Tuesday, January 31, 2006


According to the Daily Record Justice Alito was confirmed to the Supreme Court.

I did what I could (as did many others), but it appears the attempted filibuster was more of a vote of no confidence than an actual means of blocking Alito's confirmation.

Ahh, politics.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Support the Alito Filibuster & Global Warming Hits Home

Support the Alito Filibuster
Sign the filibuster petition.
It looks like John Kerry is working on getting a filibuster going to block Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court. I received an email from a friend,
Dear _____,

Yesterday, Senator Ted Kennedy and I told our colleagues that we supported a filibuster of Judge Alito's nomination for the Supreme Court. And we weren't alone. But the bottom line is that it takes more than two or three people to filibuster successfully. It's not "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." If you want to stop Judge Alito from becoming Justice Alito, use your own email list and organize. We can't just preach to our own choir. We need to prove to everyone - from our friends and neighbors to our fellow Senators - that the American people know Judge Alito will take our country in the wrong direction, and they expect something to be done about it.

So I'm asking you to join Senator Kennedy, me, and concerned citizens across America who are signing this petition to support a filibuster. If there was ever a time to forward an email on to friends and family, this is it. One way or another, we're going to find out in the next few days if Judge Alito is going to become Justice Alito. You know where I stand. The time to make your voice heard is now. So please sign this filibuster petition and get as many friends as you can to do the same.

If Judge Alito gets on the Supreme Court, it will be an incredible mistake for America. And remember, this is one mistake that we can never take back.

I voted against Justice Roberts, but I feel even more strongly about Judge Alito. Why? Rather than live up to the promise of "equal justice under the law," he has consistently made it harder for the most disadvantaged Americans to have their day in court. He routinely defers to excessive government power no matter how much government abuses that power. And, to this date, his only statement on record regarding a woman's right to privacy is that she doesn't have one.

There isn't a shred of doubt in my opposition to Judge Alito's nomination. I spent a lot of time over the last few years thinking about what kind of person deserves to sit on the highest court in the land, so I don't hesitate a minute in saying that Judge Alito is not that person. His entire legal career shows that, if confirmed, he will take America backward. People can say all they want that "elections have consequences." Trust me, I understand. But that doesn't mean we have to stay silent about Judge Alito's nomination.

President Bush had the opportunity to nominate someone who would unite the country in a time of extreme division. He chose not to do this, and that is his right. But we have every right -- in fact, we have a responsibility -- to fight against a radical ideological shift on the Supreme Court. This nomination was a sellout to the demands of the extreme right wing of the Republican Party. The president gave no thought to what the American people really wanted - or needed. So now that the president and Judge Alito have proven they won't stand up for the majority of Americans, we have to stand up. We have to speak out. That's the true meaning of "advice and consent."


John Kerry
I went to the Web site and added my info to the following petition:
I fully support a filibuster against Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court.

Judge Alito's nomination does not serve the best interests of our nation; it serves to appease extreme right wing elements of the Republican Party. His nomination is an incredible mistake for America, and only the United States Senate can put a stop to it.

I think it's time that the United States Senate confirmed once and for all that extreme ideology has no place on the highest court in the land. This is a critical fight for the future of our country. That's why I've taken the time to sign this petition. And I hope that's why the Senate will step up to the plate and do the right thing for America: support a filibuster against Samuel Alito.

Your name here

From moveon.org I received the following:
Please call Sens. Murray and Cantwell right now and ask them to join the filibuster against Samuel Alito.
Senator Patty Murray
Phone: 202-224-2621
District Offices:
Everett: 425-259-6515
Seattle: 206-553-5545
Spokane: 509-624-9515
Vancouver: 360-696-7797
Yakima: 509-453-7462

Senator Maria Cantwell
Phone: 202-224-3441
District Offices:
Everett: 425-303-0114
Richland: 509-946-8106
Seattle: 206-220-6400
Spokane: 509-353-2507
Tacoma: 253-572-2281
Vancouver: 360-696-7838
I was not able to get through to the area code 202 phone numbers. I was able to leave a voice message for Senator Murray at the Seattle number and a message with the Senator Cantwell's receptionist at her Seattle number.

We will see if it makes a difference.

