portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements oregon & cascadia

corporate dominance | sustainability

Please Do NOT Aid the Oregon Apollo Project!

Believe me, the Oregon Apollo Project is just more of the same corporate greenwash "growth as usual" BS. See below.
From the Onward Oregon website, the goals of the Apollo Project are provided, but they are extremely vague--mostly likely purposely so. Nothing is said about aiding Oregonians in shifting towards more community-based local economies where automobile dependence doesn't rank king. Nor does it list eliminating our dependence on population growth, consumption growth and global trade as the three other most important ways before us to eliminate our addiction to oil. But the most telling item to reveal the project's true corporate-based colors is the one that stresses that we "enhance our identity to attract new business and investments" through Brand Oregon.

Brand Oregon is a local corporate scheme (aided and abetted by corporate shill Ted Kulungoski) that cynically exploits Oregon's reputation--whether authentic or not--as a place where people care deeply about the environment and livability and are also more creative than elsewhere. What's so disturbing about this effort is that it is a greenwash over a complete disregard for the environment and livability of Oregon. It is a ploy set up by the corporate community and financed by you and me through our taxes to draw more people, businesses and consumption into the state. These people operate from the bizarre and totally ignorant idea that somehow Oregon can be sustainable at the same try that they are doing their best to accelerate our state's continued overpopulation and overconsumption. Apparently, not only can replacing crops grown for food with crops grown for biofuels magically solve our all oil shortage problems without having to reduce the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) in the state, but we can even INCREASE the number of VMTs to an indefinite degree! All at the same time that local farmland continues to be eaten up for new houses, corporate headquarters, and roads! In addition, we can do this at the same time that Oregon continues to bring in via ship, plane and truck more junk manufactured by slave labor in repressive China and Korea. Amazing what technology can do!! We can destroy the environment and our livability at the same time that we protect and enhance it!

If the folks at Onward Oregon and Brand Oregon are truly interested in sustainability and livability in the state, why aren't they seeking to help the majority of people who already live here to become more prosperous and locally self-reliant through their own community-based commerce? Because that doesn't create more business and more wealth for the already-wealthy elite who run the state economic-growth engines.

Recognizing the true goals of the Apollo Project, I urge all who care about Oregon's environment and livability to make sure it does not pass.
huh? 18.Feb.2006 11:16

not a member of Onward Oregon

The Onward Oregon folks are certainly in support of increasing access to public transit - which is probably the only way to curb VMTs in the short and long term. As for "population control" - what are you talking about? That's frightening! Do you want government officials to tell people how many kids they should have and where they ought to live? I don't know about you, but the prospect of Bush and his cronies invading my personal decisions in those ways makes my skin crawl.

I agree that ultimately, something needs to be done to curtail consumption - especially of energy resources. But that won't solve the problem entirely, and it could well frighten away existing businesses who are afraid of paying fines, or tight regulations, or whatever the means would be to enforce consumption control. The other side is investment in renewable energy, and to get investment, there needs to be the generation of money somewhere. Part of that ought to be getting Oregon corporations to pay their fair share of taxes. But attracting good, clean businesses, and maintaining the ones already located here is key. The important piece is making sure ridiculously dirty businesses - like coal-fired power plants and ship-breaking - are avoided or phased out, but not at the expense of Oregon's bottom line in terms of tax revenue. If we want good schools and universities that are accessible to all, we need money coming in.

Good point 18.Feb.2006 11:22

Man on the street promandan@hotmail.com

There are a lot of smart things state and local governments could be doing that they are not. I like the Ideas of photovoltic cell research and development and the deep cycle batteries that complement that technology. A cost effective process for producing photovoltic plates seems closer than ever with the rising energy costs. How about encouraging more raised bed gardens both private and communial. What if the city or state put out pamplets explaning how to grow without chemicals, using plants that insects avoid, how to rotate crops, where to get organic seeds. What if state and local governments encouraged people to buy local from companies based and manufacturing in your own town or state?
What if the tax breaks went to local companies instead of huge international corporations?

We need to move away from out of state run utilities and food sources. We also need to stand on our own two feet and develop local industries inline with our values. Funding the right kind of research can do this. But we should fund locally owned and based organizations, not multinationals. It's not that tough to make the right decisions we just need our politicians to quit selling out!


Population Control?? 18.Feb.2006 13:26

msj

Dear "not a member of Onward Oregon:"

Who said anything about population control, besides you? What I highlighted is that a key component of the Apollo Project is to draw more businesses and more people here, which will have the opposite effect of drawing Oregon's populace within the carrying capacity of its limited local resources, ending our oil addictions, and staving off global warming. The reason why Oregon's population has increased so dramatically since the late eighties is because, beginning with the "leadership" of Neil Goldschmidt as our governor, Oregon taxpayers have been forced to subsidize growth to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars annually. A sizable portion of those funds have been spent annually to market the state to businesses and people from elsewhere and wooing them to move here. End the subsidies to population and consumption growth, and growth comes to a screeching halt. But that's not what the wealthy Democrat/Republican elites want, because they are addicted to Oregon's destruction--the more Oregon is destroyed, the more wealthy they become. But they know that with the destruction must come the appearances of improved livability, hence the lip service to sustainability and the window dressings.

You go on to clearly demonstrate your lack of understanding about sustainability when you worry that reducing consumption will frighten away existing businesses. Which businesses do you think will flee? The ones that are operated by Oregon residents who are deeply invested personally in Oregon, or those that exist to suck the energy and life away from the state? If we do not decrease our population and consumption to within the carrying capacity of our local resources (and you cannot possibly have sustainability without doing so), then there will be no economy, period. The only path to prosperity for Oregonians is by preserving our resources. And there can be no real prosperity unless there is something remaining to enjoy here. And, like I said, ending the subsidies and marketing campaigns will put a total halt to population and consumption growth. This is perhaps what frightens the "liberal" elites more than anything. Sustainability is the furthest thing from the Onward Oregon goal.

Dumb 18.Feb.2006 13:32

George Bender

The above statement is full of the fuzzy thinking that characterizes so much of the left. Instead of dealing with what the Apollo project is actually trying to do, it criticizes them for what they're not trying to do. Illogical.

This is part of the leftist pattern of constantly trying to stop any organization that tries to move forward, while not organizing anything positive themselves.

"Lead, follow or get out of the way."

The Apollo idea is to boost clean energy while creating good jobs. I don't see anything wrong with that.

By ignoring the crying need for more good jobs, the left kills itself with the voting public. If people can't support themselves they're not going to want to live in your antispetic little society.


