May 13, 2009

City Council All Wet?

     If I had known the council was proposing a one-size-fits-all, zero-tolerance policy, I would have suggested some sustainable amendments.
     Food gardens are an obvious exemption here, since growing your own food displaces a certain amount of water use that would otherwise be required for transportation and display for sale. Gardens that are shaded by trees retain water far longer than those which are naked in the Sacramento summer sun. And of course, houses where composting toilets are installed and graywater systems route household wastewater to thirsty plants are conserving water automatically.
     Rumors that we are in a drought have been called into question but as usual politicians ignore impertinent critiques. 
     And of course this ordinance, like so many, depends on complaints for enforcement, which means more of the sort of anonymous complaints and neighbor snitching that sabotages true and sustaining community.

May 12, 2009

Rural Resistance To Green Veneer

     People who live in the country didn't move there so cities could build high-voltage towers in their fields and farms, as was pointed out in yesterday's Bee
     Large-scale, energy-intensive projects like this are not green. Sorry.
     One alternative to meeting Sacramento's sacred future energy demands would be to ban all Sacramento's inefficient and polluting fossil-fuel leafblowers and lawnmowers, and divert all that fuel to one highly efficient stationary turbine with good pollution controls. This would make a sizeable dent in the 'demands' for electricity that are expected for the next few years.
     Another alternative would be to take a close look at our 'demands,' which sound to me like the selfish whims of spoiled children. How much electricity is used for anything we actually need? How much is used for things we like but can actually live without?
     You can't be green, or sustainable, if you don't know the difference. 

May 9, 2009

Downsizing Government & Minimizing Pain

     Councilmember Ray Tretheway's op-ed in today's Bee advocates energetic enforcement of petty misdemeanors, based on the debatable 'broken-windows' theory that blight causes crime. Elsewhere, WEAVE reports that rape-crisis support for victims will be cut as part of the budget crunch. I hope Tretheway would give higher priority to addressing violent crimes such as rape, than to petty offenses such as graffiti, self-medication, or penny-ante theft.
     Minimizing pain can't happen if we stay inside the box of business-as-usual, which includes law enforcement retribution for underclass street crimes but old-boy bonuses for the upper-class suite crimes that continue to rape public budgets.
     The business-as-usual box also insists that we must fight blight by sticking to certain very unsustainable practices, such as having lawns and landscaping that are over-fertilized, over-pesticided, over-watered, and so manicured by fossil-fuel mowers and leafblowers as to appear made from plastic. No wonder the bees are dying.
     Any use of a fossil fuel is another small attack on Mother Earth, and on our long-term survival, not to mention future property values.