Located below is an article about the politics of the placement of waste transfer stations. Residents of Boston may also be familiar with this issues as one of the smallest poor neighborhoods, Roxbury, is home to a few of the largest waste transfer stations in the area. Surrounding, more affluent neighborhoods largely have none. Anyway, read on.
A great read from Motherboard on the politics of garbage placement:
In New York, as everywhere else, one neighborhood’s trash is often another neighborhood’s terror. And that other neighborhood tends be poorer. Garbage from the well-to-do Upper East Side, for instance, now ends up being sent to mostly poor neighborhoods in outer boroughs. At these places, of course, its easier for other trucks, or train cars or barges, to take it even farther away, to points south (In 2001, Mayor Giuliani closed Fresh Kills, once the world”s largest landfill, on Staten Island, a predominantly white community). And these places also make it easier to build garbage stations without the hassle of the legal battles or political campaigns often wielded by wealthier neighborhoods. […continue reading…]
History has proven that the general population wants changes, but they don’t necessarily want changes to happen to them.Â “I believe in rights for all people, but not with my daughter.”Â “Support the troops and be a patriot, but don’t draft my kid.” “Reduce dependence on foreign oil, but don’t build your bike lanes, wind power, etc. in my back yard!”
This next article addresses these points.Â There is a quote below, but you can read it from the original source:
But some supporters of high-profile green projects like these say the problem is just plain old Nimbyism â€” the opposition by residents to a local development of the sort that they otherwise tend to support.
â€œItâ€™s really pretty innocuous â€” itâ€™s a bike lane, for goodnessâ€™ sake â€” their resistance has been incredibly frustrating,â€ said Walter Hook, executive director of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy in Manhattan and an expert on sustainable transport. He lives in Brooklyn and uses the Prospect Park West bike lane to get around.
Nimbyism is nothing new. Itâ€™s even logical sometimes, perhaps not always deserving of opprobrium. After all, it is one thing to be a passionate proponent of recycling, and another to welcome a particular recycling plant â€” with the attendant garbage-truck traffic â€” on your street. General environmental principles may be at odds with convenience or even local environmental consequences.
But policymakers in the United States have been repeatedly frustrated by constituents who profess to worry about the climate and count themselves as environmentalists, but prove unwilling to adjust their lifestyles or change their behavior in any significant way.
I’m not posting this to depress you, which I’m sure I will accomplish by posting this, but more because it reminds me of all those Star Trek episodes where they land on a planet and fruitlessly scan for signs of life. “This planet is almost completely dead, Captain.”
In 1910, the Karabashmed copper smelter opened at the foot of the Ural Mountains. By 1916, it was producing one third of Russia’s copper. Unfortunately for the 15,700 residents of Karabash, copper smelting has gradually destroyed the land and air. The plant has long pumped derivatives from lead, sulfur, arsenic, and copper into the air, with no clean-up processes attempted. Not only is the air toxic â€” eye-stinging and hard to breathe â€” it also brings down acid rain, destroying the soil and thinning the once-dense forest with lifeless bald patches. (Source)
For the whole story and a gallery of pictures, check out the article (which is also the source of all quoted text and pics).
Three vignettes from Copenhagen show that personal responses to the conference might be the greatest cultural happenings around.
I am running through the crowd with the French artist Thierry Geoffroy. He is saying (in a deep French accent): “Zee, it is getting dark. They are closing in. They are going to kill us all. This is the plan. But then we keep going and we move around a corner and Geoffroy is saying. Ah, but you see, now it is more calm. We have come to a different part. All that has past.”
Such was my experience of the mass protest in Copenhagen this past Saturday. Estimates vary widely as to how many marched. Fox News says 25,000; the organizers say 100,000; and the police say 60,000. There were arrests of 968 (this number appears exact).
In the media centers and on the street, more intense interest has been paid to the possibility of violence than any particular detail of the negotiations. This is understandable. In addition to our seemingly innate tendency to be fascinated and compelled by images of violence, there is the fact that the expression of violence is the one real thing happening here.
“Violence, when not in the hands of the law, threatens [the state] not by the ends that [the violence] may pursue but by its mere existence outside the law,” writes Walter Benjamin. “By what function violence can with reason seem so threatening to law and be so feared by it, must be especially evident where its application, even in the present legal system, is still permissible.”
The example that Benjamin gives to illustrate this point in “A Critique of Violence” is the worker’s strike – the state allows it to happen, despite its violent nature, because the power of the massed workers is sufficiently dangerous. The strike, like the protest, is violent regardless of whether it employs overt violence as a particular technique because it opposes order and the interests that constitute the state. Of course, even protests and strikes can go too far in the eyes of the state and claim a level of violence that the state cannot abide without losing authority. Protest, in both its permitted and non-permitted forms (both of which, by Benjamin’s definition, are essentially violent) is the most available and most direct negotiating tool for the 6 billion people not inside the Bella Center.
Four people from different parts of the world arrive at Lykkesholms Alle 7C. They are greeted by a Danish family: husband, wife, and three boys, the youngest a baby. Also in the home are three women from Peru – two dressed in traditional highland clothing, one in jeans?and a camera crew of two people. After some small talk and a little getting to know each other, people take seats around a coffee table, others on the floor, some on chairs and a sofa. The camera crew remains standing. The children come in and out. The older of the Peruvian women asks for a photo from each person. She places the photos (given in the form of IDs) on some yellow flowers in the middle of the table, then gives each person a yellow candle. Each person writes his or her name and also his or her wishes for the next year directly onto the candle. The woman then lights each candle, muttering various incantations. She sprinkles sugar over the flowers and the photos and the candles. And then we sit and wait for each flame to burn down the wax entirely. Where we were rushing before, we are not rushing now. It is just the 14 of us in the room and the early northern darkness that presses against the window becomes a hypnotic abyss.