George Bender 18.Feb.2006 14:21

Burro

I know from reading your previous comments and posts that you are not a stupid person. I suggest that you do further research into Oregon Apollo before rushing to defend it. It is nothing but a greenwash campaign sponsored by major corporations, including the biotech industry and eastern Oregon farmers.

Ideas for the direction we should be heading for true sustainability are cited in comments at this post and at  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2006/02/334219.shtml
"Lead, follow or get out of the way."

One final comment from The New York Times of January 17, 2006:
"We're putting the supermarket in competition with the corner filling station for the output of the farm," said Lester Brown, an agriculture expert in Washington and president of the Earth Policy Institute. Farms cannot feed all the world's people and its motor vehicles as well, he said, and the result is that more people will go hungry.

 http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/16/business/corn.php

Apollo Ballot Initiative Summary 18.Feb.2006 15:39

Onward Oregon

 http://www.onwardoregon.org/site/pp.asp?c=ffIOIRMEG&b=1362321


Moving Oregon towards energy independence
The initiative to catalyze clean energy jobs and help make Oregon a leader in the nation's drive towards energy independence is a statutory measure for the November 2006 ballot.

The mesure is a bi-partisan effort to bring Oregon together to make a new "down payment' on Oregon as an incubator of clean and renewable energy innovation and production. It has support from labor, business, farmers, and environmentalists as well as democrats and republicans. Here you'll find details of the proposal. You may also download the full text of the proposed intiative in PDF format.

Goals of the Measure
Create new quality family wage jobs
Create Centers of Excellence to develop new and enhanced technologies and invest in Oregon's workforce
Make Oregon a leader in clean renewable energy technology
Reduce our dependence on foreign oil by investing in biofuel production
Brand Oregon and enhance our identity to attract new business and investments
Bridge the urban/rural divide
Unite Oregon voters around a common goal that sets partisanship aside to move Oregon forward as a leader in innovation
Takes steps to reduce harmful emissions that contribute to Global Warming
Section 1
Definitions of Clean & Renewable energy include but are not limited to thermal, wind, sun, wave, biomass and small hydropower.

Renewable energy does not include energy resources derived from fossil fuels, waste products from fossil sources, or waste products from inorganic sources.

Section 2
Creates up to 7 Centers of Excellence across Oregon to be established by the Energy Excellence Board - following public hearings - for the purpose of research and development and training of an educated workforce for the clean and renewable energy industry.

Centers of Excellence will be located at existing universities, community colleges, research institutions or sites that have potential for renewable energy development. The initiative requires that at least 2 of the sites will be located east of the Cascades and one will be located on the coast. At least one center will be located in southern Oregon.

Section 3
The Energy Excellence Board is made up of 11 directors appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate and shall control the Centers of Excellence.

Two representatives from business
One representative from a consumer or publicly owned electric utility
One member from an investor owned utility
One member from the renewable energy industry
One representative who is self employed in agricultural production
One representative from labor
One member from the conservation community
One representative from the Higher Education Board
One member representing Community Colleges, and
One public ratepayer representative
The following state agencies will serve as advisors to the Board of Directors

The Oregon State Department of Energy
The Oregon Economic and Community Development Department
The Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality
The Oregon State Department of Agriculture
The Oregon State Forestry Department
The Oregon Public Utilities Commission
The Oregon State Bureau of Labor and Industries
The Oregon State Board of Higher Education
The Oregon State Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development
The Governor's office
The Centers of Excellence, under the direction of the board and with assistance of the Oregon State Department of Energy and various state agencies, shall:

Market and promote Oregon's renewable energy sector
Develop a skilled workforce
Promote investments in the renewable energy industry
Encourage the creation of quality jobs that pay a family wage and provide health benefits in the emerging renewable energy sector
Track progress of renewable energy development, job creation and the effects of this Act on rural Oregon

Section 4
Sets Biofuel sales standards that will help wean Oregon from foreign oil sources and related price spikes, boost our rural economy, produce new quality jobs, and clean our air. As the price of oil skyrockets, the need for renewable production of fuel in Oregon is crystal clear!

Eight percent of Oregon's transportation fuel will be from renewable sources (ethanol and biodiesel) by 2010 or sooner depending on how quickly we develop Oregon production. This is not a blend requirement as mandated in HB 3481. Rather it is an overall fuel requirement that 8% of all the fuel sold in Oregon must come from renewables by 2010. In this scenario, 92% of all fuel will be the same.

Eight percent of our transportation fuel will be from renewable sources by 2010 or sooner depending on how quickly we develop Oregon's production infrastructure.
14 % by 2015 or sooner depending
20% by 2020 or sooner depending
25% by 2025 or sooner depending

Many states currently have requirements mandating that percentages of gasoline or diesel be from renewable sources and many are considering legislation to do it. Most notability, our neighbor to the north is now moving forward with a plan. Ours is an aggressive plan that builds on unsuccessful legislation from last session and other state laws passed and under consideration (Minnesota diesel standard, Hawaii). The combination of CENTERS OF CLEAN & RENEWABLE ENERGY EXCELLENCE, aggressive, but attainable renewable fuel standards and funding will make Oregon a leader in the renewable energy field.

Section 5
Tax credits for production of raw material for biofuel is an example of smart energy policy. Tax revenue produced new business and jobs created by the renewable fuel standards will more than offset the tax credits. A direct reduction in tax liability for Oregon farmers who produce the raw products to develop biofuels will only help our rural economy. Tax credit is capped at $500,000 per year.

Section 6
Funding will come from expansion of the Small Scale Local Energy Project Loan Program established by Article XI-J of the Oregon Constitution and from public and private grants for renewable energy projects, federal workforce grants, and lottery revenue from the Economic and Community Development Fund. The original fund was created by Oregon voters in 1980, in response to the last energy crisis.

The effective date of this act is December 1, 2006


Plug-In
We are already planning Apollo house parties and other ways for volunteers to help get Oregon Apollo off the ground. One simple task you can sign-up for: collect just 20 signatures from your friends, family and coworkers.


Reply to George Bender 18.Feb.2006 15:43

Man on the street promandan@hotmail.com

The state should not subsidizes Archer Daniels Midland corporation to destroy our farmlands. It won't but anymore Oregonians to work; just a few migrant workers.
If we really want to promote Job growth invest in Research & Development of photovotaic sytems and the cost effective production of photovoltaic panels. When people produce their own power at home we will reduce dependance on hydrocarbons and dependance on foreign oil.
At the same time we as Oregonians can quit paying PGE/Enron.
Two birds with initiative.


