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Category: Environment
Posted by: an okie gardener
From MSNBC: full story here
Today, however, Chinese companies have a sizable cost advantage over their rivals in the developed world because many of the environmental costs of doing business in the United States, Europe and Japan are still externalities in China. Polluting the air, water and ground at no cost to the company's bottom line makes it easy to undercut the prices charged by companies that don't have a right to pollute for free.

Buy MADE IN CHINA and help support the destruction of the earth.
Category: Environment
Posted by: an okie gardener
This month's National Geographic has a splendid article on whether or not New Orleans should be rebuilt. Article summary: by geography New Orleans always will be vulnerable to destruction by hurricanes, floods, and is threatened by rising sea levels. Also, the city itself is sinking slowly, the result of the ground drying as water is pumped out of swamps.

Only a small bit of present day New Orleans is above sea level. Until about 1900 that was the city. Then technology progressed to the point that swamps could be drained, levees built, and the city spilled over into areas below sea level. Not a good idea.

I think rebuilding New Orleans to match its pre-Katrina size is an act of hubris. We can control some aspects of nature some of the time. But, keeping New Orleans safe would require big, complex, and perfect systems. No way big, complex human systems will be perfect over a time of centuries.

Let the swamps return and the city shrink.

"You can't always get what you want, . . ."
Category: Environment
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
It is August in the South--and it is hot. This week Atlanta is "hot-lanta."

Further evidence of global warming?

Not in itself. I heard Rush Limbaugh say yesterday that the hottest decade of the last century was the 1930s. Is that true? Perhaps. From what I read, it was evidently pretty hot and dry. The "Dust Bowl" and all that.

Bear Bryant's hellish mini-camp at Junction is a legend near-and-dear to the hearts of most Texas football fans (Aggies especially). The ten-day ordeal took place in 1954 in the midst of a horrific six-year heat wave and drought in the Texas Hill County. The temperature reached the century mark on every tortuous day of the football encampment, and, according to legend, several days saw temperatures in the one-hundred-teens.

Is it hotter this summer than ever before? Probably not.

What I hate most about the current global warming debate is the politicization and hysteria. That is, I just don't trust the people who are the most adamant and apocalyptic in their warnings that we face a crisis of epic proportions. They are the same folks who brought us the Great Society, social engineering, political correctness, and unilateral disarmament.

They are also persons who have cried wolf too often.

On the other hand, the basic concept of good stewardship and prudential long-term planning makes good sense. We ought to be concerned about the future. Perceptive thinkers have fretted about limited resources since Malthus and Benjamin Franklin.

The predicament: Finite resources and exponential population growth equals a problem at some point in human history. Thus far, dramatic advances in technology and an amazingly dynamic and productive economic system have outpaced the inherent difficulty --and made the Malthusian predictions of scarcity during the nineteenth century the butt of modern derision.

However, do we really think that this planet will sustain 10 billion people? Twenty billion? Thirty billion? Do we think the United States will sustain a billion? Two billion? Do we think the American Southwest can continue to meet its water needs in perpetuity?

Does it alarm anyone other than me that we have become accustomed to a luxuriously abundant lifestyle that is predicated on an expanding economy, which is dependent on a growing, building, and expanding civilization, which requires the creation and infusion of more and more inhabitants into an environment with finite resources. There are limits. Where those limits actually exist--perhaps no one can say with certainty. However, undoubtedly, there must be a point at which our demand for potable water, breathable air, and fossil fuels to run our modern world exceeds the planet's capacity to offer them up.

A question for another day: what happens when and/or if the lights go out for good?