Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Lock in ignorance at $2.99/gal with Chrysler

July 5, 2008

Thanks to the guys at USS Mariner for pointing this out.

http://www.gocomics.com/tomthedancingbug/2008/06/21/

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UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the challenge of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.

A Crude Awakening- Peak Oil

June 30, 2008

I just watched the documentary A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash.

And WOW. See it. Period.

I know UU’s tend to be in the middle and upper levels of income (though I’m certainly not in that crowd!) So, consider yourself warned!

Stock market prices assume a cheap and ready supply of oil for each company. The film makes the compelling case that we’ve already reached peak oil– the point at which “the maximum rate of global petroleum production is reached, after which the rate of production enters its terminal decline.”

Essentially the logic presented is that the gold standard on which our economy was built, was replaced with oil dollars. When it becomes more expensive to create, ship, and package products, old business models will no longer work. We’re literally burning the currency by which our economy is based.

If your retirement depends on the long term performance of the stock market- and therefore a never ending supply of cheap fuel, I’d consider an investment strategy more in line with UU values.  You don’t want your personal future dependent upon the success of those same practices you rail against on the weekend: war, imperialism, pollution, unchecked consumption, etc.

Many of you may know that I ride my bicycle to work. You may also be aware of my perpetual poverty, though many apsects of my life have been charmed.

Blood for oil- Mission A-freakin!-ccomplished

June 19, 2008

From the New York Times:

BAGHDAD: Four Western oil companies are in the final stages of negotiations this month on contracts that will return them to Iraq, 36 years after losing their oil concession to nationalization as Saddam Hussein rose to power.

Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP — the original partners in the Iraq Petroleum Company — along with Chevron and a number of smaller oil companies, are in talks with Iraq’s Oil Ministry for no-bid contracts to service Iraq’s largest fields, according to ministry officials, oil company officials and an American diplomat.  [break]

The no-bid contracts are unusual for the industry, and the offers prevailed over others by more than 40 companies, including companies in Russia, China and India. [break] It is not clear what role the United States played in awarding the contracts; there are still American advisers to Iraq’s Oil Ministry.

The first oil contracts for the majors in Iraq are exceptional for the oil industry.

They include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today’s prices: the ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash. [break]

“These are not actually service contracts,” Benali said. “They were designed to circumvent the legislative stalemate” and bring Western companies with experience managing large projects into Iraq before the passage of the oil law. [break] While the current contracts are unrelated to the companies’ previous work in Iraq, in a twist of corporate history for some of the world’s largest companies, all four oil majors that had lost their concessions in Iraq are now back.

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Update: I grow tired of having to clarify the difference between supporting the troops and supporting the mission given to the troops….

I respect and honor the soldiers who put their lives at risk to protect and defend America.  Soldiers do not decide their mission and are not responsible for the decisions of those above them. Remembering that men and women have died and continue to die for this mission honors those soldiers by weighing their lives against the value of the objectives they are duty bound to fulfill. To question the objective is to weigh it against the value the soldier. Soldiers are worth more than this.

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The above story tells the tale of exactly WHO decided Saddam needed to be overthrown even though it was America that put him in power. It was a “twist of corporate history.” Certainly Saddam was a horrible dictator, one of many. But with so many in America opposed to the war and this administration, who’s calling the shots in America?

This seems to have been the choice before us.

This:

Or This: 

I want my electric car.

Hilarious argument against! Energy Saver Light Bulbs

June 6, 2008

Hat tip: CSPAN Junkie

Wow. Just wow.

Rep. Ted Poe of Texas’ 2nd District.

Not much else to say here.

UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the challenge of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.

People are trying to kill me- the dangers of cycling in Los Angeles

May 30, 2008

For real.

I was riding my Dahon Speed Folding Bicycle to work like I do every day. I don’t take the sidewalks, which are actually much more dangerous for the cyclist, pedestrians, and motorists who watch the road. Plus, the law dictates that I ride on the street. As gas prices rise, American motorists need to become familiar with dealing with cyclists. They also need to lean to love public transportation.

Today, riding to work, was uneventful. I’d passed through the most dangerous part of my journey, where I merge across three lanes and sit in a left turn lane until the light changes. I passed through the light, and this time no cars were behind me. I continued down the road as semi trucks and other large trucks file down the oncoming lane. It’s quite a rush to ride next to the loud, low, tremble of their giant engines and enormous girth. I am well aware that any collision with them (or any other car) would likely end in serious to fatal injury.

HALF A BLOCK before I turn into my place of work, I was frightened by a loud and constant HORN blaring from a car tailgating TEN FEET behind me. This is a terrifying experience for a cyclist. It would be very easy for me to panic and fall in front of her tires. I wave a ‘hold on’ signal to the irate motorist, continue until the parked cars give way, and merge into the should per the norm.

A young platinum blonde in a white BMW shoots me a dirty look, swerves slightly toward me, and guns it, speeding away… and then immediately turning into a parking lot.

I decided to follow her in.

I stayed 20 feet away from her car, on my bicycle, and consciously made an effort not to yell or appear threatening. She saw me and decided to take FOREVER fiddling with her purse, hoping I’d go away. My adrenaline is pumping.

She gathered her strength and got out of her car.

Click below to read the exchange:

(more…)

You think you’re so smart?

May 8, 2008

I saw this and thought it was amazing.

See how you fair.

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UU’s need to be wary of the things we’re not paying attention to.

Dial down the rhetoric. See what’s around you.

You might learn that you’re not as smart as you think you are, simply because you weren’t open to something completely outside of our awareness bubble.

