15 March 2011

Compassion, Energy, and the Japanese Disaster (with Linkage)

Taking a break from my series of posts about fiction and its self-awareness of its remove from the "real world" to talk about what's going on in the real world:

They say the Buddha is infinitely compassionate. It's times like these that make me wonder whether compassion is enough. Japanese people are suffering from the after-effects of one of the most powerful earthquakes in recorded history, a tsunami of almost unimaginable proportions, and a potential nuclear meltdown nightmare. Beyond our prayers, here's one way we all can help:
"The best way for local residents to help these people, according to relief organizations, is to donate cash to organizations such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army.

Representatives from both organizations said Monday that money is the biggest need and donating supplies is not an efficient solution.

“Logistically, it becomes too difficult to store, sort and then ship the items,” said Randall Thomas, spokesman for the Salvation Army of Greater Philadelphia. “We can be much more efficient with cash donations.”

For many people, the easiest way to donate is by text messaging. To make a one-time, $10 donation to the Salvation Army, people can text “Japan” to 80888. The donation will be added to the person’s cell phone bill.

The American Red Cross is doing likewise, allowing people to make $10 donations by texting “redcross” to 9099."
In our world, sometimes money means compassion. How broken is your heart? May the Buddha's compassion never be exhausted.

One does not need to be a genius at inductive reasoning to recognize the obvious: the risks/costs entailed by continuing to rely on our traditional forms of energy production outweigh the rewards/benefits. To wit:
Do you get the sense that Mother Nature is trying to tell us something? And we're not even beginning to address the global climatic repercussions.

Fact is, we're running out of energy. It's the ultimate root cause of our lackluster global economies. This is the age of exhaustion.

To read about how some really smart, imaginative people have proposed solutions that seek to preserve not only humanity and civilization but our planetary environment, I urge you to read my series of posts entitled "Parameters of the Last Ark" on this issue.


Anonymous said...

In response to your comment at CFO's Jim, I don't think you're disagreeing with me either. You assume because you acknowledge a problem, people want to fix it. That is a false assumption at two levels. First, well over half the population does not see a problem. They don't agree with you that the costs of our energy exceed the benefits. They don't care about the environmental disasters you list. Even when you show them Gulf oil spills, wars to protect oil, nuclear radiation infecting an unknown number of people and hectares, counties in WV with no people, no animals and no trees, they deny that there is a problem. That was my point. I doubt you disagree with it.

The second problem is that solar and water and wind and geo-thermal work. Fusion might work. But none of them, even in combination with each other, can be shown to produce enough energy to sustain development sufficient to carry the half of the world's population which is less than dirt poor up to still really fucking poor, like say, Mexico. Understandably, China, India, Brazil, Russia and Pakistan, for example are actually trying to do much more. This second point may be solvable, but not until we find a way to educate people well enough that they can grasp that we are spending unsustainable amounts on energy for development. We are a long way from there, I can tell you.

Jim H. said...

CFO schooled me on the same point; a point well-made and taken. Thanks.

Do take a look at the Civilization Type stuff from Kakutani at the Parameters link. Some really smart people are thinking about these things, but the interested ignorance of the entrenched energy profiteers is a major roadblock.

And yes we are a long way from there. The question becomes: will civilization transition to these abundant, renewable planetary sources before we run out or completely foul the nest?

Thanks, again, for your comment.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

...the interested ignorance of the entrenched energy profiteers is a major roadblock.

I'm sure they think of it as enlightened self interest. The problem has been clear for decades, but in this country Reagan's election stopped any movement towards the massive effort we ought to have been making.

Anonymous said...

What's going to happen is not going to be a huge technological revolution premised on a wondrous new technology, but...

...as Jim suggested at my place, people are going to find a new way of seeing our environment, and what exists here already, without lots of additional new technology needed to extract, access, or use that source of energy.

Partly this will be reviewing what is energy and what we need. I'm not getting mystical here, hold on hair-trigger! I mean people are going to have to pare back their present use of energy, their sense of what they're entitled to have as a luxury or personal comfort.

This will be a good thing for humanity, despite the pain involved in the loss, the grieving for that loss, and what people will do to alleviate their suffering while grieving.

Eventually when enough people realize what's happening, and start to look at the world differently, people's energies will be applied to a real problem: what next, after oil-coal-gas-nuke-overengineeredhydro?

Jim already suggested a solution with his mantel clock's description.

Frances Madeson said...

This past autumn I attended an event at the Solar One http://solar1.org/house in Stuyvesant Cove on the East River and along with the fifty or so other people who had gathered there signed the Jimmy Carter solar panel removed from the White House roof by that great communicator Ronald Reagan (Larry Kudlow’s former boss come to think of it), that three students from Unity College in Maine were traveling to DC to deliver to Obama.

I asked the girls what they would do if Obama wouldn’t take the panel from them. They refused to believe that was even a possibility. In their subjective idealism the end of the novel could only be a happy one—just and fair. When I pressed them, they said, IF that happened that would be IT for their respect for Obama. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2010/09/white-house-solar-panel/1 The whole event really did make me wonder why the panels hadn’t previously been restored by VP Gore in 1993 as a first symbolic act.

Here in Sydney, Australia, I’m seeing rooftop solar panels in every neighborhood. They’re way ahead of us. But the best suggestion for implementing solar I’ve ever heard was one Jacob Russell made--that all highway medians be turned into solar harvesting stations. Imagine, pulling your vehicle over to refuel and plugging in for free. The 5.5 trillion taxpayer dollars we’ve spent (in the U.S. alone) on nuclear weapons might have paid for that system a few thousand times over.