Packing peanuts pack a mental wallop
The handful of regular followers of this column already know (or sense) that I may be a few bricks shy of a full load or that my elevator doesn’t go all the way up. Trite sayings – but true. It’s hard to argue against the armchair psychiatric assessments of my readers.
So far, however, my efforts to hold my frame of mind together (environmentally-speaking) have been largely successful.
Until this week.
As soon as the first polystyrene packing ‘peanut’ was spied as I rounded the corner from Fairview onto Sharon Road, I knew there would be hell to pay. Where there’s one little ‘S’ shaped monster, there most certainly are more. In this case, hundreds more.
Let’s put some context to my daily 2.5 mile walk. A normal trek – including routine stops to pick up litter – is usually a 45 minute affair.
When you toss in a litter calamity, such as 200 yards of wind-blown packing peanuts every couple of feet, then the 45 minutes stretches into the realm of torture and and walk that is much, much longer.
And on this day, my jaunt was lengthened by 25 minutes. Two things crossed my mind as I surveyed the first few yards of litter carnage: 1) I could blow it off and keep trucking, knowing full well I’d blow my top at some point and rue not staying to bag every last kernel or 2) I could suck it up to pick up as many of the offenders as could be tracked down.
I chose the latter. Circumstances almost demanded a full range of foul language. Of course, the task was performed in full public view as hundreds – thousands? – of cars crept by during rush hour traffic.
To be sure, I didn’t utter some words not intended for the ears of the easily offended. But most people had their car windows rolled up so I was safe.
Big news to curb global warming: 170 nations agreed to curb HFC use in refrigerators and A/C units
Here’s some little reported but significant environmental news that could have a major impact to reduce global warming.
More than 170 nations, including the U.S., have signed on to a binding agreement to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons – HFCs – in refrigerators and air-conditioners.
This is a big deal. While accounting for only a small percentage of greenhouse gases, HFCs pack a disastrous wallop: HFCs have 1,000 times the heat-trapping potency of carbon dioxide.
The nations negotiated the deal (after seven years in the discussion phase) in Kigali, Rwanda. This differs from the voluntary climate change accord of last year in Paris; the new deal in Kigali sets specific timetables and targets to replace HFCs. There are also penalties, including trade sanctions, for scofflaws.
A symbol of the West, wild horse populations may be too big to manage
Just this past summer in west central Wyoming, I regularly saw wild mustangs roam freely along dusty roadsides as aI drove between my backpacking/flyfishing haunts in the Bridger Wilderness and the Wyoming Range to the west.
The horses are magnificent, but there’s a problem: a federal program to protect and manage the horses in 10 western states has become too successful – and too expensive.
The Bureau of Land Management rents land on 60 ranches to the tune of $49 million per year to house more than 46,000 wild horses removed from public lands.
Although the feds can, according to the New York Times, kill excess horses to reduce the thundering herd, the agency has never done so, fearing public backlash. The agency has tried fertility drugs to little affect, and populations of predators such as wolves have been tabled. You can adopt a wild horse, but the number of people offering homes for mustangs can’t keep up with the natural increase of 15,000 new horses each year.
I like to see the sturdy horses roam in my native Wyoming. But something has to give, and my sense is wild horses will be on the losing end of the equation.