Sick again, oh and it’s Earth Day

April 22, 2008

Well, we’re all up and down aren’t we?  This is another down time. It might happen a lot with Crohn’s. Bear with me.

Driving to work today (Earth Day), I heard that Los Angeles supposedly declared this a ‘Car Free Day’.

To whom did they declare this to? How did they get the word out? I actually CARE about these things, am CAPABLE of getting to work without my car, and STILL didn’t get the memo.

There’s a parade/ demonstration, so they shut down Wilshire Blvd. next to my apartment. I suppose it wouldn’t have bothered me if I hadn’t been driving.

But I was. Cause I’m sick.
*grumble*

Cloud of pollution over China

April 15, 2008

Want to be an Olympic athlete running in China?

Take a look at this cloud over the World’s Newest Leader in pollution.

I’m told this cloud blows over the Western United States, you know… by people.

I’m sure that’s not true though. It probably just disappears like magic like our continents of floating garbage.

Pay people to go to church. Here’s how it works.

April 10, 2008

A bolt of lighting stuck me when I was watching Al Gore’s new slide show on climate change.

I’d never really understood his idea of a Carbon Tax, but now I do.

Instead of taxing people for doing the things we want them to do, like work and shop, the government should only charge people for the amount of carbon they’re releasing into the air. I could pay little to no taxes if I live green, ditching my car and riding my bicycle to work for example. Carbon-heavy activities and products would become expensive- in some cases prohibitively so. People are motivated to change their lifestyles to the betterment of us all.

How does this translate to church going?

We want people to come to church. When they get there, we ask them for money. As living proof that America has a dissolving middle class, requests for money are a big turn-off. Asking for money causes tension in young, the skeptical, the poor, and the alienated.

What’s that you say? Those are a majority of the people that first make their way to a UU church?

(Hey, how many old, wealthy, open-eyed socialites do you even KNOW?)

Well, instead of asking for money from church goers, why not have the church pay members for ATTENDING.

Yep.

Say, $5 a person would do it. That way, the church isn’t charging for something it wants to encourage.

Most people would ‘spend’ the money at the service anyway on coffee, cookies, etc.

Can you imagine the different feel something like this would have? Instead of shirking every time I grab a coffee and cookie, hating the $ donation sign and hating myself for clinging to my cash, I’d feel like I had a little spending money every time I walked in the front door. And if I felt like keeping the money, well… it WAS my money after all.

In this set-up, NOT going to church would feel the way it SHOULD. Like I was LOSING out.

Losing money. Missing friends. Missing an opportunity to grow as a person and add a quick fiver to my wallet.

Convincing people to donate an additional $250 per person shouldn’t be that hard. Heck, most UU’s can afford it. And who wouldn’t want to be a “Greeter” handing out cold hard cash to everyone that walked in the front door?! Can you imagine the look on the face of first time visitors as you lay a bill in their hand?

“Spend it however you want. Get some cookies. Buy a book. Heck, keep it! We’re just glad you’re here.” I’d say. “No, really. Take it. Everyone gets one.”

I bet UU’s would have a higher retention rate. I bet young people would show up more often as well. Use it to replace your sons allowance? Maybe. Beggars off the street? Could be. But it what’s wrong with giving directly to those who need it? It might help diversify and raise social awareness in the congregation. Don’t make me break out the ‘limousine liberal’ label.

Where does the money for guests come from?

Usually, churches are funded by contributions from all members with a few people contributing far more than the rest. Long time members interested in growing the church could be convinced to ‘sponsor’ a new member. Wealthy members could agree to sponsor any guests for a month. As new people walk through the door week after week, I’d be hard pressed not to ‘claim’ them as ‘my member’ and slip some cash to the greeter.

**Remember, all funds are received FIRST from pledged members specifically for this purpose. It’s like a membership at a gym. If you’re not using it, you’re not getting anything out of it. Church is sort of this way anyway, but the best gyms give members all kinds of perks: towels, fruit, drinks, classes, etc. It’s a much more pleasant experience than the ‘cheap’ place with ‘no frills’. Let’s think about providing a full-service service.

Change is scary. But what’s the worst case scenario? You run out of funds because too many guests start attending? You’d be lucky to have such a problem.

I know. I know. I’m young. I don’t get it.

We have to continue with the old ways and charge people for things we want them to do, while it remains free to everything else. Carbon taxes don’t work.

It’s not possible. It can’t happen.

Right?

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UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the challenge of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.

Check it out! A real flaming chalice could save the world.

March 21, 2008

UU’s have always been willing to mix fire and water.

Many UU congregations embrace a new tradition in the celebration of a Water Communion. We use a Flaming Chalice as a symbol of our religion.

UU’s have also been champions of the environment as a part of our seventh principle Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Well, have I got a perfect storm for you!

SYDNEY: A U.S. broadcast executive-turned-scientist has seemingly found a way to burn seawater. John Kanzius, from Erie, Pennsylvania, blasted a test tube of salt water with high frequency radio waves, causing the water to burn like a candle, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. Chemist Rustum Roy from Pennsylvania State University told the same newspaper that he had confirmed the phenomenon by replicating the experiment himself.

The image of a flame held by an instrument used to hold liquid has always felt beautiful in its dichotomy. Water and flame. Two opposing forces united. If the burning the hydrogen can release enough energy to compensate for the radio waves that have freed it from the water. H20 will be the new gasoline. Energy will be clean burning and in endless supply.

Sadly, this is not the case. Using radio waves to produce the hydrogen gas is inefficient. Still, I’ll hold out some hope that someone will find a way.

Could it be?

The flaming chalice. A solution for our social AND scientific problems.