Monday, April 5, 2010

Save Yourself!

Greetings good citizen,

Considering what usually passes for Spring around here I confess myself ‘amazed’ at it’s early arrival! It is not unusual to get hit with snowstorms of 20 inches or more during the month of April in this neck of the woods, so please pretend this comment is a whisper so as not to invite Mother Nature’s wrath…

On the other hand, this region is widely recognized as the home of ‘the world’s worst weather’. Not only does it get hot (and humid) enough to take your breath away but it also gets cold enough to give you frostbite in seconds! (Usually not in the same day, but hey, what do you want? The weather already sucks enough without having to put up with that!)

If you don’t like the weather in New England…wait a minute.

(So much for the update.)

While it is ‘difficult’ to comprehend this early beautiful spring weather as the direct result of ‘global warming’ (Spring is seldom reason to celebrate around here, it is usually ‘raw and rainy’ until June, when the weather, trust me, ‘suddenly’ turns hot and humid.) It is not very difficult at all for the average New Englander to imagine this region being under a mile thick sheet of ice as recently as 3,000 years ago.

Anyway, what does tonight’s offering have to do with the weather?

Um, the weather is only half of picture; renewable energy takes up a big hunk of the rest. The real ‘head scratcher’ here is what the economic landscape will look like ten to fifteen years from now when energy becomes ‘too precious’ to transport goods around the world?

[Purloined from: Some Assembly Required]

‘Green Gone Wrong’: Can Capitalism Save the Planet?

Published: April 2, 2010

IT may seem quaint to recall this now, but on the eve of the financial crisis, one of the biggest business stories was how large corporations were going to save the planet and make billions of dollars for their shareholders at the same time. [Or so the ‘free marketers’ would still have you believe! The major flaw in this meme is people, contrary to FM doctrine. Are NOT ‘made of money’, which is the only way this arrangement was ever going to work!]

USA Today wrote glowingly about Wal-Mart’s push to sell environmentally friendly light bulbs. Fortune gushed that Goldman Sachs, Continental Airlines and DuPont had jumped on the ecological bandwagon. [Capitalist cheerleaders are tireless in their enthusiasm for a system that shamelessly exploits its victims.]

The global economic collapse pushed the rise of green capitalism off business magazine covers, but it will surely resurface. After all, Wal-Mart and G.E. are still pushing it. In a recession, they need all the good publicity they can get.

Now, along comes Heather Rogers, who warns about the dangers of buying into this mind-set with “Green Gone Wrong: How Our Economy Is Undermining the Environmental Revolution” (Scribner, 272 pages, $26). She says green capitalism is actually undermining ecological progress. [Notice how Heather is tarred within a single sentence of her introduction!]

Ms. Rogers is a muckraking investigative reporter who is also the author of “Gone Tomorrow: the Hidden Life of Garbage.” She says corporate America has led us into thinking that we can save the earth mainly by buying things like compact fluorescent light bulbs, hybrid gas-electric cars and carbon offsets. [If we can’t save ‘the earth, at the very least we can breath life into the retail sector! It’s the ‘capitalist’ thing to do!]

“The new green wave, typified by the phrase ‘lazy environmentalism,’ is geared toward the masses that aren’t willing to sacrifice,” Ms. Rogers complains. “This brand of armchair activism actualizes itself most fully in the realm of consumer goods; through buying the right products we can usher our economic system into the environmental age.” [What are they saying! You mean WE CAN’T ‘buy our way’ out of this? We’re so freaking Doomed! Arrgggh!]

Ms. Rogers offers plenty of evidence that consumers who load up their shopping carts with organic food, for instance, may be unwittingly subsidizing big farm companies that are eradicating forests and defiling the soil in some developing countries. She says their governments aren’t as concerned about the environment, and well intentioned non-governmental organizations don’t have much clout.

