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View Diary: Still No Major Media Coverage of Alaska Oil Spill (148 comments)

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  •  "Better Off without Cars, Plastics, etc" (none)
    Being in the UK, I suppose you'd prefer London when the soot was so thick you could get 10,000 deaths, when horse turds filled the streets and stank up the air?

    Cars aren't great, but they are better than what proceeded them

    We have no desire to offend you -- unless you are a twit!

    by ScrewySquirrel on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 10:03:43 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  lived in Brighton (none)
      on the seafront. rode bicycle or a bus to work, and a train elsewhere, when called for. and WALKED; you know, vertical ambulation, propelled forward by my (gasp!) legs. astonishingly efficient and eco-friendly.

      and "london when the soot was so thick..." OH, so it's PLASTICS that are responsible for clean air laws...? Funny, I thought it was England's ban on the use of coal as a household fuel, and the emissions controls placed on factories and vehicles...silly me.

      "They are not in heaven because they fuck the wives of Ely."

      by RabidNation on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 10:11:08 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Back of envelope calculations (4.00)
        I could be wrong -- someone please correct me if I am.  But here are some quick, fun calculations:

        If you're a slender 160lbs, walking five miles on a flat surface at a relatively brisk 3.5mph, you will require approximately 465 kilocalories.

        You could consume 500 kilocalories by eating one pound of beef steak.  One pound of beefsteak requires 20,000 kilocalories of fossil fuel to produce, most of which in the use of petrochemical fertilizers for feed crops.

        One gallon of gasoline contains approximately 31,200 kilocalories.

        Thus, you're doing about 7.5mpg -- about the same as a Hummer.  (That is, unless you have an impressively efficient gait, and, more importantly, you're a vegetarian -- in which case you may be doing upwards of 100mpg.  No fair saying you eat organic -- I strongly doubt the Earth could support 6.5 billion of us without petrochemical fertilizers).

        No, I'm not a FReeper. Thanks.

        by JamesInPDX on Wed Mar 30, 2005 at 11:03:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  HA! (none)
          think I'll give you a four for that. As someone who can be overly sedentary by nature - I fight that all the time - I appreciate you giving me the ammo I need to argue next time my girlfriend wants to go out and "do something" and I wanna chill out and read.

          and it's interesting, too. to think I get the same mileage as a hummer...here's hoping someone from EarthFirst doesn't set me on fire or slash my tires.

        •  Do you have a good source for those statistics? (none)
          I'm a vegetarian for the reasons you mention (and beause it's really pretty easy for me), but I've always wondered how much of a difference it really makes.  It seems logical that feeding an animal to adulthood just to kill it for food is more energy-costly than just eating the food yourself, but I fell the people who write those statistics always slant them pro-vegetarian.

            For instance, is that 20,000 kcal figure based on beef that is strictly grain-fed?  Because I see a lot of cows eating scrubby grass on land that looks difficult to use for other agriculture.  Are those all dairy cows, or do some/most beef cattle eat grass or hay as a significant portion of their diet?  If you've got a relatively unbiased source for such data, I'd love to know where to find it.

             As far as your example;  it is indeed fun, but one flaw immediately jumped out at me:  if you get all (or even a significant portion of) your calories from grain-fed beef, you are 1. gonna die soon, lessening your overall environmental impact. 2. driving an H2 anyway, so walking will be no less efficient for you, and you could use the excercise, you cowmunching cowboy you.

            Also, you left out bicycling, which is more energy-efficient than walking (also 3.5 mph is a little brisk for crosstown walking, and is a speed favored by "power walkers" who are explicitly trying to burn as many calories as possible).

    •  London's soot (4.00)
      That soot was from coal stoves and industry, with some contribution from rail transport. And the horse plop was msotly from the transport of goods, plus some passenger service.

      Personal mobility, for most, involved walking. Their system was fueled by peas and mash, using shoe leather-and-cobble technology. Longer trips might involve a coal-powered train or a shared ride in a horse-drawn coach.

      Yes, to use a single-occupant vehicle for every errand in 1875 would have drowned the city in manure. Yes, supporting today's level of commercial goods transport with animal traction would be a stinky folly. Yes, heating uninsulated homes to modern comfort levels with primitive coal stoves would be a choking mess.

      I am thankful that oil and natural gas helped keep our economic world running, bridging the times when those primitive technologies sufficed and the time when we harness a more sustainable energy source.

      But, I am not at all happy about the suburban sprawl that has necessitated single-occupancy motorized transport. Or the policies bent to keeping oil cheap and free-flowing right up until the last drop is gone. It could have gone so much better.

      Think of a mill worker in 1875 suddenly gaining the benefits of diesel-electric locomotives, hydro-electric factories, gas heat and cooking, electric trolleys. Refigeration for fresh veggies, electric lights for night school.

      Only this time, without the choking swarms of cars, without the wide roads and their speed-friendly turn radii. Without the over-HVAC'ed house. Without paying maintenance and depreciation on an overbuilt highway system he never really needed in the first place. Without the huge parking lots standing between every address, making him travel 2 miles to cover a cumulative half mile of storefronts. Without sending his butcher and baker to the edge of civilization at the back of some huge super-megalo-market.

      We didn't need to kill the cities to get rid of the soot.

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