Sunday, September 30, 2007

A lovely Nutwoody day

Oh, it's very nice out. I've been out to the garden and picked a nice bowl of peppers. Looks like this week I'll be making some fresh salsa, as well as a nice dish of Italian sausage and peppers. I have lots of those banana peppers, which are mild enough for me yet spicy enough for Ken. It's the perfect pepper for us!

Since I had the weekend off, I decided to get a little ambitious with my cooking. A while back, I found a nice brisket on sale, so I thawed that out. Yesterday, I put together a marinade for Texas-Style Barbecued Brisket (in the crockpot). It marinated overnight, and it's cooking right now. Later, I'll cook the barbecue sauce (from scratch!) and then the beef will cook an hour longer with the sauce. I also whipped up some cole slaw, which has been in the fridge overnight, and I'll make some baked beans later on. It's a Texas barbecue, yeeehawwww! Where's ma cowboy hat? Gee, looks like I'm hungry. All I've written about so far is food!

Next topic. I received a comment on my entry the other day about problems with carbon offsetting. I appreciate anyone who reads this journal, and welcome any and all comments (although I will delete them if they are excessively foul--I have the power). I would like to comment a little more on this one, though.

Comment from one1undergod
9/30/07 8:12 AM

carben off setting is the reason i came here, and thats what i will write about

the only way they will work is to everyone to get a base level , as a tax like cretit, that works at the point of purchase ,that offsets the real carben cost at point of sale [individually]
how it would work is by converting them to  a credit ,if your in credit ,you just get them deducted at the point of sale ,if you are in deficite you can borrow them [at intrest, or buy them via your carben credit banker[possably the same banker you basnk with, but not nessesarilly so it could be by a service provider or carben union ,who issue you a sepperate card to pay the carben offset excice

basiclly the total carben deficit stays with the product, from manufacture ,through transport, to other carben defecits ,inherant in the specific product ,and is factored into the price dependant on its real , actual carben cost

extra credits can be bought sold  gifted or inherited ,carben capture can claim refunds ,fior the carben captured, via licenced chartered carben accountants ,who have strict accounting protocols ,with real monetory fines for fraud

I agree that carbon offsetting is an interesting idea, and that it has possibilities. But I also strongly feel that it is being used as a convenient way to get out of actually changing our behavior. It's just too tidy and neat a solution, which pretty much tells me that it's too good to be true. In the latest issue of Audubon magazine, columnist Ted Williams talks about exactly the same thing. (I'll try to link to the entire article when it becomes available online. It's an eye-opener.) He writes:

 "...of all the damage done by ill-considered tree planting, none is more dangerous than the false sense of absolution provided by 'carbon offsetting,' a booming industry in which greenhouse-gas polluters and governments constrained by the Kyoto Protocol purchase supposed mitigation by, among other things, paying someone to jam seedlings into the earth. The industry, which according to some investor predictions could reach $250 billion in world sales by 2008, teaches that we don't have to change our profligate lifestyles. And with few controls, it provides fertile ground for scams.

"Denis Hayes, president of the Bullitt Foundation, an environmental grant maker, likens the worst offset programs to 'indulgences'--the pre-Reformation get-out-of-jail-free cards hawked by the Catholic Church. (Go and sin no more--unless, of course, you pay us off.) 'We tend to use "cap-and-trade" as a single word,' Hayes told me. 'But there's capping and there's trading, and my concern is with all these people treating offsets without any cap. Someone is buying someone else's emissions, but that may not do anything to reduce total emissions.' "

It seems pretty obvious to me that such a simple solution is not solving the problem. It does not prompt anyone to change their behavior, especially if they happen to be people who have plenty of money to pay these charlatans, which leaves out most of us. It's not a matter of writing a check made out to Global Warming and saying, "Here's a check--go away." Do you really know where that money is going? Do you really understand what the company is doing? Have you done your research to find out what will best serve the environment? I didn't think so.

Our ecology and planet are marvelously complex things. We are still learning the impact that our actions have upon them. When I was a kid, we used to drive by burned forests in Minnesota and Florida and I'd think, "Oh, how sad...that should have been prevented or stopped." But then as I got older, I learned that forest fires are one of the best things that can happen to a forest, that it nurtures new growth more than anything else. Nature developed a pretty elegant way to handle things, and WE'RE the ones who have screwed it up. Carbon offsetting is the latest way for the worst offenders to assuage their guilt, and until some pretty strict guidelines and detailed plans are laid out, I say call it the big scam that it is and don't buy into it. These companies are just going to sit back and rake in the dough, and not "fix" a damn thing.

I got another comment (you can read it in the same entry that is linked above) from Paul which I liked quite a bit--I'm all for a TOTO (Turn Off The Oscars) Campaign to protest these bogus environmentalists in Hollywood preaching to us about what WE are doing wrong. I love it.

I've written about all this crap before, and I won't pretend that Ken and I are the best people in the world when it comes to having a "green" home. We are consumers, and that's not going to change. We have our Mustangs, and we love them. However, we do our best to make differences where we can, whether it's buying reusable grocery bags, recycling more, taking care of our 11 acres in a wildlife-friendly way, or being prudent in our energy usage. (Not having central air conditioning makes it easy in the summer!) I don't want to be a hypocrite about it, and I don't appreciate being scolded by those who believe they know exactly how us peons should be living our lives.

It's gratin' on my last nerve.

Finally, my inner scientist is screaming at me to write this: It's carbOn, not carbEn! If you're going to write about an element, especially one as basic as CARBON, please spell it correctly! Gaaaaaaah!

Later that day

This little guy was grazing in our back yard a few moments ago. I think it's Spot (I wrote about him here). They grow up so fast!

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