The Pondering Pig Fights Global Warming

I watched the Live Earth concert Saturday night. It was great to see all those big names taking a stand against global warming. Madonna sang a song called “I’m Gonna Hang Right Up On You, Mr. CO2 Emitter!” and it was really good. I just didn’t understand why her dancers all wanted to have cunnilingus with her right then. It was probably symbolic. Then all these other big stars I never heard of started cranking up their Marshall amplifier stacks and I could see how mad they were about people using so much electricity and all the stage lights started flashing on and off! It was exciting and probably saved even more energy.

The Live Earth announcers had a lot of great tips too. Like be sure to unplug your battery charger when you’re not using it. And change all the light bulbs in your house to fluorescent energy-saving ones cause the mercury in them really doesn’t amount to much and the EPA is going to figure out how to recycle them very soon.

So I’ve already started. I want to feel good about myself, don’t you? Like yesterday at the drug store I told the clerk, “Hey, don’t put that aspirin in a plastic bag! I’ll just stick it in my pocket here! I’m going green!” Man, he was impressed. And besides, I’ve been feeling a little funny about driving up and down the freeway all day in my giant SUV with the air-conditioner blasting away. But can I help it if I’m a really big pig? And to know I was fighting global warming when I stuck that aspirin in my pocket made me feel a lot better. Next I’m going to try printing on both sides of my computer paper!

Oh, here’s another thing that will help you feel better if you fly a lot. A lot of people say you should cut back because jets emit about a zillion times more CO2 every time they take off than a giant SUV does in a year. So take the bus. But you know what I figured out? Say a jet takes off with only ten people in it. You divide the total emission by ten and you find that each passenger just raised the temperature of Utah by three degrees. Just one passenger and there’s ten of them! But say that DC-10 is full! 380 passengers! Now you divide the CO2 emission by 380 and look – these guys probably actually reduced CO2 emission by flying. Or pretty close anyway. So I figure we need to fill up those planes! Stop global warming! Fly more often!

Stay tuned for more great energy-saving tips from the Pondering Pig.

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12 thoughts on “The Pondering Pig Fights Global Warming

  1. Wish I could find the statistics on how much the war in Irag is contributing to global warming…one day of military action surely contributes more CO2 to the atmosphere than a million years of regular folks leaving their battery rechargers on…And does anyone really believe that if we citizens sign “The Pledge” our government will DO anything meaningful as “demanded” in Point 1??? Okay, MAYBE the U.S. will finally sign a treaty and join with other countries (ha ha) to work for a 90% cut in pollution, but will it comply with the terms? Just like it honors it’s pledge to work for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals? Yeah, I’ll unplug my cell phone charger and change my light bulbs. But what do I do with them when they finally burn out? (I won’t be able to dispose of them, with all that mercury in them…shall I put them in a box in my basement, with a skull and cross bones painted on the lid?) I’ll try to keep my tires properly inflated and continue to walk more than drive just like I always do anyway, and I’ll “demand” (or sometimes ask nicely, depending on whom I’m addressing.)But somehow, I’ll feel like someone’s pulling the wool over my eyes and everyone else’s too.

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  2. “What is wrong with making a profit?” Nothing.But, is there something wrong with making a profit at the expense of everything else? Making a profit while exploiting workers, depleting natural resources at the fastest possible rate, wrecking the environment, making the air virtually unbreathable, gobbling up every last inch of open space?If it were up to people like the.chronicler and his father, employees in this country would still be in the same situation as the workers in Andrew Carnegie’s blast furnaces following the defeat of the union in the 1892 Homestead Strike: Working seven twelve-hour shifts a week, with a 24(!!) hour shift every other Sunday, while getting paid virtually nothing. All this while working in an environment with an insanely high accident rate. But, hey, Carnegie was ONLY maximizng his PROFITS.What about the guys selling those “blood diamonds” from Africa? They’re simply making a profit. And the people running the whorehouses full of young girls. Just making a profit. They’re all just selling what people want to buy.At some point, the profit motive needs to be regulated, usually by government, because businesses have no reason to do so themselves (look it up; they have a very poor record of doing what’s right at the expense of profits). And if that’s “Marxist”, so be it.And, just to throw in something about “scrubbers”, I grew up in Pittsburgh. Granted, I came around after the “Smokey City” days, but my parents still remember the days when you couldn’t hang your laundry outside and if you wore a white shirt to work you would have to change it at lunch time. The laundry and the shirts would turn black because of all the coal dust and soot in the air. So, do I think scrubbers are a good idea, even if they hurt profits? You better believe it. If the air’s turning my shirt black, I certainly don’t want to be breathing it! For a small example of the damage that long-gone air is still doing, check out this story from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07176/796927-53.stm

