Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A Cat's Eye View
Baxter here. I apologize for my Female Human's long Absence from this Blog, and for the Lateness of my Weekly News Roundup. My Humans and That Dog all went up to the Adirondacks over the Weekend and left Me here Alone with no Help to Blog.
However, now that I am Here, I would like to wish You All a Very Happy Earth Day. I know it's Late in the day but as my Female Human likes to say, "Better Late than Never."
So, what did President Obama do for his first Earth Day? Actually, Quite a Lot:
"For his first Earth Day in office, President Obama has invited the Big Three automakers to display an eco-friendly fleet of cars on the White House south lawn."
He also appeared in Newton, Iowa with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, to tour a Wind Turbine Manufacturing Plant and give a Speech about his energy plans.
Back in Washington, the Agriculture Department opened its organic "People’s Garden" in the first Farm to Fork festival, which included demonstrations and "information about Composting, Organics and Beekeeping."
Last but not Least, the Democrats started three days of Hearings on the Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
Moving on to another Earth Day-Related Story, John Tierney defies the conventional wisdom that in order to Save the Environment, we need to have Fewer People, Less Technology and less Affluence. Apparently this is only True to a Point. Once Affluence and Technology reach a certain Amount, the amount of Environmental Impact actually goes Down. It's called a Kuznets Curve. I am only a Cat so I don't Understand All of it. But if you read the Article you'll see what he's Talking about. This is the Premise:
"As their wealth grows, people consume more energy, but they move to more efficient and cleaner sources — from wood to coal and oil, and then to natural gas and nuclear power, progressively emitting less carbon per unit of energy. This global decarbonization trend has been proceeding at a remarkably steady rate since 1850, according to Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University and Paul Waggoner of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station."
The thing that Struck Me the most was he contends that:
"There will be no green revolution in energy or anything else. No leader or law or treaty will radically change the energy sources for people and industries in the United States or other countries. No recession or depression will make a lasting change in consumers’ passions to use energy, make money and buy new technology."
I couldn't Agree More. I have only been Around for Eight Years but my Female Human remembers Many More Years, and she does not believe that just because of this Recession, Humans will suddenly See the Light and become "Greener." After all, September 11 was supposedly the End of The World As We Knew It and Everything was supposed to Change afterward. And it did. For about 3 Months. But not Forever.
The Gas Crisis in the 1970s? Temporary effect. Everyone went back to the Big Cars and Gas Guzzling Engines the second the Gas Shortage went away and Prices Came Down.
So I figure, if He's right about that Part, Tierney may be right about the Kuznets Curves. Which is actually Encouraging because it means that as Civilizations all get Richer, eventually the Planet will Benefit. If we all Live that Long.
In More Good News for the Environment, New York City leaders are proposing initiatives to reduce energy consumption by requiring owners of thousands of older buildings to upgrade everything.
"Planners asserted that the package, drafted by the offices of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, would result in $2.9 billion in private investment in building improvements by 2022 and generate 2,000 new jobs in energy auditing and related fields as well as thousands of temporary construction jobs.
City officials estimated that it would save property owners roughly $750 million a year in energy costs, city officials said. The program would begin in 2013, with 2,200 buildings performing audits and beginning upgrades each year for a decade."
However, All is Not a Done Deal. Apparently there will be Opposition from Property Owners. Stay Tuned.
Of course, We Cats have always been Green in our Energy Consumption. We don't use any more Energy than we Need to get things Done. We sleep 20 Hours a Day or so, and only Move if we Have to. We process our Food very Efficiently and Clean Up using our own Tongues - no Water or Electricity needed. Humans could Learn a Lot from Cats. But of course, the Tongue thing would be a Bit Difficult for Them. They have so little Flexibility.
In Other News, Astronomers may have found another Planet that's a lot like Earth. It's about 20 Light Years Away, and it's more the Right Size and Location to possibly harbor Water and other elements needed for Life As We Know It than some of the Others they have located. We are probably Not Alone in the Universe. Of course, the Real Question is, are there Cats on other Planets?
On a Less Cheerful Note, General Motors is planning Close most of their Plants for 9 weeks this Summer to Save Money. They have enough Cars for Six Months as it is, so why make more? Of course, this will be Bad News for the local Economy around the Plants since all those poor Workers won't get Paid for those 9 weeks.
To end on a Lighter Topic, Maureen Dowd wrote about Twitter in today's NY Times. She is a Skeptic, and I can understand that. As a Cat, I still do not See the Fascination with Twitter. I do have a Catbook page on Facebook and I see why Facebook is Fun. But Twitter is more of a Chore as far as I can see. Who has time to log in and Tweet all the time? I would rather Catch Birds that Tweet than Tweet Myself! But of course I'm a Cat, and we have Different Needs from Humans.
With that, I will Sign Off and wish you a Happy Rest of the Week. Have some Catnip and play with your Mousie-Birds and I'll see you Next Week.