Fuel vs food? 18.Feb.2006 16:12

George Bender

Instead of selective quotes, let's read the whole NY Times article below. I note that the government is now paying farmers NOT to grow anything on large amounts of land. This is because of chronic U.S. agricultural OVERPRODUCTION which drives down prices to the point that small farmers cannot stay in business. Much better to give them a crop to grow that actually pays them a profit.

I can't see diverting some corn production to ethanol being a problem. How much corn did you eat in the last year? Much of the present crop goes for animal feed and corn syrup to sweeten processed foods and make us fat. Cutting down on those uses doesn't sound like a bad idea to me. If that would even be the effect. Also, I understand that ethanol can be produced from other crops besides corn. Soybeans are mentioned in the article. A recent Oregonian editorial says Washington state is promoting biodiesel made from "seed crops such as canola and mustard."

As for helping eastern Oregon farmers, that's good. People have a right to live in rural areas. A lot of people can't stand urban living. People in rural areas, with their declining economies, have come to see us urban environmentalists as the enemy. I don't want to see any more old growth forests cut down, but I can support farming on nonforest lands. The Apollo project strikes me as a way of bridging the urban-rural political gap. It makes political sense.

It is also a way of bridging the working class-environmentalist gap. Most Oregonians are environmentalists, but they don't vote that way, because it's way down on their list of political priorities, with making a living being on top. We have to find some way to revive Oregon's sick, sick, sick economy and create more jobs.


----------------------

 http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/01/16/business/corn.php

Can farms yield fuel and feed the world?
By Matthew L. Wald The New York Times

TUESDAY, JANUARY 17, 2006

SIOUX CENTER, Iowa Early every winter here, farmers make their best guesses about how much food the world will demand in the coming year, and then decide how many acres of corn to plant, and how many of soybeans.

But this year is different. Now it is not just the demand for food that is driving the decision, it is also the demand for ethanol, which is made from corn.

Some locations are requiring that ethanol be blended in small amounts with gasoline to comply with anti-pollution laws. High oil prices are dragging corn prices up with them, as the value of ethanol is pushed up by the value of the fuel it replaces.

"We're leaning more toward corn," said Garold Den Herder, who cultivates 2,400 acres, or 970 hectares, in a combination of corn and soybeans. Herder is on the board of directors of the Siouxland Energy and Livestock Cooperative, which opened an ethanol plant here in late 2001.

Last year a bushel was selling for about $2 here, but near the plant it was about 10 cents higher. Farmers expect it to go higher soon if oil prices stay high.

Ethanol was up to $1.75 a gallon, or 46 cents a liter, last year, from just over $1 the year before.

The rising corn prices may be good news for farmers, but they are ringing alarm bells with some food planners.

"We're putting the supermarket in competition with the corner filling station for the output of the farm," said Lester Brown, an agriculture expert in Washington and president of the Earth Policy Institute. Farms cannot feed all the world's people and its motor vehicles as well, he said, and the result is that more people will go hungry.

Others say that the price of everything that has corn as an ingredient, including potato chips and Danish pastries, will rise.

But Robert Brown, a professor of mechanical engineering at Iowa State and a specialist in agricultural engineering, said the use of corn for nonfood purposes sounded harsher than it was.

"The impression is that we're taking food out of the mouths of babes," he said. In fact, corn grown in Iowa is used to feed farm animals or make corn syrup for processed foods.

And Bernie Punt, the general manager of the Siouxland plant, said, "It's not as big a loss as what it seems like," pointing out that the corn remnants that come out of the other end of the plant are used for animal feed.


A global shift to farm-based fuel could reduce the need for oil and slow climate change. But Lester Brown is not alone in worrying about the effect on world hunger. For 20 years, the International Food Policy Research Institute, a nonprofit group in Washington, has maintained a computer model to predict food supplies, based on population changes, farm policies and other factors.

Until now, the institute's analysis had included the price of oil and natural gas only as a factor in production costs, including the price of making fertilizer, running a tractor or hauling food to markets. But last year, after Joachim von Braun, the director of the institute, went to Brazil and India, both of which make vehicle fuel from plants, he told his economists to change the model, taking into account the demand for energy from farm products.

Even a small shift could have big effects, von Braun said, because "the mouth of your car is a monster compared to your family's stomach needs."

"I do not just expect somewhat higher food prices, but new instability as well," he said in an interview. "In the future, instability of energy prices will be translated into instability in food prices."

Gustavo Best, the energy coordinator at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, said growing crops for energy could provide new opportunities for small farmers around the world and fund the development of roads and other valuable infrastructure in poor rural areas. But Best added, "Definitely there is a danger that the competition can hit food security and food availability."

Some experts scoff at the idea of corn shortages, but others say it is possible, at least to some degree. Wendy Wintersteen, dean of the College of Agriculture at Iowa State University, said that possibly as early as this summer, "we will have areas of the state we would call corn-deficient," because there will not be enough for livestock feed as well as ethanol plants.

"It's a hard thing to imagine in Iowa," Wintersteen said. Eventually, experts say, American corn exports could fall.

Nationwide, the use of corn for energy could result in farmers planting more of it and less wheat and cotton, said Keith Collins, chief economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But the United States is paying farmers not to grow crops on 35 million acres, to prop up the value of corn, he said, and much of that land could come back into production.

A change is under way that experts say will tightly tie the price of crops to the price of oil: ethanol plants are multiplying.

Iowa has 19 ethanol plants now and will have 27 by the end of the year, according to Punt, a former president of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association. The Siouxland Energy and Livestock Cooperative showed a $6 million profit for 2005, Den Herder said, driven in part by the price of ethanol.

Many farmers here in the American corn belt say they have the ability to grow the material for vast amounts of fuel. Another biofuel is a diesel substitute made from soybeans, which still leaves about 80 percent of the bean for cattle feed, advocates say.

Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board, a trade group, predicted that more demand for soy oil as a diesel substitute would force production of meal, pushing down its price and thus making cattle feed cheaper.

"I think there's a historical shift under way, not to grow more crops for energy and less for food, but to grow more for both," Jobe said.


Man on the street 18.Feb.2006 16:22

George Bender

And your evidence that the Apollo initiative would subsidize "Archer Daniels Midland corporation to destroy our farmlands" is what? Well shoot, you just made it up, right?

It seems to me that you people are projecting all of your fears onto an initiative that has nothing to do with them. You are reading into the initiative things that aren't there, and trying to put your words in Apollo's mouth. This is not a legitimate form of debate.

Also, if you want something different, where is your organization to do that? Do you think something is going to happen by sitting and wishing? But it's easier to stop things than to make something happen, right?

Photovoltaics? Sure if the cost can ever be brought down to the point where people would actually buy them. But that's a completely different issue.