A dinner of about 25 people in a home near the center of town: home-cooked food, arrangements of dried flowers on the table, and several bottles of wine. Many at the dinner are involved in one form or another with a labor-intensive intervention project that is calculated to have an effect on the media coverage of COP15. The dinner is a break in the preparatory work for this intervention. Again there is a camera crew filming the event. At some point, people start giving speeches. This has been planned, which surprises me, because everything leading up to it has seemed so casual. The first speech is by a scientist, who gives a long hymn to Tycho Brahe and the scientific process (truth above ideology, and so forth). He is followed by an art student talking about the power of images, who in turn is followed by a business professor on the topic of learning not to be frightened by the facts of a new world, who is followed by an artist and activist on the need to avoid the grips of institutions. Then the planned speeches end and one woman stands up and proposes that the fundamental problem with comprehending climate change is our inability to come to terms with death. She then speaks about a friend, Brad Will, who was recently shot dead during a protest. She gathers herself and sings a song the she and Will used to sing together. ??My karma is to good for you to worry ’bout the crazies / I love everybody and there’s nothing that I own??
I almost didn’t stay for the dinner. I said that I needed to go get some work done, that I was writing a blog about cultural response to the conference. The host said, “This is culture.”
I heard about this dude T. Boone Pickens months ago, I forget where, and then heard about him again a couple months later on some news program, then yesterday, as i was waiting in the airport (on my way to Texas no less), I was reminded of him again by a ‘Pickens Plan’ commercial on some news channel (which was simultaneously flashing stock/energy numbers across the bottom of the screen).Â Now, call me skeptical, but When rich old oil hounds miraculously turn into earth-loving crusaders overnight, and then voluntarily drop however many $$$ on a major advertising campaign for their earth-loving cause, one has to wonder…is this ninja for real?
Decide for yourselves, watch his tv spot:
Then watch this PSA from Zaproot.com (be forewarned, this chick talks at the speed of light):
I say, never trust a Texan.Â What do y’all think?
350 is the new green is the new black is the new new. 350 is the number that scientists have determined will define the future of the Earth. 350 parts per million is the critical atmospheric CO2 concentration we need to achieve, and with haste. Currently, we are at 385 ppm. Bill McKibben and 350.org have started an international campaign to create awareness about 350 and to get people active in making it happen.
We at GreenMNP want to get active. And we want YOU to help! So, herein lies a challenge: design a dope 350 postcard for 350.org’s 350 Postcard Project and submit a photo/PDF of your postcard to email@example.com. We will pick a winner 35.0 days from now, on Tuesday, May 27. Winner will receive their choice of these three books: a signed copy of The Bill McKibben Reader, Green Roof – A Case Study by Christian Werthmann, and Shopping Our Way to Safety by Andrew Szasz, not to mention supreme ninja credibility. First runner up will get their choice of the remaining two books and second runner up will get the third book. Furthermore, we at GreenMNP will distribute copies of all the 350 postcard entries we receive to 350 important politicians/organizations/thinkers/Earth lovers/Earth haters and anyone else you want. If you can think of someone in particular you would like us to send a postcard to, comment to this post with their name and postal and/or email address (if you don’t know their address, we’ll do our best to find them…ninjas are fairly resourceful).
The postcard should be an expression of YOU, why you love the planet and why you want to see our atmospheric CO2 concentration drop down to 350 ppm. A word from the 350ers themselves:
In words, collages, drawings, or any other form on the back of these postcards, we want to hear from people all around the world why itâ€™s worth it for you, your community, and the rest of the world to aim for 350 parts per million.
Of course, you should submit your entries to 350.org as well. Or, if you prefer, we will submit your entry to them anyway.
Mail a scanned image or photo to firstname.lastname@example.org or attach a stamp and drop it in the mail to our San Francisco office at 1370 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94103.
If you are from another land, fear not: 350 is the same in every language, and words are easily translated ç®€ä½“ä¸æ–‡ Deutsch EspaÃ±ol FranÃ§ais Hrvatski Italiano í•œêµì–´ PortuguÃªs Svenska æ—¥æœ¬èªž Ø§Ù„Ø¹Ø±Ø¨ÙŠØ©
I don’t know why anybody expected this man to have anything intelligent or productive to say on this topic this time around.
Here are the three things you need to know about Bush’s speech — the same three things you needed to know about his previous speeches on the subject:
- Bush’s speech is not meant to advance serious efforts to address climate change, but to thwart the efforts of others. This has been true of all three speeches he’s given — see Dan Froomkin on this. This time around, it’s meant to thwart Congressional Democrats, who show every sign of being on the verge of passing a carbon cap-and-trade bill.
- The targets Bush does announce would doom the planet. Last time around it was improving the “carbon intensity” of the economy — that is, releasing less CO2 per unit of GDP, even though total CO2 would continue rising. This time around, it’s “halting the growth” of U.S. emissions by 2025. By way of contrast, international folks are pushing for a peak in global emissions by 2020. If U.S. emissions keep rising until 2025 — and that’s what Bush is calling for, rising CO2 emissions for another 17 years — efforts to keep global CO2 levels below 450ppm, or even 550ppm, are futile, and unthinkable human misery lies on the horizon.
- The Republican Party will not accept even the weak initiatives Bush lays out. This piece in Roll Call ($ub. req’d) tells the story:
Years after President Bush torpedoed the Kyoto global warming treaty, he is expected to outline principles this afternoon for passing legislation to reduce carbon emissions, but it’s unclear how much support he will find among Congressional Republicans.
Pictures courtesy AFP, Reuters, Daniel Garcia (AFP-Getty Images), Al Jazeera, BBC