Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Memo to Obama: we don't need new nukes!

Rant alert!!!

First off, I want to say that a thoughtful, wonderful friend of mine named Wayne is absolutely right:  one can certainly be for or against something without being "in the pocket" of anyone or any entity.  The reason I say, as I recently said to him and in my "Solar Employs, Nuclear Destroys" blog, that Obama is "in the pocket" of Big Nukes, is because of the money trail of contributors to his campaigns, as well as key people advising him and in his administration (see Washington Post article).

And now THIS:  NY Times article: "Obama Lays Out Plan to Cut Reliance on Fuel Imports" (read: Obama tries yet again to spin nuclear power as being a good thing)

When I saw the headline on my Google homepage and clicked on the article, I wanted so badly to think, oh, YAY, kudos to Obama for doing something on climate change.  But I knew better.  I knew what I would find as I read on in the article, based on Obama's past history, ideas and statements on going green, which all seem to emphasize nuclear and "clean coal" (not that there is such a thing as clean coal, but moving along), and the whole time I was thinking "Wait for it...wait for it, you know it's coming..."  Sure enough, Obama is USING climate change to justify building more nukes.  He had recently restated his support for more nukes before Japan, but had gone mercifully silent on same since, until now.  He had to find a way to make it palatable to the American people, post-Japan.  That man could sell fish hooks to fish!  Ingenius:  he announces a wonderful new climate change package of ideas and, oh, by the way, nuclear is still a big part of the solution to climate change, and we all want to solve climate change, now don't we, my gullible little kiddies?  Well, "nuclear power doesn't emit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere":

Quote:  "The president repeated his assertion that, despite the frightening situation at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor complex in Japan, nuclear power will remain an important source of electricity in the United States for decades to come.  'It’s important to recognize that nuclear energy doesn’t emit carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,' he said, noting that nuclear power now provides about one-fifth of domestic electricity supplies. 'Those of us concerned about climate change know that nuclear power, if it’s safe, can make a significant contribution to the climate change question. And I’m determined to ensure that it’s safe.'”

Notice that he even has the GALL to imply that anyone who is concerned about climate change is for nuclear energy!  Speak for your own INFURIATING self, Obama!

I'm sorry if the following offends those of you who love the man but, I'm telling you, I DETEST this guy.  Of course, it isn't just due to this, it goes back to so many other things (be glad I wasn't blogging during the 2007/8 primary season and the whole Florida and Michigan delegate mess or there would be no room left in cyberspace due to the sheer volume of my blogs).  The bottom line is that, though I've tried to see what my fellow liberals see in the guy, and I've wanted to see it, I never have, and he just keeps proving me right, not that that makes me happy, believe me.  At this point, I just simply detest him and see right through him.  The detestation took time to evolve, based on his actions and/or lack thereof on various fronts, but the seeing right  through him is something that I always have (since the first time I saw him, giving the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention that everyone raved about and thought was so great, but all I saw was a hollow, sloganeering politician versus a substantive leader...and his later "hope and change" campaign proved me right, as it was ALL slogans and no SUBSTANCE...not that anyone would listen to me at the time, but I digress again) and can't believe that all my fellow liberals still do not.  Some do, but most still think the guy parted the Red Sea.  Well, to him I say:  NO NEW NUKES!  We can solve climate change without creating more devastating environmental disasters and human tragedies waiting to happen.  Even if nuclear power plants don't melt down, what are you proposing to do with the nuclear waste, Obama?  WHAT?  WHAT?!  Tell me, damn it.  I'm all ears.

I am SO SICK of big business running/ruining this world!

Color me radicalized anew, and I'm about to read a book I just ordered that a friend told me I have to read, called "The Shock Doctrine", which I'm sure will put me over the top!

End of rant.  As always, thanks for listening.  I know some of you like Obama, but on this issue, look at the money trail and ask yourselves WHY he is so intent on pushing for new nukes, other than that said money trail clearly ties him to that industry?  We do not need nukes to fuel our future, people.  Solar energy IS the future!  Now, I know it isn't quite as simple as that, but almost!  Yes, we will also need wind, geothermal, biofuels, and other sustainable, renewable energy, but solar is the future and can power this world.  We need to INVEST in research and development, and infrastructure!  All it will take is the imagination, vision and commitment to make it happen.

