An Inconvenient Truth

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    Mar 24, 2008 9:25 AM GMT
    I just finished seeing the movie for the first time, and I STRONGLY encourage everyone to watch it. It's a documentary on global warming, narrated by the former 'next president' Al Gore (I still can't fathom how Dubya Bush got reelected... tsk...).

    All the problems in the world always seem to pale in comparison when it comes to the rate by which we are destroying the planet. The movie not only shows how alarming the rate is but also hard facts to back that up.

    For years I have listened to politicians downplay global warming as lunatic ravings of alarmist 'treehuggers'. I, like almost everyone else, had been lulled into thinking that it's not that much of a problem and that it wouldn't happen in my lifetime. That movie woke me up.

    I really regret not having seen the movie earlier. I have a lot of questions.

    The current 'war against terrorism', which is if not a thinly veiled attempt at direct access to oil resources, then most assuredly oil is a driving factor in it. I am not American, but I still ask... Oil?! WHAT FOR?!

    We have had the technology for safe 'green' energy for years, and still, I have yet to see an electric car on the roads. Americans instead feel threatened by Japanese carmakers (Toyota, Honda, etc.) which are making FAR more efficient vehicles. They respond by shunning Asian cars and buying American gas guzzlers. I once read the special edition Earth Day copy of Time Magazine (2001, I think) and I was drawn to the astonishing 'cars of the future' advertised in those pages. Cars with drinkable water as emissions, cars which run on hydrogen, hybrid cars, solar powered cars, electric cars, etc. What struck me was that I don't remember a single American car company in those pages... Asian carmakers have put cheaper cars that get more mileage to the liter on the market and have been vigorously exploring alternative fuel sources. But as far as I know, none of the American car companies have made any real effort at better mileage or developing alternative fuel technology - instead capitalizing on being 'muscle cars' and 'all-American'. So much so that Asian cars are regarded as effeminate and 'uncool'. Still, why the fuck would I buy a car from them? WHAT FOR?! Unless they go with the rest of the world and start weaning people off oil dependency, they're still going nowhere.

    Ever since the Chernobyl disaster, most nuclear power plants have been getting a lot of negative press. For example, the Philippines bought a nuclear power plant in anticipation of a future energy crisis. The nuclear plant, on which billions of taxpayers' money had been spent on is now still inoperative and rotting slowly because of debates in our government of its safety. To my knowledge, it has been scrapped. Still we are plagued by blackouts. We do have hydroelectric power plants, but I don't know how long that will last before we will be forced to resort to coal-driven power plants. Nuclear power's enormous potential as a clean way of solving the energy crisis has been lost due to the paranoia resorting from the nuclear arms race. Ironically, it is also environmentalists who are opposed to nuclear energy.

    What the fuck...? Indeed, another Chernobyl would be catastrophic, but has any real effort gone into REAL safe energy? I have seen plans for utilizing ocean currents, wind, solar arrays, etc. but not one AFAIK has never been taken anywhere beyond blueprints.

    Solar energy is relatively cheap, but there has never been any serious plans for mass-marketing it when it would significantly reduce the energy requirements from power plants and be environmentally friendly as well on a large scale.

    I mean, it just really gets to me how indifferent governments seem to be when it comes to environmental issues. Give them a few controversies and wars and they'll forget about it all over again.

    Green Peace and environmentalists have been relegated to 'fanatics'. And yet, none of us can deny the effects we are seeing now. Here in the Philippines, we have been subject to a lot more storms and heat spells in the last few years than we used to. It doesn't even follow seasons anymore. Winter months here once meant mild rainy days, balmy evenings, the occasional typhoon or two... the last two Christmases were blistering hot days, torrential downpour in the evenings and night, and typhoons to boot. Everyone has been saying that the weather is going crazy. Is it time to say, "I guess they were right"?