“Green Gone Wrong,” to be released later this month, doesn’t just go after easy targets like big corporations that she says are clearly more interested in making money than saving the earth. [And what’s wrong with that? It’s the ‘capitalist way’! All good patriots should boycott this piece of socialist filth when it hits the bookshelves! New readers should be advised to turn their ‘snark meters’ up to ‘high’. Gegner is an Anarchist!]

She is also critical of fashionably green rock bands like Coldplay, whose members fly around the world and think they can erase their sizable carbon footprints by planting trees in developing countries. In Coldplay’s case, many of the trees died. [Sort of redefines the term ‘lip service’ doesn’t it?]

Indeed, Ms. Rogers is so scornful of the mainstream environmental movement that a lot of her points could be used by its enemies, like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who are always looking for ammunition.

Even if you don’t agree with all of Ms. Rogers’ assertions — and I don’t — they are not so easily dismissed. “Green Gone Wrong” is well-written and exhaustively reported. The author went to places like Uruguay, Borneo and India to show problems she says the green movement has inadvertently created. [Okay, ‘snark off’, unlike Devin, I tend to agree with Ms. Rogers ‘mindset’, not having specific knowledge of her assessment.]

But some of the most poignant moments come when Ms. Rogers visits organic farmers in upstate New York. She laments that they can’t make a living because it is so expensive for them to comply with the federal certification requirements for organic foods. “What isn’t being talked about is that many of the small organic producers who are expected to lead the reinvention of the food system can barely make ends meet,” she says.

Like many books that depict a crisis, “Green Gone Wrong” falls short when it comes to offering solutions. All too predictably, Ms. Rogers calls for higher taxes and government spending. That sounds like wishful thinking after the Democratic majority on Capitol Hill struggled to pass health care reform. [If we substitute ‘resource allocation’ for ‘taxes’ we may accomplish a lot more than the needy greedy ‘supply chain’ will allow us to achieve.]

It would have been better had Ms. Rogers delved more deeply into another of her suggestions: instead of buying green, we simply need to buy less stuff. She seems reluctant to push this too hard because it’s a truly radical idea that flies in the face of capitalism — green or not. [How many of you think both of then are wrong? It’s not about the ‘buying and selling’ its about ‘producability’ and more efficient distribution. No irony should be lost on the fact that the supply chain itself offers the greatest potential for increased efficiency!]

“Around the world, many politicians, the conventional energy sector and manufacturers of all kinds oppose any major reduction in consumption,” Ms. Rogers writes. “If people start using less, then economies based on consumption — such as that of the United States, where buying goods and services comprises 70 percent of all economic activity — will be forced to undergo a colossal transformation.” [Again, no irony should be lost on the fact that if done correctly this ‘transformation’ would yield huge positive social benefits!]

At first, her muted call for a new frugality sounds almost as far-fetched as a carbon tax in the United States anytime soon. But it isn’t. This is something individuals could do on their own instead of waiting for reluctant politicians to act. [Um, appealing to your ‘better nature’ isn’t going to solve much. Most of us have very little choice when it comes to the products we buy, our budgets prohibit ‘social righteousness’.]

If there was ever a time to ponder the long-term consequences of our spending habits, it’s in the wake of the worst economic crisis in decades, which was fueled by rampant consumer borrowing. Is it possible that we could save the planet and restore the economy at the same time?

Where does the NY Times dig ‘em up? Is one of the job qualifications ‘mindless synchopant?’

Does anyone else see the disturbing implications of Mr. Leonard’s observations? What do you suppose will happen to an already ‘starved’ supply chain if calls to ‘buy less’ produce results?

Understand, the giants actually want you to buy less…less of their competitors products! When the competition (such as it is) is gone, you’ll have no choice but to pay their prices.

But naturally, the editors at the NY Times think YOU are STUPID. (It’s a really sad indictment to add that most of the time, they’re right!)

Getting back to ‘opinions’ here good citizen, it is mine that capitalism will NOT succeed in saving itself, never mind anything else!

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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