watch those carbs: join the 350 club!

The 100 watt light bulb has officially been turned off in Europe. Nearly two hundred years of high illuminating incandescence has reached its final demise. As we turn into the ninth year of the twenty-first century this evil doer of carbon emissions is relegated to the dustbin of history. This is just a step though, a baby step. For every hour the 100 watt light bulb has lit the faces of dreamers it has drawn on about 1/10th (one tenth) of a kWh (Kilowatt) of energy. Energy most likely forced from its source in coal, gas or atomic fission leaving a cloud of carbon or a mile of half-lives in their wake. This 1/10th of a kWh may seem insignificant on the surface, but when weighed in the atmosphere it comes in at a hefty .062 kilograms, just over a tenth of a pound (lb). This means that for every tenth of a kWh of light, a tenth of a pound of carbon emitted by a billion user’s soon adds up to 5,000 tons of carbon being emitted into the atmosphere. With trees and oceans reaching carbon saturation points, 40% of this carbon output now has nowhere to go but Continue Reading →

drill baby drill…

Like many poor rural areas of the west, New Mexico faces a grab for its resources. Driven by the rising cost of fuel this trend is now focused on drilling for oil and gas, which means the degradation of some of the most pristine areas of our state. How oil and gas reserves are divided appears arbitrary on the surface, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find NIMBYism alongside backroom deals and government complicity with industry. Here in New Mexico urbanites get to hear the gasps of exasperated Santa Fe folk fighting off the rigs, but what about the voices that cannot be heard? The voices of those who live further on the margins in the poverty stricken rural areas that make up the resource rich West, where the bulk of resource degradation takes place. In New Mexico, much like rural Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and other Western states poverty sculpts the landscape. Here the lure of a quick profit at the expense of the environment is facilitated by corrupt officials, public land lease sales, and efforts to buy subsurface rights before the owner realizes they’ve sold the family ranch down the line for pennies on the dollar. Who needs Continue Reading →

what is sustainability?

Let me start by saying what sustainability is not. Sustainability is not endless consumerism based on the pharmaceutical industry, plastic bags, traffic jams, war, clear cuts, chemicals, genetically modified food, rising sea levels, sweatshops, shopping malls, the homeless, power, oppression and the decimation of the natural world. Sustainability is also not earth shoes, organic eggs, hybrid cars, carbon credits, hemp clothing, a green Apple Mac book™, consumer co-ops, E85, B20, compact fluorescents, recycling bins or reusable shopping bags. All these byproducts of the consumer lifestyle are predicated on the natural world supplying resources. Capitalism goes shopping in the cavernous belly of mother earth seemingly blind to the fact that the store is running out. It then processes products through poorly paid nimble fingers and transports them across the planet to where they are momentarily owned before being tossed amongst all the other toxic waste that fills our rivers, lakes, air, bodies and homes. This is globalization on the move. Throw in an extra three billion people from China and India, sparkly eyed with the market beckoning, and we will need four more planets by 2050. Four more polluted and decimated planets ravished with toxicity, famine, heat waves, refugees, and war. Continue Reading →