Global Warming Hits Home

The following is the headline from the local promotional newspaper that the Daily Record has recently begun throwing on my driveway:
Fungus linked to global warming found at Snoqualmie Pass
Apparently the spread of the fungus is allowed by recent climate changes and it is wiping out amphibian species around the globe. "One third of the world's amphibian species are threatened."

They haven't found any living, adult, Pacific Tree Frogs at the Snoqualmie site since May.

Snoqualmie Pass is about 45 minutes, by car, from my house.
I've mentioned previously that you can also take the walking tour at the Asahel Curtis exit and see that the tops of all the large trees have been killed by air pollution.

These examples are a little too close to home to make me feel comfortable.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Infinite War

The abuse of executive power seems to be the topic of the moment. I caught George Bush on TV this morning and he took some heat from the press in regards to wire-tapping and human rights violations. It is a little scary that Judge Alito is probably going to be confirmed as the next US Supreme Court Justice as he supports a stronger executive branch.

Bush claims that he has done nothing illegal in regards to wire-tapping, but in the press conference he appeared to backtrack saying that the law in question is out of date. From The Boston Globe "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which specifically requires the attorney general to obtain prior authorization from a judge, in a secret expedited proceeding, before engaging in domestic spying or wiretapping. Now, the president says that that law is ''insufficient" and ''outdated" to meet the current threats in the war on terror because it was passed nearly 30 years ago. The Constitution took effect in 1789 -- and it is still good law today."

I also get a little nervous when Bush talks about North Korea. Apparently talks have broken down because of counterfeiting and the President talked about the need to defend our currency. I worry that when the President says defend he actually means attack. I think he mentioned trade sanctions in regards to stopping the counterfeiting, but the rhetoric may be setting the stage for the next volley of the, "Infinite War."

If I get a vote I vote no on, "Infinite War."

The war on terrorism seems to have suffered a set-back as the Palestinian people have elected the Islamic Hamas to lead them. It's my understanding that the Hamas group was founded to drive the Jewish people out of Israel. This does not bode well for Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Be Like the Ant

I mentioned in the last few posts that I have been reading Cradle to Cradle, by William McDonough and Michael Braungart. One of the authors is an architect and the other a chemist. They are exploring ways to retool manufacturing in order to eliminate waste and create products that can be returned to the earth.

One of the models they look at is the ant. Ants have a greater total biomass than humans, but instead of destroying their habitat they nourish the environment in which they exist. The authors’ premise is that humans should be able to do the same thing. They don’t address population as an issue because their goal is that humans live in a non-destructive manner. As long as all human action supports the biosphere than population should not be an issue.

It is exciting to read about some of the projects in which they are involved. One of the things they do when looking at the creation of a project is to pare away any toxic substance that might normally be used. By doing so up front they are able to simplify the ingredients and do not need to add chemicals to balance the toxins.

One of the products they retooled was a bath and body wash product. They started by asking (pg 146), “What kind of soap does the river (the Rhine) want?” They winnowed the list of ingredients down from an average of 22, many of which were toxic, to nine. The product ended up being cheaper to manufacture. They switched the packaging (pg 147), “…now in pure polypropylene packaging after Michael and the researchers found that antimony from the original PET bottles was leaching into the soap."

I wonder if antimony is leaching into our sodas and bottled water? Antimony being (pg 37), “…a toxic heavy metal known to cause cancer under certain circumstances."

Packaging is one of the issues that really interests me as the only solid waste I currently produce is food packaging. The authors offer a number of solutions in regards to packaging, but I don’t know that they touch on biodegradable packaging for liquids.

Biodegradable packaging also necessitates that we handle our garbage differently. We would need to compost or allow the packaging to biodegrade rather than throw it in landfills.

When one reads the book one begins to realize the scope of the manufacturing paradigm. To truly reach the authors’ goal one would need to backtrack. If we are creating soap we need to look at the processes that make the soap. Then the processes (machines) that make the machines to make the soap etc. We need to look at the methods of harvesting resources, shipping etc. In order to live like ants we need to retool the gathering of resources, production, and shipping for every manufacturing process. It’s a tall order, but I am glad that people have already gotten started on the project.

Cradle to Cradle is an interesting read and a step in the right direction. We are not yet ants, however, and therefore I believe that we do need to address our population. Until humans across the board are living in a restorative manner I believe that we should reduce our overall footprint.

