Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hillary's environmental plan

David, over at Gristmill, an environmental blog I recently discovered, has a rundown of H. Clinton's recently unleashed environmental agenda. Some of it I don't really understand (can anyone adequately explain environmental "credits" to me, and what all of that means?), and some of it I was just as agog as David and several commenters seem to be.

Like, the continued use of coal, though the whole CCS thing I don't quite get, either. Also, her use of the phrase "foreign oil." I, like several other people reading, don't understand why people keep saying this. Obviously it's a nod to not being so enmeshed in so many Middle Eastern countries for our oil dependence, but does that mean we have to destroy our own in the process? What about moving away from oil entirely? I honestly don't believe deep in my soul that we could send people to the moon 40 years ago, but we still haven't come up with an adequate substitute for fuel. Partly it's our lifestyle, and Hillary's $1 billion subsidy for the formation of more public transportation doesn't bode well for her commitment to weaning America off of its deadly addiction to cars and airplanes. It's cultural, and I'm not sure there is a solution at all, until it all just runs out, and everybody is then totally fucked. Which will then make everyone at the complete mercy of the "market," and only the very, very privileged will be able to travel within, and especially out of, their city.

Urban density is nice, but without adequate and reliable public transportation what does it accomplish? Nothing. It simply turns downtown into an exclusive neighborhood that people still drive out of to go to work in the suburbs. Instead of the other way around. And why is no one building electric bullet trains in the United States that have been prominent in Japan for years? And why aren't more politicians (and corporations) investing in subsidizing local farmers so that more people are able to buy meat, dairy and produce locally instead of having it shipped in? Because they throw all the farm subsidies at corn, which is why every god damn thing in the world has high fructose corn syrup in it. It's been proven that cars and the beef industry are the two biggest polluters that exist. Subsidizing energy efficency is great, but what about the lifestyle itself? This isn't something you ever really see politicans address, and maybe it's for more than lobbyist reasons. Maybe because it's unfixable. Maybe because people's use of public transportation and consumption of food only produced within 100 miles of where they live are issues that can only be addressed by the market. You can't force people to ride the bus (such as it is, with homeless people fighting next to you, not once, but twice in one day) or buy locally produced, and family-farm-grown, milk and meat.

I know, baby steps. And this is the United States. People don't change until it affects their wallets. And at this point maybe we're so far gone that it will take a major catastrophe (or multiple major catastrophes on the scale of Katrina) before people, as a whole, respond.

Thoughts, anyone? Am I a raving lunatic or is any of this making sense?

I'm drunk.

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