Green the Bailout

Many things make me weep about the current economic crisis, but none more than this brief economic history: In the 19th century, America had a railroad boom, bubble and bust. Some people made money; many lost money. But even when that bubble burst, it left America with an infrastructure of railroads that made transcontinental travel and shipping dramatically easier and cheaper.
The late 20th century saw an Internet boom, bubble and bust. Some people made money; many people lost money, but that dot-com bubble left us with an Internet highway system that helped Microsoft, I.B.M. and Google to spearhead the I.T. revolution.

The early 21st century saw a boom, bubble and now a bust around financial services. But I fear all it will leave behind are a bunch of empty Florida condos that never should have been built, used private jets that the wealthy can no longer afford and dead derivative contracts that no one can understand.
Worse, we borrowed the money for this bubble from China, and now we have to pay it back — with interest and without any lasting benefit.

To read full editorial by Tom Friedman go to NYTimes.com

A Leadership Reality Check

Oratory is not enough. It often takes a national crisis to persuade Americans to make sacrifices.

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It’s a good bet that whoever wins in November will be greener than George W. Bush. The next president is likely to launch the nation on the path toward reducing dangerous CO2 emissions. But any legislation emerging from Congress will probably be no more than a directional signal, a declaration of intent or a down payment—a start, but at best a modest beginning. To go further, to truly tackle the greenhouse effect, will require the one thing from voters that few politicians dare to ask for and fewer achieve: massive public sacrifice.

To read article by Evan Thomas and Pat Wingert go to Newsweek.com

Dishwater is precious

A Letter to the Editor 

Don’t call it wastewater. The stuff that goes down the drain is more and more important as part of Arizona’s future water supply.

Tempe is planning to use reclaimed water in Town Lake.

Marana and Pima County are battling over a wastewater treatment plant, and the key issue is ownership of the effluent.

Growth in parts of the state’s active-management areas, where developers must prove a 100-year supply of water, depends on creating credits by putting treated effluent into the aquifer. That’s why Prescott Valley could auction off a share of its sewage water for more than $67 million to a New York-based investment group.

Arizonans can’t afford to get hung up on the “yuck” factor.
To read opinion go to The Arizona Republic

How Green Is My Garden?

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IF the government wants to reduce its dependency on imported oil and, in the words of the Department of Energy, “foster the domestic biomass industry,” it has only to stop by my backyard with a pickup. The place is an unlikely but active biomass production center — especially at this season with countless autumn leaves eddying in every nook and cranny — and I’ll happily donate my production to the cause.

To read editorial by Thomas C. Cooper go to NYTimes

Chill out.

Stop fighting over global warming — here’s the smart way to attack it 

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All eyes are on Greenland’s melting glaciers as alarm about global warming spreads. This year, delegations of U.S. and European politicians have made pilgrimages to the fastest-moving glacier at Ilulissat, where they declare that they see climate change unfolding before their eyes.

Curiously, something that’s rarely mentioned is that temperatures in Greenland were higher in 1941 than they are today. Or that melt rates around Ilulissat were faster in the early part of the past century, according to a new study. And while the delegations first fly into Kangerlussuaq, about 100 miles to the south, they all change planes to go straight to Ilulissat — perhaps because the Kangerlussuaq glacier is inconveniently growing.

To read original opinion column by Bjorn Lomborg go to the Washington Post

China in Three Colors

 After a week of meetings with Chinese energy, environmental and clean-car experts, I’m left with one big, gnawing question: Can China go green without going orange?

That is, can China really undertake the energy/environmental revolution it needs without the empowerment of its people to a whole new degree — à la the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in 2004? The more I see China wrestling with its environment, the more I’m convinced that it is going to prove much, much easier for China to have gone from communism to capitalism than to go from dirty capitalism to clean capitalism.

To read column by Tom Friedman go to NYTimes

A Box of Worms

I keep worms. I keep them in the backyard in a hinged box that people call a worm bin. The term is unsatisfactory. Bins are for dirty laundry and trash; this box, sort of a plywood footlocker, has more varied and mystical functions. It is a chest of garden treasure, a microbial engine room, a guilt extinguisher and a bank for small deposits of virtue. The worms, you see, eat my garbage.

To read editorial by Lawrence Downes go to the NYTimes