It think it is interesting that the authors of Cradle to Cradle, like many of the authors I have been reading, take a moral stand as one of their angles. They discuss intergenerational tyranny among other things. Ethics is a fascinating area that I have only just begun to study.

Friday, January 20, 2006


In regards to recovering wastewater the following comes from Cradle to Cradle page 126,
"In 1992 a a model waste treatment system developed by Michael and his colleagues was opened at Silva Jardin, in the province of Rio, Brazil. It was locally fabricated using clay pipes that carried wastewater from village residents to a large settling tank, then into an intricately connected series of small ponds full of an astonishing diversity of plants, microbes, snails, fish, and shrimp. The system was designed to recover nutrients along the way, producing clean, safe drinking water as a by-product. Farmers competed for access to this purified water and to the sludge’s valuable nitrogen, phosphorus, and trace materials as nutrients for farming."
This type of system requires a separation of biological and technological wastes.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Credible Resources

Thanks for the comment from Lauren. It's nice to get feedback. Lauren's blog is at ardenteden.blogspot.com and well worth the read.

I was very interested in her post regarding the kilowatt game as this is one of the areas in my personal life that I would like to revisit. I am a little bit scared to count everything that I have plugged in at the moment.

Sustainable Girl had a post a while back regarding electricity consumption. In her post she included a link to Mr. Electricity who seems knowledgeable about the subject.

As I mentioned in previous posts I am currently reading Cradle to Cradle. I don’t know the page numbers off hand, but we arrived at an interesting point in regards to separating waste streams. If we are able to keep our waste water biological and non-toxic then we can use natural methods to purify the water (i.e. snails, lichen, etc.). I will find the page numbers and drop in a quote.

I’ve stated before that my number one global concern (and I am not alone in this) has to do with population. I have yet to find useful, credible resources on the internet that address this issue. If anyone knows of a useful, credible and/or comprehensive resource that I can check out then please let me know. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green

I saw a sticker on a bike the other day that said, "Fight terrorism, ride a bike." I am not a huge fan of stickers, but I appreciate the sentiment.

I recently took some heat over my methods. I can be belligerent in my views. I have heard a number of arguments as to why individuals should not attempt to change their worldview and/or lifestyles. Although my persuasion techniques are still being refined I see debate over my methods as a distraction from the true discourse. I do try and listen to the feedback, but feel that a critique of methods is also a diversion.

Another critique was that blogging is worthless. (Not a direct quote.) My response was that we should be engaged on every level (from the personal to the global) and at every possible moment in the restoration of the planet.

I can see where individuals can be a little put off by my spiel. I generally start with the fact that the western lifestyle is immoral. Commercialism requires selfish consumers. "You need this." Or, "you deserve this." We are conditioned to selfishness such that we will purchase the endless parade of consumer garbage presented to us.

It's ok to piss people off. I will continue to refine my technique, but the stakes are too high to quit.

What are the issues? How are you involved in the restorative process? Let me know. I may have overlooked something.

The world is big. "Go big or go home."

Monday, January 09, 2006

Women's Education

It is my understanding that the higher a woman's level of education the longer she will postpone child rearing. If we take as a given that overpopulation is the number one issue facing the environment then it seems logical that one of our main focuses should be on women's education.

One of the reasons I have associated myself with the World Neighborhood Fund is that they will be working with Bahia Street which “breaks cycles of poverty, inequality and violence by providing high quality educational opportunities for economically-impoverished young women and girls in Brazil.”

This year the WNF will also be working with the dZi Foundation. “The dZi Foundation implements, supports, and funds projects to improve the basic quality of the lives of children, women, and men in mountain communities with a focus on education, health, culture, and welfare.”

And they will be working with Watoto wa Dunia “Watoto wa Dunia Educating and empowering women and children, reducing hunger, stopping AIDS, and developing leadership.”

Educating and empowering women is a worthy goal and may be the key to ending our ongoing ecological disaster.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Is Everything Squared Away?

Did they fix the world while I was sleeping? Probably not I think there would have been a special report.

What do McDonough & Braungart have to say? They talk about eco-effectiveness, about working on the right products and services and systems. They mention that ants have a greater biomass than humans, but are a part of the cradle to cradle cycle of nature.

They talk about long term quality of life vs. short term convenience and profit.

They bring up the fact that all processes have side effects and that it is the responsibility of the eco-designer to consider the whole process.

