wellness improvement.

A New Day is Coming for St. Paul’s Union Depot—The Twin Cities really seem to have it going on lately.  First, the cities are amazing biking destinations even when you factor in the brutal winter.  Second, mass transit is really happening in a lot of places with the light rail expansion, North Star commuter rail, and the reopening of St. Paul’s Union Depot.  Plus, the city is a great destination for beer drinkers.

Friday Linkage 10/26/2012

By the time you read this I will be boots on the ground in Orlando girding my loins for the field of battle known as Walt Disney World.  Nothing like a week in the most “magical place on Earth” with a nearly five year old and a fiver year old at heart who I call my wife.

Ten days in Florida means that my posting will be sporadic to non-existent for the foreseeable future.

On to the links…

New York Times Energy Special–Just like food a little while ago, the New York Times has done a whole series of articles on the future of energy in the United States.  A lot of good reading.

Busted Food Myths that are Brought to You by Industrial Food–Imagine that…industrial food companies are good at promoting myths.  Wow!  I cannot imagine…oh wait, it’s pretty much what I expected.

Oil and Gas Companies Sit on Thousands of Unused Leases–I guess it was a terrible crime for Tim DeChristopher to bid on leases and not pay because those wonderful oil and gas companies are chomping at the bit to drill.  Just thousands of unused leases…

Wildlife Drive Grows from Superfund Site–Rocky Mountain Arsenal outside of Denver, Colorado was where some very nasty chemical weapons were made in that lovely conflict known as the Cold War.  Now it is a Superfund site on the mend, so to speak, as nature takes over.  I guess nature always wins.

Why Products Fail–A fascinating look into the world of testing to failure for automotive parts.  It’s just a slice of the work that goes into making the complex machines we call cars.

Chickens Threaten to Divide Park Slope–I guess that New Yorkers are rude even to chickens.  What’s the problem with a few chickens in a learning garden?

U.S. Ethanol Production Falls to Lowest Level in 27 Months–Blame a number of factors–high feedstock prices, questionable demand, low price of fossil fuels, etc.    A lot of people here in Iowa are worried that the industry is prepped for a very major downturn.  I do not know if this is a good or bad thing.

Algae Biofuels May not be Sustainable Either–It looks like the holy grail of the biofuels industry–fuels from algae feedstocks–may not be a sustainable option.  I guess we will just have to use less liquid fuel for transportation.

Boomerang Box–The idea reminds me of a closed top version of the heavy-duty boxes that the U.S. Postal Service uses for bulk mailing and what not in post office nationwide.  Oh wait, a good idea that comes from the post office might not be a palatable idea for anyone who has ever voted Republican.

Recycling for Victory!  When Every Little Bit of Scrap Mattered–Just like victory gardens and turning your thermostat down there was a time when conservation was not only patriotic, but damn near an issue of national security.  Where did that sentiment go?

Friday Linkage 10/12/2012

A good and productive week here at the house.  I installed a blower unit on my fireplace, put two batches of beer into carboys, and managed to stay out of trouble at work.  A roaring success.

On to the links…

Activist Tim DeChristopher Released—Tim DeChristopher, the activist who slowed down the leasing of public lands to fossil fuel companies, was released from prison following his sentencing for that very act.  In reality, he was imprisoned because he bid on the leases with no intention of paying and was unrepentant.  Normally, when a corporation cannot pay or chooses not to pay for the bid upon lease rights there is no criminal penalty.  I guess corporations are people too my friend.

Recessions Cannot Save Us from Climate Change—One of the surprising stories to come out of the Great Recession was that carbon emissions fell because people, in general, consumed less stuff.  Too bad that trend is over and carbon emissions are back on the way up.

Antarctic Sea Ice Loss Animated—In case you needed an animated example of why we are cooked.

How Wind Power Helps Lower Electricity Prices—This is not something that you are going to see Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan talk about on the stump when railing against wind power tax credits or brining up Solyndra for the millionth time.  Wind power is a good thing.  End of story.

The Future of Oil and Gas—If you have some time on a cold day, sit down and read this report cover to cover.  It is filled with useful insight into the future of the oil and gas industry as seen from one viewpoint.  I think it also illustrates the cracks and lever points for renewables to exploit going forward.