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  3. Andrew Carnegie left LIBRARIES!?! And that makes up for all the steel workers who literally worked themselves to death in his factories or were permanently disabled or disfigured and all those who could barely put food on the table? (Carnegie left THEM behind, too.) Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used and appreciated his libraries for years, but I don’t think it alleviates his culpability in those “injustices”, as the.chronicler himself called them. In fact, I believe that’s WHY he left libraries behind. To try to erase the pangs of guilt from his exploitative and destructive “profit-making”. Wouldn’t it have been better to share more of his profits with the workers at the time and give them a better life and food on the table, than to wait until he’s in his last years and give them libraries?By the way, I read an excerpt from the latest Carnegie biography, and it states that all his philanthropy barely ate up the interest on his wealth. He never even touched the principal.And to get to the point about “lawbreakers”. They’re only lawbreakers because progressive reformers passed laws to prevent companies from bilking and taking advantage of customers and/or the government. One hundred+ years ago, what Enron did would have been perfectly legal.Therefore, yes most companies ARE law-abiding. But so were those 100 years ago, who were using all kinds of business practices that are now considered “unfair” and illegal.To go back to the.chronicler’s original response: So he agrees that all those things I listed are bad (“injustices”). He just figures they’re ok because someone somewhere is making a profit on them.As The Pig alluded to most, if not all, of those “good agreements” between companies and workers came about because the companies were FORCED into them by unions, which the companies were FORCED by government to allow.I don’t have a “marxist model”, but I really don’t know where this pie-in-sky, “the-free-market-can-solve-all-the-world’s-ills” religion comes from in this country. The truth is no one economic system is perfect or fits every situation. I do know that two of the countries with some of the highest quality of life in the world are Norway and Sweden. They both incorporate a fusion of free-enterprise and socialism. (One could probably also make a point that the USSR wasn’t really Marxist at all. It was a totalitarian state.)The.chronicler wants “freedom, not more government power”? So, I guess it would be ok with him if I came down and bought all the property around his house for my industrial hog farm (no offense, Pig) and just washed all the excrement through the fence into his yard and all the drainages around. Or would he head up to Capital Hill to try get a law passed to stop me?

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  4. Hey Pig, speaking of making a profit, have you checked Kiva lately? I just looked today for the first time in awhile, and wow, there sure are a variety of countries represented. Tajikistan, Cote d’Ivoire, Iraq, Dominican Republic, Vietnam… plus all the usual ones of Azerbijian, etc. And the lady in Vietnam even raises pigs.Hannah

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  5. Truthfully, I’m probably the least angry, least cynical person you’d ever have the pleasure to meet. Ask The Pig and/or Patrushka.I’m just realistic and open-minded enough to realize that there’s a greater good than making a profit and screw-everyone-else and that the free-enterprise system was not ordained by God. That people are very short-sighted, especially when they see $$, and can’t see past their newest home theater system or next Hummer. If left to their own devices most businesses (and most people for that matter) are only out for themselves. And that doesn’t necessarily include their employees. Just ask the business owners who would rather pay illegal immigrants a pittance under the table than employee American citizens (or the illegals) at the minimum wage. All it takes to see this is a quick walk through the history of mankind.And I doubt your ancestors really had it much harder than working with several-thousand-degree molten iron and steel for 12 hours a day, seven days a week (24 hours every other Sunday). Maybe equally hard, but harder? I doubt it.No, I don’t envy those who have achieved wealth, because I don’t desire it. I do, however, get angry when people achieve wealth at the expense of others. And I don’t mean by taking their money in a legal business transaction. I mean by working to keep wages as low as possible, by refusing to make workplaces safe, polluting the air and water…And just for the record, my ancestors were coal miners and steelworkers (at least in this country, I don’t know what they did in the Old Country; they were probably peasants), so they weren’t exactly livin’ on Easy Street.