Summaries Aside, here is the Draft. 18.Feb.2006 16:28

Sol

 link to www.dfoaction.org

The initiative is by no means the end all solution, but neither is it a "corporate greenwash." The means by which the initiative is attempting to achieve energy independence/sustainability is through a combination of renewable energies, including biofuels, but certainly not that alone.

The initiative itself will do the following, according to the draft proposal of the bill:
Create boards of renewable energy at higher education institutions, located throughout the state (Sec. 2). According to the bill, these boards will be for the sole purpose of research into sustainable technology.

The state board (Sec. 3) is comprised of 11 governor appointed positions, which are confirmed by the senate. By its law, it states (Sec. 3, P2): "The Governor shall appoint eleven directors-- three representatives from the business community, one representative from a consumer or publicly owned electrical utilities, one member from an investor owned utility, one member from the renewable energy industry, one representative who is self employed in agricultural production, one representative from labor, one member from the conservation community, one representative from the Higher Education Board, and one member representing Community Colleges. " As I see it, that's a fairly representative group, with the aside of the 3 representatives from the business community, but countered by the fact that it is 5 representatives from communities that generally favor environmental standards more (2 Higher Ed, 1 Enviro, 1 Farm, 1 Renewable), that over-representation seems more like a balancing act. Further, according to the next paragraph (Sec. 3 P4), it prevents any career politicianing of it.

The next section (Sec. 4) deals more with biofuels expressly, but doesn't trump them over the other renewable forms by any means. It's replacing our current transportation network with biofuels. Nowhere in the initiative itself does it deal with mass transit as replacing our car culture. Though it would be nice to see that, the bill doesn't hurt us any more.

Section 5 deals specifically with renewable energy provided by our current utilities, and is very important, I believe. First, it denies the use of nuclear energy as a renewable source, along with fossil fuels (Sec. 5 P1). In that same paragraph, it denotes to expand research into recycling waste products as energy, even using our factory farms (Eugh) and landfills (Double Eugh) as sources for renewable energy (Sec 5 P1 b, c). It further requires as minimal damage to the environment as possible in these endeavors (Sec. 5 P2), and *requires* that all energy in Oregon is 25% by 2020, stronger even than California's current plan I believe (Sec. 5 P3). They also offer a rebate for people who install PVs on their homes (Sec. 5 P5). Finally, they limit the amount that these utility companies can jack the price for the renewable energy (Sec. 5 P7). It should be noted that this applies to all energy utilities.


All in all, I find this bill to be positive in the extreme. Yes, it doesn't solve all of our problems, but this is our chance to break the ice. You're talking that this thing will be hijacked by corporations for the purpose of expanding biofuels (Not too renewable in the long run), but by the initiative's very language that is rendered impossible. The problems that we can run into are that it is a statutory change, meaning that the legislature can run their grimy hands over it, but that just means we need to kick their asses if they try. Finally, this bill's aim, as described in its mission, is to create an energy indepedent Oregon. That would mean that we would not rely on unsustainable energies for our infrastructure and entire way of life. We can work on it from there, as long as we make this first giant step. To condemn this bill as not doing enough, being the pawn piece of coporate interest is in my opinion invalid and detrimental to the point that we need something like this as a kicking point.

Biofuel Comment 18.Feb.2006 16:34

Sol

I just wanted to comment, again. The whole biofuel argument seems really silly. We don't make enough food for ourselves as it is. Have you been to Linn County, the "Grass Seed Capital of the World?" Do you think they're growing food?

The bill would make the new cash crop the biofuels, which is at least a sight more useful than *grass seed*. If you want, propose an initiative to increase mass transit to replace our car network. The Apollo initiative doesn't deal with mass transit, and though that'd be nice, we can't deprecate it for that reason. This bill simply wants to replace our fossil fuels with biofuels. It's not a long term solution by any means but it's better than fossil fuels, and once we make this step we can argue for better mass transit.

Honestly. Draft a bill to increase mass transit and reduce cars. It won't contradict the Apollo initiative, and will help out immensely to go along with it, reducing our need for that cash crop. And then those farmers will be able to move toward food instead of biofuels. It's a lot simpler, and more likely to work than trying to force/cold turkey it.

biodiesel 18.Feb.2006 16:49

Oregonian editorial

 link to www.oregonlive.com

Oregon stalls, Washington accelerates

The neighbor to the north prepares to claim the new jobs and farm markets spurred by clean-burning biodiesel

Monday, December 26, 2005

Oregonians are about to see how far and fast a state's economy can run on the clean fuel known as biodiesel. Unfortunately, they'll have to look across the Columbia River to see it.

Washington is about to do what Oregon could and should already have done to build a new industry out of biodiesel, which is produced from seed crops such as canola and mustard. Gov. Christine Gregoire, a Democrat, and Republican legislators are proposing to create a strong market for biodiesel in Washington state by requiring that 2 percent of all diesel sold there be made from farm crops.

Other Washington lawmakers are proposing a low-interest loan program for companies that want to build and operate the crushers used to draw the oil out of the seeds and convert it to fuel. All the proposals will help Washington state farmers by creating a ready market for lucrative new crops.

Oregon already could be well down this road on biodiesel. Early this year the Oregon Environmental Council and farm advocates in the Legislature, including Rep. Jeff Kropf, R-Salem, proposed a package of proposed bills that would have jump-started the biodiesel industry in Oregon.

At first, the bills looked like they were going places, but they crashed headlong into the deeply partisan, politicized Oregon House of Representatives. In the end, the Republican leadership was so obsessed with preventing Gov. Ted Kulongoski from adopting California's tough auto emission standards that it was willing to sacrifice the biodiesel legislation.

House GOP leaders killed the biodiesel bill in the last hours of the 2005 session by amending it to include language stopping the governor from pursuing the tougher emission standards. In effect, House Republicans chose to carry water for the major automakers, rather than for Oregon agriculture and Oregon workers.

In any event, it was a futile gesture -- on Thursday Oregon environmental regulators adopted the temporary emission rules sought by the governor.

When the biodiesel bill died, so did Oregon's hopes of emerging as a West Coast leader in biodiesel production and use. Those farm and biodiesel production jobs that would have been Oregon's are now up for grabs. The only thing certain is that Oregon won't get them: Its ineffectual Legislature does not even convene again until January 2007. By then, this state almost certainly will be far behind in the biodiesel race.

That roar you are about to hear will be the sound of Washington -- and economic opportunity -- passing us by again. A 2 percent biodiesel standard in Washington will require about 20 million gallons of biodiesel and about 160,000 acres of seed crops. All that will create economic activity and jobs that Oregonians, thanks to the failure of their lawmakers, can now only watch with envy.

