03 January 2010

An Old Story-and another thing

It also strikes me that the moral failure of a portion of the "founding brothers," to use Ellis' term, was based in a world view framed by their current economics - that of slavery. It was so ingrained, and so large, that it seemed impossible to imagine a world without it. Thus the thought of the impact to their "lifestyles" overwhelmed any moral sense. We face that same issue today, but the slave today is fossil fuel which moves our increasingly soft bodies about, warms our homes, cooks our foods, entertains us. We become blind to the moral failings and the incredible pile of moral debt.

I think humans are, by nature, not terribly imaginative. There is a failure to imagine the world that we are making by not changing our ways, yet we fail even worse to imagine the possibilities. I am an optimist. I believe we can design and build our way out of this. And we will end up a richer nation and world in the bargain. But I am also a pessimist. There are so many closed minds out there, and no leadership.

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02 January 2010

Fly Ash?

Fly ash is frequently touted as "sustainable" and "green." It is used by manufacturers of cement and concrete products, and claim LEED credit for recycled content.

Fly ash is a by-product of the burning of coal. Once it was released into the atmosphere following combustion, it is today scrubbed from the exhaust. The srubbed fly ash is used in the manufacture of concrete and cement products, usually as a substitute for Portland cement.

Problem one: We need to stop the burning of coal altogether. The green movement and now green industry should not support the coal industry in any way, shape or form. Granted, while we wean ourselves of our dependency we will continue to make mountains of the stuff, and its use in cement redirects the material from its other potential destination, which is the landfill. However, we cannot continue to allow it to be considered green.

Problem two: Fly ash contains significant toxic impurities, including arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, strontium, thallium, vanadium. The potential health effects are currently unknown. Strontium levels are particularly high.

I understand the arguments as to why its use is a good thing. I'd rather see it in cement and concrete products than in a landfill. But to consider it green and credit it as a LEED point, giving boasting rights to the coal industry, is pure illusion.

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Behind - as usual

I'm really behind on these form poem posts. I'm also behind on the drawings. I wish this was my job to put these and other things out every day.

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