I use to love Mother Earth News in the past but this recent edition leaves me wondering if they haven’t sold out. I won’t be kind so if you like the magazine avert you eyes and visit someone else on the Internet.
I picked up a recent copy of Mother Earth News Wiser Living Series devoted to “Green Cars.” Every car in this edition gives false hope, is nothing more than “Green Washing”, and is pure junk. Here is why I say this:
- Everything about the car is dependent on petroleum from lubricants, seats, carpeting, dashboard, wire insulation, hoses, belts, lenses in the lights, bumpers, dials, steering wheel, electronics, filters, fan(s), inside door panels, handles, knobs, buttons, and parts not named. This is at least half of every car, even an electric one and no one is working on replacing all that plastic with something better that is not petroleum.
- Flex fuel or alternative fueled vehicles are a joke. If we would have had them in the late 1970s or even early 1980s it would have been different. Now we can’t even grow enough food to feed the world with increasing droughts, lack of water, land degradation, over use of chemicals, salting of the land. Need I give an example – Australia which is now known as the canary in the coal mine because all these conditions exist right now in Australians which can no longer feed itself.
One more thing: We will never be able to grow our way out of any liquid fuel crisis without committing suicide and bringing about our own extinction. (I dare anyone to try fuzzy math on this one.)
- Algae the magical bio-fuel. It takes more water, energy and to feed it than it gives back. Sure there are some interesting solutions like using sewage to feed the algae but that still leaves the huge energy input and water needs (even sewage needs to be diluted and if it has too many industrial chemicals it can’t be used). Then there is all the petroleum that is still used from the lubricants, plastic in which the algae is grown, tubing and things not mentioned. Algae has some of the worst returns among all the renewable fuels, less than 1. This would includes growing it in the lab then transferring it to production, and finally turning it into biodiesel. Not a money maker, a money sink hole. [http://environmentalresearchweb.org/blog/2011/01/the-eroi-of-algae-biofuels.html]
- In many articles I have come across authors want to state how much in bio-fuels we could produce. Well hold onto you seats because you will be surprised by this: 25 to at most 50%. Yeah, that’s right. Even the most optimistic which have us converting all unused farm land, and then some, claiming we could produce only half of our liquid fuel needs. Get ready to say goodbye to the automobile as we can’t produce enough for you, the very rich and industry too. All of you poor schleps will have to walk or find another way around. It will be the final coffin nail for family farms too.
Mother Earth News provides no real solutions for use to use rather it pushes only the “keep things as they are status quo.” Mother Earth News I am really disappointed in you. You used to be so progressive and forward thinking.
I’ve now been saying for the last two years at least that we need to stop hanging onto the current shit and find other, better solutions. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Improve public transit that gets rid of the bus and puts in its place PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) systems within city limits that ties into light rail and finally a comprehensive rail system – all of it electric.
- A heavy comprehensive Food not Bombs-Raised beds-Permaculture-Food not Lawns-Victory Gardens education to grow more food right outside the door where people live. Even apartment dwellers can grow food. And HOA’s who are against such things they can just … (you fill in the blank). Growing food where it is eaten reduces our energy needs from huge factory farms and the thousands of miles our dinner travels to get to our table. Convert streets to green spaces growing free food for anyone and everyone, and much more.
- Decentralize everything, especially energy (electricity & methane) production. Have every home, apartment building, business make their own renewable energy with excess fed into the grid where a central office mainly run by computers control the flow. Excess electricity can easily be stored as compressed air (which is better than batteries) and in other ways to meet spike in demand or overnight.
A full across the board decentralization of everything is needed because it is the centralization of everything that has put us in the mess we are in.
- Here’s a big one, we have to drop all our current ideas of how things are to be done and create whole new ones. This includes getting rid of all economic, profiteering, money or wealth making ideas. That’s right. We have to drop all of that, and more. Things can no longer be done for the sake of making money but rather we have to do things for the sake of survival and something better than war, killing, slavery and the like. Profiteering has to come to an end. We have to get rid of the notion that the only driving force to get things done is for the sake of making money. We have to create a new currency, one based on human and planetary needs. If you have any doubts that this can be done just look at how cooperatives work, why people volunteer, and the new exchange or barter taking place in both Greece and Detroit after their crisis. People just rolling up their sleeves getting things done because they have to be done not for money.
- Finally the only thing that will allow us to create a truly Sustainable lifestyle is to get rid of “Planned Obsolescence.” That’s right, we have to create things that last virtually forever, can be repaired over-and-over again, or can be broken down in such a way that it can be reused – even at the molecular level. We have to follow Mother Nature’s way of doing things and create “zero” waste. It will mean the final coffin nail in economic thinking and any notion of making a profit or business as usual. We will have to rethink what it means to work, live, and play. Why not have a 20 hour work week, lots more time with our family and friends, and never have to worry about being able to feed, house, cloth ourselves, or anything else for that matter. Once profit motive is gone everything is possible because nothing will be unaffordable or “too expensive.”
These are just some ideas floating around. All I have done is put them down here for you to see. I make no claims that they are all my own, I just take what I learn and find relationships. I hope it has been of help to you.