Tag Archives: environment

Hello, I’m a Cafeteria Republican

Why is it that for many people, they think that certain political ideas should go together by default? If one is pro-life, they must be for the Iraq war. If one is against the death penalty, they must be for (so-called) homosexual marriage. If one is pro-environment, they must be pro-choice. If someone is conservative politically, they are grouped with the conservative platform, and vice-versa. Shouldn’t we all know that this is not true?

Along the same lines recently, as far as I have noticed, Republicans (at least) have been toting the “united we stand” position. In other words, a Republican must be pro Iraq war, against any spending on health insurance, pro death penalty, pro-life, against environmental initiatives, for big business (especially the pharmaceuticals, big media, and auto manufactures), and against (so-called) homosexual marriage.

This is what is wrong with the American political party situation: one has to concede his or her personal position in order to meld into their respective party. I am not a cafeteria Catholic, but politics is too complex to blindly be led by all the fallible parties.

Gas Lawn Mowers

Lawn mowers have been getting attention off and on for being serious smog culprits.

What I wish some people would discuss in these is the possibility of using a manual, non-powered mower, especially for smaller yards. Alternatives to conventional grasses, like Pennsylvania sedge (or another sedge species) or buffalo grass, also need less mowing yet still provide a nice traditional yard. Depending on considerations like local codes and how picky your neighbors are, more radical solutions could also involve turning part of your yard into a naturalized woodland or meadow area. It provides more visual interest from both flowers and also various birds and butterflies that you may attract. Once established, mowing, watering and pesticides are minimized.

Fruitful Multiplication and Care of God’s Creation

Earlier, Funky explored Pius XII’s comments on family size. However, one thing that seems to come up frequently when discussing the idea of having large families is how to reconcile a large family with preserving the earth for future generations and caring for God’s creation. As I have said in the past, I think the problem lies in the impact per person rather than the number of people. If total impact on the environment = (number of people) * (impact per person), then by reducing the impact per person significantly enough, the environment can sustain more people. As Earth day fast approaches, I found it a fitting time to suggest 10 simple ways that each of us can help decrease the impact per person:

1. Eat less animal products. Now, I’m not insisting that everyone go hardcore vegan, but if you eat animal products twice a day, try once a day. If you eat them once a day, try once a week. 

2. Eat more organic. All the pesticides and hormones that can go into food production have a negative impact on the environment, particularly in terms of water pollution.

3. Carpool/take public transport/bike/walk more.

4. Recycle and buy things with post consumer content.

5. Bring your own bags when you shop.

6. Buy in bulk and with as little packaging as possible.

7. Buy locally grown food and produced products.

8. Buy reusable items with as little processing as possible.

9. Open the windows instead of using the a/c.

10. Next time you purchase a car, buy one as fuel efficient as possible.

This list is not even close to exhaustive but a starting point. Please add your own in the comments section. Also, please talk these and other ideas up to as many people as possible so that it’s not just us tree huggers talking. We tend to get tuned out.

Gas Guzzlers


"It seems someone in the marketing department of/for GM thought it would be a grand idea to advertise the 2007 a Chevy Tahoe by running a contest – a DIY (Do It Yourself) commercial."

I love the results. *evil grin*

A whole bunchmore can be found here.

If they get yanked, look for them on YouTube.

Update 04/03/06: CNET has an article about the broader phenomenon of amatuer advertizing.  The Tahoe campaign is mentioned.

Plants Fart?

I tend to be a bit of an environmentalist (conservationist, really), but I have my limits. For instance, I’m not ready to conclude that global warming is a) a unique phenomenon separate from cyclical climate changes, and b) if it is, that human activity is mostly to blame for it. I have an open mind about global warming, and a big reason is my scientific education. I can’t look at the data (especially since it’s way out of my field of expertise) and confidently state points a and b. Mankind simply hasn’t been keeping climate records long enough for us to be certain that we’re ruining the planet. I should point out, though, that it’s better to be safe than sorry. There’s nothing wrong with being responsible stewards. Also, based on the evidence, I cannot conclusively dismiss not-a or not-b.

Now, having made my position clear (I hope), check this article out. Apparently, unbeknownst to scientists until recently, plants emit methane. In fact, they seem to emit quite a bit; current estimates range from 10 to 30 percent of the yearly global methane budget (between 62 and 236 Teragrams). For a breakdown of the budget (that doesn’t include the new findings, of course), go here. If I’ve calculated correctly, humans account for about 120 Tg CH4 per year. IOW, plants might be just as bad as humanity. Worse yet, planting trees to absorb nasty gases might be backfiring if trees and other plants are putting out that much methane. It’ll be very interesting to see if these results stand up to scrutiny, and if they do, how rabid "Hug a tree" lefties and "Earth first; we’ll stripmine the other planets later" righties will spin them.