Archive for May, 2008

Coal subsidies spoil our Earth

May 11, 2008

Sierra Club is taking an action on coal subsidies in the 2008 farm bill. The Action Center sent e-mails to Chairmen Tom Harkin (IA) & Chairman Collin Peterson (MN) and to Ranking Members Saxby Chambliss (GA) & Bob Goodlatte (VA).

Sierra Club has a webpage on coal.

The first part of the letter is standardized. I inserted the text below with my letter, replacing the bottom of the form letter with my own words as follows:

Trying to power this nation on coal is self-destructive. The Mountain Top Removal occurring in West Virginia is permanently damaging the ecosystem there. The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts appear to be violated routinely. The Bureau of Land Management has failed to maintain proper regulatory discipline over the coal mining industry.

Chuck Hagel has called the 2008 Farm Bill a “bad bill.”

Please don’t wait for a Presidential veto to shed the coal subsidies. The domestic coal industry needs to do a better job policing itself while the regulatory bodies responsible need to defend the Clean Air and Clean Water bills. Without any legislative action, the executive branch will set long-term energy policy for the nation. Coal’s drastic environmental consequences need to be reconsidered before this become our primary source of energy. Congress and the President can do better in coordinating energy policy. Just look at the disastrous biofuels adventure for the impact of misguided choices. Let’s not let Congress become enabler of additional mercury pollution which is currently emitted by coal use. From a global leadership position, we can’t follow the Chinese example on more dirty coal-fired plants. We can do better for our children and their health, as well as protect precious chunks of our nation’s natural heritage in the Appalachians and elsewhere.
~end letter~

I think it’s a worthy task. I try to get active as often as I can. Hopefully this blog can help spread the word about the importance of renewable energy.

Writing Congress signifies doing something. Results are the desired impact. We don’t know what impact our individual effort might make, but we can trust in the efforts of many like us who care about the world and aren’t willing to just let it die.

We are facing a time of unprecedented change. I hope we’re not devolving, but evolving to a higher state of human compassion and understanding.

Born of Earth

Any of you who’ve played legendary game designer Sid Meier’s <i>Alpha Centauri</i> would understand the symbiotic life bonds between Earth, the mother, and us humans, her children. Many people who get closer to nature experience a more peaceful soul out in her embrace.

We aren’t trying to protect Mother Nature as much as we seek to protect her meaning to us. It’s not the trees that are taken but what the trees do for us, what they mean, which can’t be expressed in terms of commercial value. No amount of money can compensate us now or future Americans from the ravages of coal mining and mercury pollution.

Mother Nature has brought us into this cradle we call the Earth. We owe it to her to protect her wonders, particularly in those places considered sacred and precious.

A giant consumerist machine is trying to rip away what we need to preserve. As countless thousands of acres of pristine Latin American rain forest fall prey to chainsaws, we see an immediate impact in North American songbird populations. The palm oil which was meant to save us from transfats has become a nightmare for species diversity. One actions is transfered as a karmic event which sets into motion a whole string of consequences.

Can we exist independent of the Mother that nurtures us, provided us with life? No, we are bound to her as sure as we are bound to our physical mothers.

The cumulative effect of so many decisions, no matter how small, has a specific impact on the environment. We cannot escape the increasingly clear conclusion that we are on our own here. If we are to exist as a species, we need to coexist with our environment.

I don’t see any incompatibility between religion and nature; presuming God created a disposable universe for us really doesn’t hold true in any of the religions, despite what Apocalyptic creeds have emerged through the years. A more apt explanation might see us a gardeners and this as God’s garden. We are meant to preserve the garden, to protect it from those who’d destroy it.

There’s also a flow, a cosmic unwinding of the energy, both positive and negative, that we make with each other, Nature, animals, plants, and other things. E-mails might start as little more than a trickle, a few small contributions to change seeing little result. But as more and more people wake up to the fragility and vitality of Mother Nature, the trickle become a stream, a river, then a deluge. Won’t you let your voice be added to the chorus that calls out for change?

Mother Nature calls out for us not with the blasting horn of commerce and “growth” but rather that age-old melody of peace and flowing energy, a cycle of life and rebirth eons old. Nothing which must be ripped out of the ground needs be cherished if it costs us what cannot be bought or sold, our bond with our creator.

Should we disrupt our natural heritage simply because we can? Can we let our planet slowly die from indifference? No one among us can escape the impact of things like Depleted Uranium (carried by winds from far away back even to our own shores, like the Chinese mercury landing here in increasing quantity and in the ocean’s fish. Global Climatic Change is likewise altering our planet.

Government efforts to move away from petroleum are having disastrous results on worldwide food prices. A wheat germ virus has killed large portions of crops in Africa, has arrived via air currents in Pakistan and India. Meanwhile, colonies of European bees have been dying off–one Der Speigel article traces the die-off to a new pesticide made by a Bayer subsidiary. (Another Bayer subsidiary knowingly passed off AIDS-tainted blood in the 1980s, poisoning thousands…)

We’ve always been a species that has bound with the earth–it is our soul. Destroying nature destroys our souls. We cannot let it be destroyed because that signals the destruction of who we are. Nature will change yes, and as always we will change with it. But where we contaminate, the consequences can be irreversible–just look at water quality reports: my state and nation’s waters are polluted with PCBs, mercury, and other toxins.

Where we procrastinate, the impact is even greater on our children and their children and so on. We must take it upon ourselves to stop the destruction of our planet. So please participate in the changes that are sweeping the planet. Don’t let cynicism or fatalism trap you into believing it’s too late. And don’t think that all will be well if we just sit back and let the greedy among us decide what will be, and what will be left for us. The time to act is now. Please do something to help. Together we can launch a green revolution and enter a new, higher state of being, one that transcends all previous boundaries in our understanding of the connection between ourselves and Mother Nature to which we owe our existence and all future promise of life.

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