Sunday, September 18, 2005

Here's a Way to Avoid the Environmental Hyocrisy the Providence Journal Thinks We're Guilty Of

"... wouldn't it be nice if we all spent more time pondering the paradoxes of our public rhetoric and private actions?"

Thus asks a Providence Journal editorial writer, who suggests (not unjustly) that environmentalists and elected officials are hypocritical when the oppose LNG terminals and offshore wind farms while living in big air conditioned houses, recreating in big, gas-inefficient power boats, and driving big, gas-guzzling cars:

Then there's Rhode Island Governor Carcieri, who wants to convert state cars from gasoline to comparatively clean natural gas, but doesn't want liquefied natural gas coming into Narragansett Bay on oceangoing vessels to supplement our increasingly expensive and uncertain natural-gas supplies. Nor does he want LNG arriving through any other mode except the thousands of trucks that each year bring both LNG and pollution.

Meanwhile, we haven't heard a peep about the presumably explosive gasoline barges that come up the Bay. Perhaps they should be banned, and we could run all southeastern-New England cars on vegetable oil.

Then, of course, we have governors demanding that the price of gasoline be cut (encouraging us to use more of it), while at the same time spouting the need to "conserve" energy. How?

It's not a bad point if you can overlook the sanctimoniousness. Another thing the Providence Journal might want to encourage while preaching at us to trade in our SUVs for hybrids is for us to stop buying newspapers. High among the environmental desecrations on our planet is the production of paper for newsprint.

Here is what writer Alex Shoumatoff reported on his website and in OnEarth, the NRDC journal:

If there were an international tribunal that prosecuted crimes against the planet, like the one in The Hague that deals with crimes against humanity, what is happening on the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Tennessee would undoubtedly be indictable.

The crime—one of many clandestine ecocides American corporations are committing around the world—has taken place over three decades. About 200,000 acres on this tableland have already been clear-cut by the paper industry, and the cutting continues. ...

The biggest landowner on the southern plateau is Bowater, the largest manufacturer of newsprint in the country...

I have no idea what company the Providence Journal buys newsprint from. And it's unlikely that many Sphere readers actually buy the Journal. But here's an idea that will allow us environmentalists to stop feeling like the hypocrites the Journal's editoritalist says we are: Read newspapers on the web. It's free and you won't have to worry about contributing to the rape of pristine landscapes like the one in Tennessee that Shoumatoff describes. Even better, maybe the Providence Journal should give up its print edition and publish only on the web. Computers, of course, use energy. But at least we and the Providence Journal will be able to eliminate one of our hypocritical behaviors.


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