Chicago Pushes the Limits on Sustainable Streets—Streets are such a huge part of the built environment that reimagining what these landscapes can be is a critical component of creating a better urban environment.

Walking the High Line’s Incomplete Third Section—The High Line in New York City is one of those projects that just seems to get endless press.  I can see why, it’s just such a cool project.  Now every city is going to try and figure out what industrial relic they can turn into a bucolic attraction. Good luck.

Coyotes Next Door—Apparently, coyotes are the pioneer species of larger carnivores to move into human dominated environments.  I always found coyotes more annoying than anything when I lived in rural Minnesota.

Farming the Urban Sea—I just love how this article shows how much potential there is in revitalizing the ocean habitats near our urban centers and what benefits that we can accrue from that process.

If You Want to Feed the World, Stop the Land Grabs—Oxfam and other international agencies just seem like agents for Big Ag and Big Food.  The answers are always the same to the problem of feeding the people.  Just grow more export commodities and then use the money to feed the people.  Wait a second.  Why not use the land to grow food to feed the people and not lose anything in the conversion to hard currency?  Just saying.

Five Acre Farms in New York—I love the idea of a co-op forming to market local foods to a large urban area.  It seems to solve the major problem of local producers integrating into larger supply chains because they do not sell in the volume required to be a supplier.

Video Inside of a McDonald’s Beef Processing Plant—Sure, it’s a Canadian plant doing the process, but you get the idea about how the process works in turning ground beef into burgers for your dollar menu extravaganza.

Twelve Great Posters from When Turning Down the Thermostat was Patriotic—  Man, I love me some propaganda from World War II.  Nothing like being Chilly Willy for the troops:

Who runs he show?

On July 26th, 2011 Tim DeChristopher, an environmentalist who was made famous as Bidder 70 for exposing the shenanigans of oil and gas leasing under the George W. Bush regime by driving up bids for rights in Utah in 2008, was sentenced to 2 years in prison, 3 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine by United States District Judge Dee Benson.  According to reports, federal prosecutors did not ask for the maximum sentence of 10 years in prison but did request a significant sentence that would act as a deterrent to others.

At the sentencing, DeChristopher had already been found guilty, he said “You have authority over my life, but not my principles. Those are mine.  I’ll continue to confront the system that threatens our future.”

So, the government of the United States of America wants to punish a 29 year old wilderness guide who committed an act of civil disobedience where no one was injured, no property was damaged, and no apparent impediment to the business of fossil fuel extraction occurred—Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar overturned the results of the auction due to an inadequate review of the parcels—in order to serve as a deterrent.  If I accept this logic on principle—which I do not—it begs the question: Where are the other prosecutions to act as deterrents?

On April 10, 2010 an explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia killed 29 people.  An investigation would find that Massey Energy was directly responsible for the blast and subsequent investigations would find that the company had a long-running practice of maintaining two sets of safety records—one set for the regulators and one set that told the truth.  Granted, some investigations are still ongoing regarding this case and company, but where is the righteous indignation on the part of the United States federal government?  Where is the punishment to act as a deterrent so that a mining company does not act in such a way that it kills its own employees?

On April 20, 2010 an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon deep water drilling rig owned by Transocean killed 11 people and injured 16 others.  The subsequent oil spill damaged huge swaths of the eco-system of the Gulf of Mexico and the impact is still being calculated, but is expected to be second only to the disaster of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.  Transocean and BP, which hired Transocean to operate the Deepwater Horizon, both had checkered safety records in the Gulf of Mexico.  Investigations into the Deepwater Horizon explosion found a culture of disobedience to safety protocols that ultimately led to the explosion.  Like the Upper Big Branch mine disaster, investigation and litigation surrounding the disaster are ongoing and measured in decade timescales—all the better to suit corporations that can slowly bleed plaintiffs dry of money, hope, and desire.  Where is the United States federal government’s desire to create a deterrant so that companies do not behave in a negligent manner, kill their employees, and unleash an environmental disaster almost without peer?

It is one thing to kill your employees and damage the environment, but when a person stands up to the profits of the oil and gas industry by exposing a flawed auction that was recognized as such later it requires the full force of the federal government’s attention and ire.  Shameful.