Saturday, September 17, 2011

Silly Sustainablity Saturday

Time for another tour through the lighter side of sustainability this week, with sustainability news that is funny, silly (including just plain stupid), fun, or simply positive. This week's news features Next Media Animation, the Rachel Maddow Show, and Grist; it begins over the jump.
The snarky animators at Next Media Animation continue to depict even the most serious sustainability issues in a humorous way. For example, who ever thought that Australia's adoption of a carbon tax could be funny?

In 2010, Australian Labor Party candidate Julia Gillard promised not to introduce a carbon tax if elected PM. She won by a razor thin margin. Heavy reliance on coal means Australia is of the world's worse carbon dioxide polluters. Many Australians are outraged at Gillard's U-turn. Carbon will cost A$23 per ton for large polluters for the first three years. The price afterwards will be set by the market. Opposition leader Tony Abbott has lambasted Gillard's scheme as a job killer that will harm competitiveness. Former leader Malcolm Turnbull has so far stayed silent. Gillard's alliance with the Greens will help her pass the scheme, but if Labor loses the next election Abbott has vowed to roll carbon pricing back. He says he has his own scheme to reduce greenhouse gasses.
For that matter, the highest U.S. poverty rate in 50 years is even less funny. Don't tell that to NMA.

Poverty in the US has hit a 50-year high, with 46.2 million, or one in seven Americans living below the official poverty line. The signs are ominous. Tent cities of foreclosed homeowners have been reported in scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression. Others are risking their lives to steal copper and other metals for scrap in order to make ends meet. Meanwhile, politicians are too busy arguing on ideological standpoints to fix things. Just how bad can things get?
Bad enough that in the future, Chinese parents might tell their children to eat, there are starving children in America who would be happy to eat that food. Ouch. From the Maddow Blog and Rachel Maddow Show comes this link to a press release from U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly. Release: Snakes on a Plane In Congress
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has held 22 hearings attacking federal regulations, but not a single hearing on job creation, Congressman Gerry Connolly, a member of the committee, lamented today.

Connolly said Wednesday’s hearing bordered on theater of the absurd when the majority brought in a snake breeder who urged Congress to repeal regulations associated with the Lacey Act of 1900, a law that controls the importation of dangerous and invasive plant and animal species.

The majority’s witness, David Barker of the Association of Reptile Breeders, argued for the elimination of an Interior Department rule that would ban the transportation across state lines of giant Burmese pythons and eight other dangerous snakes.

“These pythons are the same snakes that are breeding rapidly, overrunning the Everglades, eating every animal in sight including large alligators, and establishing a permanent habitat in South Florida, according to the National Park Service,” Connolly said. “I don’t think eliminating regulations promulgated under this 111-year-old law and allowing more dangerous and invasive species into the country will do anything to create jobs, but it will certainly wreak havoc on our national parks and on many of our native wildlife, plants, and crops,” Connolly said. “And that will have a negative impact on jobs and our environment.”

“If regulations and economic growth were inversely related, then sub-Saharan Africa would have the most productive economy on earth,” Connolly said in his committee statement. “I think the majority is peddling a bit of snake oil here,” Connolly said. “But it has nothing to do with jobs.”
This would be a lot funnier if it weren't a waste of time and so bad for the environment. From the comments section of last week's Silly Sustainability Saturday reposted on Daily Kos, commenter RosyFinch suggested that I include Bikes find a way in San Jose in this week's version. Grist also has an adorable suggestion in Got trash? Put a kitten in it. One last item from Grist, a slideshow titled Just park it.
Friday was Park(ing) Day, when folks reclaim parking spots around the world for dinner parties, cornhole tournaments, performance art -- even urban chickens. Here are some of our favorite shots from the past few years. Score one for the humans!
And that's it for the lighter side of sustainability this week.

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