    Anyway, watch the movie - An Inconvenient Truth, or visit the website www.climatecrisis.net

    I am not in Green Peace, LOL, nor am I a frothing-at-the-mouth environmental activist. I am just a citizen in a third world island country (which is in danger of being swallowed up if ocean levels continue rising), but I think everyone should be aware of this problem. Invite everyone else you know to watch it. I really wish Al Gore won that election. heh
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    Mar 24, 2008 3:18 PM GMT
    I think it's funny when ppl talk about the Global Warming "debate".
    There's no more debate there than theres is in intelligent design...
    It's only a misinformation campaign.
    The rest of the planet has known about Global Warming and human effect on the environment for DECADES, but somehow here in the US it's not a scientific fact...
    Even though it's there in ever freaking science journal, magazine, website and publication. As an undeniable fact.

    KYOTO, PEOPLE, for crying out loud. It makes us think, who has more reason to lie? A bunch of hippies, maybe looking for attention, or a whole government that favors its big corporations over individuals?

    The hippies, of course, right? And the cute lil' polar bears drowning in the melting ice are just a montage...
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    Mar 24, 2008 3:21 PM GMT
    You know what?
    This topic can really piss me off...
    It's time to summon CAPTAIN PLANET!!!

    [Points rings at screen]

    EARTH!!!!!!
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    Mar 24, 2008 3:25 PM GMT
    you just gave me wood. do that point and yell thing again.

    no seriously - there are men i've decided against getting to know better because of their attitudes towards the environment. i take it very seriously and i really can't see myself in any deep sort of personal relationship with someone who still thinks this is a debate.
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    Mar 25, 2008 11:20 AM GMT
    I think the ultimate tragedy is that our lifetimes are too short to truly witness the rapidity of what we are doing to the environment.

    Anyway, there's a reason why Jack Johnson is my dream guy, yknow. ROFL. He's also ecologically conscious. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Mar 25, 2008 12:12 PM GMT
    Ya, it's great we all watch this movie and get a warm and fuzzy that someone is 'bringing it to the people' - but the reality is that every single fucking one of us* is going to get in our cars tomorrow, drive to work, sit at an energy eatting computer all day, drive to the air conditioned gym to work out, and go home and sit in front of a TV while the clothes dryer spins in the background... yet somehow think we are doing good for the earth because we recycled our Diet Coke can at lunch and bought that recycled toilet paper last week!

    I don't mean to be Captain Downer, but there is a massive change in the collective conscience that needs to happen here, and it needs to happen fast... or resign yourself to the fact that we are one of the last few generations living the high-life before shit goes Mad Max. There are a million little things that we can all do every day to extend life on earth, but what we really need is some serious pressure on government legislation.

    The environment is barely making a blip on the news with the presidential primary in the U.S., voters are more concerned about losing their big houses in the suburbs and the loans on their SUV's than they are about having a planet to live and drive on! I take the freakin bus to work every day to 'save the planet' instead of driving, and there are 500,000 assholes out there that go watch NASCAR drivers piss fuel away driving in circles for fun every weekend... not to mention the millions that sit at home supporting it on TV! What's wrong with this picture?

    Find out what the legislator that represents your community is doing on the environment, if it sucks, let them know that we need leaders that can make some BIG and SCAREY decisions FAST, not pussy foot around and make sure we don't shake up the stock market or piss off the sponsors at some bloody event.


    *by every single fucking one of us, I don't actually mean every single one of US, but the collective us outside this website... I am sure everyone in the RJ community is an environmentally committed commuter that eats food grown within 100km of where they live, supports locally owned businesses, and avoids meat a few days a week... besides not using plastic bags, using non-floro lights, or running their fridge too cold... and is probably spending this years holiday money on installing solar panels and a grey water tank rather than taking a long haul flight somewhere!
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    Mar 25, 2008 12:21 PM GMT
    Which is why, the leaders need to make the first steps. We are mere cattle. icon_rolleyes.gif

    lol. BTW I don't have a car, so that earns me half a halo at least. Heh.
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    Mar 25, 2008 12:32 PM GMT
    Sedative14 saidWhich is why, the leaders need to make the first steps. We are mere cattle. icon_rolleyes.gif

    lol. BTW I don't have a car, so that earns me half a halo at least. Heh.