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  6. So, I’m an Italian (or any other) immigrant at the tail end of the 19th Century. I come to America. I speak very little English, probably read less. I have few “job skills”. I look for a job; most employers turn me down. Finally, I’m offered a job: I can become a coal miner for 5 cents (or whatever) an hour in a highly dangerous workplace, where I probably won’t live to see 30 and if I do, I’ll probably die not long after from Black Lung disease. What should I do? Should I take the job for the little money it will bring my family (I can at least afford bread) or should I say “No way, man! That wage is entirely too low!” and continue to be unemployed while searching vainly for someone who will hire an unskilled laborer? There may not be a literal gun to my head, but it sure feels like it.Now, is this the situation in America today? No, not for most Americans. But, still, not everyone can pick and choose between five different high-paying jobs. Some people have to choose between working the graveyard shift at the Qik-E-Mart or not working at all. But you seem to believe that anyone who isn’t working at a well-paying job has chosen not to. (Or that everyone who works at Wal-Mart decided from day one, “I want to work at Wal-Mart!”) And how many employers do you know who will hire an employee who puts on their resume under “Education”, “Self-taught at local library”? It’s actually getting to the point where, in a lot of cases, even a Bachelor’s Degree isn’t enough. As I’m sure you know, college takes money and lots of it. Which means many intelligent, hard-working students never get the chance to attend.Is America better than most of the world? Definitely. Can it be even better than it is? Most certainly.About God and freedom: Did you know that most early Christians, and even some 19th Century American Christians, practiced a form of communism? Except they gave all their property and income to the Church, not the government. The Church then dispersed the goods and money based on need.I didn’t mean to slight your ancestors, but I believe you are diminishing a line of work where one is in danger of being seriously burned (quite possibly fatally) or crushed at any moment. Especially when working on so little sleep (did I mention the 24 hour shift every other Sunday?). Or in a coal mine, where a cave in or explosion can happen at any time, not to mention breathing poison methane. As we saw a couple years ago in WV, coal mining is STILL an incredibly dangerous job. And how many of those miners do you think would jump at the opportunity to take a different job?

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  7. So…wait. “Your people” worked in steel mills, but had it harder than people who worked in steel mills? You say they worked there “willingly”. Was this before or after unionization? The followers of Peter and Paul were “cultish”? And the whole thing about “yield[ing]…to a ‘higher authority'”; isn’t that the definition of religion?Corporations aren’t evil, I never said that. They’re simply single-minded.”Having a Wal-Mart job option is better than no option at all.” Yes, and being paralyzed is better than being dead. Doesn’t mean it’s a favorable situation.What do charitable contributions have to do with this discussion? You seem to think it’s wonderful to give privately to starving Africans (I agree), but anathema to give higher wages to poor Americans (I disagree). In fact, if companies the world over paid higher wages, a lot of charitable contributions wouldn’t be needed.I don’t know where you’ve gotten this idea that I want the U.S. to become a communist state. I just want corporations to be required to not pollute, pay a fair wage (i.e. keep up, percentage-wise, with inflation and CEO wages), not leave almost half of Americans uninsured (or under-insured), not use sleazy business practices… In other words, to be good citizens, not monoliths taking advantage of the “little guy” in the name of profits, just because they have the power, influence and money to do so. And if there are things in there they cannot or will not do, then we try something else.You make a good point about the reasons immigrants came (and come) to America. That doesn’t mean employers didn’t (and don’t) take advantage of them and “lowball” them when it came to wages. And most companies still have to be forced into making sure their workplaces are safe.

