Sustainability is a very big word

As your and my tax dollars continue to subsidize such “green” technologies as E85 and ‘clean coal’, our politicians and media pundits are rambling on about the need for a sustainable future.  Most of these individuals would gleefully admit to having no idea what this will actually take to achieve, but so far everyone now agrees that “sustainability” is a very big word.

Every time I use a paper towel to dry my hands or wipe my ass with some toilet paper, I am using energy.  Beyond energy, I am also using a limited natural resource which cannot be sustainably harvested using anything close to today’s methods; yet I am told that I am using a renewable resource which also helps provide jobs for other Americans.

While I will not attempt to deny that lots of families rely on logging in order to put food on the table, it does seem worth point out that there is no way these jobs can continue putting food on the table for much longer.  My stance here is in no way, shape or form a condemnation of using trees as raw material for any number of fine products; but trees take a very long time to grow, and if we cut too many of them down then there will no longer be enough oxygen for animals such as ourselves to breathe.

In addition to creating oxygen, trees are also very effective at sequestering carbon (while they are alive, anyway.)  Beyond this, trees and healthy forests have been found to have a large effect on surrounding weather patterns–i.e., places without trees are typically subjected to extreme temperatures and have little to no usable soil.  This is because the roots of trees actually work to bring moisture up out of the ground and eventually back into the air.

In light of these and many other reasons, some lawmakers are now starting to see living, breathing forests as a worthwhile investment instead of just another resource to exploit.  But we still need paper and the millions of other items now produced from trees.  And, presumably, we still need jobs.

The creation of more “clean energy” jobs has been placed at or near the top of the Obama administration’s list of priorities.  Subsequently, more and more people are attempting to cash in on this expanding industry–but there’s just one problem:  many of these technologies, such as E85, are actually an environmental and economic nightmare being used to scam the good intentions of hardworking Americans.

While this is not exactly news to those who are familiar with the widespread criticism of E85, clean coal and carbon sequestration (to name a few); it does seem relevant now considering how much of my money which I haven’t even earned yet is being handed out to these snake oil salesmen as I type.

We could attempt to set up a government agency assigned with the task of verifying the validity of claims being made by the purveyors of would-be clean technologies, but this brings us to another very big word:  accountability.

If those already in government offices were being held accountable for their actions, half of our problems involved with creating a sustainable society would evaporate instantly.  But if I really think about who should be held accountable for holding those in public office accountable for their actions, then I am left once again with only myself to blame..


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