    Dude, nice work on not owning a car... but that cattle crap is totally defeatist. The leaders work for US, we are not cattle, and sorry to say, but it's people with attitudes like yours that have got us where we are... You have a voice, and no, it isn't to ask where the recycling bin is... it's to ask why the fuck the government gives out billions of dollars in subsidies to the oil and coal industries rather than environmental initiatives!
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    Mar 26, 2008 7:35 AM GMT
    I'll try, man. icon_razz.gif

    Please take note, I am not in the US. The method of contacting leaders in the Philippines is MUCH more difficult, but I'll try. We're a democracy after all. Heh.

    I should probably draft an email or something... hmmm
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    Mar 26, 2008 9:47 AM GMT
    Cool dude, sorry to blast off an earload, but this topic makes me steam... everyone thinks it's someone elses problem, and the people making the biggest negative impact are the ones that seem to have their hands over their ears because they are benefiting from this financially, or they are too lazy to shake up their lifestyle. You think things are messed up now, wait until the massive populations of the growing economies of India and China start to afford more affluent lifestyles and buy more vehicles...
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:07 PM GMT
    Yep, greenhouse gasses are really heating things up, a huge hunk of Anarctica's ice shelf just broke off into the sea. Why it's so bad that it's heating Mars up. So lets wreck our economy to try and stop it.

    Check out this link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/02/070228-mars-warming.html

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    Mar 28, 2008 3:18 PM GMT
    ^ How would converting away from coal power and big guzzling SUV's hurt the economy?

    Of course we can't forgot the greatest factor in global warming. People. Earths population is expanding so rapidly we can't stop the rise of temperatures. We can slow the gradual rise, but global warming is a perfectly natural. It's happened before.
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:52 PM GMT
    Wrecking the economy is a big red herring in combating global warming. Smart companies and entrepreneurs realize there is a lot of money to be made from going green. For every coal plant shutdown there could be jobs created in constructing solar panels, making wind turbines, or drilling for natural gas. New jobs will be created designing more fuel efficient car engines, jet engines, etc..

    The most upsetting thing to me about global warming is the fact that the poorest and most vulnerable people (e.g. those that live in the horn of Africa) are the ones that are going to be negatively impacted the most. So wonder people in the West get a reputation for being selfish and clueless about the rest of humanity.
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    Mar 28, 2008 3:52 PM GMT
    Guys, I'm not disputing the human impact on global warming, but this documentary is full of hyperbole and exaggeration. I've seen some reports on Nat Geo, the History Channel, A&E and elsewhere where scientists dispute many of Gore's claims (i.e., Gore's claim that sea level will rise by 20 feet is probably more like 20 inches -- still significant, of course).

    Then there are micro, consumer-level energy reduction programs, like replacing incandescent bulbs with compact flourescent (which we have done at my house). However, you have to weigh the ROI, as many of these energy savers actually take a lot more energy and resources to produce. According to my electrician, compact flourescent bulbs can also pose a higher fire risk.

    Next, of course, is ethanol. It takes more energy to produce a unit of ethanol than it actually provides. It also puts a heavy strain on food commodities, like corn, resulting in huge price spikes (especially in developing countries).
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/03/050329132436.htm

    And yet another documentary I watched (think it was on NatGeo) talked about the earth's eliptical orbit around the sun having a major impact on the earth's heating and cooling cycles over the millennia.

    So, the best thing to do is to remain calm and then focus on proven technologies. Necessity is the mother of all invention. Given the airplay being given to global warming, right now, I have no doubt that innovative solutions are on the horizon. Panic, however, does not produce sound decisions or desired results.
  • Menergy_1

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    Mar 28, 2008 4:45 PM GMT
    [quote][cite]jbedwards said[/cite] For every coal plant shutdown there could be jobs created in constructing solar panels, making wind turbines, or drilling for natural gas. New jobs will be created designing more fuel efficient car engines, jet engines, etc..

