Thursday, August 20, 2015

Haves vs. Nots Heating Up

There is various silent civil wars happening around the globe. Numerous battles are happening on many fronts: between the North and South hemispheres; with the haves versus those without; and other human battle fields.  Most of the affluence and wealth resides in the North.  Now we have the one percent rich and those who have each day try to keep their heads above the waters of debt. 

Forty years ago I wrote a graduate paper at George Washington University on the this gap and economic growth. In the last four decades income disparity has accelerated, and this planet keeps getting warmer. 

As each of our rich and poor nations make it through each day, the melting at the poles increases. Now industrial North does not want to fully shell up the cash to help the South lessen their emerging carbon impact. Those third world Southerners have HIV, malaria, malnutrition, and sanitary threats distracting them to best act.  

Just keeping our population in check is just one challenge.  Just in my life humans on this planet more than doubled. The fact is we can not sustain both quality and quantity of life with now over 7 billion of us.  

Now in the United States, there is another civil war in decision making divided by the red and blue states. The Republicans still have yet to acknowledge our climate and economic disparities.  The clock is ticking down fast and alarming us for long term solutions. Not just is our free world in jeopardy but the fate of our natural world we survive on is in question. What is in jeopardy requires substantial fiscal investment of trillions of dollars to abate these problems. Our global civil war, is a battle field were ecological and eco-illogical must fight it out. For example just the conflict for food and water is already going from bad to worst.

The United States is still on the fence to showing we are really serious player. We want a clean environment however our economy is more important. Also there is much indecision on how best to proceed.

Americans comprise a large percentage of both users and polluters. Will we we clean up our share?  How will the rest of the world work with us if we continue to be feeble?Can we establish greater equity and opportunities in the use of resources investing in a green economy? 

We are now engaged in various civil wars both here and abroad. The question is will we innovate to find ways to resolve our conflicts. Or will this division result in the ultimate loss of our ecological world by eco-illogical decisions. We must balance on the scales quality with some wise sense of quantity. Equity, efficiency and economy must not just be words yet deeds we Americans show for our grandchildren and their future surroundings. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Federal Efficiency; Use it not lose it

This time every year in Washington D.C. federal agencies throw away hundreds of millions of good products in the trash.  Our nation’s government discards a bountiful amount of materials to benefit in their next year budget cycle.  This is called "use it or lose it.”  This form of waste is not uncommon with many organizations. There is nothing efficient about this practice to discard so to stimulate your next year budget. 

35 years ago I was the D.C. first recycling coordinator. I observed huge amount of perfectly good materials such as furniture and chairs trashed because of a new budget cycle.   If only the Feds could reward saving things and instead of discarding them.  It is ironic that we invest hundreds of billions of dollars in defense programs or homeland security while investing a tiny fraction in our very earth’s survival. 

Our industrial facilities generate yearly 7.6 billion tons of non-hazardous industrial waste.  This is generated by a wide spectrum of manufacturing companies. This waste includes domestic sewage and bio-solids, demolition and construction wastes, agricultural and mining residues, combustion ash, and industrial process wastes. Industrial non-hazardous waste are produced by 12,000 facilities, and disposed of on-site in surface impoundments, landfills, waste piles or land application units.  

We must look beyond municipal solid waste to fully integrate this resource management.  Once we better identify the exact environmental and economic consequences of our by-products rural areas will not just be the convenient dumping ground for this nation’s refuse and effluence.  

For example the price of some landfills reflect “bury now, pay latter”, while billions of pounds of future materials are discarded for future generations to deal with. 

Let’s celebrate everyday by respecting not abusing our goods. Better managing our environment is not just an issue, it is our very future.  A more conservation ethic can phase out our federal "use it or lose it" practice. Mending is far better then ending when it comes to our beloved land, water and air.