Archive for March 29th, 2010

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A Little Tweak

March 29, 2010

…and lo, people change their behavior. Check out the startling behavioral changes that a teensy-weensy bag tax has inspired in Washington D.C.

In its first assessment of how the new law is working, the D.C. Office of Tax and Revenue estimates that city food and grocery establishments issued about 3.3 million bags in January, which suggests a remarkable decrease. Prior to the bag tax taking effect Jan 1, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer had estimated that about 22.5 million bags were being issued per month in 2009.

Five cents per bag buys you a reduction from 22.5 million bags/month to 3.3 million bags/month.

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James Lovelost on Stupidity

March 29, 2010

This proclamation from environmental sage James Lovelock is sure to help matters.

“I don’t think we’re yet evolved to the point where we’re clever enough to handle a complex a situation as climate change,” said Lovelock in his first in-depth interview since the theft of the UEA emails last November. “The inertia of humans is so huge that you can’t really do anything meaningful.”

I’m not even sure what it means to say that we (humans) are “too stupid.” Is it that I am too stupid? That my neighbor is too stupid? Or that as a collective (?), we’re too stupid?┬áHe must be speaking metaphorically. But then it gets creepy:

One of the main obstructions to meaningful action is “modern democracy”, he added. “Even the best democracies agree that when a major war approaches, democracy must be put on hold for the time being. I have a feeling that climate change may be an issue as severe as a war. It may be necessary to put democracy on hold for a while.”

Oh boy. Abandoning the checks and balances of a (well-run, appropriately structured) democracy seems like a surefire way to destroy the earth. We’d only be rolling the dice on a non-stupid world government. Maybe — only maybe — would such a government be better at resolving the world’s problems.

Tell ya what: let’s not put democracy on hold for a while and instead work to establish structures and procedures that make us accountable for our decisions.