    I don't argue with the benefits of change. However, before we dismantle a coal plant, let's look at the availability and meaningful substitution of those alternative energy sources. I understand there is a 3-year wait for a wind turbine to be built and delivered right now (of course, that could be remedied by opening a wind-turbine plant and hiring people to build the turbines).

    More efficient "thin-film" solar energy technology is still being developed (too bad we've all dallied over the last 30-40 years in funding and research/development of solar power in the US) - so although currently there are large arrays and also private consumer home-solar energy panels, there isn't a huge amount to take the place of traditional power sources to satisfy urban needs, as I understand it.

    Geothermal/hydroelectric - probably limited to specific geographic locations -- but why not maximize our use if we can? (Of course, then one runs into opposition from those (me included) who oppose building more dams, diverting water, immersing more archeological treasures under millions of feet gallons of water).

    Ethanol might be considered if it's cellulose based (from timber mass, I think) not from corn. You've rightly cited the devastating economic effects of using or diverting a food source into an inefficiently produced petroleum substitute.

    Nuclear and more domestic natural gas/oil drilling? Well, needless to say, the process of getting permits for those is blocked by environmental interest groups (usually with understandable and supportable rationales). Natural gas and oil exploration is being considered in my part of northern New Mexico (close by but not exactly in my back yard) -- and the likely risks to the fragile ground water supply, among other things, is a real concern when looking at the technology needed to extract the gas or oil from the ground around here.

    Not to mention, I understand there haven't been any nuclear power plants built in over 30 years and the technology, the designers, the construction workers for those specific projects, the uranium mining industry, etc. have all evaporated in the interim. Not easy to start up and replace coal plants immediately with nuclear.

    Better to "force" the US public and the car companies to pursue higher miles/gallon autos and trucks, in my opinion -- at least until the alternative energy sources/electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be put into place. (and that hydorgen fuel cell solution carries its own huge set of problems and issues to establish a nationwide infrastructure and local support to make it viable. You think gasoline tanks are flammable now in gas stations? How about hydrogen gas storage in your neighborhood Chevron station?)
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    Mar 28, 2008 10:06 PM GMT
    I must confess I see lots of people citing things that others need to do for them to change but little that they themselves can do to change. Its the age old adage of finger of blame "I would do it if this were available, I would do it of they could do such and such for me".

    I deal with it everyday and you see all the excuses and such a no can do approach rather than a can do as its easier to sit back and do nothing than it is to make slight changes to your lifestyle; dont get me started.......

    I get p'eed off with the whole Climate Change debate, so many try and ignore it but mainly as it is misinformation, not in the facts but in the way the facts are sensationalised and delivered. Climate Change is irrefutable it is the nature of a dieing planet it will happen come what may. But man and its interaction with the planet is creating a "catalyst" in the true form of the word. Chemically we are exasperating the problem.

    But for one second lets put climate change aside and focus on the environmental effects of pollution. I am not talking melting polar ice caps here I am talking health and well being of individuals. I am talking about that drastic increases globally in deaths attributable to exhaust emissions, it is visible it is here and now. Look at the buildings on any city street, look at the smog around you. Take a big sniff at all the pollutants that are pouring out.

    You simply can not ignore that fact and its not waiting for 50 or 100 years to see the impact it is now.

    Now weigh up the fact that even on a simple aspect such as car use: if you walked, cycled, shared a car, used public transport or worked from home just one day in 20 that would reduce the traffic by 5%. Doesn't sound a lot but that is also the same impact of school holidays on congestion.

    Now you hear all manner of excuses why people cant do it, but one day in 20? So we flip it about and say "ok once a month could you not organise your life and commitments so that one day a month you travel differently or work differently...." then suddenly they can start getting their head around it and start to see actually it could work.

    Anyhow I rant and digress. People like Al Gore have done good in raising the profile but they do sod all for the minions like me whose actual job it is to enable people to change their lifestyles, they over complicate and create something that is so intense it seems most either take the attitude of why bother as it will happen come what may, or where the hell do I start so why bother. Politicians and the like only ever achieve change through punitive legislation endless rhetoric does not achieve anything.

