Friday, October 3, 2008

Withers Street is Main Street, Too!

I could excerpt dozens of passages from last night's debate (now in 10 easy minutes), but let's get to some of the energy/environment talk that must, in my mind, underpin absoluteley every other decision we're making as individuals and as a country.

Ifill: "Let's talk about climate change. What is true and what is false about what we have heard, read, discussed, debated about the causes of climate change?"

Palin: "Well, as the nation's only Arctic state and being the governor of that state, Alaska feels and sees impacts of climate change more so than any other state. And we know that it's real. I'm not one to attribute every man - activity of man to the changes in the climate. There is something to be said also for man's activities, but also for the cyclical temperature changes on our planet. But there are real changes going on in our climate. And I don't want to argue about the causes. What I want to argue about is, how are we going to get there to positively affect the impacts? We have got to clean up this planet. We have got to encourage other nations also to come along with us with the impacts of climate change..."

[RB: or howsabout going along with other nations on this one and signing Kyoto. For crying out loud.]

Biden: "Well, I think it is manmade. I think it's clearly manmade. And, look, this probably explains the biggest fundamental difference between John McCain and Barack Obama and Sarah Palin and Joe Biden - Governor Palin and Joe Biden. If you don't understand what the cause is, it's virtually impossible to come up with a solution. We know what the cause is. The cause is manmade. That's the cause. That's why the polar icecap is melting. Now, let's look at the facts. We have three percent of the world's oil reserves. We consume 25 percent of the oil in the world. John McCain has voted 20 times in the last decade-and-a-half against funding alternative energy sources, clean energy sources, wind, solar, biofuels. The way in which we can stop the greenhouse gases from emitting. We believe - Barack Obama believes by investing in clean coal and safe nuclear, we can not only create jobs in wind and solar here in the United States, we can export it."

Okay. So Sarah Palin, in the words of my grandfather, is "not too bright." But I hate to say it: clean coal is also not too bright...or, more accurately, it doesn't frigging exist. But everyone has to play the game, and Biden is just doing his part. The test is going to be what happens when all the rhetoric falls away.

Earlier this week, I heard Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man speak at the North Brooklyn Compost Party. He has his critics, too, and he doesn't to my mind address one of the core problems, which is how to make local, sustainable foods and products available to lower-income people, but at least he is walking the walk...often literally...with trustee mason jar coffee mug. He said something cool, too, at Urban Rustic. He said, when asked what other people can do to make a difference, that the best thing anyone can do is to hold onto that question all the time.

Okay, so how can I make a difference? Two choices I made this past week hopefully acted out a positive response to that question (and perhaps cancelled out my paper coffee cups and new winter coat (!))...

First, I switched to ConEdison Solutions electricity, so that all of my electric needs are now supplied by wind power. Says ConEd: "Wind power is now the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the world and is 100 percent pollution-free. The wind power used is supplied [by] Community Energy, Inc., and comes from modern wind turbines mounted on tall towers on farmland in upstate New York and Pennsylvania."

And second, I went to the Neighbors Allied for Good Growth town hall meeting last night (before the debate), where, in a break-out session, I shared my three main concerns with a small group of other Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents; these include a) promoting dialogue between long-time residents and newcomers and preserving old buildings, 2) reducing litter, and 3) preserving and creating new open/green spaces throughout the neighborhood (guerrila gardening anyone?). All told there were 100+ people at the meeting, probably 70 percent over 35, 90 percent white, and 75 percent residents of the neighborhood for more than 10 years (I was part of a 3-4 percent minority who had been here for under two years). It was as cool and empowering as, later, taking a drink every time a candidate said "folks" or Biden chuckled at the nonsense uttered by his opponent.

So, in conclusion, Withers Street is Main Street, too! And I think, given good information, even Joe Six-Pack might be counted on to make some good political and lifestyle choices. And, certainly, to eat at Bamonte's.

1 comment:

kim.robertella said...

Hi there! Thanks for the Community Energy shout-out. :) We're working hard to educate New Yorkers about this clean energy option, and we're so glad to have you as a customer. Residents outside of NY can also choose wind power - just visit! Thanks so much, and keep it up!