Here is a Real Problem 18.Feb.2006 17:48

One of the Unwashed

Read this quote from Onward Oregon's post and see if you see anything wrong. ""The mesure is a bi-partisan effort to bring Oregon together to make a new "down payment' on Oregon as an incubator of clean and renewable energy innovation and production.""

"Bi-partisan?" As usual the dempublicans forget about all of the Oregonians, rural and urban, who are registered as 3rd party or non-affiliated. And they wonder why Oregonians don't respond to their "bi-partisanship." So sad.

To George Bender 18.Feb.2006 18:28

Man on the street promandan@hotmail.com

Hi George. Read your article and then your journal and I think you've got potiential. Have you thought of putting together a chapbook for the Zine Thing comming up at PSU this June? It's not too big a project and it will get you out of your apartment. Write Around Portland is another way of getting published and socializing at the same time.
You have a good heart and I hate to see it wasted advocating for an issue like Biofuel. Take a look at where the funding is coming from for this project and your going to see Corporate footprints. I published an article about Genetically Engineered Plants in the October 2002 street roots. It's scary stuff where a few major corporations are making a bunch of money. The bill your advocating for needs a little more work before I can vouch for it myself.
If protections are not built in the big money in politics are going to railroad us.

Yea, there’s more to every story 18.Feb.2006 20:02

Burro

"It was nicknamed "Project Glory" by state economic development officials, a plan to bring as many as 125 much-needed industrial jobs to the Oregon Coast with an aggressive sales campaign and financial offers of $200,000 or more to the out-of-state company.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski made new business recruitment a top priority in his first term. A spokeswoman for his office defended the recruitment of Bay Bridge Enterprises to a Newport site.

Mike Salsgiver, acting director of the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, said his agency was surprised by concerns over invasive marine species attached to the hulls of ships that would be towed to Oregon for salvage. But he maintained that gauging public opinion is not part of the state's job when it recruits a company for a particular location."

 link to www.oregonlive.com

Well, most of us know how this turned out. Are you still into the pretended ignorance of our public officials? Do you seriously believe that they know what is best for us?

Yes, I'm biased against biofuels as a solution. And I'm biased against more personal automobiles, more paved roads and more paved parking lots. So, as fuels go, my major thoughts agree with those here --  http://www.freewebz.com/centralcoast/biodiesel.htm
For car problems see
 http://www.freewebz.com/centralcoast/CarProblems.htm
Evaluate them at your leisure.

From Sol:
"Have you been to Linn County, the "Grass Seed Capital of the World?" Do you think they're growing food? The bill would make the new cash crop the biofuels, which is at least a sight more useful than *grass seed*."

Let's get real Sol. Growing hemp would be the ideal replacement for grass seed. Please refer to
 http://www.commondreams.org/views05/0625-23.htm
 http://www.naihc.org/
 http://www.woodconsumption.org/

Bottom line question: why should we limit ourselves to the corporate-politico mindset to control our well-being?

Man on the street 18.Feb.2006 21:02

George Bender

Thank you for the compliment. I think I'm already about as published as I can stand. Lately I don't seem to get around to my blog. Perhaps I've just hit a flat spot.

Get out of my apartment? Surely you jest! Actually my apartment is in Eugene, and it's too damn cold to go out.

I'm just frustrated by the endless negativity of the American left. It seems we know what we're against, but can't unite behind anything. I'm an activist and I want to make things happen. If the radicals can't get anything going then I'll support liberal projects like Apollo. Anything to get this state, and this country, out of its paralysis.

We've got to get beyond "no."

I do volunteer work for a few single issue political groups. That's my contribution.


To Onward Oregon 18.Feb.2006 21:21

msj

This is the cornerstone of your so-called sustainability initiative:

"Brand Oregon and enhance our identity to attract new business and investments"

As I stated in my post, Oregon is already overpopulated. We don't need to be wooing more businesses here. We have too many, but you don't get it because your goal is not truly sustainability but to enrich a few at the expense of the rest of us. What Oregon needs for reaching true sustainability is to engage in neighborhood and small-town centered commerce based upon the limited resources that come from the local environment. We need to get out of the global growth game and multiply our wealth among existing residents. If we remove the growth subsidies, then we will stop growing and start becoming self-reliant. Read Jim Kunstler's book, The Long Emergency if you are having a hard time comprehending this. We are not going to be able to grow our way out of the dire situation that we are racing blindfolded headlong into, of water and oil shortages.

PS: How come you guys don't identify on your website who your paid staff are, who your board members are, or your sources of revenue? You may have some good views on a number of issues, but with this move to attract more businesses is completely out of touch with the facts of sustainability.

Fuzzy thinking? 18.Feb.2006 21:23

msj

Dear George Bender:

You say, "The above statement is full of the fuzzy thinking that characterizes so much of the left. Instead of dealing with what the Apollo project is actually trying to do, it criticizes them for what they're not trying to do. Illogical.

"This is part of the leftist pattern of constantly trying to stop any organization that tries to move forward, while not organizing anything positive themselves..

"By ignoring the crying need for more good jobs, the left kills itself with the voting public. If people can't support themselves they're not going to want to live in your antispetic little society."

--Sorry, but I'm neither on the left, right, or center. Where I am is into promoting and providing clarity about sustainability. And creating more jobs in an already overpopulated place is not sustainable, meaning it is not good for the environment, the economy or quality of life in Oregon. What we need are BETTER jobs and occupations for people who already live here. As the elite continue creating more jobs in this already overfull place, they artificially and temporarily expand the region's carrying capacity, widen the gap between the rich and the poor, produce more non-living wage jobs, make housing more expensive, create more homelessness and hunger. This is fact: look it up. During the boom of the 90s, this is exactly what happened. If you can't see this, it is YOUR thinking that is fuzzy.

Furthermore, you need to know that the production of ethanol from corn is an energy loser.

Burro has it right when he says, "Bottom line question: why should we limit ourselves to the corporate-politico mindset to control our well-being?"

The biggest thing Onward Oregon can do to reduce CO2s and oil dependence 18.Feb.2006 21:46

msj

The biggest thing that Onward Oregon can and should do, if it wants to reduce CO2 emissions, end our oil dependence, and serve as a force for sustainability and prosperity in Oregon, is to put forth an initiative to eliminate all the subsidies to growth statewide.

Each year, according to conservative estimates by Eugene urban planner Eben Fodor, Oregon taxpayers are footing the bill for growth to the tune of 1.2 BILLION dollars. In order to ensure that the poor get poorer, the rich get richer, that more forests and farmland is converted into housing developments, industrial and commercial sites, roads, and shopping centers, Oregon taxpayers pay these billions to non-local corporate businesses and new-toxic-box-house developers.