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    Mar 28, 2008 10:42 PM GMT
    John43620 saidYep, greenhouse gasses are really heating things up, a huge hunk of Anarctica's ice shelf just broke off into the sea. Why it's so bad that it's heating Mars up. So lets wreck our economy to try and stop it.

    I love it when I hear people say that. Why? Because it's a load of crap and tired scare tactic endorsed by the Republican party, that's why. We do not have to wreck the economy. Converting from oil to greener energy sources will actually create jobs. You'll need people who specialize in the field to show everyone else how to do it, the current oil workers can be re-trained in the new technology, and of course the current oil refineries will need to be converted with new equipment installed, which creates even more jobs for people who do that. That new equipment has to be manufactured (using green energy, of course), so that opens up a ton of jobs... and the domino effect just keeps going. I could go on and on with examples... but the point is, economic progress and a healthy planet CAN co-exist.

    By the way, if we don't do something now to address our evironment's decay, an economy won't mean shit... there won't be anyone around to worry about it, because we stand a very good chance of causing our own extinction.
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    Mar 28, 2008 10:45 PM GMT
    Ikaros saidYou know what?
    This topic can really piss me off...
    It's time to summon CAPTAIN PLANET!!!

    [Points rings at screen]

    EARTH!!!!!!

    I can really piss me off, too.

    [Points ring at screen]
    WATER!!!!!

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    Mar 28, 2008 10:59 PM GMT
    wrecking economy or refocussing an economy to have a sustainable long term future? Most environmentaly frioendly measures are cost neutral or actually cash postive in the long term.

    Besides which what is the prognosis long term with natural resource depletion? Its a no brainer really
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    Mar 28, 2008 11:06 PM GMT
    Sedative14 said(I still can't fathom how Dubya Bush got reelected....)


    It's hard for you, not living here, to understand the depth to which logic, reason, and sanity are not only ignored here, but actually mocked by a great many people.

    RJers will back me up on this. If you shine in your schoolwork as a youngster, are you honored? respected? liked? popular?

    No, indeedy, you are called "dork", "dweeb", "teacher's pet", and often "gay", even if you like girls and date them. The American mythic hero is a pioneer who made his way in the world by the sweat of his back, and despises those with too much "book l'arnin'".

    This is also why our repeated attempts to reform the educational system are laughable. Until the act of learning is accorded respect, we will never improve.
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    Mar 28, 2008 11:26 PM GMT
    Actually, recent research data has revealed that the previous estimates on the rate of sea level rise are most likely too low. The research is now indicating rates of approximately 1.6 meters (around 5.25 feet), rather than the previous 20 inches. You can Google the term "sea levels rising faster" for plenty of links to this data, and you can also find it here http://ec.europa.eu/research/headlines/news/article_08_01_28_en.html This is due, in part, to the fact that both the Greenland ice shelf and the Antarctic ice shelf are melting much faster than originally thought. If that melt rate continues to increase, a 20 foot sea level rise could actually be possible.

    As for the compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) presenting a higher fire risk... that's actually a bit of misinformation that's circulating around. The fact is that CFL bulbs have a peculiar way of burning out... some brands emit a tiny amount of smoke, there's a browning effect around the base and there's sometimes an odd smell... but they have been tested for over 20 years and have shown no more of a fire risk than incandescent bulbs. More info is here http://www.therenewableplanet.com/blogs/the_daily_green/archive/2007/03/23/CFL-Safety-Concerns-No-Fire-Risk-Here.aspx
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    Mar 28, 2008 11:30 PM GMT
    Very briefly:

    "An Inconvenient Truth" is a spectacular work. Everyone should watch it. Even if you're skeptical, try viewing it with an open mind.

    Going "green-friendly" will not, as some posters suggest, "wreck our economy." In case you haven't noticed, the oil interests, their lackeys in Congress and the current administration have already done a splendid job there. Curious, how some of you think we should continue on this miserable course.

