Environmental Hypocrisy

Surfing Environmentalist

When I started looking at the Environmental Hypocrisy of politics I wanted to know a couple of things. What makes a good steward of the environment? Are any political parties even close? Is President Trump helping us to be a nation of environmental hypocrites?

Al Gore produced a film call “An inconvenient truth”. This gave him instant credibility as the “Environmental Candidate” even when he himself was a massive polluter. Need proof? I won’t spend the time, but here is a link to the Snopes.com article, a tale of two houses.

While I think the science is wrong in Mr. Gores Movie, the message that we need to do better is absolutely right. Why do I say this? As I sit here in Huntington Beach California and look out the window, even as the state is on fire, I can see Catalina, Palos Verdes and the San Gabriel Mountains. In the 1970’s I saw smog. When I went surfing this morning I saw clear water with some plastic bags floating around. As a kid the water was brown and my feet would be covered in oil from the wells off shore.

It is too bad Mr. Gore isn’t a better example of what an environmentalist can be instead of what a hypocrite “do as I say not as I do” politician can be. Global warming happens without mans influence. Pollution is something we can control and we should be doing more about it.

Inconvenient Truth or Alarmist Tactics?

The science of global warming is simple. The earth moves closer and farther from the sun along with the other planets. It is basic physics. Over time it gently moves farther away but there are short term periods when all the planets line up just right and we are a tad closer and the moon reflects more heat to the earth.

Over recorded time there have been several deep cold spells and warm era’s. We are pretty sure the “ice age” ended the rein of the dinosaurs. None of us were there to take pictures, so I’ll take the science professors word for it. But the basic gist of the story is that the earth was warm, there were dinosaurs, it got cold and now they are gone. Many scientists agree that the next ice age is not a question of if, but when.

There are stories from medieval times that it was so cold that the British Isles could no longer support wine production. At the same time it is said that food in what is now Germany wasn’t growing so the residents attacked and took over what is now Italy. So say that is why the germanic tribes attacked the romans. They needed to control a warmer climate that could grow food.

I don’t know if any of that is true, but the underlying theme of climate change is somewhat likely. Even the best scientists agree the temperature of the earth has taken some big swings.

Surfing Environmentalist

As a long time surfer, I grew up hating oil on the beach and not seeing the mountains if there wasn’t a recent winter rain to clear the air. It wasn’t environmental hypocrisy back then. We simply didn’t care. In the 80’s as we started to understand the damage smog and oil were doing to us things began to change. At the beach, the hippycrites as I call them, would just say “Oil is natural”. What a load of crap.

Yes some oil may leak out of the ground. A lot more of it leaks out when man drills big dang holes in the ground and tries to suck it out. I also fly jets and like fast cars. That is a conundrum because I accept it and work to correct that discrepancy in my life. I am hopeful that people way smarter than me can come up with better ways to transport people with a lower impact on the environment. I also hope that Covid-19 has taught us that we can enjoy a lot more, right where we are. Travel is a luxury, not a right.

“Why is it that scuba divers and surfers are some of the strongest advocates of ocean conservation? Because they’ve spent time in and around the ocean, and they’ve personally seen the beauty, the fragility, and even the degradation of our planet’s blue heart.” – Sylvia Earle- American Explorer

Today, I have a solar house that produces 100% of it’s energy needs. There are enough solar powered homes on my street so that when the power company recently shut us off for service, the back feed kept our street “live”. The chief engineer for the power company said it shouldn’t happen and was confused. Solar systems disconnect as a safety feature so linemen don’t get zapped when they cut grid power. That did not quite happen. It turned out there was a sub transformer in my neighbors back yard that connected only our block.

When the power company killed the grid, there was still enough “voltage output” that no-one’s solar disconnected and the output was telling the other systems that the “grid” still had power. The reality was that the power only made it to the transformer which was disconnected from the grid for service. Better yet, the neighbors without solar power stayed on as well.

Solar Magic?

This can only happen because solar homes need to produce enough electricity to cover their use even when the sun isn’t shining. When the sun is out, my home produces three to four times what my house uses. All of this is great, until sunset that is. A small battery pack at each house with solar could keep our entire block off grid for days.

Fight environmental hypocrisy, go solar! Solar Grid on house plan drawing.

It begs the question, why do we still have power lines running for hundreds of miles when the sun shines right where most people need it? Why do democrats want the power companies to build giant solar farms and wind farms instead of putting solar on all of the warehouse roofs and homes where the sun is shining? Look at where the Board of Directors for the power companies spend money and you’ll find the answer. There is just a hint of environmental hypocrisy when the government wants to insure their friends at the big power companies control your power.

I also am a fan of PHEV and electric cars. Yes there is some work to do on the environmental impact of the batteries. But progress is being made. Just 10 years ago I used over 750 gallons of gas in a year. When the first chevy volt arrived, that dropped to just over 400 gallons. When I added solar, my $200 monthly electric bill went to zero. Last year with the new Chevy Volt as my primary car I used about 50 gallons total and 100% of the electricity came from my solar system. I drove the same distances, I just used better methods of generating energy and transportation that had less of an impact on the environment.

