Sustainable Biodiesel

Biodiesel is great, but there are a few things we should include in every conversation about Biodiesel:

1) Imagine if just 10% of the people using petro-diesel switched to biodiesel – that would create demand for twice as much as the supply of waste oil available. While it is a great idea to process waste vegetable oil and use it again, promoting biodiesel as a replacement for petro-diesel with no modification in consumption is unsustainable and socially irresponsible.

2) In that case, (even now already), oil formerly grown for food will be used for fuel instead. Example: a company named World Energy provides biodiesel to the Marine corps that is made from virgin soy oil. The military can afford it, regular folks can’t. Using food as fuel to preserve overconsumptive lifestyles is unsustainable and socially irresponsible.

3) America already consumes 6 to 10 times per capita the amount of energy consumed in the rest of the world, teaching people they can keep this up is unsustainable and socially irresponsible.

4) It would be foolish to burn biodiesel in a stationary generator – it would run fine on vegetable oil with no processing beyond filtration. To promote biodiesel for generating electricity is unsustainable and socially irresponsible.

5) Conservation. Again, western culture simply consumes too much. Devising alternative sources of energy to support unsustainable living is unsustainable and socially irresponsible.

To be clear, biodiesel is far superior to petro-diesel in many regards, and will in fact help reduce climate change. However, to offer it as a replacement for petro-diesel at current consumption rates would be a disaster. It is imperative that consumption is reduced significantly, otherwise the legacy we will leave our descendants is unsustainable and socially irresponsible.

Tim Castleman

Summer Festivals Fund War

As spring gives way to the warmer months of May through August the annual round of Festivals will begin. There will be all sorts of Festivals to celebrate the good things in life and to provide a change of pace outdoors.

Thousands of small business vendors rely on these festivals and travel thousands of miles every year to attend them. Tens of thousands, even millions, of people attend them for entertainment and to spend money, thus stimulating the economy while giving people a break from the routine. Seemingly, this is all good, right?

Sadly, this is not all good, and here is why.

First, transporting all these people and goods creates a spike in petroleum consumption from May through August increasing demand on refineries from the usual 90% of capacity to nearly 100%.

It is no secret that most of the oil consumed in the US is imported, and that war rages worldwide to secure future supplies. Put simply, a portion of every dollar spent on petroleum will wind up in a petroleum warlords bank account. So all this summer festival travel increases our daily contribution to funding wars for oil.

Second, pollution increases. The warmer weather creates inversions in valleys. Coastal traffic is not as aware of the nastiness because ocean breezes push the tailpipe emissions inland, where they are trapped by the inversion layer, rendering the air unfit to breathe for millions of people. Pipelines rupture, tanks leak and spills happen allowing millions of gallons of toxic chemicals to commingle with groundwater supplies, which have been linked to a Frankenstein’s workshop of disfigurement and disease. Bottled water is no longer a luxury item.

Third, local community suffers. Though a tomato grown 300 miles away may SEEM to taste/look/smell/feel better, in fact it probably is not. Transporting a carload of kids a few hundred miles to swim or ride on carnival rides doesn’t make much sense when these very same attractions are going on nearby. Local relationships suffer simply due to neglect. Societal disconnect from each other increases, we become ever more strangers to each other, anonymous consumers racing from one entertainment extravaganza to the next, rarely pausing long enough to develop relationships, much less community that is not dependent on a steady flow of cheap petroleum.

It is important to avoid Black and White thinking – I am advocating moderation. Trade and diversity is crucial to healthy community. What I am suggesting is to moderate consumption of fossil fuel, to use less. It is already a consideration when making plans, how about raising the priority to not only include the immediate cost of the fuel, but also to take into consideration the true costs involved, namely taking responsibility for our individual funding of petroleum warlords and damage to the environment. How about if each of us focused on reducing personal consumption by 50%? We can do this by deciding to participate in half as many festivals, or to reduce our travel to half as much this summer. This will require some thought and commitment. Will you write down how many miles/festivals/gallons of petroleum you consumed in the past during these 4 summer months? Will you keep track of how much you consume this year? Are you ready to take responsibility for your support of petroleum warlords and damage to the environment?

Sulfur in the air

Jet Fuel 3000+ ppm Sulfur
Off-road diesel 500+ ppm Sulfur
Regular on-road diesel 15-500 ppm Sulfur
Ultra Low Sulfur diesel less than 15 ppm Sulfur

Crude petroleum is split into fractions. The crudest process produces jet fuel and asphalt. Further refining results in diesel and gasoline fuels and several chemical by-products.

DAILY the US consumes about 15 million barrels of crude oil, roughly as follows:

8.5 – Gasoline
1.7 – Jet fuel
3.8 – Diesel
1.0 – Propane/Propylene

NOx in the air

“Oxides of nitrogen (chemically abbreviated as NOx and pronounced “nocks”) increase the production of ozone at typical cruise altitudes of subsonic air travel. These emissions are formed as a result of burning fossil fuels at very high temperatures. Therefore, aircraft emissions containing NOx increase the production of ozone. Aircraft emit significant amounts of NOx when their engines are at their hottest during takeoff and slightly smaller amounts while cruising.

In 1993, a study of toxic emissions at Chicago’s Midway Airport revealed that arriving and departing planes released more pollutants than the industrial pollution sources in the surrounding 16-square-mile area. A more recent study at London’s Heathrow airport showed that aircraft contributed between 16 and 35 percent of ground level NOx concentrations.”
NASA Fact Sheet

SUV runs down three kids – no charges filed

On May 2, 2005, ten-year-old Benito Guevara was struck and killed by a SUV on a busy road near his home. Thirteen-year-old Brian Zambrano and 11-year-old Gaspar Valencia survived the incident, but are hospitalized in serious condition.