    Going green does hold the promise to greatly expand and diversify our economy, provide millions of jobs, remove our dependence from foreign oil and reduce the effects of climate change. The information's out there -- read about it. Like any significant transition, it does require dragging some of you, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Or, in more than a few cases, into the 20th.

    Also agree with jprichva re: the almost seething contempt so many in this country reserve for education. Our inability to think critically about the major issues now facing this country could very well be our undoing.


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    Mar 28, 2008 11:36 PM GMT
    LittleDudeWithMuscles saidVery briefly:

    "An Inconvenient Truth" is a spectacular work. Everyone should watch it. Even if you're skeptical, try viewing it with an open mind.

    Going "green-friendly" will not, as some posters suggest, "wreck our economy." In case you haven't noticed, the oil interests, their lackeys in Congress and the current administration have already done a splendid job there. Curious, how some of you think we should continue on this miserable course.

    Going green does hold the promise to greatly expand and diversify our economy, provide millions of jobs, remove our dependence from foreign oil and reduce the effects of climate change. The information's out there -- read about it. Like any significant transition, it does require dragging some of you, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. Or, in more than a few cases, the 20th.

    Also agree with jprichva re: the almost seething contempt so many in this country reserve for education. Our inability to think critically about the major issues now facing this country could very well be our undoing.

    Exactly! Very well said!icon_biggrin.gif
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    Mar 28, 2008 11:39 PM GMT
    I think the problem with education is not limited to America tho. we seem to nationalise curriculum which stifles free thinking. As we already know education actually reduces IQ we then further strive to reduce it by taking away any flare of an individual teacher to inspire and create.

    It makes you wonder how we intend to solve any future problems life throws at us if we carry on this course.

    As for use of the word "green" that's one of the biggest off switches for many it only appeals to less than 30% of the population. Yes that 30% can make a difference but you need to deliver the information and the encouragement to change behaviours in a way that appeals to an audience with a varied interest. Harping on a about climate change will not get Big Fat Al out of his Gas Guzzling Planet destroying car or away from an exuberant lifestyle. But if you can clearly show him the fact that by changing his behaviours could knock 1/3rd off of his utility bills then you are onto a winner.

    Not sure if you have the Toyota Prius in America, its a hybrid electric car ie runs partly petrol and partly electric. At my recent conference the speaker came up with a great phrase for it: The Toyota Pious. Its true, it doesn't deal with the problem and the issue it just makes a very small change. Its not to say don't make a change but its not tackling the issue in the slightest. Just appealing to a marginal green conscience.
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    Mar 29, 2008 12:18 AM GMT
    Hi there bfg1 !!!! Good points man !!! I think your point and the others about each and every one of us making changes, can have a good affect, because collectively the difference can add up quickly. Personally I purposely bought a Kia which gets about 30 miles to the gallon, rather than drive my chevrolet truck.(which now I only drive strictly for hauling purposes of building materials to one of my places) I have stopped going to town on a whim, I consolidate trips, and now only leave home for errands once every 4 to 6 days. Most cannot do this, but each of us have some way we could cut back. Sadly we in the USA are living under a government totally subservient to corporations and primarliy BIG OIL COMPANIES. The bushies/neocons aren't about to put forth technology to cut back on their oil profits, because these Companies are who give them their power. Unless they will profit from the changes these companies are going to forward only what gives them more profits and more power. Hense we have the wars in the middle east, to forward more oil profits and more power. Its such a waste in the wrong direction that its heartbreaking and even with all this being so obvious to the world as a whole, our corporate media here go the way of the OIL, the profits, the power elite, and so the majority of the "sheeple" in the USA are OBLIVIOUS to the real truth of just how far backpeddling this current administration and national mindset really is !!!! Individuals have to speak up, inform our friends, try to influence all we can so people will make better choices. Its not hopeless here in the USA, but its the most serious challenge to circumvent the current trends in our government that we in our lives will face. I don't think I'm over dramatizing this either, this is some SERIOUS SHIT TO CONFRONT !!!!