Observations and arguments.

The one after seeing An Inconvenient Truth

Seems like Technorati is swarming with posts by people who’ve just come back from seeing An Inconvenient Truth

Except that the posts aren’t so much swarming as sprinkling. Maybe a related tag burst into the “Hot Tags This Hour” during opening weekend, but there’s no sign of it now. (Certainly no one’s picking up on Gore’s “Climate Crisis” language, or at least not tagging it.)

It seems pretty irrelevant to me, particularly in the context of the film, whether Gore will ever run for elective office again, although on the subject I’ll offer this aside: I was a Nader voter in 2000, but I was in California so my vote didn’t make a damn bit of difference. Nader voters were, as a given, predisposed to ignoring the corporate media–in whose universe Nader wasn’t even an option. The problem, I would posit, is that Nader voters (I would include myself in this) were all too willing to uncritically trust the anti-corporate media, which for cultural-emotional reasons too complex to explicate in this brief and sweeping generalization, was itself more interested in tallying the sins and compromises of Al Gore than in working to understand the radical nightmare represented by the collaboration of Karl Rove and Dick Cheney in the coronation of the mad prince George.

But enough about national politics.

Christa and I will be exploring the “carbon offset” model proposed by Gore and his team. And I will document here the progress we make–as we make it, towards reducing our own CO2 production. These steps could (and eventually will) include:

– upgrading to a hybrid car for the commuter (me, currently in a 1997 Honda Civic, driving 25,000+ miles/year)
– relatedly, re-initiating carpooling at least once a week
– attic insulation (will make a huge difference in our winter natural gas usage; we don’t have A/C)
– replacing our 1950s era aluminum frame windows (again, big difference in the winter)

Still, if I learned anything from my decade as a vegetarian it’s that one person’s choices don’t honestly matter. The carbon offset idea extends the individual’s economic impact, by subsidizing projects that federal tax dollars won’t invest in. But it’s a fair question what additional contributions I am capable of and willing to make.

Tags: An Inconvenient Truth, Climate Change, Al Gore



  Killer B wrote @

Oh dear… Well, maybe it’s an age or idealistic model of difference, but I have to believe one person’s actions make a difference. I’m interested why you quit being vegetarian though. We should discuss this not in comments 🙂

  Tim wrote @

The insulation and window replacement have a financial payback, although it may be more than a decade.

What’s the current status of financial payback for a Prius? There seems to be disagreement, and I suppose it depends on the price of gasoline.

  Chris Ereneta wrote @

It’s a function of the price of gasoline, but the question here is related to the question of the extra expense incurred by buying organically, or more specifically: organic local.

In other words, how much of the cost of change are you willing to take on, even if the choice doesn’t net you a financial payback.

I kid sometimes that it’s a “self-satisfaction tax”, and that’s not so very far from the truth. (Pay extra, feel better.)

But of course we’ve learned that lower pocketbook costs don’t mean that something is cheaper–it just means the costs have been shunted somewhere else: the communities or land at the source of production, river deltas downstream of production, municipal hospitals and emergency rooms, or in the scenario Gore is articulating: a global ecological catastrophe.

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