The identity of the driver of the SUV has not been released and police have said there will be no charges filed. Newspaper accounts indicate the boys were crossing the busy street near an intersection, but outside of the marked crosswalk and against a red light. Apparently, the police have concluded that the SUV had the right of way, and could not have avoided hitting the boys as they darted across the street. I was not there, I have not interviewed any witnesses, but I did visit the scene today and I do have a few comments.

Is this the standard of accountability we are willing to live with? There is little doubt that these boys were foolish and should not have been where they were, but to shrug it off, and dismiss the operator of the SUV simply because these children ran outside the lines when light was this or that color seems barbaric to me!

Take a moment and expand your mind a bit – consider the circumstances. Which party had greater control to avoid this tragedy, the children or the operator of the SUV? By law the driver has a responsibility to exercise “due care for the safety” of pedestrians at all times. This places a burden of responsibility on the driver, and everyone that has a license to operate a motor vehicle has agreed to accept this responsibility of “due care for the safety” of pedestrians. I would really like to ask the driver if they really did all they could, or maybe if they had been driving just a little slower, or paying closer attention, I wonder if they could have at least reduced the carnage by some measure.

Since the ‘horseless carriage’ emerged early in the 19th century we have been struggling to resolve this issue of safety for pedestrians, and we have consistently arrived at a moral and legal principle that simply does not excuse the operator from this responsibility of “due care for the safety” of pedestrians. For practical reasons we advise our children to “look both ways” and “watch out for cars”, but the simple truth is, they have the right of way. Or do they? Is it ever ok for an SUV to run down a child or three? If so, this is far from a culture of life!

In this case, an SUV managed to hit three kids all at once, killing one and hospitalizing the other two, and there are no consequences for the driver because the kids were not within some lines painted on the road and a certain light was lit or not lit. Are we really so willing to let this go? Is this really how unsafe we want our neighborhoods to be? I suggest we need to remember the moral and legal position already in place, or formally declare when it is ok to run down pedestrians. Each operator of a motor vehicle must be made aware of the possibility of a tragedy like this occurring, and the price they pay must have some parity with the damage they do. If a driver strikes and kills another human being that should be the last time they are entrusted with the responsibility for “due care for the safety” of other human beings. RIP Benito Guevara.
Benito Guevara memorial

Fear-Based Treatment & Re-Education

John Walters is a very dangerous man. This time, on Tuesday, May 3rd 2005 he teamed up with Dr. Robert DuPont, the proud former Drug Czar for two administrations, Fear Psychiatrist and nuclear power advocate*, to put on a show that reaches new heights of hypocrisy and outright dishonesty.

The show exploited the tragedy of a teen suicide to a family at a loss to understand why, and since the boy had tried pot they decided to blame his untimely passing on marijuana. The Drug Czar couldn’t resist trotting out the mourning parents to decry the devil weed, and made the link to mental health by introducing a fellow from Scotland who had come up with an opinion based on a statistical perception of his own making. When challenged to provide some data, he had none, only an opinion. One reporter asked about Causality, the all important medical/scientific term that is a required element in any valid opinion, the ‘expert’ admitted he ‘didn’t know’ of any causality that had been found and that this was just an opinion he was offering based on his own interpretation of limited data.

Nevertheless, these desperate drug warriors remained true to their pattern of lies and deceit in this blatant attempt to use fear as a deterrent to marijuana use. Remember, Dr. DuPont is an expert on Fear and phobia – and this is the new-old tool being rolled out by the industry leaders that rely on the failed drug war to justify their existence and livelihoods.

Questioned about the decreased funding for the former darling of the drug war industry, the D.A.R.E. program, Walters admitted the effort had failed and that it would be a waste of resources to continue. So now we see them casting about for a new way to wage war on Americans, and the evil bastards have reframed their message by exploiting the success of 12 step programs and laying claim to ‘Treatment and Re-Education’ –especially through Faith-Based organizations as the solution to drug war failures.

This is especially evil because it is designed to exploit the very message recovered addicts have known all along, which is that prison and fear of punishment are no deterrent at all, in fact fear is the root cause of addiction and must be dealt with in a safe, nurturing environment, not by right wing fanatics intent on brainwashing them into compliance. Make no mistake, that is precisely what these evil men have in mind – to brainwash the unclean who dare stray outside their narrow, religious, view of life.

The reason this should concern every person is the clear intent to use re-education and treatment to change people using fear, treatment with drugs and punishment. Incredibly, these ‘experts’ will readily use a wide array of other drugs to massage the victims mind into compliance. These other drugs are known to cause death, often have negative side effects, and are only available by continued willing compliance. The ‘experts’ entrusted with peoples lives are dependent on a steady flow of customers and under heavy pressure from the pharmaceutical industry to get these addicts switched over to the products they provide. The ‘experts’ are wined and dined at ‘educational conferences’ held in luxurious hotels all over the world while marketing professionals teach them how to peddle the latest greatest synthetic drugs for the highest profits. So once again, we have a fascist regime reaching into our lives. Only this time it is to play with our mental health, and this suddenly becomes no joking matter, this is serious business.

Recently I was arrested and confined overnight in a mental institution for the suspicious activity of standing on a busy street corner vociferously protesting the war on Iraq. I learned a lot about the special powers law enforcement gets when they pull the ‘mental health’ trump card. The statements coming out of the White House and its drug warriors indicate a shift from the failed policies of the past and are turning to the mental health industry – especially Faith-Based Treatment Centers – to find more effective ways to ‘re-educate’ pot smokers.

It is working already, I am very afraid of these people.