Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen (green_jenni) wrote,
Jennifer Killpack-Knutsen

Welcome to Carnival of the Green #33 - Twilight Zone edition

Welcome to Carnival of the Green #33! I'm thrilled to host this carnival again. I was fortunate to host Carnival of the Green #6 back in December. A special thanks to the previous Carnival host, The Savvy Vegetarian, and to the Carnival of the Green founders, City Hippy and Triple Pundit. (You can find more info about hosting or posting for the Carnival of the Green at those links.)

Submitted for your approval . . . our story begins in a possible future in a museum that documents our species' survival through a period of environmental crisis. We are all given the temporary gift to see ourselves and our culture as history might view us. In this carnival we will have one foot firmly planted in the now, and the other in . . .

The Green Twilight Zone

The Automobile Culture

"Folks, if you'd like to step over here to our first exhibit. Thank you. Our first exhibit illustrates one of the biggest factors in the near environmental collapse nearly 200 years ago -- the gasoline automobile. People in most developed nations at that time became very dependent on their vehicles, and roughly 25% of all trips made in these cars were less than two miles. The pollution from the fossil fuels used in these vehicles helped to exacerbate the conditions for the global warming crisis early in the new millenium. Ironically, as the earth's temperature started to rise, the corporations that manufactured the vehicles created vehicles that were less and less fuel efficient, and through a clever manipulation of the time called "advertising", were able to convince many people that such vehicles were a desirable status symbol."

Francis Stokes at Sludgie asks why the electric car on display at the Smithsonian was pulled and replaced with a "souped-up" SUV within days of the release of the film, Who Killed the Electric Car?

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Strain of Personal Finance Advice notes that no one walks in the suburbs, and in fact, the suburbs are designed to discourage walking. I personally got on a tangent about urban planning and walkable cities when I had to spend several hours in a nearby city that didn't have much to offer greenies, and Joe Kissell at the Interesting Thing of the Day writes about a walkable small town near Phoenix that was designed using "arcology" (combining architecture with ecology).

Perhaps some some of the "whys" to the sprawl and unwalkable communities can be explained by "petropolitics". Barbara Feiner in Organic Authority informs us of a must-see-T.V.-event on the Discovery Channel, Addicted to Oil: Thomas L. Friedman Reporting, that discusses petropolitics and explores how the U.S. became addicted to oil.

Agribusiness of the 20th and 21st Centuries

"This next exhibit demonstrates the unnatural ways that people produced food or gardened for themselves. At the crisis time, it was not uncommon for farmers and gardeners to used copious amounts of toxic chemicals to fertilize plants and ward off pests, despite the fact that over 100 pesticide ingredients were suspected to cause birth defects, cancer and gene mutations. As much of these toxic substances were used in the production of crops, it's been estimated that the average home in what is formerly known as the United States had 10 times the pesticide contamination of the average crop field."

Judy K at the Savvy Vegetarian got a chance to look through her daughter's book on permaculture and found out that only worms and other subterranian life-forms should be allowed to dig in the dirt -- Don't Dig In the Dirt - Permaculture and Soil.

Flatbush Gardener (Xris) reviews for us the book Eco-friendly Living in New York City and focuses on some of the book's gardening tips for city dwellers.

CORRECTION: Xris at Flatbush Gardener was reporting on a review of the book that appeared in Science and the City. The Gardening tips in the post are his own.

Throw-Away Culture

"You are all probably aware that the society at the time previous to the great crisis was a "throw away" culture. Many of the landfills that are currently being mined for resources were created in the 20th century and into the 21st. Many people in develpoed countries would buy plastic bottles with anywhere from 16 to 32 ounces of purified water (not even a recommended daily supply) and throw out the plastic container. It was far easier in those days to buy everything new than have something repaired, and many people would throw away usable items rather than take the effort to find someone else who might have a use for that item."

Elsa Mary at The Greener Side sings the praises of Craiglist and the abililty to find good homes for items to be reused, as well as having many other resources for green-minded folks.

Extinction of Species

"We have lost many species over the history of this planet, but the period of the great crisis extinction occured 1,000 times faster than it normally would have without the human activity at that time period."

Alexandra Cousteau at Earth Echo asks "What Do We Know?" and wonders how many animal species we've yet to discover, like the squirrel/rat that she highlights in her post. And Mike at 10,000 Birds sees a global impact of bird habitat in his post, The Carribean Connection.

Green space is also becoming endangered. Riversider at the Save the Ribble blog wants to save open space allotments from being developed, and gives us 10 great reasons why these allotments should be saved.

War Industry

"War has always been bad for the environment, but since the 1940s, war has had global destruction capabilities. Further exacerbating the global crisis period was the existence of a large and powerful military industry and weapons manufacturing complex which needed wars and conflicts in order to thrive. Wars were also fought during the great crisis as resources (such as those for fossil fuels) became more and more scarce and nation states militarily positioned themselves strategically to protect and hoard those resources for themselves."

Shannon at Charismatic Megafauna discusses river restoration in general, and the pollution of the ground water and the Tigris River in Iraq with dumped oil in particular. She also believes that the same questions used to plan river reconstruction projects could have been modified to give serious thought to the Iraq War before we jumped in and made a mess of things.

A little bit of green hope on the military horizon? Harlan Weikle of the Greener Magazine tells of a  hybrid tactical vehicle scheduled for use by the U.S. military. Methinks that this has more to do with saving on future fuel costs than actual green sensibilities by our military, but it does give me a sliver of hope that we can green them a bit more -- maybe we could get them to stop using D.U. munitions next?

Energy Consumption

"Consumption of resources was at an all time high for developed nations just before the great crisis. Water sources became more polluted and at the same time people used lots of water to keep up grass lawns and used far more for other household uses than was needed. Most electricity was generated from dirty and planet warming coal plants or from dangerous nuclear power plants, the wastes of which we will be dealing with thousands of years to come. Wind and solar power were just beginning to come into limited used toward the end of the 20th century."

Tracy Stokes at the Eco Street blog writes about the advantages of switching to compact fluorescents as a conservation strategy. Cathryn at Camden Kiwi reminds us to think about our water usage when we travel, and gives us good tips to reduce our water consumption on vacations.

Politics and Greed

"What really got in the way of taking care of the planet was unchecked capitalism. Corporations at that time had tremendous influence over political leaders and were able to get legislation passed that limited regulation or obscured environmental findings. One of the past leaders of the former United States, George W. Bush, even censored his own environmental protection agency's finding on global warming because the results were damning for oil and other energy industries that his administration had ties to."

Deanna Taylor of Dee's 'Dotes writes that some of the biggest obstacles for environmental work and other activist activities are greed and government: Dividing and Conquering . . . Lessons in Community Building?

Forward Thinkers

"Fortunately for us, there were those at that time who were forward thinkers and who worked tirelessly to get the message out. Eventually people began to listen and started to take action, which is why, even through much environmental hardship, we humans are still around."

An Inconvenient Truth is the subject of a couple more posts this week. Sally Kneidel, PhD of Veggie Revolution and Josh from Thoughts From Kansas both review the film and bring interesting and different points to the discussion.

Al at City Hippy wonders what is the "greenest positive statement I could make?" What can he do right now? Tired of being told what not to do, he's asking for input on a positive and upbeat message to the world.

A possible future -- but will it come true? Will future generations be both condeming and thanking our generation for our actions, or will humanity be lost to the global crisis ahead? Questions that can only be answered by time, or in . . .

The Green Twilight Zone

Please join the Carnival of the Green #34 next Monday at  Head Way Youth
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