Mr. Frank notes that (a) a big part of how we got into this predicament of needing bold, quick action on climate change is in our nature, a result of the natural progression of societies of "intelligent" species, and therefore (b) it's not our fault. Does (b) follow logically from (a)? Accepting this requires a bizarre notion of responsibility (yeah, I murdered that guy but I'm just violent by nature and didn't know that murdering people would have consequences). And as Mr. Regan points out, we have willfully ignored many, many, many opportunities to learn, accept, and change our behavior accordingly. I agree that demonizing corporations or other human constructs that helped take us to the cliff edge is not helpful. But to suggest that it's not our fault is to suggest that our nature is not a key part of the problem, for indeed our willful ignorance of inconvenient truths is very much in our nature. There is almost nothing "natural" about the behavior that is now demanded of us, indeed is it in many ways anti-human behavior that is required. Can we make ourselves do it, deny our natural inclinations, just because our future is at stake? Look reality squarely in the face no matter how unpleasant? Tame our acquisitiveness? Our fondness for the quick easy fix (e.g. we can behave greedily because the market always produces optimal results)? Our relentless plundering of the commons? We knew enough decades ago to have addressed this with far less disruption and pain than is now required, but our nature told us not to act despite the clear writing on the wall. And this is without question our fault, and does not bode well for the likelihood that we will start doing better now. Efforts like Mr. Frank's to make us feel OK about the evil we have already wrought gets us nowhere on the journey we now face.
Great to once again see Mr. Moule connecting the dots between climate change and local issues. However it's notable that Mr. Moule must quote the National Climate Assessment, not Senator Funke or Supervisor Angelo, to make this link. Neither of these officials will dare to demonstrate leadership in helping the public understand what's actually happening to us.
"Live the life you preach, actually live it and you will do more to preserve this world than any other action" is of course a ridiculous thing to say with regard to transitioning off of fossil fuels. Can hardly believe we are having the "Al Gore takes planes" discussion in 2015. If you think individual actions can adequately address climate change impacts, you have clearly not given this issue much thought at all. BTW, most people concerned about climate change purchase carbon offsets when they fly, which is helpful but nowhere near enough. Large systemic changes are needed, and they are needed yesterday.
Regarding the Bakken oil, it needs to stay in the ground. We already have more conventional sources of oil than we can safely burn. Rail cars and pipelines both present unacceptable risks given that the actual product, even if it gets delivered safely, is toxic to our life support system.
Yet more subsidies for fossil fuels that we pay invisibly in our taxes and not at the pump: "At the state level, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered periodic inspections of railways and oil trains, which have caught damaged tracks and malfunctioning rail car brakes. This spring, lawmakers increased the cap on New York's oil spill cleanup fund to $40 million, though environmental groups say the amount should be much higher. And the state is investing in additional firefighting equipment and foam to deploy in the event of a train derailment or fire." And this is only if we're lucky and don't have an actual disaster, in which case the subsidy will be enormous and cannot possibly cover the cost of the damaged lives, livelihoods, etc. What disaster do solar panels and wind turbines threaten? Ours is a completely insane society.
"based on the balance between protection of the environment and public health and economic and social considerations" -- it is not possible to honestly strike such a balance in the presence of an accounting model that sets the value of natural resources and the health of our life support system at zero. That the DEC suggests otherwise indicates a very high degree of ignorance and/or magical thinking.
Those of us who opposed use of federal transit dollars for the Transit Center boondoggle consistently predicted the issues that almost immediately ensued following the opening of the TC. Those dollars could (should )have been used to improve the paltry public transit system. Instead, we have a crime issue, reduced service, removal of some 1/3 of the bus stops in a system that already barely functioned to get anyone where they needed to go, unless you're a suburbanite working downtown, and those folks don't seem to want to make use of the service much at all, and will now be even more hesitant since hearing all the bad news about the TC. Besides this TC debacle, we've also recently had a bus fare increase to fund bonuses for clearly incompetent executives. Can a mid-sized city hold its head up with essentially no public transit system? Yes, Bill Carpenter should be run out of town, but it was a large cabal of local officials who backed the TC cesspool. The level of cynicism and corruption in front of our faces should wake us all up to the sorry state of our local leadership, who seem all too busy feeding off the carcass of our dying city. For those of us who saw this coming from miles away, believe me, the schadenfreude nowhere near compensates for the sorrow and shame we now feel for our city.
Totally agree with Frank. We need to stop preserving specimens and start saving habitats. The specimens found in zoos are very poor representations of the species. In order to survive in captivity, they need to possess behavioral attributes (lack of aggression, adaptable to non-native climates and diets ) usually at odds with the attributes that would make them best suited for survival in their natural habitat. A generation or two on captivity and you don't even really have a specimen of that species any more. In nature, these organisms are creating and maintaining our life support system. In captivity, they are feeding a foolish worldview for humans who'd rather have someplace to take the kids on Sunday than actually securing their kids' future.
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