They ask is it enough to make the right product with the wrong process?

And then they bring up the eco-roof which is composed of soil and flora. It resolves issues such as run-off and heat generation. I picture it like the canopy of the rain forest.

The ideas are not bad, but I think they are trying to answer the wrong question.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy New Year

This blog continued from earth.toryj.com.

A new year and I am ready to dive back into the world of blogging. It’s easy to get distracted by busyness and work, but I continue to research and apply what I am discovering in regards to existing in a life friendly manner.

I have made some changes in my life over the last five or six months. I began researching the environment, started a blog, stopped driving, switched to an all organic diet, drastically reduced my consumption of material goods, turned down my water heater, switched to a handkerchief, began composting, taught a college class in which a major project was the creation of a Web site based on a worthy cause, tried to share my research/philosophy/understanding with as many people as possible, tried to stop direct mail from reaching me, stopped drinking colas, reduced my water usage, began doing pro-bono work for a nonprofit, stood in silent vigils protesting the Iraq war, joined with community members for discussions and a progressive film series, wrote my congresspersons regarding a number of vital issues, helped save (at least temporarily) the integrity of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, began frequenting my local library, added my voice to the choir etc.


We should be working on as many levels as possible (from the personal to the global) to help create a shift in paradigm. What’s the solution? How are we going to save the planet from the ecological disaster of which we are in the midst? Everybody should be devoting a considerable portion of their time to researching, learning, planning and living differently.

It’s not that this disaster is going to happen in the future. It’s going on now. Just turn on the news or late night PBS. The projections in regards to global warming, population, water tables, oceanic resources etc. are terrifying. America is not currently bearing the brunt of the four horseman, but it’s coming. A worldwide depression seems inevitable.

What then?

I believe that we should be working towards a reduced and stable world population and a reduced and stable global economy. There is a certain inevitability to the reduction in population, but we should be pro-active in our approach rather than allowing our numbers to be reduced via famine, plague, environmental toxicity and war.

The latest book I’ve started is Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things, by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.

It begins with the normal gloom and doom. Specifically the toxicity of one’s personal environment. Basically we are surrounded by electronics, and plastics that emit toxins. I believe that they have chosen the personal health angle to try and break through the resistance many people have to change.

The book itself is a model of the cradle to cradle philosophy. It is composed of some magic synthetic. However, it still needs to be produced and shipped.

The ideas expressed in the book may be an aspect of a solution, but for the time being I think that we should look at consuming fewer material goods.

I was watching a show on concept cars the other day and one of the cars was based on the cradle to cradle principle. The plastics were made out of soy and the tires out of corn. There is not land to grow enough soy to feed all the cattle and still make cars for 6.5 billion people.

Not to mention that in Lester R. Brown’s book, Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble, he mentions that every five cars in the US requires a football field of asphalt (pg 49).

An author for Harper’s talks about the contribution of our current farming techniques to global warming (I am sorry I can’t find the URL. If I can track it down I will update this entry). So it’s all well and good that we make everything out of natural components, but not only are our croplands in trouble, but they are actually contributing on a number of levels to the destruction of life on the planet.

I was just reviewing my notes on the Lester R. Brown book. They look something like:
aids epidemic pg 5 - aquifers, climate change, eroding soils, expanding deserts pg 6 - food first pg 7 - population doubles water use triples pg 10 - Gobi Desert China pg 13.

Chapter 2
Falling water tables - rivers don’t reach the sea pg 24 - Yellow River, Colorado, Nile - wars coming over water - countries import water as grain - farmers vs cities pg 35 - When will the bubble burst? - food shortages = destabilized governments

Chapter 3
1/3 of topsoil eroding faster than can be replenished pg 43 - dustbowl created when wind erosion out of control - agricultural expansion into marginal land - every five cars in US equals one football field of asphalt pg 49 - cropland 723 million hectares 1981 > 647 million in 2002 pg 53 - rainforest for soybeans pg 55

Lester Brown promised a solution, but I didn’t make it to the end before I had to return the book to the library. I am still planning to finish it. I’ll let you know how it ends.

So. How do we reduce global population in a humanitarian manner? And how do we reign in the devastation of our current economy? I am open to suggestions.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Blog Start

Unfortunately due to abuse I have had to remove my original blog.