These are direct subsidies and do not include Brand Oregon and other expensive marketing campaigns, port expansions and expenses, and numerous other indirect costs associated with local overpopulation and overconsumption.

enviro cred gap 18.Feb.2006 23:22

gb

I largely agree with George Bender here.

Enviros in the US have a giant political credibility gap, because they don't do enough to promote environmentally and socially benign job creation. People who are subject to our capitalist economy who can't get jobs literally STARVE AND FREEZE to death on our streets.

It won't do to pick nits in a proposal that seems reasonably benign and offers some hope for living wage, environmentally benign jobs and local self reliance. You'd better come up with much more convincing ammunition before you're going to convince George and many others of your case against this proposal.

“pick nits in a proposal 19.Feb.2006 00:45

that seems reasonably benign”

"People who are subjected to our capitalist economy who can't get jobs literally STARVE AND FREEZE to death on our streets" -- says it all to me.

Yes, I agree ... and YOUR solution is -- Oregon Apollo?

Why isn't Exxon all over this? 19.Feb.2006 02:16

.

If biofuel were a valid option, Exxon would be there.

Stupid bickering.

The Pentagon's warplanning has only one object : oil. Europa and Russia are playing footsy over oil. Russia is even pushing and shoving US face-to-face over Iranian oil. Chinese and Indian foreign policy is visibly responsive to oil. Japan changed its constitution.

If biofuel were a valid option, the Mississippi basin would be littered with bases that look remarkably like soya agrifactories, except they are guarded by razor-wire and well-armed thugs.

And btw, if biofuel becomes an option, it will be grown in the Mississippi Basin, not Eastern Oregon.

Onward Oregon, Please Identify Yourselves! 19.Feb.2006 08:10

curious

Can you please tell us who your board members are and who your executive director and other staff are? Thanks.

Follow the Money 19.Feb.2006 11:10

Man on the street

The real question should be where is the money coming from?
If this initiative were tailored a little more Corporate interest couldn't make the land and state tax grab. When are we going to stop subsidizing the wealthiest 1% of Americans (and foriegn interests). Last year the top 1% received 57.7% of the total income after taxes. Fund conservation this keeps money in the pockets of average citizens, fund alternative energy that is not destructive to the enviroment and quit devoting our time and energy to help make the wealthy richer.

Leftist pattern?... 19.Feb.2006 12:02

Pravda or Consequences

As a point of reference, what is the rightist pattern?

I think most of us know and that is why we assert our constitution right to question any proposal and the motives behind it.

Frankly, I think GW's illegal/immoral war for oil more than substantiates our concern for how any government uses the resources the earth has provided.

Onward Oregon 19.Feb.2006 13:00

George Bender

Their website is at  http://www.onwardoregon.org.

I couldn't find any list of names behind the organization. Did find this general description of who they are:

"We are volunteers from all across Oregon. We work in a variety of jobs and professions. Some of us are retired professionals, some of us are stay-at-home Mom's who gave up careers to raise our small children, but most of us hold down regular jobs outside the home. Some of us live in rural communities and some of us live in urban ones. We have come together to take back our democracy and to make our voices heard. Many of us have never before been politically active. We are enthusiastic and positive about the changes that can be made. We welcome anyone who would like to join our all-volunteer staff."

From what I've read the population of Oregon will continue to grow and there is no practical way to stop it. We can't barricade our borders with other states. We are going to have to provide jobs for all those people, and they need to be jobs that pay a living wage. We should be looking at ways to do that which cause the least damage to the environment.

Even better would be to create good paying jobs that improve the environment, which is the idea behind Apollo. It is based on a political theory that the only way to get broad voter support for environmentalism is to couple it with a massive jobs program. Apollo wants to use public money to create an infrastructure that would support environmentally friendly job-creating businesses. I like the general premise, but I agree that we need to look at the details.

As to ethanol being a net energy loser -- taking more energy to produce than you get back when it's burned -- I've read that. I've also read that it isn't true. I'm looking for some kind of authoritative source on this. I understand that emissions from burning ethanol in cars are much less than from gasoline. This is critical for cleaning up our air -- we're having an epidemic of asthma -- and reducing global warming caused by carbon dioxide.

Personally I would prefer electric cars, if we had a clean way of producing electricity. I don't think we're going to get a lot of people out of their cars. Poverty forced me out of mine a long time ago. I walk or take the bus. I don't like waiting for buses in the cold. I'll often not go to things because it's too much trouble to get there, especially in the middle of the winter. And I have no way of getting out of town to enjoy the forests. It seems that nature is now a middle class amenity.


For George Bender 19.Feb.2006 14:11

former Eugene resident

"I have no way of getting out of town to enjoy the forests."

You said you lived in Eugene. Take the # 91 McKenzie Bridge bus (it runs every day) up into the Willamette National Forest. I lived in the forest between Blue River and Rainbow for 3 months last year and this bus was dependable for me and my bicycle. Residents of Lane County are lucky to have their rural bus routes!

[ 19.Feb.2006 21:21

]

"I don't think we're going to get a lot of people out of their cars."


People are going to be forced out of their cars. Cars as we know them will be a thing of history in 20 years.

Oil is running out. Alternative energy sources cannot replace oil. The only sustainable solution is to use much less. This Apollo project may be something seen as a solution, but that is only because of the profound denial. The Apollo project at best is one small step on a long journey.

You want to talk about real sustainability? Reduce car miles by 75%. Get rid of usury (interest). 50% of the money each person pays for rent or their own mortgage payment, is interest paid to make rich people richer. Foster local commerce, especially food production.

The worlds oceans are going to rise by 20-60 feet within our lifetimes. The point of peak oil is already passed. The environmental change is accelerating at a rate such that scientists revise their estimates of potential change upward every 6 months or less.

The current situation is rather like a house on fire where we are just getting around to discussing turning the heat down cause it is getting hotter inside. Compared to what is needed, the apollo project is a pitiful nothing. The basic notion of measuring our needs by an economic view is incapable of facing the challenge.

When the hurricane hits New Orleans, you do not think about jobs, you think about how to survive and you help each other and dollars mean nothing. Our economic system is a fabrication that has no basis in reality, no matter how hard we pretend otherwise. We need to step beyond economic measurement and think and function at a more basic level that is in touch with reality.

Either we do so consciously, or Nature will do it for us, strip us of our arrogance and hubris thinking we can do whatever we want without consequence.

