This may be my only post this week. I’ll be at an offsite for work for the next couple of days . . . eh, maybe I’ll be able to get one in on Friday. You’ll just have to wait and see!
Agriculture | An Agricultural Crime Against Humanity | “It doesn’t get madder than this. Swaziland is in the grip of a famine and receiving emergency food aid. Forty per cent of its people are facing acute food shortages. So what has the government decided to export? Biofuel made from one of its staple crops, cassava(1). The government has allocated several thousand hectares of farmland to ethanol production in the county of Lavumisa, which happens to be the place worst hit by drought(2). It would surely be quicker and more humane to refine the Swazi people and put them in our tanks. Doubtless a team of development consultants is already doing the sums.” | George Monbiot, Monbiot.com
At least George has a sense of humor about this, albeit a dark one. The thing about oil, besides it leading to pollution and murder, is that it can’t be used for food. Producing biofuels in America, where farmers are paid not to grow food, makes a little sense. But we Americans are stupid and make biofuels (ethanol) out of corn, which has little nutritional value and does more harm than good when used in fuel production. The people who go hungry in the U.S. do so not for the lack of food, but because of economics, and Republicans. For a country to take crops that are already is short supply, and turn them into fuel for people who have nothing in which to put the fuel, makes no sense to me. Actually it makes the same amount of sense as using corn for ethanol. The irony is that the crops in these countries is often times cellulosic, and actually a good source of ethanol. But, I think if the hungry were allowed to vote, they’d probably choose to eat the food instead of pour it into the gas tanks of their invisible sports cars. Conclusion: stupidity is much more prevalant than I originally anticipated.
Capitalism | Gore joins venture capital company | ”Al Gore said Monday he’s joining Silicon Valley’s most prestigious venture capital firm to help the private sector take on global warming, and perhaps make himself some money. The Nobel Peace Prize winner and former vice president joins Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers as it and dozens of other venture firms headquartered in Silicon Valley expand beyond software, computer hardware, the Internet and biotechnology to so-called “clean-tech” investments worldwide.” | Rachel Konrad, The Associated Press
So, a Nobel Prize wasn’t enough. Bastard. I’m sure Gore’s getting a pretty penny from Kleiner but he’ll probably make even more from the great companies he’s able to get started. Gore has the star power to get ideas noticed – ideas that wouldn’t otherwise get off the group. Hopefully he can lend some social consciousness to the very mechanical venture capital industry. Ideally, he’ll be able to get some great ideas with so-so financials off the ground and turn them into gold mines.
Education | The Top 10 Greenest Colleges and Universities in the U.S. | “Many young people see environmental problems — especially global warming — as the challenge of their generation, and 400 college and university presidents have responded by signing a pledge to make their institutions carbon neutral. Students at almost 600 U.S. and Canadian schools are organizing around clean-energy solutions as part of the Campus Climate Challenge, a two-year-old campaign initiated by youth environmental groups (including the Sierra Student Coalition) that has added sass and sex appeal to a somber topic.” | Jennifer Hattam, Sierra Magazine
Education at these institutions is becoming less of a scam! Now students can absorb bits of green knowledge through passive experiences and slowly change their behavior for the better. Within a few decades, these small changes in action will have a positive impact on the world. Unfortunately, these students still won’t possess life skills. At least they’ll have 20 credit hours in non-core courses, which will do barely nothing more than keep the revenue coming. Oh yeah, and provide a small bit of enlightenment in an effort make America’s future well-rounded. In all honesty . . . well, that was the honest part. In all . . . hopefulness (?), as colleges become green, so too will the students, and that can only be good. Hey US News, make “greenosity” a category in your next rankings!
Energy | Opec confident global oil addiction will grow | “Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, told the world that its dependence on crude will increase and that the race to develop alternative energies will not dim demand for fossil fuel. Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s official start to the Opec oil producers’ summit, Mr Al-Naimi mounted a strong “defence” of oil, criticising experts who say crude is in decline or that green energy is a viable alternative. The minister, whose country is by far the most powerful nation in Opec’s 12-strong group, said that Saudi was as keen as any country to see development of alternative sources of energy. But he warned that consuming nations – particularly in the West – should be under no illusion that more environmentally-friendly sources of power would reduce carbon emissions.” | Russell Hotten, The Daily Telegraph
Dude’s got a point, or at least half of one. But remember, perception is reality. Part of making “green” mainstream is to convince people the movement is bigger than it really is. Adoption will make perception reality in the future. It’s the same strategy used to market crappy movies. And since statistics are nothing more than damn lies, professing that crude oil demand is dropping isn’t so bad. Surely everyone’s intentions aren’t selfless in marketing green energy, but it is a viable alternative – maybe not today, but with more research and development solar, wind and biofuel resources will replace fossil fuels as the primary provider of the world’s power needs.
Environment | World’s smallest bear faces extinction | “The world’s smallest bear species faces extinction because of deforestation and poaching in its Southeast Asian home, a conservation group said Monday. The sun bear, whose habitat stretches from India to Indonesia, has been classified as vulnerable by the World Conservation Union . . . The bear, which weighs between 90 and 130 pounds, is hunted for its bitter, green bile, which has long been used by Chinese traditional medicine practitioners to treat eye, liver and other ailments. Bear paws are also consumed as a delicacy.” | Eliane Engeler, Associated Press
Where am I going to get my bile drops and bear paws after these guys die off? This article highlights the delicate balance between living “naturally” and succumbing to Big Pharm. I suppose all of the drug companies would love to get lucrative deals with these governments to be overpaid to supply eye drops and very simple vaccinations and medication to these populations. That would obviously open the flood gate . . . but then again, should healing and dining tradition be allowed to continue at the expense of an entire species? Why can’t people just use the bile and paws of conservatives? They don’t seem to be having extinction problems . . .