The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Friday, December 28, 2007

Alabama: Not very Green, and More

It was a good week for Haden C. White of Homewood. Mr. White had a letter published in the Birmingham News this morning in which he reflected on Christmas spent in Vietnam 40 years ago. He also had a letter (the second one on this link) printed in U. S. News and World Report this week in which he reasons that people do not want to spend money on war movies because that is all we see on TV now.

I don't know Haden White, but I know that when you go to the trouble of writing a letter to either the paper or a national magazine, it is a good feeling to see your efforts in print. Happy New Year Mr. White, and thank you for your service to our country.

Here in Alabama we learn that we are ranked 48 on the Forbes first ever list of America's Greenest States. That is no surprise, as our state is controlled by interests who, for the most part, do not care about the enviroment: the Republican Party and the Church (Christian evangelicals, to be precise).

Here is what Forbes says about Alabama:

"So who's at the bottom? Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Indiana and, at No. 50, West Virginia. All suffer from a mix of toxic waste, lots of pollution and consumption and no clear plans to do anything about it. Expect them to remain that way."

Here is the caption next to a picture representing our state.

Alabama No. 48 Score: 15.8 out of 50

In short, people in Alabama drive a lot. Only four states had a higher number of vehicle miles traveled per capita. Alabama also manages the fifth largest amount of toxic waste per capita, disposing of or releasing 122.9 million lbs of waste in 2005. It also has not implemented very many energy efficiency policies.

Here is an example of something I noticed on our trip to California. We were in the town of 29 Palms, just outside of Joshua Tree National Park.

We had exited the park to get gas, and noticed they used these vapor recovery nozzles on the pumps.

We filled up, and I got to thinking. We live in a metropolitan area that is plagued each summer with high ozone levels. Ground level ozone is created, in part, when gasoline vapors are exposed to sunlight. EPA Ozone Pollution

We filled up knowing that our contribution to harmful ozone was reduced by using this simple device.

Ozone in Birmingham and surrounding communities curtails economic development, and affects the health of thousands each year.

So why, in our city, county, state, do we not require this type of device on gas pumps? Like I said, we are controlled by republicans and evangelicals, and the republicans are against this because it might cost their gas producing corporate buddies (although the cost would really fall on the gas station owners who would pass it on to consumers) a penny or two. Evangelicals don't care because improving the environment is too close to the ideals of us "tree hugging liberals". These are attitudes that need to change in our state.

Here is a tree we saw in a botanical garden, in Palm Springs, but it is native to tropical Mexico. The common name is "Cascalote" and the scientific name is Caesalpinia cacalaco. It blooms in the winter and has thorns on the branches that turn into these sharp knobs on the trunks.

Oh, and people keep asking. This picture:

is of the letter "L" enclosed by a circle with a line through it. "No L" "Noel"

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