Beach Pollution isn’t only Oil.

Oil itself isn’t the only problem. While the smog is 90% less than it was in the 1970’s and there is a lot less tar on the beach, oil still leaves it’s mark in other ways. Plastic is probably the next biggest problem, and most of it comes from petroleum. Today it is sad to see all of the garbage that comes down the rivers. Homeless line the rivers from the beach to the foothills and add to the trash but it isn’t just them. When I see kids toss their trash out of the car, that ends up in the river too. Every day I see plastic or mylar bags, and other floating trash left over from our “consumer” society.

When I was a kid, we returned soda and beer bottles to get refilled. Now the excuse of being “easier to transport” has us all drinking from plastic bottles. Plastic that releases carcinogens when exposed to UV light. Plastics that still have BPA, another known carcinogen. Plastic Bottle that float around in the oceans for years. All in the name of convenience and lower price.

The democratic party claims they are the “environmental party”. The problem I have is observing most democrats, including Mr. Gore, paints a very different picture. The same people protesting fracking and driving a Prius are throwing trash out the window because they can’t find a trash can. These same people are using “reusable bags” at the grocery store to make them selves feel good after driving another three miles to get cheaper groceries. Once they arrive and the money saving store they cover every fruit and vegetable in another single use plastic bag.

It Starts With Simple Solutions

Being a Right Wing Tree Hugger means that you care about the planet we live on and are willing to take responsibility for your impact. Caring isn’t enough, you need to make a difference to reduce your impact. The great depression taught people to take care of what they had. Baby boomers lead the charge of environmental hypocrisy when they created the biggest economy of consumption in the world.

Wash fruits and vegetables when you get home. Don’t use the single use plastic bags. You should do that anyway because you don’t know who touched or sneezed on it before you bought it.

Buy beverages in glass bottles from local companies. Buying water from the other side of the world in a plastic bottle isn’t doing the environment any favors. Reuse the glass bottles when you can. I buy water from just across the border in Mexico because they still use glass bottles thick enough to re-use. When I brew beer at home, I use those bottles instead of buying new bottles. Glass is the most natural, reusable and recyclable material man has learned to work with. Clay fired is right behind it but doesn’t have the longevity.

Is Glass Bottle Wine Environmental Hypocrisy?
Wine should be in Glass, not a box lined with Plastic.

Learn what your local recycling company can and can’t do. Many recycling centers are overwhelmed with dirty plastic that isn’t recyclable. Most of our materials are sent overseas to be “recycled” because our policies on the environment prevent the facilities from being built in the US. Is wanting more production in the US environmental hypocrisy or is it a form of environmentally friendly propinquity?

If you can afford it and live in the right area, get solar panels. If you are a business owner with a warehouse and a giant flat roof get solar panels. Looking down at Ontario California there are millions of square feet of roof tops that don’t have PV solar panels. 200 miles away there is a huge solar farm and wires connecting that farm to the grid. A lot of the electricity generated way out on that farm is lost because of “line transmission loss“. As a jet pilot I see this same issue all over the world. Until we have clean nuclear power, PV solar looks like the next best thing.

If you can work from home just one day a week, do it. It will help you become better disciplined in your work, and reduce your environmental impact. Al Gore would have the Air Force carry his Prius everywhere so he could look like he was doing something. What a waste of fuel.

Before he was elected, President Trump lived a couple of floors up from his office. He simply took the elevator down a few floors. I’d say that is about as as environmentally friendly as a commute can be. So which one is really the environmentalist, Gore or Trump? Trump calls is “propinquity”, I call it being #RWTH.

Future Leadership on the Environment.

Joe Biden recently was given an F for his thoughts and actions when it came to the environment. Suddenly his grades have improved. What gives? If Joe Biden really cared about the environment, his actions would have shown it long ago. We all know that politicians shift with the wind so can anyone trust that Biden won’t swing back as soon as he sits in the oval office? A little digging into the shift reveals that he wants more “activism” and essentially caved to capture more votes. Cheap politics at it’s finest. Activism and spreading “awareness” are no better than alarmist tactics to instill fear.

Deeds first. How about policies that encourage companies to have smaller satellite locations closer to where their employees can afford to buy a home and want to live? Environmental Hypocrisy builds cheap houses far from work places. What will the next president support and actually do?

As a #RWTH voter, I am not buying that Joe Biden has changed his stripes. I think he just painted them with California approved low VOC paint to hang out with the cool kids and will wash it off as soon as he sits down at the next big power company fundraiser.

President Trump has repealed a few rules that aren’t helping his grades on the environment though. I understand he has been rewarding those that support him, like the petroleum kings in Texas. The difference is, he is doing exactly what he has always done. We don’t expect anything different. The devil you do know or the devil you don’t know?

Maybe someday, the republican leadership that espouses financial, civil and world leadership responsibility will finally understand that you can’t be responsible for the world or a leader of the world if you don’t accept responsibility for the environment. Laura Bush got it when she built the Crawford house.

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