Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post to Thomas Friedman about Chapter 18

Dear Mr. Friedman,
As a former Interior Designer the lesson I learned in design school was about lifestyle. This led me to a life of moderate self-sufficiency, not to do without; but to use less and expect less, so I could to do more what I wanted to do. One problem I have with much of the green movement is, it is still about consuming. I think we as individuals need to seek a simpler lifestyle for the good of the planet. One simple lifestyle change for us was to reclaim the lower level of our house to employ it's earth sheltered benefits, we brought in more light and access and spend most of our time there. It reduced our need for heat and AC. As a concept, we try to live our vacation, in our metro-urban cabin.
Frequently, I think about the research regarding the atmosphere when all the planes were grounded in the US after 9/11. In your book HFC, I was just reading about tele-conferencing, which I have heard about for years in the ID field; and I have been thinking for years that commuting to work is insane. How many people could be taken out of planes and off the roads today, and what kind of a difference could that make in the atmosphere? Heck, I use to email large government building drawing files back and forth from work to home, that was 10 years ago. The employer wasn't ready to have employees work at home; but I did it to work on things after the regular work day, it could have been a work at home situation easily. Not much has changed over the last decade.
Much needs to be done on public education to see these changes. Economically, this would effect big businesses like the oil industry and the airlines, likely. But, how much less would it cost smaller business to not house all of their employees on a daily basis. There was some research years ago about the indirect costs (like the cost of space) for employees; this was used in contrast to justify better more efficient furnishings. How about trimming all those overhead costs by having employees work from home. This could cut down on the need for so many more commercial buildings; consuming building materials, the environmental problems they present in manufacturing, and filling our dumps with the waste from such projects.
A friend who works in management at a large oil storage facility in the New York City area, talks about small turbines at the mouth of waterways to utilize the tides for power production. It seems like a logical idea to use the natural power of the tides and currents in the oceans. It would be less intrusive to the environment than damming up inland waterways and effecting the Eco-system, or polluting the visual environment with loads of wind turbines (maybe a few are attractive, many are not).
There is much discussion about population control in the previous listed comments, is there any truth about the seemingly altruistic efforts like those of the Gates Foundation to be really about population control in the third world? Just a question. It seems population was much discussed in the 60's, but maybe has become politically incorrect for Caucasians to talk about it openly, when likely Caucasians will be in the minority in the future. Some interesting ideas have been listed in previous posts.

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