Monday, July 18, 2011


I should remember to post this every year:
Just got back from yet another depressing lecture at MIT on Carbon Capture and Sequestration. Not familiar with CCS? In a nut: We are in the global warming shitter because we drive too much, fly too much, and can't control our rate of needless consumption. All of this requires energy, much of which comes from burning coal in power plants, and results in a runaway train of carbon emissions that's destroying the earth and the air we breathe. So scientists are trying to figure out a way to suck the carbon from these plants and then inject them deep into underground geological formations or even beneath the ocean -- which if they ever do figure out how to make work, then has the potential to wreak even more catastrophic results, like ocean acidification, ecological destruction, blah blah blah. On top of that, if they do miraculously figure it all out, it's only a fraction of what we need to do to make it all...not so bad. Because no matter what, it's gonna be bad.

I spend my time learning and obsessing about this problem, the enormity of it and perhaps the futility of trying to fix it, wondering if I'll ever be able to use a disposable plastic fork without feeling overwhelming guilt or not despise a culture which perpetuates mass retailers of overpriced superfluous junk. But mostly, I wonder why so many bikers have to be killed by cars and their drivers.

This morning, when I pedaled across the intersection of Harvard and Cambridge in Allston, like I do almost everyday, I saw yet another ghostbike chained to a light pole, memorializing the life and death of a 23-year-old girl who was killed riding her bike a week or so ago. Her friends had covered the street corner with flowers, notes, pictures, even a giant graffitied message saying, "Kelly, we love you." Bikers, you see, whether they are conscious of this or not, are doing us a huge favor by choosing not to pilot giant heaps of gas-guzzling, carbon-emitting, war-inducing metal. Yeah, I'm a biker, so it sounds like I'm just wanking one off, but you can't really argue with it. Just try to.

So, wear a helmet, ride a bike, ride safe, save the world.

I originally wrote it in May of 2007, after I'd left New York the first time, and was mired in the world of Nova science now. When I was a more prolific blogger. I later commented:
"We need a complete overhaul of our cultural values, and a greater respect for our fellow humans. People think they're minding their own business while coveting and collecting things, when really everything we do effects somebody else and then comes back to slap us on our asses time 10: breathing, eating, all of it. Biodiversity is key, not only in nature, but in humanity, our urban metropolises, our comfortable Ikea-turned out homes --so it behooves us not to run each other over and think more about what is essential to life, liberty and happiness.

The recession happened, and as painful as it is, to some more than others, I know it isn't all bad. It's taught some of us how to be frugal, yet make the most of it (i.e. out of work, and nothing to do but look at the birds). Nevertheless, I've lost touch with some of these ideals in the last year or so, and it's time to refocus.

1 comment:

English Cyclist said...

"Yeah, I'm a biker, so it sounds like I'm just wanking one off..."

- Ha! Where did you acquire that phrase? As an English cyclist I get it, but where did you learn it? Spent time in England?