If I have to chain myself to wherever they think they are building new nukes at this point, I shall.  There is one place at which the power company right here in my area is already planning to build a new reactor.  Like I said, color me radicalized anew on so many fronts.  My inner anti-nuclear activist, for so long dormant, has ROARED back awake.  I'm ready to march, shout, chain myself to various and sundry things, dig out my old anti-nuclear buttons, and just generally fight (non-violently, of course) for this beautiful world.

Who's with me?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Make your dollars holler for a green future.

I recently discovered a wonderful, pure, fresh carrot juice at my supermarket. To top off the fabulousness factor, it is organic. I should back up and say that I do about 99.99999% of my food shopping at an excellent local health food store (Rollin' Oats, yay!) in my city and, until recently, I only used to go to the regular supermarket for certain things, mostly non-food items, such as pine cat litter and toilet paper, to name two. However, that may be about to change.

Publix, the supermarket chain I go to, recently tore down my regular and closest store, because it was the smallest, oldest one in the city, and they are rebuilding a shiny new one on the same spot. Meanwhile, those of us who shopped at that location have been sent packing (or, more accurately, shopping) to another Publix store, which turns out to be a fantastic one with a much greater selection of organics and “near organics”, if you will. Publix has a whole line of products (everything from meats to produce to the aforementioned pine cat litter to toilet paper) called their “Greenwise” line, and even though much of it is not certified organic, which would be my ideal for all the food items, it is all at least in some way(s) striving to be sustainably and/or humanely produced and healthier for us to consume. I appreciate a lot of things about Publix as a company (no, they are not paying me to write that, nor are they or any company in any way affiliated with my little bit of cyberspace here, a.k.a., this little blog of mine--I'm gonna let it shine!), and the Greenwise line is just one of them. I thought my old Publix had a good selection of Greenwise items, but the Publix that I now am going to while my regular one is being rebuilt has a MUCH expanded, better variety of Greenwise choices and I’ve been completely dazzled and wowed the two times I’ve been shopping there thus far.  My bedazzlement mainly stems from the fact that they have a FAR greater selection of fresh meats and produce, both of which are vitally important in my diet.

I also found this fresh carrot juice at that Publix, Odwalla brand, to be exact, and it is a good example of the type of thing that thrills me to find in a grocery store versus a health food store. In fact, my wonderful local health food store does not sell fresh carrot juice in the store itself (unless I’ve somehow missed seeing it, which doesn’t seem possible, since I practically live there and am intimately familiar with every aisle. When your diet consists primarily of fresh, chi-laden, perishable food, you shop often for groceries, although, God bless the invention of the freezer, or I’d be in there every DAY). They do have a cafe in which you can order fantastic, freshly-juiced carrot juice, but it is very expensive (understandably—it takes a lot of organic carrots to make a little carrot juice, plus it is kind of labor-intensive). The Odwalla juice at my Publix, by contrast, was only $6.99, which may sound like a lot, but that is for a fairly large, 64 fluid ounce (two quart) container. That’s a lot of carrot juice, although I personally could drink the entire thing in one fell swoop, if challenged to do so. The container says it has 8 servings. I happen to love carrot juice, so for me it is realistically more like 3 or 4 servings, as I like me a long, tall drink of carrot juice. Still, even if you only get three HUGE servings out of it, that is $2.33 per serving, which to me is very reasonable, considering the nutrition factor, the refreshing factor, and the deliciousness factor (and no, Odwalla is not paying me to write this blog, either—I just call ‘em like I see ‘em) of this juice, and considering that I’m on a healthy diet, and carrot juice is like a “treat” item to me, yet good for me, I think it is a far better and more economical treat than, say, folks running out to Starbucks and spending goodness knows what on a sugary, caffeine-laden, fat-laden, liquid dessert called some sort of “coffee” but which is more like “coffee-flavored addictive dessert in a cup”. Carrot juice has tons of Vitamin A and is bursting with chi (life energy).

