Thursday, May 16, 2019

Leave no trace and the tragedy of the commons.

430 words plus a link.

I typically read Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” at least once every couple of years. He sings my tune, rather, I sing his tune since he sung it first: “I heartily accept the motto, –
“That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which I also believe, – “That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient.”
Sadly, men are not prepared to live with no government and likely never will be. While living at Walden, Thoreau chronicled his minimalist lifestyle. Like Thoreau, I try to reduce my footprint on the planet but that’s a relative statement. I certainly use fewer resources than, say, the great environmentalist Al Gore but I’m sure I indulge more than did my grandparents on their depression era farm. Here’s where I need your help. In order to function, our world needs manufactured products. We use resources which result in depletion and / or pollution continents away from where the production is used. The story linked below is just one of a vast compendium of examples of human dross scattered across the globe. In this example, a remote island with nothing but tourism for industry is inundated with more trash and debris than they can even manage to clean up. Complacent Consumers are Complicit When boiled down to its essence, undisciplined consumers are the culprits in this barrage of garbage. The problem is massive yet seems benign. What’s one more drinking straw on the ground? California tries to control the sale of such contraband but it seems to me, the better way to handle production refuse is to simply place a tariff on the product. The tariffs would create a market of their own. For example: Glass bottles cost more to manage might be cheaper to recycle (some of us remember the days of selling them for 2 and 3 cents apiece). The tariff would be substantial enough to fund recycling and proper disposal, including the graft, corruption and bureaucracy required for feeding the administrators. The tariff is a stand in for the unallocated cost of production. Think of it as part of the lifetime cost of anything that is produced. We’re forced to share this planet so we need to do our housekeeping. What are your thoughts?

A recent story in the Guardian:

 Remotely trashy

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Busted! So, I'm heading in to start my ambulance shift. I'm one of those "servant" types who care about people, saving lives, yadda yadda yadda. I'm compassionate towards the sick, unfortunate, injured, homeless, you name it, I care about them. On my way in, I start a Right turn at a light, just as a homeless couple start across the intersection. I'm pretty sure they're homeless because I can see at least 4 layers of jackets and sweaters that they're wearing even as the day has turned a bit warm. They're both wearing backpacks and look like they've been . . . well . . . sleeping under a bridge. The couple starts across the intersection so I sit and wait. They're not very fast. I wait some more. Then the guy stops. He goes back a step or so, bends down, and picks something up off the street. Seriously??? Can't he see that I'm on my way to do life saving humanitarian service for the good of all mankind? That is one arrogant homeless dude for sure! I honk my horn. He's blocking the intersection for what? Did he find a nickel or something? Fortunately, my conscience kicked in and accused me of being the arrogant one. They finished clearing the intersection and I drove on through, on my way to some serious service for the good of mankind. Other than my conscience bugging me a bit, I'm no worse for the wear. Just a distraction. A couple of days later . . . I'm out for my brisk walk -- 2 miles, or three if I have time. I get the "walk light" at that same intersection. As I'm crossing, just about in the middle of the intersection, an object catches my eye. I look down and see a screw -- a drywall screw. Drywall screws were scientifically designed to tip up as a tire rolls across, guaranteeing a puncture that won't show up for a couple of days, at 70 mph on the highway. So, I stop, pick up the nefarious booby trap and then move on. I only held up traffic for a moment but it was worth it to keep someone from getting a . . . . And now, I'm wondering why I honked at that guy? My own self righteous arrogance slapped me right in the face!

Lessons From My Dad