GRANDMA LILY … As I’ve shared before, my grandmother was born an orphan, probably in Yokohama, and raised Japanese – her ancestry was unclear, as what papers she had were stolen on steamer passage to America. She died when I was 1, but I think I absorbed Japanese through her skin holding mine, at least some of her deep cultural sensibilities … We are all sad for Japan – thrice now inflicted with the curse of nuclear disasters. Sad for the people. Sad for the many tragedies and all that’s been lost.
ENERGY PIG… Reader Bryan Cashion of Montrose had a very revealing response to my UBC column of Feb. 17, in which I shared the recently deceased Lance Christie’s proposal to add a $300 a ton carbon tax to our energy tax bills – phased in over six years at $50 increments. Said Bryan, “While I think that a carbon tax will be the most efficient way to drive people to lower energy usage (as opposed to cap-and-trade, that would carry a lot of bureaucratic burden), the real issue will be the amount of the tax” … Then using my own energy use figures of 60 kWh/day for January, he does some calculations (math I didn’t do when presenting Lance’s idea). Using 1.606 pounds per kWh as his standard – a Colorado number from http://cfpub.epa.gov/egridweb>, Cashion multiplies $300 a ton times 60 kWh/day at 1.606 pounds of CO2 per kWh. Thus he calculates the potential added cost of a carbon tax to my January power bill and comes up with a figure of $434. That would have been my January bill if a carbon tax had been in effect … Finally Bryan asks the hard question (but a necessary one), “Are you ready to write that check?” Ouch! Put that way, I think not (the one caveat is that this value could vary depending upon the energy source makeup for San Miguel Power) ... But caveat or not, the true cost of what Lance was proposing, and I was advocating, is a sobering thought. Honestly, I think I would quickly reduce my power usage at those figures. Then again, isn’t that exactly the point? … Perhaps a more graduated scale or certain classification exemptions for seniors and those on fixed incomes could ameliorate the impacts of such a carbon tax. But as Bryan is suggesting, if we’re serious about reducing our carbon emissions, it’s going to cost us.
THE TALKING GOURD
Dancing in the Streets
40 Years Later
As the reform hope of the 60s
Gradually fell like dead leaves
In the disco-soul-killing 70s
Jackson Browne sang about
“The resignation that living brings.”
They sold us the fake actor turned governor
& then sold us the fool’s gold
Of Milton Friedman’s trickle down.
We staggered from one bubble
To another while Clinton got a knob job.
Now, both we & our troubadours
Near retirement. Even ravaged-faced
Keith Richards pens a memoir.
In a parallel universe they film
A documentary about Wavy Gravy.
Today I watched a still youthful &
Very articulate Jerry Garcia trying
To save the rainforest from 1988.
Now both Jerry & the forests are
Gone or going. Orangutans & bonoboos
Run for disappearing cover.
The Dali Lama turns 75, while in Chinese cities
Jaded consumers discover Buddhism.
It’s always a race against time’s ruin.
Tired of the NPR station’s
Endless begging, I put on Jerry singing:
“You are my shining star.” … And he was!