I’d much rather have a big cuppa fresh carrot juice for "dessert" than a slice of wheat-laden, corn-syrupy, God-knows-what-laden cake with faux whipped cream on it. I don’t even have a taste for stuff like the latter, thank God. To me, it is faux food. Even homemade cake doesn’t tempt me, and not only because I know how bad wheat is for my particular blood type (O). I’ve never been a cake person. SALTY junk food, now there’s where I hang my addiction hat. But when I’m eating right for my type (I follow the The GenoType Diet), I’m in balance and not craving anything. And items like fresh carrot juice, which I haven’t had in years until rediscovering it at this Publix this week, are what make my diet so joyful and sustainable and keep me in fine fettle.

I am so happy to vote with my hard-earned green for green. When I choose to shop greenly, I’m voting for sustainability, for organics, for purity, for humane farming practices, for whole foods, for quality, for products produced in ways and by companies that respect nature and work in harmony with it, thus preserving and protecting it and ourselves.

Buying organic and/or as close as you can get, as with the Publix Greenwise line, may seem like a small thing that you are mainly doing for your own health and that of your family. But make no mistake about it: when you CHOOSE to spend your dollars on certified organic food or on products by companies that are trying to at least come close to that, like the Greenwise line at Publix, you are doing something very powerful to change the world, no less. Here in the USA, our right to vote with ballots is precious and powerful. Yet understand, voting with our dollars is profoundly powerful, too, because this is a capitalist society. Very few things speak louder here than MONEY and how consumers CHOOSE to spend it. By “voting” with our dollars for certified organic whenever possible, we are saying we not only want pure, junk-free, whole, high-quality, nutritious foods for our own health, but we also demand food that is humanely and sustainably raised. Humane agriculture is sustainable agriculture is healthy agriculture is a big piece of the puzzle in how we support the health of ourselves and our environment

Please note that it is very important to choose “certified organic” and not greenwashed, i.e., green lite, items that just say “natural” or something equally meaningless on them. And no, that doesn’t contradict my support above for the Publix Greenwise line, even though some of their food is not certified organic and thus does have room for improvement by really becoming certified organic. I feel the Greenwise line of meats and produce (some of which IS organic mind you, but in the meat department, some isn’t) is still worth choosing over their regular offerings, as again, back to my point, that way we are voting with our dollars and letting them know that we like the green direction and please take it even further, offer more certified organic items, we will buy them.

Like I said, items are simply “greenwashed” and not truly green if they just have meaningless marketing phrases on them like “natural”, but with companies like Publix that are really trying and really producing quality, purer (not purest, but purer) meats, for example, I think that is worth supporting and is certainly better for my own health and that of my family (read: pets...feeding them is yet another blog many blog topics, so little computer access). If a Greenwise meat item is not certified organic, for example, it has features about it that are specific and meaningful to me as a green consumer, such as: “Our chickens are completely free of antibiotics and added growth hormones”, etc. That is why I say such an item is truly worth supporting and choosing and is not simply greenwashed.  In my city, we don’t have a big, national health food store chain such as Whole Foods and, like I said, the selection of meats, particularly fresh meats, at my local health food store, is very limited. Therefore, by supporting grocery stores who are moving in that direction, even if they aren’t totally organic yet, we can send a powerful message.

Besides voting with our dollars, we can provide feedback to stores and companies on what we appreciate and what we would like to see. I told the Publix “Customer Service Team Leader” how much I appreciate their Greenwise line and how greatly expanded it is at that particular store than at the smaller store that is being rebuilt. I said I try to buy organic whenever I can, and I normally shop at the health food store, but Publix has so much more variety of meat, particularly fresh meat, that I am going to start buying more of their Greenwise stuff. I said I love how many varieties of bagged salads they have. I get SPECIFIC. I finished by singing the praises of fresh carrot juice, and then I was off, but not before she called after me “I’m glad you like what we’re doing—come back again!” and I shouted back “Oh, I will!”

THEN (today), I continued my personal green consumer revolution by writing the following email to the Odwalla company regarding their carrot juice:

“Just a quick note of appreciation to tell you how much I appreciate your fresh carrot juice, which I recently purchased at the Publix Supermarket on 4th Street North and 37th Ave North in St. Petersburg, FL. It is reasonably priced for such a high-quality, nutritious, pure, fresh item and what I really love is what you DON'T put in it: all it is, is pure, fresh carrot juice! Wu HUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

Thanks for producing this healthy, delicious, fabulous product!”