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  8. Chronicler, Please read about the Homestead Strike of 1892 between the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers and the Carnegie Steel Company , where Carnegie had sniper towers and water canons that poured boiling water installed against the union strikers and tell me if it sounds like the town was full of happy workers thrilled to be working in terrible conditions every day. And tell me that Carnegie Steel was happily and willingly improving conditions without being forced to.Please read about the girls who worked in the Chicopee, Massachusetts Cotton/Wool Mill who constantly were striking between 1843 to 1848 to try and reduce their working day from 15 hours. In the end they had to storm the gates armed with sticks and stones, break the gates, and silence the looms to get the company officers to even listen to them. Tell me that those were happy workers, and that employers were happily willing to improve working conditions. Please read about the Lowell Factory girls who were required to live in boarding houses that slept them six to a room, two to a bed, fed them one meal of bread and gravy a day,and had to work 13.5 hours a day, where in a room of 150 workers, daily 30 would be sick from the fumes. Tell me that the girls were “bellyaching” when the management then tried to increase the workload from three to four looms, simultaneously decreasing pay.Please read about the conditions that led to the Triangle Shirtwaist Company Fire in 1911 that killed 146 workers. From Wikipedia: “The company employed approximately 500 workers, mostly young immigrant women from Italy and Eastern Europe. Some of the women were as young as twelve or thirteen and worked fourteen-hour shifts during a 60-hour to 72-hour workweek, sewing clothes for a wage of $1.50 per week. After the fire Rose Schneiderman, a prominent union activist had this to say: …”This is not the first time girls have been burned alive in the city. Every week I must learn of the untimely death of one of my sister workers. Every year thousands of us are maimed. The life of men and women is so cheap and property is so sacred. There are so many of us for one job it matters little if 146 of us are burned to death.We have tried you citizens; we are trying you now, and you have a couple of dollars for the sorrowing mothers, brothers and sisters by way of a charity gift. But every time the workers come out in the only way they know to protest against conditions which are unbearable the strong hand of the law is allowed to press down heavily upon us.Public officials have only words of warning to us – warning that we must be intensely peaceable, and they have the workhouse just back of all their warnings. The strong hand of the law beats us back, when we rise, into the conditions that make life unbearable…”Sort of hard to “vote with your feet” in these conditions. Not much incentive for the employers to change the workplace condtions, and the workers can’t pick up and take another job.Each of the above mentioned situations is representative of the workplace conditions of the respective industries at the time, they were not isolated events unique to one bad-apple employer. What they all have in common is that what the companies were doing was legal at the time, it took incredible struggle on the part of the workers to change the conditions, the improvement in workplace conditions did not come willingly or easily from the employers. The conditions we have in the workplace of 40-hour workweeks, where OSHA oversees dangerous activities, where there are laws to protect the employees, only came about because so many employees gave their lives for it in the past. It did not come about because employers thought it was the right thing to do.Unfortunately,today, while much has changed for the better, much has also stayed the same. Huge, powerful companies are still trying to get away with whatever they can- damn the rights of anyone who doesn’t have the money and power to resist them.According to Wikipedia, in a 1994 report, “the United States Government Accountability Office found that there were still thousands of sweatshops in the United States, using a definition of a sweatshop as any “employer that violates more than one federal or state labor law governing minimum wage and overtime, child labor, industrial homework, occupational safety and health, workers’ compensation, or industry registration””.Or think about mountaintop removal mining in the Appalachian Mountains. Although thousands of families live in the area, living in homes that they worked long and hard to own, the mining companies are setting off thousands of blasts a day, the shock waves of which are ruining the foundations of nearby houses and destroying their wells. The town of McRoberts, Kentucky recently had three 100-year floods in a 10 day period destroying multiple homes and vehicles due to the mining companies’ practices of blasting off mountaintops and dumping the debris in the valley’s below, allowing rainwater to wash unimpeded through the lowlands. According to the EPA, more than 700 miles of streams have been buried by valley fills, and thousands of additional miles have been contaminated with heavy metals and acid mine drainage. “In Letcher County, Kentucky, children suffer from extremely high rates of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and shortness of breath, all of which can be tied to dissolved minerals in nearby streams.” All of which is legal, due to a change in wording the Bush administration made to the Clean Water Act due to the appointment of coal lobbyist Steven Griles to deputy secretary of the Department of the Interior. So is what they are doing legal? Yes, they made it legal. But is it right? Is it being a good steward of the environment? Is it infringing on the rights of all the homeowners with cracked foundations and flooded homes? Is it acceptable what they’ve done to the health of all those children? I would say no to all of the above. Does not changing their practices involve their bottom line? I would say yes, but you be the judge.Or how about today’s article (July 15, 2007) in the Chicago Tribune “BP Gets Break On Dumping In Lake” where BP managed to get a first ever exemption to the regulations of the Clean Water Act in order to increase their dumping into Lake Michigan by 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge, bringing their total to 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge, DAILY. THe law would be too difficult and costly to work within, so they got an exemption to it. A clever way to stay within the law, yes. Voluntarily doing what is right within the intent of the existing law created to protect people and the environment, but which would hurt their profits,no.Are there companies and corporations our there who do care and do what is right? Quite probably. Is profit bad, in and of itself? Not at all. Does commercial enterprise need oversight to make sure it’s not trampling on the health and wellbeing of its employees, the environment, and the neighbors who live nearby, in their quest for profits? Is it going to be a struggle to stay on top of their wily ways? You betcha.

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  9. So, the millions of folks (including single mothers, or simply those with families) living in all the ghettos and barrios in every major U.S. city and working for minimum wage or less (if they’re working at all) should just pick up and move. Where to, do you suppose? And with what? It costs money to move across the continent.”Pull yourself up by your bootstraps” assumes you have bootstraps (and boots) to begin with.I also find the insinuation that all strikers are “mobs” led astray by one or two bellyaching malcontents hilarious (and a little offensive). That’s been management’s story for the last 150 years. Wal-Mart still uses that excuse when refusing union organizers access to its workforce.Were there situations where that was the case? Probably, especially in the latter half of the 20th Century, when many unions were corrupted and some were even infiltrated by organized crime. But in the early days of unionization? Not so much. People had to have a pretty good reason to sacrifice their paychecks and risk their jobs (if not life and limb) to jump on board and strike.I believe Hannah’s point was not that these were simple, one-sided issues, rather, she was pointing out that these were not happy people, going to work with “smiles on their faces”. There were serious workplace issues which led to serious, and understandable, worker discontent.Finally, I would posit that workers in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries **lived** the “Serenity Prayer”. They didn’t give in and just accept that they had to work incredibly long hours in hellish conditions for little pay. They had the wisdom to know what they could change and the courage to do so.

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  10. Hey- Any idea of what happened to all of the chroniclers comments here? Where did they go? Without them this chain of blog comments loses all context.

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