Realism and Idealism 20.Feb.2006 03:01

Sol

This is all well and good, and likely realized by the majority of people here. You're preaching to the choir, so to speak. The problem is, the majority of the people here are the minority of people overall.

Try slamming a mother of 3 with the knowledge of peak oil, population crash and corporatist imperialism. That shit doesn't work, and though it's imperative to educate the public, there are better ways, and the 3 reasons we can't just go around shooting down every idea because it doesn't hit A to B right away are these:

1. Immersion in the System:
These people have been living the system that we abhor for years. They are innately ingrained into it, with the K-12 education system, with working the 9-5 job, with having priorities (children, health, etc.) other than revolution on the brain. As such, they are going to want as little change as possible, to maintain that equilibrium. Further, it's a worldview shock. Can you imagine what it'd be like to have everything that you've ever thought was good, such as raising a family and kids, having a big house in the 'burbs, working towards being CEO of your own company, or owning your own business, have all of that rejected as immoral, destructive and downright deadly? They would as like rebel against the idea as not, even if it were sound. Instead we must keep the information out there, but not ram it down their throats, and most of all we can't be so horrendously negative about it. Promote the need for this, pull their heartstrings, but don't demonize them, or these proposals that are at least a step in the right direction. That is the same thing that makes a lot of my friends hate PETA, but support me as a vegan, and how a few have even slowly been graduating into it.

2. Abstraction.
A lot of people today don't have the time to go into academics, unfortunately. Obviously, this is because of the broken system of capitalism we live in, but the fact that it's wrong doesn't change that it exists. When we talk about population crashes, peak oil and new societal ethics, we don't make that vital connection that inspires people to change. Even global warming is the same way. Unless we can directly attribute the above problems to concrete situations, we will not connect with people, and this is what keeps us in our ivory tower, as opposed to with the people. For example, the new movement towards environmental justice is a means of connecting environmental degradation directly to the real world problems affecting people.

3. Lack of Solution.
Another problem we face is that we can easily point out the problems with current systems and proposals, and even offer up the goals that we should strive for, as exemplified in the above comment. But we don't offer up the most important part: How to get there. You have to propose a plan that will garner a large amount of support from people and that works. Simply saying that we need to reach complete sustainability by 2020 doesn't do it, and those discrepencies are what allows corporations and other harmful elements to infiltrate a plan for their own profit.

There is absolutely no reason to shoot down this plan. At most, it intends to replace a large portion of our energy needs with more renewable sources, a vital step, and one that noone else has done. The fact that it is not an end-all solution, and that it will need some tweaking in the future is no reason to say "Don't Aid This." It provides living wage jobs, a cleaner environment, and a stronger and more localized economy. That in essence revereses a good 50 years of problems we've accrued, making our jobs easier in attempting to create, say, an Ecotopia. But it's not going to happen all at once, no chance. And to think so, to say that this is not worthy of our support without even providing an alternative how-to plan, is what keeps our movement predominantly white, middle-class college activists.

Alter plan not shooting down plan 20.Feb.2006 05:05

Man on the street

Dude where's your brain. I don't think most of the comments want to throw out the baby with the bath water. I thing most of us want solar and wind power research. We just need to edit the plan to exclude destructive concepts like Biofuels. You should know damn well the corporate interest are going to ram through thier projects first if we don't have protections against that built into the proposal. We don't need GE wastelands we need conservation. Conservation is the least expensive option. It is the easiest to fund and a win win situation.

One way of conserving is to encourage purchasing foods grown locally instead of buying food that has been shipped half way round the world. Fossil fuels are burned to ship these products.

Not just food but any product. Buying local is an excellent way to conserve energy.

We cannot buy local if we are growing GE biofuels instead of growing food. This is common sense. Corporate interest are trying to create a fog to blur our common sense. Just think!

Let me be clearer 20.Feb.2006 10:31

Burro

When I referred to eastern Oregon farmers, I was referring to large-scale, intensively managed, agribusiness corporate farms. I am totally in favor of Oregon organic farms.

As other people have commented, these are the kinds of farms and the kinds of crops we should all be supporting. But it's not what Oregon Apollo is supporting.

From the People's Food Co-op in Portland:

#3 HELPS SMALL AND LOCAL GROWERS
While 750,000 family farms have died in the USA in this decade alone, most organic farms are small (less than 100 acres), family-owned, and family-operated. Often, by buying organic you are helping to de-centralize the food-producing economy out of the hands of the large-scale, intensively managed, agri-business corporate farms. This is especially true at People's Food Co-op during the growing season when well over two thirds of the produce items offered come from small Oregon organic farms.

#4 PROMOTES BIO-DIVERSITY
As noted in reason #3 above, large corporate farms have increasingly dominated the U.S. food production system. In their hyper-awareness of the short-term "bottom-line", these corporations have been great in terms of lowering food costs. Unfortunately, many of their methods like mono-cropping, genetically-engineered seed, and chemical fertilizers have short-term benefits like lowered prices, but long-term costs, many of which do not become apparent for years, decades or even centuries. The result is a beautiful looking, uniform product that costs less, while at the same time leaving farm top soils dead and lacking in natural materials and nutrients. By buying organic, you are bucking these trends by letting your food bucks speak the only language these corporate farms can understand. You are telling them that the long-term costs are simply too expensive, that non-organic food is just too expensive! (see reason #7)

#5 SAVES ENERGY
Agri-business farming uses more petroleum than any other single industry! In fact, farming consumes over 1/8 of our nation's entire energy supply. But once again organic farmers reverse this trend by employing more labor-intensive methods such as hand weeding, green manures, and crop covers that put life and vigor back into their soils, rather than face-lifting their land with chemical fertilizers the way non-organic corporate farms do. The organic methods use less energy, but they cost more in the short run. Even without counting off-farm costs like increased health-care to farmworkers and consumers, air and water pollution, etc., many conventional farmers are now finding that organic methods may indeed be cheaper in the long run. As a non-organic onion farmer in Eastern Oregon (who had just decided to switch to organic) said to me last year, "I spend more and more money every year on [chemical] fertilizer, my grandpa keeps telling my dad and me that we're killing the land; I just can't afford it anymore; I had to do something!"

#6 PROTECTS FARM WORKERS
You don't have to be a genius to guess which group of workers in the state of California suffers from the highest rates of occupational illness. Pesticide poisonings amongst farm-workers is ballooning out of control with reported cases doubling every ten years. I have talked to farmworkers myself and their opinions are overwhelmingly one-sided; all else being equal, they'd rather work on organic farms than non-organic farms.

 http://www.peoples.coop/7reasons.html

. 20.Feb.2006 11:37

S

"is what keeps our movement predominantly white, middle-class college activists."

