Happy Earth Day!

Albert Kaufman

Happy Earth Day!

Images_3I feel prompted by a couple things to write a short Earth Day message today. First, this old e-mail that has resurfaced (I received it three times this week) that suggests boycotting a gas company to make all of the companies lower their prices and second the thought that as I drive, I’m using up the last of this resource and that when my nephews and niece are old enough to drive, a) gas prices will be exorbitant and b) there might not be much left due to world population growth (about 75 million people a year) (and yes, they all want cars, too :)

OK – so, on the boycott part – high gas prices are a good thing in my mind. I’m not especially happy about oil companies and their shareholders making huge profits, but one result of having high gas prices is that it encourages us to consume less. Those who can, will figure out other ways to get around, combine trips, carpool more, or just drive less. I see $2.80 a gallon and I know it changes my behavior. And, oil and gasoline are heavily subsidized already – if we actually had to pay the real cost for these products and the infrastructure that goes with them (highways)(Iraq war), we’d never be driving anywhere and trains would come back en force. My guess is that we’ll see this more as we have to share resources with the other nations in the sandbox.

So, I thought I’d list some actions that actually make sense to me that don’t get talked about enough – ways to conserve gas and thus spend less :)

1. Drive less – I know it sounds simple, but taking one less trip per week makes a big difference if we all do it – both in terms of adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and to our wallets. Along with this goes carpooling. In the Portland area one way to arrange carpools is carpoolmatchnw.org - for longer trips anywhere in the country, there are numerous on-line ride-boards and Craigslist is a great way to hook up with a ride just about anywhere in North America.

2. Car maintenance – inflate your tires – why this isn’t the headline on every newspaper in the country, I don’t know – turns out, it’s a key way to save gas. Keeping the car maintained – oil changes, brakes checked, all good things, too.

3. Accelerate slowly, uses less gas, causes you to brake less, saves brakes... Also, driving slower saves gas – go the speed limit, hey – go slower :)

4. I just googled this topic and the first site that came up is just about what I wrote above, and probably has lots more good info (including choosing a higher-mileage car :)

Instead of boycotting one gas company or another (I do believe in choosing the least nasty one in terms of their human rights abuses, it was 76 the last time I looked) I recommend the steps above as ways to bring your, our consumption of gasoline down. Feel free to forward this on and embellish it as you wish.

There are Earth Day events going on all over the country this weekend, here’s a way to find the one in your neck of the woods - Earth Day Portland is April 22nd in Sellwood Park: http://www.cityrepair.org/wiki.php/projects/earthday I find attending Earth Day a great way to learn new things, see friendly faces, make local connections, eat something tasty and feel support for the activism I do in the world.

Earth Day is Every Day! Have a great one!!!

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    I love my job that encourages active transportation like biking and walking with kids. How predictable was that comment? :)

    Biking. Good for the earth, good for your health, good for your wallet.

  • DAN GRADY (unverified)

    I am not Christian. I hold too many of their values, and moral equations; yet I have personal issues with their dogma, and historical assertions, and most importantly their passion for our world’s demise.

    I think if a modern world of technologically advanced nations, virtual borders that seem virtually non-existent, and opposing religious fanatics makes the end of days a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    I abhor suicide, and it is a mortal sin, yet the current behavior of the Christians leading our nations foreign and domestic policies seem bent on it. They treat our air, water, and environment as though it were a disposable container. They are certain that a supreme being will replenish these vital resources after a cataclysm. They don’t consider whoever has other beliefs even a part of the conversation.

    They presume that some how they have an obligation to follow a path through political policy of our nation on the grounds we are a Christian Nation. I know Christians whom feel opposed to this assessment, but they concede that their numbers are pursuing this strategy.

    As a Democrat, I feel compelled to defend their right to believe however they wish until which time they infringe on the same rights of others.

    As a Democrat, I believe that a healthy environment, breathable air, drinkable water, and abundance of natural resources for our future generations are our solemn responsibility.

    As a Democrat, I believe my grand children should have a right to live.

    Happy Thoughts;

    Dan Grady

    P.S.: I don't own a automobile, and I hoof it everywhere that the Max don't take me, my wife, and children.

  • Brandon Rhodes (unverified)

    Dan Grady,

    Please don't misconstrue the current administration for actual Christian values. They are FAR from them. And I say that as an evangelical Christian. And for what it is worth, on behalf of it all, I am sorry that they have so misrepresented Christ. Their behaviour is shameful and abhorrent. They do not represent Christ.

    Nor do they represent most American Christians. Most are much more moderate, and are seeing universal health care, unjust war, and Katrina response as moral issues that matter. See also a recent Harvard study in the CSM about evangelicals being more integrative, or an article by the International Herald Tribune article talking about the centering of the evangelical vote. Please don't give up on us. :)

    On the note of cutting car dependence, let's stop (subsidizing) sprawl and begin to reposture ourselves in the landscape in such a way that is less dependant on easy motoring. More than bicycle lanes we need bikable distances.

    Peace, Brandon Rhodes

  • JoanneR (unverified)

    I agree that everyone should start driving less. I stopped driving any more than I absolutely had to a couple of years ago. My boyfriend stopped going to the coast 3 years ago - he had a membership at Old Mill Marina in Garibaldi and used to go down there for a week at a time, he's retired, fishing and spending money in Garibaldi all summer long. We figure Garibaldi probably lost 3-4 thousand dollars a year from him alone. But that's alright, he moores his boat in Oregon City for a fraction of that now and he puts the rest of the money in his pocket now.

    On another note - for everyone who likes high fuel prices think about this: every bit of food you eat is created using deisel fuel. It runs the tractors that plant the seed, harvest the crops, and fuels the trucks that transport the produce and meat to market, as well as helping to power the plants that process the agricultural products that we all depend on, meat, produce, grain, etc.. If you like the high fuel prices, you'll love the higher food prices....

  • askquestions1st (unverified)

    Opining that higher gas prices will have the salutory effect of causing people to drive less, rather than focusing how this hurts working people, is the kind of anti-progressive elitism that underlies why we are in danger of not making any big electoral gains this fall on the state level and the national level.

  • PDX Dude (unverified)

    I do agree with askquestions1st. Working people do have to drive to work. They may not have any choice. Simply wishing that they take public transportation or that they live closer to their jobs so that they could walk or ride a bike doesn't stop the pain in their pocketbooks. If they work in Portland, maybe they can't afford to live in Portland....

    By the way, isn't it ironic that the people who are most likely to vote for W and support his foreign policies are the ones who are most likely to get hurt by the rise in oil prices?

  • Jesse O (unverified)

    It's a common mistake to link impacts of certain issues (higher gas prices hurting the poor) to that specific issue.

    If the poor need help (and they do), we should give it to them through income tax credits, etc. So, we can simultaneously celebrate higher gas prices, and address the transportation problems and budget impacts on the poor.

    <h2>Generally, we should set the policies we want on one hand, and deal with equity on the other hand, rather than trying to do them both at once.</h2>

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