When I was a child, Wednesday was Incinerator Day, the day they burned the garbage we all threw down the garbage chute in the six story brick apartment building my family lived in (which was one of a dozen six story brick apartment buildings that were all part of the same Brooklyn complex we called home.)
It doesn’t look any different in this recent Google satellite shot than it did in 1965 when the white and grey ash used to fall from the skies and cover our clothes, hair cars, trees, streets and everything else under the chimneys each buildings’ incinerators spewed their emissions out of. Don’t even get me started about the aroma that permeated the air every “Ash Wednesday” as my Catholic mother dubbed hump day.
This was five years before the Clean Air Act of 1970, before any kind of regulations on car and truck emissions or fuel standards or burning your garbage.
One of the fundamental goals of the Clean Air Act was “To protect public health and welfare from any adverse effects.“
The Greenius says goals are nice and cute, but commitments and action are what gets things done and commitment comes at its most potent and powerful form when it is driven by people acting on behalf of their basic human rights – it’s been proven throughout history.
Today, right here, right now the biggest and most immediate threat we face is the destruction of our climate and a future of hell and high water for the Baby Boomers, their kids and grandkids.
I took an unexpected trip in the WABAC Machine last week while I was on vacation with the lovely and talented Debra just outside Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park here in America’s most beautiful state, California.
We like to rent a house in the town of Three Rivers when we go up there and we’ve always found different, very cool places to stay on Vacation Rental By Owner (vrbo.com). The house we stayed in this trip was perfect. It was a craftsman-built one-bedroom with every amenity. Private. Quiet. On 13 acres and just a 15 minute drive from the Park’s southern entrance.
There was a nice selection of books, especially guides to the flora and fauna of the High Sierras. We also found magazines (Utne Reader anyone?) CDs and Blueray DVD movies and documentaries.
I pulled an old issue of Sierra (the magazine of the Sierra Club) from July/August 1997. It was there because the cover story was “Among the Ancients, Giant Sequoias of the Sierra” Another article headline that made the cover, “Is Al Gore Our Great Green Hope?”
Wow… 14 years ago doesn’t seem like a million years ago, but damn if it wasn’t.
Indeed as it turned out he knew far more than the President or any member of Congress did on the subject but none of them cared because Gore’s personality and persona didn’t work on TV. I’ve always said that it’s a curse to be truly intelligent in the USA and nobody in American politics ever fails when they attack the smartest person in the room for having too damn much intelligence and not enough common man “I want to have a beer with that dude” appeal.
Al Gore is one reason I like to believe in my own favorite version of the String Theory of particle physics – multiple alternative universes occurring simultaneously is the way I like to grok it.
(written September 18, 2008)
There is a bear in the woods but he does not know we are here, which is why we are able to take his photograph and not have to run the hell the other way. The wind is blowing in the correct direction, which is to say towards us and not towards the bear. And so today on my 51st birthday I get to live for yet another day. It is a good day to be alive.
Debra and I stood and watched the bear for a few minutes and then we decided to turn around and go back the way we came. The bear does not care that we are here but apparently the deer we later run into have an issue to pick with us.