The Year Without Toilet Paper

In looking around the New York Times website today I found this story, The Year Without Toilet Paper.
The premise of the story is that this family is living a year in New York doing their best to not have an impact on the earth. No trash, nothing grown outside a 250-mile radius of Manhattan, not using the elevator, nothing that uses fossil fuels, or toilet paper.

This is an interesting idea and experiment for a book, but this is something that I couldn’t do. These days it would be pretty hard to do this, especially with my wife.

I am not meaning that we are not doing our part to reduce our footprint. We drive a hybrid, we have replaced most of our light bulbs with compact flourescent bulbs, walk to the grocery store when I can, and try to recycle as much as we can.

But I couldn’t live without toilet paper.

Scott Wells on his blog Boys in the Band has a pretty good point in his blog post, Make some impact, effectively,:

Look at your checkbook. It should be pretty easy to pick out the parts of your life that deserve an sustainability and environmental audit. Let’s say housing and property maintainance, electricity and fuel, transportation, food, medical and health care and charitable giving.

I think all of us should look at how we are impacting the world and do our part to reduce our impact and footprint. We should do what is best for ourself and our family.

I wish Beavan and Conlin well. And I will be looking for the book and documentary when they come out. You can follow their year at noimpactman.com.

Schools Brainwashing Kids?

In Vermont and probably around the country, schools are studying climate change and global warning. But are they studying the science or are they studying popular culture?
According to a an article in the Burlington Free Press, “Global Warming in Schools“, students are testifying before the legislature about global warming, watching An Inconvenient Truth” and “Too Hot to Handle“, and putting on plays.

The problem is that they are only pushing one side of the issue. By pushing one side of the issue they are misleading students and they are brainwashing them to one side of the story. Students need to be presented with both sides of the story or issue and stimulate discussion, more research, and let them form their own opinion.

Also, students should receive good science and information. Not propaganda for one-side of the issue. By showing two controversial movies that exaggerate the issues and make false statements and not the other side that gives information to provide balance, goes further than schools should go.

Now, to fully disclose my standpoint on this issue to be fair. I feel that the climate is changing and humans may be influencing it. But the sky is not falling. We need to do what we can to reduce our use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. But we need to study it and use good science.

Schools need to be teaching our students and provoking thought. Not present one side of the issue and ignore the other. The best teachers that I had in school made me think about an issue and fully investigate that issue, form my own opinion, and then write and/or discuss it. This is not happening in Vermont and who knows where else.

Schools, get off your ivory tower and teach our children appropriately.

What is up with Comcast

I am wondering why everyone is having problems with the change to an earlier daylight savings time. This change was solidified a couple of years ago with the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Well Comcast seems to be having problems. I have a HD DVR through Comcast and all of the scheduled recordings are recording an hour earlier. So instead of CBS Sunday Morning, I got some kids cartoon.

Give me a break Comcast. You have had two years to get this fixed and you still couldn’t do it. You may have sent out patches, but if they don’t make it to everyones DVR or they don’t work, then you have a problem and you failed.

As of now I have had no other problems and everything is working fine, including my computers. It is amazing in 2007 that we are still having these problems.

Capital Going Green, It’s About Time

In an article in a newspaper article in The Hill, “House Leaders want Capitol to go Green“, it discusses a directive from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other Democrat leaders to Chief Administrative Officer that he develop a plan to take the Capitol green.
It is amazing that Congress has just found out there are ways to reduced energy consumption around their offices. The Executive Branch has been doing this for many years. The Executive Branch has been working on reducing electrical use by using motion detectors in the offices, using fluorescent lights, paying a transportation subsidy to help employees use public transportation to get to work, and using LNG and electricity to power vehicles instead of gasoline.

The funny thing is that most of this was approved by Congress themselves. So it is amazing to me that Congress is just finding out about going green.

Another funny thing in the story is a quote from the Chief Administrator of the House Dan Beard. In response to what he thought of the directive he replied: “… he agreed with the directive and stressed that the idea of ‘green’ buildings is not an updated version of recycling dryer lint, but the cutting edge of business efficiency. ” Who won’t agree with their bosses and still have a job, especially after he was just named to the position?

It is just a bad question and a bad quote. The reporter could have done better with the story. It was pretty softball. He should have pointed out what the other branches are already doing.

If you want to find out, check out Executive Order 13123, Greening the Government through Efficient Energy Management, this is from 1999. In addition the Department of Energy has been sending teams around the country looking at facilities and providing advice on how these Federal facilities can save energy, and this was in 2005.

Congress, what you are doing is great, but it should have happened a long-time ago.