Gentrification

July 1, 2017 Gentrification

Gentrification comes from the old French word genterise, which means “of gentle birth.”  The term refers to the process of renovating poor urban neighborhoods. Gentrification can be seen as an attempt to beautify or civilize the lawless inner city.  Essentially, investors buy up cheap falling down homes and businesses. Then they fix them up and flip them.  Although some of the efforts might be altruistic, many are motivated by profit.

The largest problem with gentrification is the displacement of the poor. Once property values go up, so do property taxes and the poor can no longer afford their Ghetto homes.  Starbucks and Yoga Studios may be more pleasing to look at than outdated laundromats and falling down department stores, but they don’t solve any real problems. Pouring the Middle Class back into City Centers doesn’t lift up the Poor. It merely replaces them.

Pouring money into Education and Health Care would produce better long term results. Giving those in poverty opportunities to better themselves is a way to make those of rough birth a chance to become gentler.  Addressing the wage gap, inflation and racism is more important than giving a neighborhood a facelift.

It is sad to drive by boarded up businesses and abandoned homes. Economists talk about deindustrialization, the great white flight from the cities to the suburbs and desegregation, but nobody seems to be willing to admit that cheap land outside the city and a desire for higher profits created the poverty of the inner city.  Gentrification for profit just creates all new problems. True change can only take place when we invest in people, not places.

Anyway, I’d never heard the term Gentrification until I got to Season 5 of Shameless. I thought it was an interesting theme or subtext to the show and I’ve seen it in real life. From Denver to Mansfield, I see efforts to try and improve Urban Decay.  Hell, even Monett and Shelby have continued to evolve and change.

Advertisements
Posted in Culture, Movies/TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shameless

Shameless

I read that Shameless is the most watched series on Netflix in America. Sherlock Holmes is the most watched Netflix show in England.  This sparked my curiosity and so I binged watched Shameless this week—all 7 Seasons.

The first two seasons followed the British television series pretty closely in plot. Then the writers began to the the characters in new directions, which I liked.  Overall, I found that identified with the characters in Shameless—at least to some degree. I didn’t exactly grow up in the Ghetto of a large city, but I have lived most of my life in poverty.

Unlike the Gallagher family, I was an only child and I was lucky that I had at least one parent that was there for me consistently.  I couldn’t imagine how tough it would be to have both parents pretty much MIA.  The kids had to grow up all too quick and learn to take care of each other.  It is really a sad situation, but the show does find humor the chaotic moments when Frank or Monica reappears and tries to make up for their long periods of absence.

 Frank Gallagher is meant to be a Philosopher Drunk, but in the first couple of seasons he isn’t very likable.  As the series progresses, the character of Frank develops and he becomes more sympathetic. Seeing his cruel and crazy Mother in Season 2 helps explain why Frank is so messed up.  But my favorite moment perhaps is his Eulogy for Monica in Season 7. We finally get to hear a bit about back story and realize that he once had a promising future that he threw away.  He and Lip aren’t so different it seems.  And though I could only imagine the frustration the kids felt at his antics, there are times you can see the heartbreak in Frank’s eyes when they yell at him and try to get him to leave.

Monica Gallagher is the love of Frank’s life, but she is Bipolar.  She knows that she is not a very good Mom, which probably one the reasons she left. The kids are better off without her. Even still Monica can’t help but come around occasionally anyway. I think Frank’s relationship with Monica is the most dramatic and fun to watch. Frank’s relationship to Shelia is amusing though. I wasn’t very fond of his other lovers.

Fiona is fierce and for that I like her.  She struggles to balance having fun with raising a family.  And for a while, she manages to keep things from falling apart, but when Liam gets a hold of her coke and overdoses everything unravels.  I liked watching her character arc for the most part. Although I understand why she must pull away and become her own woman, I found her reaction to the continuing family drama more than a little bitchy at times.  I felt bad for Debs in particular.

I liked Jimmy Steve and his adventures. I was sad to see him go, but he did add to Fiona’s chaos.  It was probably better that she didn’t end up with him even though he was handsome, charming and funny.  I wasn’t particularly fond of Fiona’s string of lovers after that. He ex-husband was a real asshole.  And though I like the actor Dylan McDermott, I wasn’t fond of his character. Jeffery Dean Morgan was supposed to play her manager love interest originally. I am curious how that would have looked if he’d stayed.

I suppose I identify the most with Lip, who is too smart to waste his life trapped in the tragedy of his childhood. Although he loves the company of fellow intellectuals in college, he never quite feels at home in the world of academia. Despite being happy to see him go to college, I still had a problem with the college plotline. The writers didn’t seem to understand how college works.  Lip never seemed to be taking an entry level survey courses like Freshman English. He skipped right to Literary Criticism, which would be for Seniors or Graduates even. He also jumped right into Quantum Physics instead of taking Geology or Biology first.  And, perhaps most importantly, he had a Teaching Assistantship even though Assistantships are generally not given to Undergraduates either.

Ian and Mickey’s relationship is incredibly passionate and heartbreaking.  It was well developed and I found their deep bond believable.  I liked Ian’s Bipolar arc for the most part. I think it added a lot of depth to character to watch him struggle. My only complaint is how frustrating it was to watch him as he moped around after he was released from the hospital. Seeing him become an EMT was nice, although I don’t think they ever addressed whether he got his GED or not. I’d imagine one needs at least a GED for the EMT job.

