Archive for March, 2008

marketing global warming

When it comes to global warming, I fall in the “cynic” category.  Not cynical about the existence of global warming or humans’ involvement in it, but about the motives that drive the movement.  I am of the opinion that much of the environmental movement in the United States — specifically the push to end global warming — has as its ultimate goal political strength and money-making.  What’s more, media coverage of global warming continues because of the piles of cash there is to make on the issue.  (it’s hard to see any monetary payoff for, say, the crisis in Darfur, sex trafficking in Asia, or the fight against homelessness in America)

Just look around you — nearly every company has released a “green” product of some kind.  They’ll continue to carry their “non-green” products, of course, but they want us to know that they are aware of the problems that we face regarding our Earth and are hard at work doing something about it.  Do you think the car or oil companies really feel morally obligated to fight global warming?  Of course not!  While Chevron brags about leading the industry in research on renewable energies, they send lobbyists to Washington to convince politicians that more science needs to be done with regard to global warming.  So jumping on the environmental bandwagon is awfully opportunistic for these companies.  The bottom line, of course, is the bottom line.

That said, I am a fierce environmentalist.  I believe the Earth is heating up and breaking down, and that we have some part in causing it.   I do my part to reduce my impact on the Earth and my neighbors.  We don’t own a car.  We have those expensive twisty bulbs.  We cook at home a lot.  We eat organic and fair trade foods whenever we can.  And the list goes on.  We just try not to get swept up in the marketing of the issue.  For me, it’s as much about self-sacrifice and discipleship as it is reversing global warming. (the egotism of much of the rhetoric — “we can reverse global warming”; “we can save the planet” — is really mind-boggling sometimes)

It is good to see the Southern Baptist Convention rise above political polarity to name environmental care as a moral issue at its recent conference.  The other sign that the apocalypse is upon us is a commercial hitting the airwaves this week featuring Pat Robertson and Al Sharpton sitting on a couch (Pat on the Right; Al on the left, of course) advocating for environmental care.  Al Gore’s foundation is putting up the money for the media blitz, and CBS News reports that other unlikely pairings will include Toby Keith and the Dixie Chicks and Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich.

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Eastie religious news

… has been removed.  It came to my attention that my post could be construed as anti-Catholic, which I am not, but it is a line I definitely do not want to walk.

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Can I just make a coupla blog recommendations?

Priest is blogging again, thank goodness.  Love his outlook.

– I continue to really like Revolution in Jesusland, which explores the shifts going on in Evangelical Christianity. Speaking of which, did you catch Mike Huckabee’s statements about Jeremiah Wright’s (Obama’s pastor) rantings from the pulpit?  Profound indeed.

– You a traveler?  I love the tips and destination info given at The Traveler’s Notebook, a new blog for travelers and travel journalists.  (I’ve written a few pieces for them, which you can find here and here)

– Gotta shout to my boy Miller.  The video he recently posted titled “Ser Paz” is amazing, and worth the 9 minutes it would take to watch it.

Justin echoes some of our own struggles with “not going to church.”

– Listen to this Bill McKibben speech.  I am currently working through Deep Economy, which is a fascinating and prophetic book.  McKibben, a devout Christian, brings to a wider audience the good news that we don’t have to live divided from one another, that our economies can truly help all people, and that God’s creation is something to be shared and protected.  Hopefully, I’ll be hearing McKibben speak at the Down2Earth Conference this weekend in Boston.

– Finally, here’s a question for you all: What is a story — about a person, a trend, an idea, a place, whatever — that you wish some freelance journalist would pick up and write?  You’ve probably said the following at some point in the last 6 months: “Why don’t the newspapers and magazines pick up this story?  This is a great story!”  OK, here’s your chance to tell the “newspapers and magazines” (sort of…) what to write.

1-2-3 book meme, a bit late

Jimmy Shaw tagged me almost a month ago for this book meme, but I was buying a house, so I completely forgot to do it.  Anyway, it seems pretty cool.  Here’s the drill:

1. Pickup the nearest book (with at least 123 pages)
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the 5th sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Well, here goes:

But that has changed in the past few decades, as the economy nationalized and globalized. As we meet fewer of our neighbors in the course of the day, as we become ever more hyper-individualist in our economic lives, those bonds fell away. “Operating in a world of instant communication with minimal social tethers,” Whybrow observes, “America’s engines of commerce and desire became turbocharged.”

If you’re wondering (as I am, because I had not yet gotten to page 123 in the book) what, exactly, has changed, you’ll have to pick up Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future, by Bill McKibben. Yeah, that little excerpt pretty much means nothing without the context of the rest of the book … or at least the 4th sentence on the page … so read it!

OK, who should I tag?  Who still reads this blog?

The Neaves, Miller, Justin, Brandy, and Taylor 

new crib

Well, we’re all moved and getting settled into our new house. We’re excited about meeting our neighbors, walking the dog to one of the several dog parks in the area, frequenting Piers Park (in my opinion, the best park in the city), and generally working our way into the fabric of this eclectic and fun neighborhood. In many ways, we’ve already been doing that. For context, we’re still in East Boston, just a few blocks away from our old residence. We’re on the line, somewhat, of a neighborhood of predominately working-class whites and immigrants and a section of primarily middle-class artists and young professionals. Breaking anything in Eastie down cleanly is impossible, however, as there are mixes of all types of people everywhere. Our new digs will put us in closer reach of folks “like us”: twenty- and thirty-somethings, professionals and entrepreneurs, culturally and socially aware, pet owners, etc. (very generally speaking). We are still in close contact with our neighbors from our other neighborhood as well: still watching kids, eating breakfast with a few of them on Sunday mornings, taking trips to the store.

Hopefully, this will give you a better idea about what our life is like in Boston. We couldn’t be happier.

Music: “Photograph, live” by Homer Hiccolm and the Rocketboys

UPDATE: When you are a young white couple buying a home — not a temporary move — in a currently working class / immigrant urban neighborhood like East Boston, people give you funny looks.  Like, “Why would you do something like that?”  They think cities are meerly a short stop on the road to the suburbs for young’uns like us.  But not so.  Considerable evidence points to a return to city centers for many Americans.  One writer even recently suggested that the suburbs might become America’s “next slum“:

For 60 years, Americans have pushed steadily into the suburbs, transforming the landscape and (until recently) leaving cities behind. But today the pendulum is swinging back toward urban living, and there are many reasons to believe this swing will continue. As it does, many low-density suburbs and McMansion subdivisions, including some that are lovely and affluent today, may become what inner cities became in the 1960s and ’70s—slums characterized by poverty, crime, and decay.