Ye Olde Petroleume Treee

Today on FPI, photojournalism! (well, maybe that’s a stretch). Anyhow, this here photo is of an apartment across the street from my office. I thought I’d share it with you, because nothing gets me in the holiday mood like a tree decorated with an enormous plastic bag.

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Bikes are Better than Cars: Reason Umpteen

So there I was on the way to work, sawing away in the bike lane. I was passing some bushy trees (or tree-ey bushes), and dangling from one of them was a plastic Safeway bag. Ahh! The scourge of plastic bags!

The bag was all billowed out in the morning breeze, and at about shoulder level. But what the heck was it doing in a tree? Not good. So, while still cruising along at 15 mph, I reached out my right hand and snagged it. Then, without even slowing down, I stuffed it in the bottle holder pouch in my backpack.

Yes yes, I know I’m a treehugger and all that. But just try doing what I did while driving your car!

John Tierney, the New York Times’ Staff Twit

John Tierney has worked for the NY Times since 1990. Why someone hasn’t fired him is news to me. First, he wrote “Recycling is Garbage,” which argued that it was more cost-effective to throw stuff away than recycle it. According to Wikipedia, that story broke the NY Times’ hate mail record. Imagine.

Unfortunately for the NY Times and the rest of the world, the Times hasn’t figured out what a dangerous dumb-ass he is. Case in point is a story running today, “10 Things to Scratch From Your Worry List.”

Granted, some of the 10 are faux scares. But many more of these “scratches” are a thinly veiled libertarian (Tierney’s one) attempt to say “f–k the environment” in genteel Times verbiage. Example:

5. Evil plastic bags. Take it from the Environmental Protection Agency : paper bags are not better for the environment than plastic bags. If anything, the evidence from life-cycle analyses favors plastic bags. They require much less energy — and greenhouse emissions — to manufacture, ship and recycle. They generate less air and water pollution. And they take up much less space in landfills.

True, sort of. If you compare disposable bags to one another, plastic is a less energy-intensive bag. But the way you frame the debate is everything. He’s just comparing disposable bags, as if they’re the only two options. And he’s assuming they’ll end up in landfills!!

Tierney is blithely ignoring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is toxic swamp plastic debris that’s twice the size of Texas. Let me repeat that: twice the size of Texas. Or this pithy little stat courtesy of Salon.com: “Every year, Americans throw away some 100 billion plastic bags after they’ve been used to transport a prescription home from the drugstore or a quart of milk from the grocery store. It’s equivalent to dumping nearly 12 million barrels of oil.”

Or this one: “According to the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, more than a million birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die every year from eating or getting entangled in plastic.”

Or this one: “There are 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating in every square mile of ocean, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.”

Oh, and while you’re having a good time in denial, might as well ignore …

8. The Arctic’s missing ice. The meltdown in the Arctic last summer was bad enough, but this spring there was worse news. A majority of experts expected even more melting this year, and some scientists created a media sensation by predicting that even the North Pole would be ice-free by the end of summer.

So far, though, there’s more ice than at this time last summer, and most experts are no longer expecting a new record. You can still fret about long-term trends in the Arctic, but you can set aside one worry: This summer it looks as if Santa can still have his drinks on the rocks.

I “can still fret” about that, John? Gee, thanks you patronizing dickhead. I’ll feel so much better knowing “Santa can still have his drinks on the rocks.”

Want to know my biggest worry? It’s that the Times will continue to print Tierney’s asinine stories.