Carl seems pretty smart despite his delinquent ways. His entrepreneurial spirit is admirable even if it is misdirected.  His thug phase was amusing at first, but it began to get old. Just as I was getting ready to give up on him, the writers made him evolve even more. Carl was shocked into the reality of how horrible Thug life can be when his friend Nick kills that little boy. It was tragic, but it really shaped Carl. It was wonderful to see him get into his first relationship and take an interest in police work. When he went off to Military School it made me think that there was still hope for this adorable little sociopath.

Debs didn’t have a lot to do early on, but as she evolved, she became one of my favorite characters.  She is nurturing and loving in many ways, but as the mean girls in school made fun of her in middle school, she began to change. In the last two seasons we see Debs stealing and scamming like her mother, father and brothers have all done. We see her fierceness when defending her corner and when she is trying to get her baby back. When she finally settles with Neil, we see her become a caretaker like her old self and bossy like older sister Fiona.

Liam is always cute and quiet. Though Fiona cared for him as an infant, he went through the most caretakers of all the children. Shelia and Sammi helped watch Liam when everyone else was too busy to. In later seasons we see Frank taking more a role in his youngest son’s life. I was thrilled to see Frank get Liam into a good private school. Perhaps despite his chaotic early years, Liam will be able to have opportunities his siblings did not.

I liked the Russian Prostitute Svetlana’s spunk. She turned out to be an interesting character despite her dubious beginnings. Her relationship with Keven and V was hot and funny. She evolved during her time with them and grew to be likable—until she stole the Alibi at least.  In any case, I always rooted for Kev and V.  Kev is just a big lovable goof and his wife V is a strong black woman.

My least favorite characters are probably Karen and Sammi. I felt bad for Karen in many ways. She obviously had lots of issues, but she was pretty bitchy toward everyone. After she abandoned her baby, I’d given up on her. Although many feel it was just deserts when Mandy hits her with a car, I still felt sorry for her.  I was conflicted about the Character of Mandy. Though Mandy was cold hearted at times, I felt she had some redeeming qualities—unlike her piece of shit father.  Frank’s oldest daughter Sammi was annoying and grating from day one.  She was definitely Jerry Springer material.

Shameless has no shortage of strange and memorable characters. The colorful characters are one of the main reasons to watch the show in my opinion. And though perhaps the first season or two wasn’t particularly strong, I appreciate how well everyone evolved and changed throughout the series.

Posted in Culture, Literature/Pop Culture, Movies/TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Betrayal of Science and Reason

Betrayal of Science and Reason

Ehrlich, 1996

In this hard-hitting and timely book, Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich challenge those who downplay the reality and importance of global environmental problems with appealing but misleading rhetoric. Such efforts to undermine and misinterpret environmental data, labeled the “brownlash” by the Ehrlichs, prolong an already difficult search for solutions and are deeply disturbing to environmental scientists. In Betrayal of Science and Reason, the Ehrlichs contrast anti-environmental rhetoric with the consensus view of the scientific community, tackling head-on such issues as population growth, desertification, food production, global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain, and biodiversity loss.

This book offers a unique glimpse into how science works, and they discuss how scientists can speak out on matters of societal urgency yet retain the support of the scientific community. This book provides an eye-opening look at current environmental problems and the fundamental importance of the scientific process in solving them. It presents unique insight into the sources and implications of anti-environmental rhetoric, and it provides readers with a valuable means of understanding and refuting the feel-good fables that constitute the brownlash.

“The time has come to write a book about efforts being made to minimize the seriousness of environmental problems.”

Wise-Use Vs Brown-Wise or Environmentalism Vs Anti-Environmentalism (11)

65% of people are willing to pay for a better environment. (12)

Erroneous Notions (Things that are NOT true).

  • Environmental Scientists Ignore any good news on the Environment
  • Population Growth itself does not cause Damage to the Environment
  • Hunger (Poverty) is nearly Eradicated
  • That Natural Resources are Abundant
  • That Risks posed by Toxic Substances are Greatly Exaggerate
  • That Global Warming and Acid Rain are NOT serious Threats
  • That Environmental Regulation is Wrecking the Economy

Beware of “Sound Science” and “Balance” Rhetoric (17)

Cowboy Economics are all for Private Rights and Often Rights to Waste. People are Conservative and they simply don’t want to Change Their Ways.  (18-20)

Scientists don’t claim to be perfect or to have solid proof or 100% accurate predictions. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously.

It is clear that most Brownlash proponents have an agenda that is very different from MOST scientists. Their conclusions generally support that view that their immediate economic concerns or interests are best served by continuing business as usual and that long-term are not threatened by that policy.

Indeed, even some scientists have been fooled by the seemingly authoritative nature of some “anti-environmentalist” literature (though it should be noted that the scientific community, by and large, agrees with both the theory of global warming, and its human related causes).

As well, a few scientists operating outside the mainstream, such as Patrick Michaels and S. Fred Singer, seem motivated by the large salaries offered to them by multi-million dollars corporations with economic interests at stake regarding environmental regulation. Michaels is the primary authority on the CO2 and Climate Change website, superficially sponsored by the Greening Earth Society, which is, in turn, funded by the Western Fuels Association. The “laundering” of website sponsorship further adds to the confusion concerning ulterior motives.

The effect has been clear: budget cuts, reversal of legislation, a psychological spin toward “wise-use” of resources and downplaying of very imminent dangers. One congress person tried to cut funding for the new Mojave National Park to one dollar per year, another seeks to open mining on park lands.

Congressman Charles Taylor successfully sponsored a bill disguised as a forest health measure which allowed massive clear-cuts of old growth timber in 1995-96.