When I go to protests and organizational meetings, I do not see predominantly white middle-class college activists. I see a wide range of people.

[ 20.Feb.2006 12:06

]

1. Immersion in the System:

The system is coming down. It does not matter whether we talk about it, deny it and ignore it. The jobs people want are disappearing. Healthcare is become far more expensive. It is not a question of the system working but damaging the environment. Everyone is losing.


2. Abstraction.

Environmental issues are not abstract. For as long as I have been aware of these issues, which is decades, concrete understanding of the effects and consequences have been known and talked about.


. Lack of Solution.

Solutions have been presented countless times. The solutions are relatively easy.

The reason they do not get very far, is because any real solution requires a change in corporate hegemony. If corporate controlled media put forth reasoned solutions, and worked to educate people, rather than keep people in line, it would be a different situation. Large centralized structures are inherently inefficient. Big box stores spread across continents are not sustainable. Diverse local small business is sustainable. Resources flowing between many hands is strong. Resources hoarded into the hands of few are weak.

The corporate leadership has utterly failed society. Measuring all things of life by the dollar is a meagre existence, but we do not even do that well. The books are cooked. They are cooked to make things that are inefficient, and meaningless, look worthwhile and necessary.

I believe it was Chief Seattle, who said of the white people. When they have covered the land, from one coast to the other, they will no longer know how to live, but only how to survive. That prediction has come to pass.

When your brother asks for help, do count that in dollars? When you fall in love, can you measure that in dollars? When you see children playing, are they thinking of dollars? The corporation knows nothing but the dollar. That is its sole reason to exist. It is a shadow of life. A mockery of that which is sacred. It is the antithesis of that which makes life meaningful and worth living.

The solutions to our current dilemma are not difficult. It is the resistance by the entrenched power structures that makes it seem impossible to move forward. Those structures turn their entire might towards stopping real progress.

Cancer is on the rise. Obesity is epidemic. Depression and despair are gripping the hearts of countless people. Nuclear war looms on the horizon. The environment is collapsing around us. A sense of meaning, purpose and community have been all but killed. All these things are the result of profit driven consumer culture. The solutions to our challenges, are not only relatively easy, but will lead to a better quality of life for everyone.

The problem with initiatives from corporate institutions, is that they can only seek solutions that keep them in control of resources and profit. To do otherwise would be to go against their prime directive of making profit. Those solutions will be large scale, centralized. What we need are a diverse range of solutions which are small scale and decentralized.

Poor people need jobs 20.Feb.2006 16:17

George Bender

We don't need more rhetoric about "sustainability" and how everything would be okay if we just shopped at a tiny natural foods store. We need jobs that pay a living wage. Until the left supports that, and does something concrete about it, I will continue to regard the left as being largely irrelevant to my needs, financial or political. No sale guys.

How about our sustainability? Well you don't care about that, do you?


rhetoric about "sustainability" 20.Feb.2006 16:47

comes from the corporate-politico mindset

we the people have been making many concrete suggestions about true sustainability on this thread. One thing that many poor folks can do to enhance their well-being is to practice self-reliance and looking into all of the free resources that are available. I, myself, am poor.

Yes, we need living wage jobs. But we should not have to depend on the mega-corporations and the two-party mindset to supply them!

Suggestion: bundle yourself up; take that # 91 bus; and head up into the forest. Don't forget to take pen and paper with you.

Enjoy your trip!

[ 20.Feb.2006 18:42

]

We don't need more rhetoric about "sustainability" and how everything would be okay if we just shopped at a tiny natural foods store.

Nobody said that George. Such bitter sarcasm does not advance any discussion.

We need jobs that pay a living wage. Until the left supports that, and does something concrete about it, I will continue to regard the left as being largely irrelevant to my needs, financial or political. No sale guys.

See, even your very thinking is in terms of business and selling. Until more people rid themselves of the conditioned mindset of the dominant paradigm, intelligent suggestions that are a response to the actual situation we face will continue to be considered unrealistic. What is unrealistic is to continue business as usual and expect a different outcome.

How about our sustainability? Well you don't care about that, do you?

I personally care enough about sustainability and what it means to all of us, not to tell people lies that some meagre course of action is going to save their asses. The titanic is sinking and people are arguing over who gets to play shuffleboard next. Someone says that everyone should get in the lifeboats and they are told that they should offer solutions that are reasonable and that you cannot expect everyone to drop what they are doing.

Green Power 23.Feb.2006 08:53

Connie

Why doesn't someone come up with something that is truly beneficial like what the German Greens have done. Notice that it does not rely on incentives and volunteerism which only benefits a few. This sure sounds like a win-win situation to me.

Excerpt from:

Green Power

by Mark Hertsgaard
The Nation, January 30, 2006


........Embracing a green jobs program the Greens had long championed, Merkel decreed that from now on 5 percent of all pre-1978 German housing would be made energy efficient every year. Toward that end, the government will spend 1.5 billion euros a year subsidizing the installation of more efficient insulation, heating and electricity systems in houses and apartment buildings across the nation. That is a major outlay of money, especially considering widespread calls to trim Germany's budget deficit, but the program is seen as a win-win-win. The 1.5 billion euros will be recouped through lower energy bills. Lower energy use will mean less air pollution and lower greenhouse gas emissions. And, most important of all for a nation fighting double-digit rates of unemployment, the efficiency upgrades will create thousands of jobs that cannot be outsourced overseas. Because efficiency renovations are highly labor-intensive and by their nature localized, the program will provide jobs for countless German carpenters, electricians and other construction workers. Since much of Germany's pre-1978 housing is located in the former East Germany, most of the new jobs will be created there, where unemployment and the social tensions it fosters are greatest...............

homelessness and hunger are both real problems, but not for the same people 24.Feb.2006 15:04

quibbler

> People who are subject to our capitalist economy who can't get
> jobs literally STARVE AND FREEZE to death on our streets.

This might have been true 100 years ago, and it could well be true 100 years in the future, but today homeless people in America are not starving. There are lots of places to eat in any major city, and people in the boonies who are really "starving" go where the food is. I've been there. Freezing because the shelters are degrading and/or full is a real problem. The people who are going hungry in America are people who still -- barely -- have jobs and housing and don't have schedules or other necessary arrangements to get themselves to where the food is when the food is there. If they spend on nutrition, the rest of their lives fall apart, and they're not ready to throw up their hands and give up the pretense of being normal. Often they've never been homeless and think it's worse than it really is -- bad but not as bad as starving -- or they've got kids who are on the verge of being taken away. Hunger is easier to hide than homelessness.