John Edwards has been running for president for a while, and he ran for vice last time if you remember. He has run on a campaign of help for the poor. Since I read the New York Times article last year about how he set up a non-profit organization to cure poverty and then used the millions of dollars to jet around the world, I have not trusted him. He appeared with Hillary and Barack in the Sojourners/Call to Renewal non-debate thingy about poverty, and by the sound of what he had to say and the way he said it, I thought he might have had a conversation with his aides back stage before the thing that went something like “What is their big issue? Poverty? For or against? Against? I can do against.” And now I find out he has a six million dollar house that could house the poor populations of some cities. He is not just a hypocrite, he’s a freaking jerk. What a load. There is not much that disgusts me more than people who preach help for the poor, but neglect to actually do anything for them. Jesus was different, he preached for the poor all the live long day, but he was poor himself, and he healed them, and he fed them, and I am pretty sure he actually touched and spoke to them face to face.
So back to Al Gore. Forget “An Inconvenient Truth.” He travels the world as an environmental evangelist and yet his home is massive, and has equally massive utility bills. He is shuttled around in SUV’s and other equally massive vehicles which would be unacceptable to any honest environmentalist. Oh, I see.
The thing is, any house can be green. Any home can be low energy or zero energy building or ZEB. How? Easy. First thing to do is insulate it well, plug all the holes, and install quality low embodied energy insulation (not fiberglass.) Secondly, orient it so as to take best advantage of warming sun in winter. Thirdly, install energy efficient appliances like solar water heaters and low water use plumbing stuff like low flow showerheads and the like. Fourth, generate energy to offset what you use. Any house anywhere can have solar panels in place of standard roof, or solar shingles in place of standard shingles. Rich people like slow Al and slick Eddie can do this stuff. Bill Gate’s mansion, while it dwarfs both Al’s and Eddie’s in size and cost, is quite efficient. It is an earth sheltered home built into a slope at the edge of a lake.
But, some say, Al Gore buys carbon offsets so that all the carbon he creates with his obscenely wasteful mansion gets absorbed somewhere else. This is true. But let me get through this carbon neutral bogusness and expose it for what it really is. It is a way for people with too much disposable income to buy their conscience clean. That’s right, BUY their conscience clean. Like the indulgences Martin Luther so despised, carbon credits do nothing but make rich wasteful (or sinful in Luther’s case) people feel better about stomping all over the rest of the world and hogging energy that could be used to refrigerate vaccines or heat the homes of the less fortunate. Let me ask this question: What else comes out of a power plant besides carbon dioxide? Mercury, sulfur, lead, cadmium, and a whole bunch of other toxic nastiness.
Where are the mercury offsets, where are the acid rain offsets, where are the testicular cancer offsets? I don’t see any of these rich people paying to offset the really important pollutants they create. I can breath carbon dioxide every day of my life, in fact, I produce it as a byproduct of simply being alive. If I breathe heavy metals, I’ll be retarded pretty quick, and dead not long after that.
Gore also pays extra to get green power from the Tennessee Valley Authority. What does this really mean? It means he subsidizes green power, it doesn’t mean he actually uses green power. Power comes from the nearest plant or two, no matter what kind of plant those two are. It’s like having a giant water tank to supply a town, and one supply to the tank comes from the lake, and the other comes from a natural mineral water spring, but here is only one outlet pipe. How long do you think it would work if we said “Pay us more and you can have the mineral water.” It doesn’t make any logical sense, the truth works like this: “Pay us more and we’ll think about putting more spring water in the tank.”
I want to make it clear that I have no problems with rich people as such. I have problems all day with people who are liars and hypocrites. However, I know of very few wealthy people who do not drive giant SUV’s and live in very large houses or large multiple houses. In fact, the only celebrity I know of who lives what they preach is Ed Begley Jr. He lives in a completely solar powered house, is a vegan and rides bicycles and stuff. But the biggest problem I have with the situation is that the world’s global warming evangelist has done very little to actually help the problem, other than just talking about it that is.
Everything I talk about I do, or try to do, or plan to do when I get more money. Al has all the money he needs and all he can do is buy carbon credits from his own company. The key to minimizing the future energy crisis is efficiency and conservation, two things Al Gore’s house lacks.
Now the oil companies say that prices will have to stay high because demand has dropped, go figure.