This last is instructive, a clear example of the subversion of green aims by the opposition. Taking earth-friendly names like “National Wetlands Coalition, The Sahara Club, The Abundant Wildlife Society of North America, The National Wilderness Institute, etc.” the browns wear verbal sheep’s clothing while actively working against the causes their names suggest they must support.

Volcanoes do emit CO2, but it doesn’t stay in the atmosphere.

Good News Perspective: Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act has helped. The number of cars have doubled, but not pollution. (42)

It is a Myth that Environmentalists Hate People.  Wanting people not to double the population doesn’t not mean Scientists are misanthropic. They care about people, but they also wish to see quality of life increase.

Overpopulation Concerns are about not having enough natural resources to sustain EVERYONE!

Greg Easterbrook was wrong to say Earth has NOT been altered significantly by men and women.

Is Global Warming a Crisis or Problem? The nay-sayers say that there is little to no evidence that there is any sort of problem.

The current trend of Warming matches the rise of Industrialization and CO2 output by human beings.  CFCs, Fossil Fuels, Deforestation, Agriculture Practices all Effect that Climate.

Dixylee Ray and Lou Guzzo argue, “It is unlikely that human beings can really influence the overall climate because there are one million tons of air per capita for every person on earth.”  It is like saying a few micro-grams of bacteria can’t make a 200 lb man sick.  (135)

Ronald Bailey and S Fred Singer said that The Earth is not Warming, but Cooling.

Regional Vs Global

Minor adjustment will be made and it will be no big deal is a fallacy.  We don’t just need to change how air conditioners are made.  There is already a rise in sea levels and droughts.

CFCs were invented in the 1930s for Refrigerators. Then holes in the Ozone were discovered around 1956 and 1957.  Brown Lasher’s claim the hole in the Ozone wasn’t discovered until the 1990s and the CFCs aren’t responsible for it.  (141-142)

Brown Lasher’s argue that without Pesticides that Starvation will result. And that is just false.

FACTS: Consensus of the Scientific Community

  • The Earth is Finite
  • Lands for Agriculture are Declining and Waters are being Over-Fished
  • Life-Support Systems are Damaged beyond Control
  • Over-consumption Contributes To Diminishing Resources and Pollution Both
  • Developed/Underdeveloped Countries Can Both Help

It is NOT true that Unregulated Capitalism is good for the Environment.  People not likely to spend more on the environment. It is NOT the Environment Vs Jobs either.

“The world’s scientific community is now pointing out that we have only one Earth and that our global society is running a vast and dangerous experiment on it. If the experiment goes wrong, where will be no way to rerun it.” (pg. 216)

Posted in Culture, Environment, Politics/Economics, Science/Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silent Spring

Silent Spring

Rachel Carson, 1962

Silent Spring begins with a “fable for tomorrow” – a true story using a composite of examples drawn from many real communities where the use of DDT had caused damage to wildlife, birds, bees, agricultural animals, domestic pets, and even humans. Carson used it as an introduction to a very scientifically complicated and already controversial subject.

Disturbed by the profligate use of synthetic chemical pesticides after World War II, Carson reluctantly changed her focus in order to warn the public about the long-term effects of misusing pesticides. In Silent Spring she challenged the practices of agricultural scientists and the government and called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world.

Carson asked the hard questions about whether and why humans had the right to control nature; to decide who lives or dies, to poison or to destroy non-human life. In showing that all biological systems were dynamic and by urging the public to question authority, to ask “who speaks, and why”?

Silent Spring inspired the modern environmental movement, which began in earnest a decade later. It is recognized as the environmental text that “changed the world.” She aimed at igniting a democratic activist movement that would not only question the direction of science and technology but would also demand answers and accountability. Rachel Carson was a prophetic voice and her “witness for nature” is even more relevant and needed if our planet is to survive into a 22nd century.

(From the website http://www.rachelcarson.org/SilentSpring.aspx)

Notes and Quotes

Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species, man, acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world.

It is also an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged

In the course of developing agents of chemical warfare, some of the chemicals created in the laboratory were found to be lethal to insects. The discovery did not come by chance: insects were widely used to test chemicals as agents of death for man.

Where do pesticides fit into the picture of the Environmental Disease? We have seen that pesticides contaminate soil, water, and food. They have the power to make our streams fish-less, our gardens and woodlands silent and bird-less.  Man, however much he may like to pretend to the contrary is part of nature.  Can he escape pollution that is now so thoroughly distributed throughout the world?

When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizers pills of half-truth.

We are accustomed to looking for the gross and immediate effect and to ignore all else. Unless this appears promptly and in such an obnoxious form that it cannot be ignored, we deny the existence of hazard.

Life Book by Gaylord Simpson et al. In this sense of the word of life, while surely fragile and complex, is incredibly durable through time.  It is more durable than the mountains. This durability is wholly dependent on the almost incredible accuracy which inherited information is copied from generation to generation.

Sir Perceval Pott in 1775 declared the Coal Cough (Cancer) was so common among chimney sweeps that it must be the soot that accumulated in their bodies.  A century or more later, there seems to have been a realization the chemicals in the human environment could cause cancer by repeated skin contact, inhalation or swallowing. True, it had been noticed that skin cancer was prevalent among workers exposed to arsenic fumes in copper smelters in tin factories in Cornwall. And it was realized that workers in the mines in Saxony and in Uranium mines in Joachmsthal in Bohemia were subject to disease of lungs, later identified as Cancer.

