This is the blog of Sukumar and friends.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My carbon neutral Memorial Day weekend

I had to do something! After watching the shameful drama in Congress last week between a flock of dumb sheep on one side of the aisle and a school of spineless jellyfish on the other, I couldn't just keep on accepting what they ostensibly do in our names. So I said, oh no! Not on my account, you don't; scrapped my travel plans and spent a carbon neutral Memorial Day weekend. No driving, no greenhouse gas emissions from me (except for the occasional fart!) Mind you, Memorial Day weekend is when Americans do their maximum driving, Exxon and the other robber barons rub their hands in glee, raise gas prices and watch the billions come pouring in.

As the rest of the country reeled under record high prices at the pumps (perhaps cussing and venting frustrations by signing futile petitions against "price gouging"), my premiums were paid up front, when I purchased my hybrid Toyota Prius and now I go as much as a month before needing to even look at the gas tank. But my carbon neutral Memorial Day weekend involved no driving. Even my lawnmower runs on battery power, I purchase all my electricity from wind energy and small local hydroelectric power sources (Community Energy) and what little hot water I use is heated by my rooftop solar panels (which also suffice to keep my house warm on brighter winter days).

But what has all this to do with last week's shameful drama? Look at the number one Benchmark which was passed and signed into law last week in the name of "supporting the troops": no privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction funds. In other words, if the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the privatization legislation, Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds that were promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what we have destroyed there. This privatization law, written by American oil company consultants, would leave control with the Iraq National Oil Company for only 17 of the 80 known oil fields. No prizes for guessing who's gonna get the long term (20- to 30-year) contracts for the remaining 63. (Incidentally, no other nation in the Middle East has privatized its oil; they give only limited usage contracts to international oil companies for one or two years). More American troops to defend the assets of the robber barons for the next 20-30 years. Memorial Day, that sombre day when Americans remember those who have sacrificed their lives in past wars, seems to have come and gone without our having learnt any lessons at all.

But apparently, we're not the only idiots on the block. My cousin Down Under reports on the multi-year drought that is shriveling Australia's farmland that the reservoirs are only around 30% full. The government gives tax rebates to buy cars and incentives if you clock a higher mileage each year. Driving 60k a year gives you more tax rebate than driving 30k a year! But they have refused to extend the same benefits to those taking public transport. And they still refuse to ratify Kyoto! Their Prime Minister's suggested solution is "Pray for rain!"