Political and environmental thoughts and ramblings...
- Why do we give the label "conservative" to the group of people who are least interested in conservation? While we're on the subject, here are some factoids on recycling and energy use.
- What is saved by recycling aluminum cans? Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning
for almost four hours or provide power to your television for three hours. That's approximately the same amount of energy as one cup of gasoline. You know how far one cup of gasoline takes your car? 1/16th of your mpg. In my little 4 cylinder Honda, that's two miles. How far is it for your car? Now let's think about that for a second -- every can you throw into the garbage is worth two miles of driving... every two miles of driving is worth 3 hours of light?
- One glass bottle, recycled rather than landfilled is worth four hours of 100 watt light.
- Here's a nice list of general recycling facts.
- Here's another nice list of recycling facts, including "If everyone in the United States recycled even one-tenth of their newspapers, we could save about 25 million trees every year".
- And here's an accounting of the costs of operating a car. Now, not all these stats make sense to me, but I have been pondering the true costs of production of the vehicle, maintenance of roads, and production of oil, and this addresses some of those areas.
- You gettin' my point? I'm going to dig up some more data on the true costs of these various forms of energy, but let me leave this topic with one last thought. If you look purely at the cost of photovoltaic solar panels and the energy they produce of their lifetime versus the cost of buying the electricity from your local (or not) power company at 2001 prices, it looks like the power company is the winning choice. However, if you look at the environmental costs of producing the PV panel and then using it, versus the environmental cost of having your electricity produced by coal, hydro, nuclear, or natural gas plants, the PV choice wins easily. (Again, I'll be gathering some facts to share here.)
- I've been thinking about quality of life issues, and I've come up with a series of questions -- a "community evaluation" of sorts:
- Are there places in your town you're afraid to walk or ride (either because of crime or traffic, or some other factors -- environmental safety, smell)?
- Are there places in your town where you are not allowed to go (other than bathrooms of the opposite sex and bars if you're underaged)?
- Are there parts of your town where you, because of your race, gender, or appearance, feel afraid or unwelcome?
- Are there times or places that, if you were to go to a part of your town, you would feel afraid of the police?
- Are there public places you would be afraid to leave your children?
- Are there places you need to go which can only be reached by car?
- Are you afraid to go out alone at night?
- Are there places in your town where you cannot afford to go?
- Are there parts of your town where only the poorest people live? Only the richest? Are you afraid or unwelcome in those places?
- Are there parts of your town that you would tell a visitor not to go?
Maybe these questions can be thought of as taking the pulse, listening to the breathing of your community... If you answered "yes" to any of the questions, what can you do about it?
- Did you know we have freshwater jellyfish, in Yellowood Lake (among others) in Indiana?
- Here's an interesting web site: Open Secrets tracks political spending. Since the legislators won't reform campaign finance themselves, at least the public records of campaign giving makes things very interesting. Look in your zip code and see how your neighbors, both private and corporate, put their wallets where there... wallets are.
- I find maps and satellite photos really interesting... Here's something nifty: topographic
map of Bloomington, from www.topozone.com. And even cooler is this
version on Microsoft's
TerraServer -- you can see it as a map, satellite photos, or a
relief map. Ooo, look ma, I can see our
house from here! And here's my
hometown (hint: scroll up one click to see why it was a great place
to grow up...).
- A long time ago I helped create the Recycling
Information Hotline at 812 33-CYCLE.
last updated January 30, 2001