Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Obama Swoops Into Southwest Missouri

If you consider all the recent hoopla about opening ANWR and America's continental shelves to off shore drilling, this blog post is certainly an issue that affects birds and birding. And if you believe that birds, other fauna and flora have a better chance of survival in a world that relies upon clean, renewable energy, and in a country that protects its vast wilderness from exploitation,this post does pass that test, abiding by its conservation mission. Yes, the 2008 Presidential Election may be as critical for the myriad life forms in the wild as it is for us humans. Become an advocate for common sense green solutions!

Last September I read a pertinent, albeit somewhat dated now, analysis of Barack Obama and birding over at The Drinking Bird. It's definitely worth the read. But on to the big event of the day here in Southwest Missouri!

Here we are. My wife Martha and friend Marvin and Claudia. Volunteers full of hope and advocating for real change in America!

And here he is, with the future in his hands. From what I've seen, Barack Obama consistently takes the high ground. He certainly will be a responsible voice of common sense for posterity. Perhaps our efforts to prevent the Democrats from caving in on ANWR and off-shore drilling will preserve and protect our precious flora, fauna, and other natural resources for the future. Let Congress know how you feel.

photos by me

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hope is a Thing With Feathers

I'm heading to Springfield to help with the Barack Obama Economic Security Town Hall Meeting early tomorrow! Come join us! Hope is alive!

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the Gale is heard
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest Sea
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb of Me.
—Emily Dickinson

Friday, July 18, 2008

Missouri Clean Energy Initiative on November Ballot

I want to take the time to inform Missouri voters of the Missouri Clean Energy Initiative that will be on the November ballot. Go to or for more info.

My only reservation about the initiative, and something that the web sites do not do a great job of clearing up, is the provision for the type of biomass to be used for energy. It appears that the preferred biomass included in the bill is cellulosic biomass, and to me, that is ok even though it does produce carbon dioxide when burned. What I am not ok with is the powerful lobby for corn-based ethanol leveraging its way into the bill, and thus portraying corn-based ethanol as renewable and clean energy. The free market and $7/bushel corn is currently taking the profitability out of corn-based ethanol, so perhaps my fears are unwarranted. If someone knows, the particulars of biomass in the current proposal, please "Show Me". The single issue of corn-based ethanol eligibility could ultimately determine my position on the bill.

Anyway, the following information is from the links above:

"Renew Missouri is a nonprofit corporation with the overarching goal of creating highly effective renewable energy policy in Missouri. Our current project is a proposal to bring renewable energy requirements to Missouri.

The Missouri Clean Energy Initiative, if passed, will require Missouri utilities to gradually increase their use of renewable energy over the next 12 years, ramping up to 15% of Missouri's electricity by the year 2020.

Why Switch to Renewable Energy?

* 86% of Missouri's electricity comes from coal-fired power plants, the #1 contributor to climate change and a threat to public health and air quality.
* Over $9 billion is exported each year to purchase coal from other states, while Missouri produced renewable energy would keep this money in-state.
* Missouri has good solar and wind potential (its wind capabilities rank 20th in the nation), yet it ranks close to last (45th in the nation) for usage of renewable energy.

The Facts of a Renewable Electricity Standard

* In the 24 states that have a similar renewable energy mandate, citizens have not seen a noticeable change in utility bills – renewable energy is reliable and dependably cheap.
* To ensure that electric bills do not go up, the Missouri initiative has a "stop-gap" provision included, which states that compliance can not make retail rates go up more than 1% ever.
* Renewable resources include electricity from wind turbines, solar panels, landfill gas and biomass (plant matter)."

I'm still idealistic enough to believe that this November election could really stir up some positive changes. I hope you'll join me in working toward a sustainable future.

Awakening from Slumber: A National Energy Plan

First of all, thanks to all of you that continue to check my blog site in spite of the fact that it has been over a month since my last post.

It is only fitting when awakening from slumber that I bring to mind an excerpt from a speech made "fairly recently", when you consider that life has a tendency to fly by....... Perhaps you'll figure out the speaker quickly. You can read the whole speech here.

I quote:

Our energy plan will also include a number of specific goals, to measure our progress toward a stable energy system.

These are the goals we set for 1985:

--Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.

--Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.

--Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.

--Establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months' supply.

--Increase our coal production by about two thirds to more than 1 billion tons a year.

--Insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings.

--Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses.

We will monitor our progress toward these goals year by year. Our plan will call for stricter conservation measures if we fall behind.

I cant tell you that these measures will be easy, nor will they be popular. But I think most of you realize that a policy which does not ask for changes or sacrifices would not be an effective policy.

This plan is essential to protect our jobs, our environment, our standard of living, and our future.

Whether this plan truly makes a difference will be decided not here in Washington, but in every town and every factory, in every home an don every highway and every farm.

I believe this can be a positive challenge. There is something especially American in the kinds of changes we have to make. We have been proud, through our history of being efficient people.

We have been proud of our leadership in the world. Now we have a chance again to give the world a positive example.

And we have been proud of our vision of the future. We have always wanted to give our children and grandchildren a world richer in possibilities than we've had. They are the ones we must provide for now. They are the ones who will suffer most if we don't act.

I've given you some of the principles of the plan.

I am sure each of you will find something you don't like about the specifics of our proposal. It will demand that we make sacrifices and changes in our lives. To some degree, the sacrifices will be painful -- but so is any meaningful sacrifice. It will lead to some higher costs, and to some greater inconveniences for everyone.

But the sacrifices will be gradual, realistic and necessary. Above all, they will be fair. No one will gain an unfair advantage through this plan. No one will be asked to bear an unfair burden. We will monitor the accuracy of data from the oil and natural gas companies, so that we will know their true production, supplies, reserves, and profits.

The citizens who insist on driving large, unnecessarily powerful cars must expect to pay more for that luxury.

We can be sure that all the special interest groups in the country will attack the part of this plan that affects them directly. They will say that sacrifice is fine, as long as other people do it, but that their sacrifice is unreasonable, or unfair, or harmful to the country. If they succeed, then the burden on the ordinary citizen, who is not organized into an interest group, would be crushing.

There should be only one test for this program: whether it will help our country.

Other generation of Americans have faced and mastered great challenges. I have faith that meeting this challenge will make our own lives even richer. If you will join me so that we can work together with patriotism and courage, we will again prove that our great nation can lead the world into an age of peace, independence and freedom."

Jimmy Carter, "The President's Proposed Energy Policy." 18 April 1977. Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. XXXXIII, No. 14, May 1, 1977, pp. 418-420.

Thirty years later we begin to hear the same rhetoric, albeit with a touch of AlGorithm to damper Carter's enthusiastic 1977 coal endorsement. It wasn't hard to be a prophet back in the '70's.

How many years before we truly "reap what we have sown" and must come to terms with our devastating addiction. You think $4.00/gallon gasoline is a burden? Come on now, it's only the beginning. Let's face reality and begin the "12 step program" now, before it is too late.

Sustainability, Sustainability, Sustainability.

From pre-school to retirement village, let's embrace the mantra, model it, and incorporate it early into our educational systems so that it truly is our dominant paradigm.

Ah, I need some new birds to silence the rants...... But until then............Next entry:
Missouri's Clean Energy Initiative on the November Ballot!