12% of deaths in all children between the ages of one and fourteen are caused by cancer, according to the Boston Hospital

A Swedish Farmer treated 60 acres of land and a week later they fell very ill with a high fever and blood count abnormal.  Later, he died. A postmortem examination showed that his bone morrow had been completely washed away.  It is theorized that his cells had mutated due to exposure to radiation.

A Who’s Who of pesticides is therefore of concern to us all. If we are going to live so intimately with these chemicals eating and drinking them, taking them into the very marrow of our bones – we had better know something about their nature and their power.

Dutch Biologist says, “The insect world is nature’s most astonishing phenomenon. Nothing is impossible to it. The most improbable things commonly occur there. One who penetrates deeply into its mysteries will be breathless with wonder. He knows that anything can happen and that it is impossible often does happen.

Study in Holland shows support for the view that polluted waterways carry cancer hazards (carcinogens). Cities receiving their water from the rivers have a higher death rate to cancer than those whose waters come from wells or other less polluted waterways.

“Although modern man seldom remembers the fact that he could not exist without plants, that the sun’s energy manufactures the basic food stuff for life.”  ~William O Douglas, My Wilderness East to Katahdin.  The earth’s vegetation is a part of the web of life in which relies on plants, animals and humans all alike.

Synthetic pesticides in the US soared from 124,259,000 pounds in 1947 to 637,660,000 in 1960. The amount used on California farms alone would provide a lethal dose for 10 times the world’s population.

Why should we tolerate a diet of weak poisons, a home in insipid surroundings, a circle of acquaintances who are not quite our enemies, the noise of motors with just enough relief to prevent insanity? Who would want to live in a world which is just not quite fatal?

A New England woman wrote to her newspaper, “This is not what the tourists expect, with us spending all this money advertising beautiful scenery. Maine roadsides are merely an example, a particularly sad one, for those of us who have a deep love of beauty of that state, of the senseless destruction that is going on in the name of roadside brush control throughout the nation.

Incidents like the eastern Illinois spraying raise a question that is not only scientific but moral. The question is whether any civilization can wage relentless war on life without destroying itself, and without losing the right to be called civilized.

How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even to their own kind? Yet this is precisely what we have done. We have done it, moreover, for reasons that collapse the moment we examine them.

It is not my contention that chemical insecticides must never be used. I do contend that we have put poisonous and biologically potent chemicals indiscriminately into the hands of persons largely or wholly ignorant of their potentials for harm. We have subjected enormous numbers of people to contact with these poisons, without their consent and often without their knowledge.

If the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or by public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problem.

We now stand where two roads diverge. But unlike Frost’s poem, the road we have been traveling is deceptively easy, as smooth as the highway on which progress is made with great speed, but ahead lies disaster. The other fork in the road, the one that is less traveled, is our last chance for the preservation of our earth.  The choice is, after all, ours to make…We should look and see what other course is open to us.

We urgently need an end to these false assurances, to the sugar coating of unpalatable facts. It is the public that is being asked to assume the risks that the insect controllers calculate. The public must decide whether it wishes to continue on the present road, and it can do so only when in full possession of the facts

Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.

Posted in Biology, Culture, Environment, Event | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Endangered Atmosphere

Our Endangered Atmosphere

Gary E McCuen, 1987

Several major scientific reports have been published on this issues.  The Department of Energy Review, NASA and several foreign agencies agree.

  • Greenhouse warming of 3 to 8 degrees is expected for the doubling of CO2 above pre-industrial levels. This global average will be experience near the poles. It is not unreasonable to expect the sea to rise 4 ½ feet if this happens.
  • Other gasses, including, CFC and Methane, are collecting in equal amounts to CO2.
  • Continued emissions at the levels here in 87 would result in Ozone depletion, which would result in fatal and nonfatal skin cancers. It could also contribute to increased immune system suppression.

Conclusion: The human condition may depend on the ability of governments to implement policies to reduce the risks before the full extent of the damage becomes apparent. If we don’t act now, it may be too late to reverse or stop the damage.

Both Greenhouse Gasses and Ozone Modification are now accepted phenomenon.  We already have empirical evidence and proof to support these occurrences.  The issue is no whether it happens, but WHEN it happens.

Conventional approaches to problem solving are inadequate to address what we are talking about. Cost and Benefits don’t apply. We must place these issues much higher on the world’s agenda.  International Leadership can’t do it alone.

We cannot afford to give chemicals the same constitutional rights that we enjoy under the law. Chemicals are NOT innocent until proven guilty. There is a very real possibility that man, through ignorance or indifference or both, that we have altered to atmosphere irreversibly. It may one day no longer be able to support life…

Those who believe that these are problems to be dealt with by future generation are misleading themselves. Man’s activities to date may have already committed us to some level of a higher temperature.

The pathway of society is following today is much like a car driving toward the edge of a cliff.  We have a choice to go ahead and take NO action and drive off the cliff and figuring that we won’t hit the bottom until our generation is long gone.  Or we can take action before we get to the point of no return.

We need to Evaluate climate change scenarios, working in outside groups to understand the effects of Greenhouse Gases. We can Estimate trends in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and determine Possible Control Options.  Developing and Evaluating Responses to Various Greenhouse Gas/Climate Change Scenarios would be good.  Expanding Long Term Research focused on long term Environmental Effects.

The Atmosphere buildup of Carbon Dioxide could cause serious climate changes in the next century, but there is no basis for panic or a precipitous change in Energy Policy says the National Academy of Sciences.  The 500 page report on the Greenhouse Effect takes a less pessimistic view than another study released this week.  The EPA’s estimates of rising oceans and warm climates were similar to The Academy of Sciences. However, the EPA warned that the consequences could be catastrophic unless the world begins planning with a sense of urgency.

