Monday, November 24, 2008

Bush pulling another fast one...again.

While we were voting on Election Day this year, Bush was trying to seal the fate of terra firma adjacent to some of our most pristine areas straight down the river.

Luckily NRDC is all over it...go to their site to find out more.

Here's an article from Robert Redford on the issue.

Part of the change Americans just voted for in overwhelming numbers was to move away from the failed energy philosophy of "drill, baby, drill" to a more farsighted strategy, emphasized by Barack Obama, based on clean, renewable energy and efficiency. Yet on the very day that we raised our voices for change, the Bush administration dragged us in the opposite direction.

The Bureau of Land Management cynically chose November 4 to announce a last-minute plan to lease huge swaths of majestic wilderness in eastern Utah for oil and gas extraction one month before President-elect Obama takes office.

As its clock runs out, the Bush administration also is trying to open-up drilling all over the Rockies and Alaska, to green-light oil shale leasing, and to weaken the Endangered Species Act. Though sad, it's no surprise, coming as it does from the same crowd that designed a misguided national energy policy in secret meetings with the oil, gas and coal industries.

The BLM didn't just try to slip the audacious Utah lease maneuver past the American people on an historic election day, it actually hid the ball from its sister agency, the National Park Service, and then rejected the Service's request for more time to review the scheme.

Among the 360,000 acres to be auctioned for industrial development is pristine land near Canyonlands National Park, adjacent to Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument. This Christmas gift to the dirty fuel industry includes parts of Desolation Canyon, named in 1869 by the explorer John Wesley Powell, which has been proposed for national park status. In fact, the BLM itself described Desolation Canyon nine years ago as "a place where a visitor can experience true solitude -- where the forces of nature continue to shape the colorful, rugged landscape."

Words alone cannot do justice to the beauty of these places, but they do capture the absurdity of the Bush plan. Oil and gas drilling in Desolation Canyon? Industrial development along the meandering Green River? The thought makes one wince.

The Obama transition team already has signaled its opposition to the leases, and said that once in office the Obama administration will try to reverse them. Let's hope that's possible. Utah's eastern expanse is one of America's few remaining wilderness treasures. It's our land, it's our legacy, but will it still be here for our children and grandchildren? We made our wishes about that known loudly and clearly on election day.

We voted to take control of our own destiny by breaking our addiction to dirty fuels. We voted to re-power America with clean energy from wind, solar and geothermal power. We voted to use of our greatest resource, American ingenuity, to build economic, energy and climate security, and to preserve our natural heritage. Yes we did. And yes we can.


Robert Redford, an actor, director and environmental activist, is a Trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council and is the founder of Sundance, in Utah.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama's energy plan

This is a revisit of an older post...worth, of course, revisiting...considering events that transpired two weeks ago.

Now for the real reason for this post: I simply can't get enough of the Kennedy-esque thinker pose. Oooooooo, he's sooooo smart and cool-looking. Me likey. Me likey good Prez. Me likey and wanty smart Prez.

Me likey and wanty good smart Prez that cares about the future of the planet and leads us to a clean energy future.


A crash test dummy deals with a 40th birthday diss

First, a thank you to all of you who called yesterday or emailed me about my 40th birthday. Thank you.

Otherwise, I guess if my other friends aren't going to acknowledge my birthday, I'll acknowledge the slight.

It's a sign, apparently, of how apathetic I've become. Am I really chopped liver? Or a skid mark on the ground?

I don't usually make a big deal of things, especially days and birthdays. It seems a bit senseless, stupid, and like a waste of energy.

But this is 40. FORTY!!! ...and the 18th is over. That was something belated is a facsimile at best...I'm also, ironically, feeling guilt over being angry. I really can't believe this is what I'm focused on the day after my birthday. Have I lost my mind?

For some reason, this one hits a nerve. I'm pissed...and I need to vent...and attacking someone directly for forgetting your birthday seems a bit over the top and arrogant, so I'm turning to the blog and unleashing on the cyber universe.

That's just how I feel, and to state otherwise would be lying...and I think I have a right to be pissed. Christ almighty, I turned 40, and two of my best friends didn't acknowledge it whatsoever. No call, no email, nothing.


Normally I'd say it's a sign of how detached we've become, living in different cities, or how busy our lives have become...but there's no excuse to blow off a friend on their 40th, barring being literally incapacitated for 24 hours or braindead...and even then, that would hardly be half an excuse.

I'd at least acknowledge my friend, at the very least, through an email if not a phone call...hell, I even sent out a red alert email telling them I was freaking out about it (something I've never done before), and I still didn't hear anything.


Beyond that, I don't really know what to say. I'm shocked, speechless, hurt, and a bit bummed about this.

It doesn't help that I've been wigging out over turning 40, either. I think it has to do with the fact that I recall this landmark birthday for my folks, so now I have a point of reference to that effect.

I'm older than most of my friends, so they probably don't understand this feeling...and I know a few of them who will probably bug out when their day comes. Fortunately for me, though, I'm the one who gets to walk over the bed of coals first while some watch in shared pain and sympathy and others just continue on, unaffected, with their daily business. I'm the crash test dummy.

Unfortunately, it's all part of an emerging pattern...but hey, don't mind me! I'm just another bitter 40-something. Let me know how it feels when it's your turn...and don't tell me you won't "wig out," because YOU WILL...even if you don't want to admit it.

So I have nothing more to say on this...oh yes, I do have something else to say! I was also dissed by the Rolling Stones!

