We drove north out of Santa Fe, through Espanola and past Abiquiu, the village where the artist Georgia O’Keefe lived, until we reached a narrow road in the high country. Then we drove until we came to a dirt and gravel road that led another 10 miles to a small cluster of houses and buildings named Ganado, the Spanish word for “cattle.” My wife, Susan, would live for a week at an encampment with a hundred other women, creating rituals and raising consciousness — while I headed back to Santa Fe with a stack of books.
But when I picked her up, she was not happy. The conference had been great, and the women amazing, but the noise had kept her mostly awake day and night. Just over the hillock someone was digging for natural gas, and by day the trucks rolled through and the drilling machines whined, and by night the pumps roared and the pipes rattled.
Since when did one’s mode of transportation become about politics? Who ever thought that riding one’s bike to the grocery store, taking the bus to work or driving to run errands could be a sign of one’s political stripes?
In some cities, such as New York and San Francisco, riding the train defines the experience of everyone living there. Entire movies, books and blogs have documented the romance and day-to-day life of riding public transit and navigating busy sidewalks. Can you even imagine what a New York free of subways, buses and pedestrians would look like? Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, you’re on the train.
Just ask Mitt.
Mitt Romney is among a vocal set of Republicans who have decided that certain forms of transportation are more democratic than others; he subscribes to the belief that roads are a given right of Americans, but that public transit is not.
By Ashley McCormack
One of the major focuses of this presidential election year is the economy and the ways we can create jobs. President Obama’s State of the Union address and the Republican debates make it clear that everyone has an opinion about how to put Americans back to work. It’s equally evident that a good jobs plan must build a sustainable American economy – from an environmental standpoint as well as one that will benefit the next generation, and employ people in the kind of jobs that will keep America competitive in the global economy.
Each year, the BlueGreen Alliance hosts Good Jobs, Green Jobs, a national conference bringing together labor, environmental, business and elected leaders to discuss how we can build an economy that creates precisely such jobs. In this pivotal year, instead of hosting one national conference, the BlueGreen Alliance will hold Good Jobs,
February 13 was a big day for those who want Los Angeles to lead the way in greening our cities. After a contentious all-day hearing, the L.A. City Board of Public Works unanimously approved the Bureau of Sanitation’s recommendation to transform trash collection from businesses and large apartment buildings.
Under the new system, which must still be approved by the City Council, haulers will operate under an exclusive franchise system with environmental standards and accountability. This means, finally, that our city will know who is picking up trash where, when and how — and that only responsible haulers, committed to playing by the rules, will be picking up and processing our trash.
One of the themes heard repeatedly during public testimony at last week’s board hearing was that an exclusive system is going to raise costs. And there was a magic number to go along with the cry: 33 percent!
(Note: This post first appeared on Grist.com.)
By Christopher Mims
Maybe you’ve heard that we’re now using more trees for toilet paper than for newsprint. (Not least because the newspaper industry is even more in the toilet than toilet paper.) But did you know that because of Americans’ demand for super-soft TP for our bungholes, 98 percent of the pulp used to make the stuff comes from virgin wood?
“Future generations are going to look at the way we make toilet paper as one of the greatest excesses of our age. Making toilet paper from virgin wood is a lot worse than driving Hummers in terms of global warming pollution,” Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defence Council, told the Guardian.
More toilet paper used to be made out of recycled office paper,