Thomas F Malone who gave testimony before the House Subcommittee on Investigation and Oversight in February of 1984.  He suggested that immediate action be taken. We need to slow the growth in Greenhouse Gases and find a more efficient way of getting our energy needs met. We need to act to preserve forests and try to slow the rate of deforestation.  We must increase the support for research on the ecological impact of these gases, global warming and climate change.  We must slow air pollution and reduce emissions.

The United States should immediately develop policy alternatives for Greenhouse Gases emissions.  We must massively increase support for Climate Change Research.  We must push for limits on Chlorofluorocarbons pollution. We must encourage attendance at the 87 Convention and attend to the long overdue alleviation of local pollutants, smog and acid rain.

Wallace S Brocka complained that, “We lack the ability to accurately predict the consequences of our actions.”

The depleting of the Ozone and Greenhouse Gases are connected issues.  The same gases that deplete the Ozone also contribute to Global Warming.

The Associated Press ran a story in June of 1986 that said that pollution was Hostile to Human Life.  “A dramatic reduction in the vital ozone layer over Antarctica proves the Greenhouse Effect is REAL and that a gradual warming would raise the ocean levels, erode coastal cities, bring dustbowl conditions to other areas, increase human misery and if not checked, lead to the eventual extinction of the human species” warned Scientists.

Tropical Rain Forests and the Atmosphere by Jose A Lutzen. “Every single adult Brazilian Nut tree left in peace can produce hundreds of kilos of precious food. Every palm tree or rather any number of the other species of palm trees in the Rain Forest can produce dozens of kilos of food and produce oxygen for the world. Not to mention proving construction materials. Brazil’s policies on the Amazon must change and they must change during the 80s or it may be too late!

Carl Wursch gave testimony before the Senate Committee on The Environment and The Public.  “Co2 build up in the air depletes the nutrients of plants and animals on the surface of the earth.

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Living Patterns by Stephen P Leatherman. Leatherman also gave testimony. “The principle effects of a sea level rise are increased tidal flooding and wave induced erosion. Salt water intrusion can also be a problem in some areas, effecting surface waters.”

“The most significant impact of higher sea levels will be the submergence of coastal wetlands. Inter-tidal salt marshes can adapt only to relatively moderate rates of sea level rising.  Rapid increase in sea levels can literally drown these wet lands, converting them to simply shallow bodies of open water.”

If the Earth had its present albedo but had no atmosphere, the temperature would be well below the freezing point.  This planet would, in fact, be uninhabitable.  It is the Greenhouse Effect that brings the Earth well above the freezing point and permits oceans and bodies of water and all of that.  What happens though, is a kind of equilibrium is established so that the amount of sunlight coming from the sun that is absorbed by the plant is precariously balanced by the amount of inferred radiation admitted by the planet back into space,” says Carl Sagan.

Fossil fuels mean more carbon dioxide in the air then normal.  Doubling Co2 will increase the global temperature by a few degrees centigrade. That doesn’t seem like much, but it will upset this delicate balance.  We’re pushing and pulling on the global environment add there is no current instruction to systematically seek out and study such effects. (In 1987).

CO2 might warm the earth and ocean as well as change precipitation regionally and seasonally.  It might affect weather on a larger scale and we don’t know how this will effect humankind over the years ~ John R Justice on a report to the House Committee on Carbon Dioxide and Global Warming

Table in book showing Strategies for Mitigating the Effects of Global Warming says we need to protect soil, reduce CO2 emissions, improve water management, find renewable energy sources, reforest places that have been deforested and change costal land use policies. It also suggests educating the public and preparing for disaster relief.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Biology, Culture, Environment, Politics/Economics, Science/Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Green Lifestyle Handbook

Green Lifestyle Handbook

Jeremy Rifkin and Greenhouse Crisis Foundation, 1990

Buy appliances that are energy efficient.  Use less energy by turning off lights and other electronics when you aren’t in the room or they aren’t in use.  Share or borrow items.  Recycle. Properly clean up after using toxic materials.  Try to substitute natural nontoxic items in place of toxic items.

Americans throw away 2.5 MILLION bottles every HOUR. In a year’s time the average United States Citizen uses 200 pounds of plastic and 60% of that is from packaging.  In order to produce all that plastic almost 1 BILLION barrels of oil are used—enough to meet the nation’s demand for imported oil for 5 months. That plastic also releases tons of ozone-depleting CFCs.  Most plastic ends up in landfills, although some of it is burned. The burned plastic releases dioxins, furans and hydrochloric acid.

Still more disconcerting is that 45,000 tons of plastic were dumped into the world’s oceans every YEAR! Up to 1 MILLION seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals are killed each year by plastic trash such as fishing gear, six pack rings, sandwich bags and Styrofoam cups.

About 4 out every 5 parents used disposable diapers. On an average a baby will use 10,000 diapers before they are potty trained.  Plastic diapers make-up 4% of our solid waste—enough to fill a garbage barrel every 6 hours.  A disposable diaper takes an estimated 500 years to decompose.  A cloth diaper, after numerous uses, will only take about 6 months decompose.  In addition, plastic diapers are less comfortable than cloth and can cause rashes. Not to mention that they cost a lot.

Buy in Bulk and use Paper Bags. Don’t use Styrofoam. Try wooden toys and wicker baskets for storage. Use wooden bowls and cloth shower curtains.

Automobile accidents have been responsible for more teenage deaths than all the wars of the 20th Century combined.  The car killed 1 million people by 1952 and its 2nd million by 1975 and its 3rd Million by 1994.  Each year 8,000 humans are hurt or killed by accidents involving animals on the road.

