Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Letter to the US Electoral College Electors

The following is my letter/email the the United States Electoral College Electors via - I'm posting it here because a number of Electors' email accounts are simply being inundated and may never be received.  I may also append Electors' replies as a matter of record - some of them appear to be respectful, while not particularly promising.  Still, it's our right to speak out.  I personally believe that the pending election of Donald Trump to the office of President of the United States is a grave concern and worthy of employing all legal and proper methods for resisting before it can even begin.  -RB

* * *

President-elect Trump has demonstrated during the entire course of his campaign, throughout the debates, and throughout these brief post-election weeks that he is every bit the emotionally unstable, intellectually vacuous, racist, misogynistic, and textbook demagogue we've witnessed all along. It's naive to think he has any capacity to "change" or "rise to the job" of President of the United States.  Politicians of all parties - Republican, Democrat, Independent, Green, et al. - agree that a President Trump will be nothing short of a nightmare for our great nation.

President-elect Trump has no real interest in the people of this country.  This is demonstrated time and time again with his crass interactions with a free press, his disparaging statements towards women, the disabled, people of color, and his utter lack of humility. 

As a demagogue, Donald Trump acts solely for his own self-interests.  His plans to devastate our environment and natural resources, his unpredictable, mean-spirited and reactionary character, his propensity to promote ersatz subordinates to the highest levels of leadership - those and many more character flaws and patterns - all raise dire concerns for our nation’s welfare and are a recipe for an unprecedented political, economic, social, and environmental horror that must be wholly rejected before it can begin.

On behalf of all that is truly great about America, our democracy, our freedom, our precious environment, our national security, our children and future generations to come, our well-being and standing with the rest of the countries that we share this planet with, and for peace on this Earth - on behalf of all these and more - I and many, many others of all races, genders, political, social, economic, and religious beliefs implore you to cast a vote for a candidate other than Donald Trump.  It is a moral imperative that Donald Trump never be allowed to take the oath of President.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.


​Rob Birdwell​

Monday, December 05, 2016

Musings on Energy Investments

If you were looking to make energy investments in your community/region, where would you want your money to go?

1 mile of oil pipeline: $5 million*
Maintenance costs: high
Environmental costs: major
Benefit to Humanity: short term at best, but at great risk to environment/climate

1 megawatt solar farm: $2.5 million (~5 acres)
Maintenance costs: low to moderate
Environmental costs: minor (debatable of course!)
Benefit to Humanity: a positive/renewable source of power for ~160 homes

1.5 megawatt wind turbine: $2 million
Maintenance costs: low to moderate
Environmental costs: minor (debatable of course!)
Benefit to Humanity: a positive/renewable source of power for power for ~400 homes

All of us alive today were born into a world of massive fossil fuel use, a primarily monolithic energy belief system, with deeply entrenched infrastructure and politics. We're all simultaneously beneficiaries and victims of fossil fuels.

Yet knowing what we know about climate change, the toxic effect of fossil fuels on our environment, impact on indigenous peoples and their lands so often appropriated for pathways for infrastructure, and the impact on the health of human and animal life, shouldn't we demand of our governments, corporations, and financial institutions to offer up better energy choices for all generations and particularly the generations to come?
  • Various google searches on Solar, Wind, and Oil Pipelines.
  • *The cost of a mile of oil pipeline referenced here is an estimate - one source equated it to approximately the same as the cost of a 1-mile stretch of two-lane highway. Assuming, the published cost of the Dakota Access Pipeline is around $3.7 billion and it was planned to be about 1170 miles, that would be roughly $3.16 million dollars per mile. But this source in 2014 estimates closer to $5 million per mile as there are clearly a myriad of aggregate costs involved. Seldom does anyone build just a mile of oil pipeline.
  • Perhaps the most interesting part of all this is a that in the city of Bruges in Belgium a brewer has built a Beer Pipeline: at great benefit to humanity! :)