I should have said I appreciate very much that is it certified organic, but I am ashamed to note that I honestly didn’t even notice that until today. And I call myself an organic consumer! In my defense, I was so bedazzled by everything around me in that section of the produce area that, when I quickly read the ingredients label, I just noticed that the sole ingredient was carrot juice not that it also said “organic”. Once I saw that carrot juice was the only ingredient, that container was in my cart faster than I could sing out “OMG, fresh, pure carrot juice!”, and I was back to looking all around me in wide-eyed wonder at all the colorful, chi-laden produce. Hosanna, I’ve hit the mother lode!

My point, after much rambling, is to remind my dear and hopefully green-leaning readers that the mundane act of shopping wields a LOT of power in this society. America is all about the consumer. We actually RULE, folks, so whether one likes or despises the fact that this is a consumer-driven culture, it is a fact. So why not make your dollars count towards what you believe in? As Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” If you wish to see sustainable agriculture, humane treatment of animals and an end to factory farms and all the violence they do to animals and the environment, a healthier population, more whole, chi-laden food on your grocery store shelves, ethical companies thriving, and just generally a greener world, you have to CHOOSE that every day, in every way. And one important way is when you are filling your cart at the grocery store. Think about what you are “voting for” with every item you put in your cart. Cast your votes wisely!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Solar Employs, Nuclear Destroys

The political slogan in my title is an oldie but goodie.  It is sad that it is still so topical and controversial.  It should evoke a collective:  “Duh, we figured that out decades ago!”, but instead we haven’t quite gotten there yet, and it is still relevant, still a hot-button issue.

Obama’s ties to the nuclear industry are crystal clear and run very deep (see linked Washington Post article below), which is why he continues to push nuclear energy and new nuclear plants, even now, post-Japan, with the same old lie that has always been used to push them, namely the claim that they are “clean”, safe, efficient and sustainable, not to mention affordable.  The reality is that they are none of those things, never have been, never will be.  Just the opposite, they create highly toxic waste that we don’t know what to do with, they are extremely dangerous, and they are very expensive.  We need a president who will promote truly clean, sustainable, safe, renewable energy that works in harmony with nature instead of violating it.  We need a president who will invest in and push for solar and wind.  Instead, we have someone in the pocket of the nuclear industry.  Witness:

The nuclear industry has friends in the highest of places and we face an uphill battle as citizens to try to make our voices heard against nuclear energy and for truly clean, sustainable energy like solar and wind.  Yet make our voices heard we must, because, as I’ve said before and will no doubt feel compelled to shout from the cyber-rooftops many more times:  if our wisdom quotient as a species doesn’t somehow catch up to our intelligence and abilities, so that we realize that, just because we can do something (like splitting the atom), doesn’t mean we should do it, we as a species are not going to be sustainable here on our dear planet earth.

We must learn and learn quickly that the yardstick for everything we do should be this:  is it respectful of nature, or does it violate nature?  A species that is violent towards the natural world that sustains it and of which it is a part, cannot continue to live in that natural world indefinitely.  Nature is very tolerant and forgiving, yet it does have limits.  We have violated and hurt our natural world very much already, yet so far it has been very forgiving.  There is mounting evidence, though, that our grace period is nearing an end.  My fellow humans:  let’s use those big brains of ours to choose to evolve, wisdom-wise (wisdom-wise:  now there’s a phrase you don’t see every day).

We as a species have that awesome power to choose.  We can realize things, learn from mistakes and choose to behave in new and different ways.  So let’s stop violating nature.  Of course, I mean let’s stop violating nature in general, but specifically here I am speaking about splitting the atom.  That is not something we should be doing, any more than a two-year-old who discovers his daddy’s loaded gun in a shoe box should be exploring what it can do, what powers it has.  A two-year-old is not meant to play with a loaded gun, they are not equipped to understand what they are handling, they don’t know its violent power.  Similarly, humans are not meant to split the atom—we do not understand what we are doing.  So let’s STOP and instead choose to work in harmony with nature by employing solar and wind energy, just to name two very powerful, promising examples of energy we should be exploring and harnessing, if you go by my yardstick of asking ourselves:  does it respect and work in harmony with nature?  If the answer is no (nuclear energy), we should not go.  If the answer is yes (solar and wind), we should progress!