69% of Led, 70% of Carbon Dioxide and 45% of Nitrogenous Oxide and 35% of Hydrocarbon in the air are from all forms of transportation that run on fossil fuels. Some 33% of the emission are from cars alone.

Aerosol products, some cleaning products and refrigerants contain CFCs.

In 1986, Office Buildings used more than 27% of the BTUs used in the USA, which is over 641 Trillion BTUs.  And American’s throw away enough paper each year to build a wall 12 feet tall that could stretch from NY to LA.  Paper should be reused or recycled.

New Jersey exported Garbage to Ohio. The waste generated in the USA alone would fill a convoy of ten-ton garbage trucks over 145,000 miles long, which would cover the distance from here to the moon.

Any religion which is not based on respect for life is not a true religion until he extends his circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace ~Albert Schweitzer

If our Earth is barren, our imagination would be as empty as the mood, our senses as dull, our intelligence as limited.

40,000 children starve to death on this planet everyday even though there is enough food to feed them.  Americans alone eat more than twice the protein they need on average.

Planting a tree is a spiritual as well as physical act.  It is an act that effects many generations to come.  “He that plants trees loves others beside himself” ~ Thomas Fuller, 1732

Tragically, deforestation has reached crisis proportions. Since 1967, the rate of deforestation has exceeded one acre for every five seconds. Moreover, worldwide deforestation is approximately 27 million acres a year.  Much of the deforestation is taking place in Brazil, Indonesia and Zaire, which contain nearly half of the world’s tropical forests.  The worldwide rate of deforestation is 10% of the rate of re-forestation.

The Central American Rain Forests are depleted at even faster rate for cattle grazing.  138 million pounds of beef is what American’s consume.  Just one fast food burger requires a clearing of 55 square feet of tropical rain forest. When trees burned, they emit 500 pounds of Co2 into atmosphere.

Deforestation causes 25% of all CO2 emissions.  Therefore, scientists see re-forestation as one of the most critical tasks in combating global warming. To reverse the effects of the greenhouse gas crisis, we must plant enough trees to equal the landmass of Australia.

Acid Rain also contributes to the Green House Effect.  Recent research indicates that Acid Rain prevents soil microbes from consuming methane, adding to the Green House Gases.

History has shown us the only effective way to resolve hazardous waste problems is for citizens to join together.

When the area of a habitat is reduced by 10% of its original size, the number of species that can persist in it indefinitely will eventually decline by 50%.  Since 1960, over 86% of known apple varieties have been extinct.  Since 1960, over 2,300 pear varieties have become extinct.  2/3rd of Japanese Rice varieties have been lost this century.  About 90% of Florida’s citrus harvest is from three varieties. There used to be a lot more.  Only 6 varieties of corn make up 70% of the US Crop.

“I think I could turn around and live with animals. They are so placid and self-contained. Not one is dissatisfied and not one is demented with the mania of owning things,” ~Walt Whitman.

Soap sometimes contains the tallow of not only exhausted dairy cows and over worked chickens, pigs and cattle, but also tallow of the 7.5 million cats and dogs killed at shelters each year.

Skiing, backpacking, bird watching, mushroom hunting, snowshoeing, fishing, snorkeling, rock climbing and even just walking, can help us celebrate the ecology in our lives.“Whenever people say we mustn’t be sentimental, you can take it that they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, we must be realistic, they mean they are going to make money from it.” ~Brigid Brophy.

Involve kids in gardening. Aside from learning to love dirt and plants, gardening can be an antidote to watching too much TV.

We must transform our entire economy—its industrial, agricultural and transportation economies—from fossil fuel and toxic based economy to a more sustainable form of humanity. We must start practicing Environmental Democracy—each of us taking control of our environmental future.

“It is possible that progress might be nothing more than the development of an error.” ~Jean Cocteau.

Organizing efforts have become ever-more important to stop environmental destruction due to the multi-national corporations. Years ago, if you poisoned a well or cattle, you went to prison.  Today, relaxed enforcements of environmental laws have allowed our water, air and land to be poisoned, wildlife killed and humans victimized—all in the name of corporate profit.

We suffer from NIML or Not In My Lifetime. But we must be active. Hopefully the 90s will be the decade of the Activist Consumer.  The weapon of choice will be consumer boycott.

Mother Earth is sending us many signals that she is at risk. We ignore her symptoms at our own peril.

Posted in Biology, Culture, Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Feng Shui

Feng Shui

Nancilee Wyndra, 1993

Your environment has a big effect on your life. It gives off positive and negative vibes.  You should rearrange things—add and subtract things to balance energy.

Example: A House that sits at the T intersection of streets has negative energy.

Also don’t leave a stump in the middle of the yard. It is also negative.

Electromagnetic fields have a lot to do with Feng Shui and the Vibes of a Particular Place. Once: Twenty Hertz and Now: Sixty Hertz

Feng means Wind.  Shui means Water. Tao means The Way (A Balance of Yin/Yang) and Chi means Vitality.

As Above, So Below

Form School: Shapes, Objects of this World.  Pyramid is Biology, Psychology, City Planning

Add Ying by using less light, have seating with low backs, using burgundy and not red, placement of fountains, fabric patterns with curved lines for furniture. Use soft velvety fabrics. Turn off the TV, Fans and other things that make noise. Be alone.

Add Yang by using brighter light, having tall furniture, using bright colors, use a dehumidifier. Have vertical stripes on furniture. Add ticking clocks and toys on tables.  Use fans or open window. Display collections and invite company.

