I always enjoy the conversation when I pickup my daughter from college for one of her breaks. Her college is the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, so I had an inkling that most of students were not thrilled with the outcome of the election. She confirmed that, when the topic came up, though one of the reasons was a surprise to me. She explained that Trump would hurt their job prospects for two reasons, his proposed hiring freeze and because he was supportive of the second amendment. I was taken by surprise with the second reason, thinking that many college students are against gun ownership. She explained that there is an 11% tax from gun sales (Pittman-Robertson) that directly supports wildlife restoration and that under Obama gun sales increased tremendously and the revenues from that tax were up accordingly. The Trump presidency would not be very good for gun sales and the revenue from that tax would drop, hurting their job prospects.
Trump’s talk about pulling the U.S. out of climate change agreements was another concern expressed by many students. I responded that I did not think it mattered at all, even though I do believe that modern society is damaging the earth and that includes affecting the climate. Still, I think the climate change agreements are worthless and do nothing to address the real problems while at the same time distracting people from addressing real environmental problems.
Climate change scientist and politicians jet around the globe to these climate change conferences and come up with agreements that promise to reduce carbon emissions to some level at some date in the future. So they get to attend lavish conferences all around the world and the rest of us get political promises. Everyone who has lived for any length of time knows the value of those promises.
The emphasis on carbon brings about things like trading of carbon credits and carbon offset credits for planting trees. These type of things just get gamed by businesses. I just listened to this podcast (Marco Vangelisti: Investing Outside Of Wall Street) and heard of a case where a forest was clear cut and turned into a monoculture palm oil farm that got carbon credits for planting trees. How backwards.
So I ended up telling her that I wish the students wouldn’t waste their energy hoping for political solutions. I’d love to see people who are concerned about climate change put their efforts into something local that provides real benefits. The only way to lower our carbon footprint is to use less energy, so why not start now. There are many way to do this that will provide multiple benefits. Will talk about some ideas in future posts.
An Old Friend
Bill was old friend from high school that I’d lost touch with about 35 years ago, who as it turns out listens to The Survival Podcast. I was thrilled to get a contact request from him from this blog. Having a common name like Bob Brown allows me to use my real name and be somewhat anonymous since there are thousands of other Bob Browns out there. Bill did his detective work, when he saw a comment about the 65 VW, he thought he might have the right guy. Mentioning Jean Beliveau, my favorite hockey player was the clincher (Bill and I played some hockey together back in the day). It has been great catching up with my old friend.