As my 40th approached, I'd been tripping hard over a lost song of theirs from the 70s called "Time Waits for No One," which is off the CD It's Only Rock and Roll. While I own probably over 20 Stones CDs, oddly enough this isn't one of them.

So I scoured the city yesterday looking for this one. I'd seen it countless times over the last 30 years in the bins of record and music stores...but I couldn't find the damn thing yesterday ANYWHERE to save my life...and I checked EIGHT PLACES around Seattle. EIGHT. Silver platters, Fremont, Everyday Music on Capitol Hill, and several places in Bellevue...and I got totally dissed.

...but through all the slights and disses, I'll decide to focus, at the end of this post, by thanking family and friends who were kind enough to remember the big day through phone calls and emails...and to KJ. You're the best. Thank you so much for everything. now I've vented. I'm choosing to view this as a wakeup call...moving on now...I'll get my dirty panties tied out of the knot their in, I promise...

...but I need some time to cool off from this one. This hurts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's a GREAT day for the environment

Barack Obama has just been elected as the 44th president of the United States...unbelievable...that is totally awesome.

Come January, the environment will have the most ardent ally to ever enter the Oval Office...however there's DEFINITELY work that needs to be done before then to hold the Bush Administration at bay on certain issues.

Here's more insights from the NRDC:

Dear supporter-

It sure feels good to be an environmentalist this morning.

Just the sight of people going to the polls yesterday was a welcome reminder that President Bush's unrelenting assault on our natural heritage will soon come to an end.

And if that weren't uplifting enough, there is the stunning outcome of the voting itself. An advocate for the environment, Barack Obama, will be the next president of the United States.

Talk about transformation!

Before I go further, let me remind you that NRDC is a tax-deductible, non-partisan organization and, as such, we did not -- and cannot -- endorse specific candidates.

But I can tell you this: Hundreds of NRDC attorneys, scientists and policy experts have worked night and day for eight long years to stop the Bush-Cheney juggernaut from laying waste to our public lands, national forests, wildlife refuges and ocean ecosystems. Thanks to your phenomenal support, we have succeeded to an extent that few thought possible.

Barack Obama's election is a huge win for everyone exhausted from playing defense. Count us among them. It rekindles our hope that environmental protection may be restored to its rightful place as a treasured American value.

On the most important issues of the day -- from global warming controls to clean energy solutions to wilderness preservation -- President-elect Obama campaigned on behalf of far-sighted policies that NRDC has championed for years.

But hope alone will not turn those promises into reality. It's time to get to work.

For starters, our next president will take office in the midst of an economic cataclysm. He will be faced with monumental challenges and beset by powerful special interests.

We've got to make sure that his New Energy for America Plan goes right to the top of the national agenda -- along with its commitment to creating five million clean energy jobs, putting a million hybrid cars on the road, scaling up renewable energy, and capping global warming pollution.

America's economic and environmental salvation lies in that high-tech, clean energy future. That's why NRDC will be pressing the White House to tackle this do-or-die issue in its first 100 days.

Then comes the hard part: we'll have to move that legislation through the new Congress, where the same old polluters -- Big Oil and Big Coal -- will be lying in wait. They're not about to surrender their stranglehold on our economy without one heck of a fight.

NRDC is building a new and unstoppable coalition -- of green groups, young people, mainstream religious organizations, high-tech businesses, and labor -- that can wage and win this looming battle for a viable economy and a livable planet.

In the meantime, hundreds of NRDC staffers will focus on reversing the terrible environmental damage the Bush Administration is leaving behind in its wake. We'll be working to restore protections for wild forests...safeguards for endangered species...prosecutions of air and water polluters. The list goes on and on.

And that's before we feel the full brunt of new attacks that we know are coming from the White House over the next 80 days. Because lest we forget: President Bush is not gone yet.

His executive agencies are racing to carry out policies that would trigger an invasion of chainsaws into the Alaskan rainforest...expose Greater Yellowstone's wolves to mass killing yet again...and promote massive oil and gas exploration in the polar bear's Arctic habitat.

NRDC is already mobilizing to block these and other eleventh-hour raids on our natural heritage. Rest assured, we will not rest in our defense of America's environment until the last Bush official leaves the White House and turns off the lights.

In the weeks ahead, I will be reporting to you in more detail on our action plan for the final weeks of the Bush Administration and the first critical months of the Obama Administration.

But I can share one key element of that plan right now: You. Again and again, you've helped us defend the environment against the most withering attacks in modern American history. And we are far stronger today for having endured and prevailed.

NRDC is emerging from the Bush fiasco with the most potent combination of grassroots activism, courtroom power and legislative clout ever assembled by one public interest organization. It is an operation driven by your unwavering idealism and your unflagging support, which you've maintained even in these difficult economic times.

That idealism and support will soon be put to the ultimate test.

Come January, we will be granted a fleeting moment of opportunity -- a matter of months -- for turning environmental promise into legislative reality. We must strike swiftly if we are to defuse the twin crises of fossil fuel addiction and global warming -- or the Earth we leave our grandchildren will be unimaginably different than the one we now know and love.

It's a tall order. But the last eight years have prepared us like nothing else could. NRDC is ready. I trust you are, too, because we'll need you there with us more than ever before.

Frances Beinecke
Natural Resources Defense Council

P.S. The next 80 days are absolutely critical, as we fight off this president's last-ditch attacks on the environment and gear up to advance a visionary agenda in January. In all my years at NRDC, I can't remember a time when your gift would accomplish more. Please consider making a donation today.