Archive for August, 2010

Where is…?

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Politics, Travel
Tags: , , ,

In the interest of not being the “Dumb American on the street” I wanted to find a good way of testing my geography knowledge. I just hate watching those videos of interviewers asking average people where North Korea is, and them pointing to Australia, for example. Or not being able to point out where we are fighting two wars, let alone Uzbekistan.

Here it is.

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Why should you know? Do you care? Should you care?

There’s a lot of talk about one’s carbon footprint and how it relates to the hyper-large super-scary ultra- intense threat of Global Climate Change. Basically, Carbon dioxide is a gas that contributes to the Greenhouse effect, warming our planet. Methane is another one of those gases that is much more potent, but it doesn’t last a s long in the atmosphere, so people don’t worry about it as much. Anyway, we produce carbon dioxide lots of ways. Even breathing! But most of it is our lifestyle choices. Flying 5,000 miles a year, eating red meat every meal, and using a natural gas furnace from 1925 is going to use much more carbon than someone who bicycles to work, eats meat a few times a week, and has a 95% efficient furnace. Just as an example. I found a good website that is easy to use, simple, and will take less than three minutes to figure out just how many tons of carbon you put into the atmosphere every year.

This calculator from the Nature Conservancy is simple to use.

I was shocked to see that my household belches out 27 tons of carbon every year. That is…until I saw that the average American household produces 80 tons!

Reducing your carbon output will not instantly solve global warming, but every little bit that we can do can add up to have a significant effect. So see what you number is, and then maybe think about ways you can decrease it.

Quick fixes would be things like: using energy efficient lighting, buying energy star appliances, driving the most fuel efficient car you can afford…less, eating less meat, eating organically grown food, eating locally grown food, recycling as much as you can, composting food scraps, and many more!

First…I don’t hate Muslims. True, I practice Christianity, but I believe the constitution protects ALL Americans’ right to worship (or not) where and how they will. I just think that placing a mosque, or “Muslim Center” near Ground Zero is a bad idea.

Why?

Reality is much different than how people think something should be. I know that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf  wishes that this Muslim Center will bring people of different faiths together. He hopes to show New Yorkers and the world that not all people who practice Islam are religious extremists bent on slaughtering blue-eyed babies. He intends this center to be a vector of reconciliation. Of healing.

That just won’t happen. The reality in this country is that many people are incensed that this idea is even being considered. The word that jumps to most people’s minds is “betrayal”, not “healing.”

This situation reminds of another time when a religious man with good intentions caused chaos.

In 2003, the bishops of the Episcopal Church elected Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, to the status of Bishop. His intention was to build up the church, and foster of period of openness and understanding. Sound familiar? What ended up happening was almost immediate chaos, a barrage of lawsuits, and people who were on the fence on that particular issue were pulled kicking and screaming onto one side or the other. My point is not that electing a gay bishop was wrong (although that’s an issue for a separate post). My point is that a religious man had good intentions for his actions and wanted to help his faith, where in reality… the opposite happened. The effects of the schism he caused are still being felt today.

I believe this Imam truly has good intentions. There are not going to be any secret terrorist training facilities hidden beneath Ground Zero. But the amount of public outcry at this perceived slight will far outweigh the benefit that he will bring.

Thoughts?