News Ticker

A split with Obama …

Now comes news that President Obama is on the verge of opening the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans to petroleum drilling and unleashing coal mining – much of it on public lands – in the West.

I oppose both and am greatly disappointed and saddened in an administration I’ve come to support on many issues. On this hot-button item for me, I split with the President.

Sean Cockerham of McClatchy’s Washington bureau has surveyed the thinking of scientific minds and finds some consensus that these unsettling efforts, both of which contain potential for much environmental damage, reflect something less than an overall environmental policy but are instead a piecemeal approach.

Several things, from my admittedly biased perspective, are in play here.

One is absolute protection for the environment. Granted, we have made strides in fuel efficient transportation, etc., but societally we remain insatiable energy guzzlers and that needs to be slowed dramatically if not curbed.

I'm not ready to cede to energy exploration scenes like this - a stream in the Bridger Wilderness - to energy interest. No way, no how.

I’m not ready to cede to energy exploration interests such bucolic scenes as this – a stream in the Bridger Wilderness. No way, no how.

Yet how the U.S. has (or has not) urban planned in no way reduces our auto-dependence. That we have divvied up enormous land parcels or encouraged sprawl in our cities has encouraged an infrastructure that is anything but eco-friendly or supportive of the European model of transportation (trains and and limited auto use); Americans are forced to drive. Hence the need for more, more, more fuel to underscore our claim of a divine right, in our ‘I’ll do what I damn well please’ hubris, to drive an undisciplined 20 miles for the next 20% off sale or hop in the car for a quick trip to the store for milk or a bag of chips. It is our Manifest Destiny run amok.

Population densities in developed nations paint a bleak picture of our ill-considered approaches to transportation and land use planning.

According to the World Bank, the United Kingdom has 267 inhabitants per square kilometer. In Germany, it’s 232. 349 in Japan and 121 in France.

In the U.S., it is 35. We want to spread our wings in the Wide Open Spaces, and we do. Little wonder our penchant for cars – and oil.

All of this is part and parcel of an energy dilemma that chokes us, our cities and our air and enslaves us to an oil-dependent status quo. So when we open portions of our waters and land to feed the great beast, we instead devour what little of the earth we have left. We will apparently continue to do so at our peril.

About Dave Bradley (254 Articles)
I'm the one behind two totally unrelated blogs; one on 15 years of writing a weekly letter to my kids (plus other recipients), the other on my localized environmental responsibility. I'm a writer by trade and both endeavors are accepted practice for me. As for the letters, my adult children Ellen and Reid may have seen letters as corny at one point, but it's accepted practice for them, too, to find something in their mailbox other than bills and junk mail. Email and texting don't do a lot for me for a lot of different reasons. Snail mail has its place in the communicative world so as long as they keep selling stamps, I'm buying. As for 'Pick Up Your Path' and the environment, I advocate what citizens can do themselves to take a direct hand in their neighborhood environment. But Pick Up Your Path is also a general environmental blog. It may be largely about litter and trash, but both of those are just one element of the total environmental picture.

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