Energy in a house should move freely. Too much energy is chaos and too little energy is not enough life.  Space out furniture so you can move easily around it.

To Enhance Energy or Chi have pathways, windows, open space, thermal comfort, circles, light and windup objects.  Chi inhibiting things: walls, closed doors, clutter, darkness, too hot or too cold temp, use of triangles and corners and lack of movement in the space.

Typical problems in spaces are too much noise and activity, not able to transmit ideas. There is often an inability to relax and feel grounded.  In order to cure these problems it is important to add water or blue glass. Decorate with earth tones and fire tones.

Fire makes one feel inspired. Fire, Wood and Metal help one think.  Wood will make one feel happier. Metal helps us communicate and feel cultured.

Positive relationships are: fire to earth, earth to metal, metal to water, water to wood and wood to fire. Negative relationships are fire to wood, wood to water, water to metal, metal to earth and earth to fire.

Fire is red, tiles laid in a chevron pattern, triangles (like napkins folded in triangles) and call attention the direction south.

Earth is primary colors (Brown, Yellow and Terra Cotta), squares, clay, brick, mud cement, TV screens, computers, low coffee tables and double beds. Earth’s direction is center.

Metal is white, copper, gray, silver and gold, round surfaces, radios, clocks, TVs, computers, refrigerators, electrical wiring, nail frames and the direction south.

Water is blue, black, waves, glass, fish tanks, fountains, sinks, toilets, tubs, windows and the direction of North.

Wood is green, rectangles, wood, cardboard, paper, doors, roof tiles, chairs, cabinets, boxes, tables, lamps and headboards.

Ba-Gua is the Octagon shape. Right and Left sides represent different meanings.  The self-Octagon has fame, wealth, family, knowledge, career, helpful people, children and marriage. The Health-Octagon has future, power, community, wisdom, self, compassion, descendants and relationships. Furniture is usually placed more in the center and not against walls.

At the spot furthest from the door, place something from your past: a family picture or trophy maybe.  The Far Right side of the room place two chairs and a table.  It is a place for communication.  Also use mirrors, circles of light, fish tanks, and flowers.  And put up two of something as a symbol for two people. On the Right side place pictures of family, favored items, heirlooms and mementos.

The Self Space should have no crowded entrances and have controls for the lighting and temperature. You should have an unobstructed view of the room. The door should be able to open flat against the wall.

The Left Side of the room represents wisdom.  Have books and magazines Maybe a chair and a fountain or glass objects.  Community is on the Far Left. Place metal objects here.  Put accomplishments in the furthest left side corners from the door. Keep the area clean, bright and organized. Maybe keep a low coffee table or cabinet.  Shiny surfaces do well here too.

Colors: Red should not be used in mental institutions, bedrooms, lobbies, offices or restrooms. It is okay in kitchens, living rooms and dining rooms as well as libraries or dens. Yellow should not be used in nightclubs, bathrooms or places people meditate and inside drawers.  It can cheer up a work area or kitchen.  Blue should not be used in cold places or dining areas.  Blue is good for living rooms, bedrooms, etc.  It assists in meditations.  Orange should not be used in restful areas like bedrooms or places for meditation.  Orange is good at fusing a person to a place.  It can also repel loneliness. Green should not be used in cars or around Cancer patients. However, it can be used in most any room that you want connected to nature and want to feel rejuvenated in.   White should not be used in cold climates, kid’s rooms, student lounges, places people don’t know, theaters, funeral homes, etc.  Don’t use black in children’s spaces, healing areas, reading areas, service areas or anywhere communication is needed.

Sound can be used to initiate relaxation, ceremony, concentration and emotion. You can use sound to reverse nervousness, anger and sadness.  Appropriate indoor sounds are: Fans, bubbling water, chimes, curtains, leaves and music.

Smells can help. Spiced Apple Scent lowers blood pressure. Basil cheers people up and is good for migraines. Cedar dispels fear. Eucalyptus clears sinus and reduces emotional overload. Frankincense is conductive to prayer or meditation. Geranium relieves premenstrual tension and is good for combating depression. Jasmine migrates emotional suffering. Lemon and Lime elevate mood and fight exhaustion.  Mint helps clear thinking and eliminate mental fatigue.  Orange helps us feel warm and less self-conscious.  Pine strengthens and cleanses.  Rose strengthens inner being.  Sandalwood helps raise our spirits. Thyme purifies. Verbena is cooling and sedating. Ylang-yang sedates and helps with high blood pressure.

Spaces: In Children’s Bedrooms put basil, cedar, orange and pine. In a Couple’s Bedroom put ylang-yang and Jasmine. In Gathering Rooms put Thyme, Sandalwood and Orange. For Study Rooms put Eucalyptus, Thyme, Lemon and Mint.  For Offices use Thyme, Verbena and Jasmine. For Lobbies (Hotel) use Thyme, Lavender and Geraniums. In Airplanes use Verbena, Lavender and Sage.  In Physicians Waiting Rooms use Sage, Lavender and Cedar.

For Building and Buying Homes: Try NOT live at the bottom of a hill or at the T of an intersection of roads.  When you got out doors, go out a door facing South or East. Shield yourself from the setting sun when building or work space or office area. Don’t build on harmful mineral deposits. Build where there is lots of vegetation. Don’t build near dying vegetation.  Don’t pick a plain place or a place where you know there is lots of pollution. Don’t buy a place with cracked windows or painted over window. Don’t buy or build a place near stagnant water.  Hill or Vegetation should face North.  Homes should be built facing South East. Keep things organized and weed your lawn once you move in!

