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Showing posts from January, 2014

Denial Leads to Neglect

January 28, 2014 -The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is charged with preparing for and responding to natural disasters anywhere in our country.They have a staff of approximately 7,500 employees, and a budget of around $10 billion.Because the number of disasters costing a minimum of a billion dollars has increased every year since 1980 by 5 percent, while the agency’s budget has – astonishingly – remained nearly the same over the same period of time, FEMA is struggling as never before.
For instance, in 2011 the United States suffered 14 natural disasters of the billion-dollar (or more) variety.FEMA was forced to find the funds to deal with them by short-changing long-term rebuilding projects.This was how the immediate fallout from Hurricane Irene was handled, so that FEMA could provide victims with food, water, and shelter.When easterners begin to realize that their infrastructure will never be the same, if they rely on the Feds to fix it, then the full impact of growing num…

The Fork in the Road

January 22, 2014 -Business leaders are catching on, even in the United States.Yesterday, a report authored, in part, by over 100academics, energy experts, government officials, and business leaders called upon the President to address climate change by taking measures that do not require congressional approval.
Spear-headed by the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) at Colorado State University, the report grew out of a meeting convened last March, attended by the President and 14 corporate and private sector leaders.They spoke for hundreds of like-minded individuals who want to reshape the country’s energy policy.
The resulting 207-page report contains around 200 recommendations regarding the use of executive authority to enact the climate change action plan the President announced last June.Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter released the report, briefing cabinet officials and senior policy staff whose focus is energy and climate policy.
The report recommends that officials conce…

Book Review: Enough is Enough

January 15, 2014 – BOOK REVIEW: Enough is Enough, by Rob Dietz & Dan O’Neill.
I won’t keep you in suspense: it’s a fascinating book.Dietz & O’Neill make the subject of a steady-state economy both terribly interesting and accessible.As it ought to be; there’s really nothing terribly complicated about it.Take, for instance, their definition of a steady-state economy, which begins “… a steady-state economy is an economy that aims to maintain a stable level of resource consumption and a stable population. It’s an economy in which material and energy use are kept within ecological limits, and in which the goal of increasing GDP is replaced by the goal of improving quality of life.”
Because the information contained in the book isn’t hard to understand does not mean that establishing a steady-state economy will be an easy thing to do.Oddly enough, climate change could be helpful in this regard.Maintaining a constant stock of built capital – roads, for example –is one facet of a ste…

Baby, It's Cold Outside

January 7, 2014 – Happy Freezing New Year!(Love that Polar Vortex!)2014 could very well go down in history as the first year when entire continents were brought to a grinding halt by climate change.Thousands of flights have been cancelled in the U.S., my hometown of Chicago – Chicago! – has been brought to its knees by snow and below zero temperatures, and many thousands of schools are closed, and events cancelled, nationwide.Meantime, Europe is suffering from an historic deluge.Let me explain how the weather in the U.S. has affected me personally:
My 93-year-old father-in-law, who has dementia, lives with a round-the-clock caregiver in a northern suburb of Chicago.Normally, she lets me know what groceries she needs, and I order them from Peapod, a grocery delivery service.Yesterday she gave me her order, and I placed the order on the Peapod website.However, when I tried to schedule delivery, the webpage said that all the delivery times were sold out.Hmmm – time to get on the phone.