Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Stripping Down the carbon footprint. My article related to June 7 naked bike ride in Bellingham 2019



Someone's chalk Art I found on sidewalk a week, or two, ago.

Painting party before and block party after ride. Events in front of Make.shift Art Gallery 306 Flora in downtown Bellingham. Friday June 7 2019.

Article I wrote for Betty Pages about:

Stripping down the carbon footprint

We need to find ways to make reducing the carbon footprint more fun. Just asking people to make sacrifices doesn't usually go over well.

Improving technology can help us reduce fossil fuel consumption. Things like LED lights can help as they use a lot less energy than old fashioned incandescent lighting. Generating more of our energy from solar power is needed also. Problem is, it takes a lot of time for the use of these new technologies to become widespread.

In the meantime, population keeps growing and more of the world's people rise out of poverty. Consumption of fossil fuels continues to increase. Few folks want to go back to the Dark Ages and sacrifice the pleasures of modern life.

How can we make conservation more enjoyable so the idea becomes popular?

One way is to think of other benefits besides just the value of having money and material wealth. How about the benefit of good health?

Bicycling may not be as fast as driving, but it's a good way to integrate exercise into one's means of transportation. Depending on the circumstances, it can be a lot of fun.

One really fun ride is the World Naked Bike Ride. This happens in many cities around the world; including here in Bellingham. Our local version of this ride is planned for Friday, June 7th. Starts by the Makeshift Gallery, 306 Flora around 6 pm.

The ride is non competitive. It can be enjoyed by folks from a wide range of ages and body types. One need not even be naked to participate. There are many versions of dress, or undress, depending on one's level of comfort. Volunteers are needed and quite a few folks just come downtown to cheer on the riders.

More information is available on their website.

There is usually a fun dance after the ride. I got to thinking that dancing is a form of exercise that a lot of people enjoy. They usually don't think of it as a chore; like maybe going to the gym. This is how we ought to view things like bicycling. We can also view other forms of reducing the carbon footprint in this way as well.

Folks are often striving to increase the GDP of our economy. This can be hard work and a burden for both the individual and the planet. How about spending more time away from the job? More time for friends and family, or even just time to get an adequate amount of sleep.

If we could measure the success of our economy in terms of our health, or the amount of connection we have with community, our task of reducing the carbon footprint would be a lot easier.

By Robert Ashworth

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Adjusting to climate change, retooling culture and infrastructure. From my Facebook posts.

Very alarming if true.

We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says

Yes, I say, human caused global warming is happening, but do we absolutely have to turn this ship (so to speak) around in only 5 years? This Harvard scientist says yes. Drastic reduction in our carbon emissions. He also talks about the need to artificially reflect more sunlight away from the atmosphere. I think it may have to come to that, if these dire predictions are true. Due to the economy and our culture, it doesn't look like we have the will to drastically cut carbon emissions in the real near future.

I would like to see some drastic changes, like higher gas taxes and so forth. It will take more than even that. It might be easier for me as a single person, on my bicycle, but (as people often say) I'm not raising a family.

Responding to another article, or part of an article.

Africa's high birth rate is keeping the continent poor

Overpopulation is a big problem in parts of Africa. Could be a source for more refugees and immigrants to the west. This article interested me, but, not being a subscriber to the Economist Magazine, I only saw the first few paragraphs.

Personally, I think about the debate over things like gay rights that's taking place within a lot of church denominations. Churches, such as the Episcopal and Methodist, are split between the more liberal theologies of their western branches and the more conservative, traditionalist theologies of their African branches. In many cases Africa wins by majority rule. Some of these church organizations are splitting.

I think we need less traditionalist theology to adjust to climate change; especially because most people of the world, even if poor, seem to aspire toward having a fairly consumptive lifestyle. Even if not as crazily consumptive as American, consumptive still. Don't be forcing lifestyles of procreation on every last person. We need a more feminist agenda. More friendly toward singles, gays and family planning.

And yet another.

People might think I'm Africa bashing, but this article comes to mind also. Yes, there's the rich elite in more countries than just the USA. It can be bad where ever it is; including USA, but Africa isn't necessarily of moral superiority.

Meanwhile back in USA.

A recent meeting about infrastructure, between Trump and Congressional Democrats, was discussed on this edition of On Point Radio. One analyst said Republicans, in Congress, would not allow much spending on infrastructure. Trump likes to sound good and offer some generous proposals that sound good to the Democrats. Republicans, except for Trump, normally ask; "where's the money going to come from?"

Money seems to only be able to come from more deficit spending. The idea of raising the federal gas tax is plausible. It needs to be higher, but the gas tax (and I would also say any carbon tax) is pretty much a regressive tax. Hits poor people who say they have to drive the most.

Democrats, in that meeting, were willing to consider a politically difficult gas tax if Republicans were willing to roll back the recent Republican tax breaks that mostly went to the wealthy.

Looks like we'll just continue with gridlock.

Show was opened up to callers who came up with some innovative ideas. Besides the normal political gridlock, we are on the cusp of some game changing technology. Think Uber, think self driving cars, think hail the car rather than owning and having to park the car. Think cyber travel and virtual reality, think information age. Think change.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Pete Buttigieg's liberal approach to Christianity is much needed

Liberal and accepting Christianity has been around for years, but it tends to not get a lot of attention. The candidacy of Pete Buttigieg for US president is bringing more media focus to the side of Christianity that is more open to diverse peoples. Also the recent coming out of a student at BYU, a Morman university, is in the news. Among the many podcasts I listen to as I do my custodial job.

One main point that is made by Buttigieg is that being gay is his natural state. What he was, basically born as. God made him that way. Not a choice. One conservative caller pointed out that there are a lot of traits in various human natures that are not necessarily good to express. Like the urge to murder, that some people face.

I got to thinking that there is also another way to justify the diversity that we call homosexuality. One can ask, what is the harm? Most people know there is harm from a lot of our human emotions such as the urge toward murder. There is good reason to suppress many of our less socially comparable desires. As for love or sexual feelings between two consenting adults, what's the harm? I almost like that argument better than the more common "we can't help it, this is our natural state" argument.

In my thinking, asking what the harm is can lead to one of my favorite points about alternative lifestyles that seldom gets discussed. The problem of population growth. If more people were gay, or at least not as into procreation, the environment would be less endangered. The world is still facing the challenge of dealing with global warming while a projected 3 billion more people will be living on the planet in the next few decades. Even with birthrates dropping, there is still enough growth in the pipeline to bring us from 7 billion to 10 billion in the next few decades. We are having trouble accommodating 7 billion. Think of all the refugees. Conservatives talk about the "flood" of immigrants. Seems like we are headed toward a world of hate unless we become more accepting to folks who aren't necessarily in the mainstream of procreation.