For Gardens: Bamboo promotes longevity. Evergreen Yew will give protection. Cornflower encourages balance in family, love, love, work, etc.  Ferns confers wealth. Geraniums enhance durability in overcoming obstacles. Mint keeps flying insects from home. Hollyhock promotes fertility. Yellow Roses create lively discussions. Tulips inspire love and devotion. You need more than one type of vegetation in Gardens. Having house plants is great as well.  Put natural, comfortable seating in your yard.

Entrances. Going through garages to go inside can be negative. Either decorate garage to make it a pleasant pathway or going through another door.  Make curved paths, not straight ones.  You should be able to see the door from the beginning of the path though.  If not, then place flowers, mirrors or something to indicate a door is nearby.  Entrance way should not be in line with a door to the outside or a window looking out.  When you walk into a house, you should be in a place where you can share experiences.  To be able to see the bedroom or bathroom from the front door is negative.  The kitchen shouldn’t be visible unless cooking is relaxing to you.  Split walls give splitting headaches.  Mirrors should not cut out anyone’s view.  If you have a tiny foyer make it look larger with a mirror. Stairs should not face entrance. Place or plant or other distraction so you don’t feel compelled to go upstairs to private rooms.  Split stairs need distractions as well.

Angles: Angles and Corners are like an invisible arrow pointing energy in a particular direction. For this reason, it is bad to be in the shadow of larger buildings and billboards.  Corner walls point at you so move so that the corner isn’t aimed at your couch or bed.  Don’t have desks or chairs or tables pointing at sleeping or sitting areas. Where there are no sidewalks or pathways outside/inside house make them.  Hallways are pathways between apartments.  Try to find an apartment with an window that looks out onto a street. If there is a singular room protruding from the house it will be a lonely place and a feel left out.  Have a U-shaped room for living in warmer climates so you have a patio on the U.  Evenly spaced rooms are good. Don’t have too many levels or angles your living space or you might feel fragmented.

Doors: The size of all your doors should match the spirit of the place. Your home should not have straight path from one door to another.  Too many doors can be uncomfortable. Doors should open flat. Place light over too big of a door and paint it a dark color.  Place sculptures around the door the same color as the door to make it look bigger if it is too small.

Stairs: Stairs shouldn’t be steep. If it feels too steep add pictures along the wall.  Nervousness comes from no railing, so add one if there isn’t one.  Spiral stairs may look neat, but they can be unnerving.  Spiral stairs need a railing and merging colors.

Ceilings: Lower in living room. Put pictures at eye height and the lower half of the wall should be lighter than the upper half to make room appear cozier.  Higher ceilings are good for churches and state houses, etc.  Slanted ceilings give a festive feel and a secure feeling.  Beams shouldn’t be exposed in living room.

Windows: There shouldn’t be too many, but there should be some. Windows shouldn’t open across from doors. Windows should be able to open. If they don’t open then get some fans, fountains and natural sounds in the space.  Windows shouldn’t expose you to severe weather. Windows should face rising sun. Do not face windows toward the setting sun.  There shouldn’t be any windows in front of or behind toilet.  There shouldn’t be too many windows in dining area.  A house with no front window doesn’t look friendly to people on the outside.

Living Rooms: You need a well-lit pathway to the couch or seating area. Don’t put couch too far from door.  The living room should be connected to all other rooms.  Putting your TV in a cabinet is a good idea. You should also be able to see the door from the couching.

Dining Rooms: Dining Rooms should be well lit. Colored lights will make it more festival. There should be walls around it to make it feel protected.  There should be chimes or something in the doorway so that people with their back to the doorway can hear people coming.  There should be few distractions in the room. Keep extra chairs out of the way.  There should be no more than two sitting out.  Don’t have too many people over at a time.  You need to be able to communicate with people effectively.

Kitchens: The Fridge should be away from the stove.  If the kitchen is by an entrance, put things there to distract from cooking, etc.  Stove and sink should be apart as well.  But they shouldn’t be across the room. They should only be a few steps away from each other.  The fridge shouldn’t be in front of the kitchen’s entrance.  Try to keep the kitchen organized and try to make sure it is connected to the outside with windows, doors or even house plants and fish tanks.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bathrooms: Bathrooms should be separate and buffered from the rest of the rooms.  They should be private.  The sink and toilet should have some separation with a curtain or something.  The toilet shouldn’t be in view of the doorway. The toilet should be behind another door or cabinet.  The door to the bathroom should swing inward.

Bedrooms: The door shouldn’t open to a view of the bed first.  You should be able to see the door from your bed though.  Mirrors should not be the first thing you see.  There shouldn’t be a window directly behind or in front of bed.  Keep the door to the bedroom closed if you can see the bedroom from the main room.  Position objects to point direction elsewhere if your bedroom is right off the main room.

Work Space:  Your work space shouldn’t be in a corner. Nor should it be in a windowless basement.  You need windows and to be able to see the door.  Work Spaces should also be private. They shouldn’t be close to the kitchen. Also shouldn’t be directly under or beside cooling and heating duct.  You should be able to see the door while you are on the phone. Work Space shouldn’t be by a door.

Overall, you should have a balance of furniture. Don’t leave dark areas in your house. Make sure lighting can light it all up if needed.  However, the light should never be shining down in your eyes.

Celebrate your life with Rituals.  Celebrate the day you move into a place as well as celebrating graduating, marriage and having children.  Moving is one life’s passages. It is important.

Posted in Culture, Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment