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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

Republicans: The Other Environmentalists »

Gary Baise was the first EPA Chief of Staff. He has worked on many cases concerning the environment. And now he (a Republican) is running for county chairman in a heavily Democratic jurisdiction. Most of his views are anti-liberal, from his stance that the County needs an “Ironclad immigration lock-down,” to his views that “Education spending should be second or third priority.”

But the one issue he “agrees” with Democrats on is the environment. This may come as a shock, but in reality he’s toting the party line. The GOP views the EPAs goal as “Restoring the balance between the environment and America.” By that they mean allowing oil drilling from the Everglades to Alaskan wildlife preserves, allowing companies to use dangerous pesticides, and a myriad of other offenses.

The Washington Post even did an article on just how many times this so called Republican environmentalist worked against the environment. In the 80s Baise defended building a highway under New York’s Upper Westside, claiming it would not destroy fish habitats, when he had knowledge it would. Gary Baise also defended farmers burning land to such an extent it caused others respiratory issues.

And this guy says the current chairman “Put to much of an emphasis on mass transit.” The current chairman, Gerry Connoly (D-At Large) pushed heavily for metro rail through Fairfax Counties downtown, which is also the Nations 12th largest business district. The current chairman has also put on hold plans to expand some of the main arteries into Tysons Corner. But Baise wants to widen the road, making the 6 lane, highspeed road even more pedestrian unfriendly.

I don’t have a problem with this guy for holding views opposite of mine. But discouraging transit use can not be called environmentalism. Nor can opposing building walkable communities near transit stops be called that. It reminds of how the Republican party are masters at calling right wrong, and wrong right. Sort of like the Patriot Act is perhaps the most unpatriotic law.

Filed under: Environment, Politics

Will Democrats Vote For Climate Change?

There’s a plan in New York City to bring in congestion pricing. Basically if you enter the most congested part of a city (for New York that would be Midtown and Downtown), you have to pay a toll. In London traffic saw a 20% decrease, and carbon emissions saw a similar drop. And did I mention business profits have increased?

It appears that the New York general assembly, which is Democratically controlled won’t vote on whether New York City can have this congestion scheme. Today is the last day to vote on this, because the Federal government won’t grant funding if it isn’t approved on Monday. It appears as if weak kneed politicians won’t ignore the complaints of their constituents to better protect their constituents freedoms. Think, they won’t be able to drive to their favorite beach if nothing is done about global warming, because it will be flooded.

But here in America we equate the car with freedom. A smart move on the car companies sides. They have huge American flags at the dealerships, they sponsor patriotic events, and hold sales on national holidays. As a result Americans feel anyone wanting to reduce private automobile usage, that their “inherently granted right to drive” is curtailed. But in fact mass transit affords more freedom. Ever tried to read a book while speeding down the highway? Ever waited a couple of hours at the repair shop while the bus was repaired?

Photo by mpecarevic.

Filed under: Environment

Go Home: Global Warming Naysayers

A quick note, there will be no beaches to party on if global warming occurs, because they’ll be flooded, or a massive sea wall will be protecting the chain hotels and restaurants, from the very thing big business said would never happen. And what should those from Minnesota care about global warming, it’s to far inland to be affected, so why don’t you go back home?

Despite the Republicans attempt to shut down Live Earth in DC, it still went on, and we had something the other events lacked, Al Gore spoke. Unfortunately the venue only held 200 people, so the other 6000 of us, had stand on our tip toes, and try to block out people chanting “turn it up” over the low volume speakers.

Photo by Joshua Davis (articnomad)

Filed under: American Politics, Economy and Business, Environment, Local Politics

At Last Minute, Live Earth to Visit DC

In a series events, from the National Mall being booked, to global warming nay sayers in Congress, Gore decided to move his Live Earth concert, from Washington, DC, to New York. But just in time the Native Americans came to the rescue, and are allowing the concert to be performed on the front plaza of the American Indian Musuem.

We won’t have any big names unless country music is your cup of tea, but Al Gore will be giving the opening speech, which is good enough for me to show up. So for all you readers in the Baltimore/DC area, you can come out to hear Al Gore, watch some global warming videos, and get some live music. And it’s free. The event is at 7/7/7 at 10:30-9:30 at the welcome plaza of the American Indian Museum.

Filed under: Environment, Local Politics

Hurricanes, Typhoons, and Oil

Those who believe in global warming say it will bring more hurricanes. Al Gore said Katrina was a result of global warming, and weather the Iranian Typhoon was global warming or not, both had two things in common. Oil.

This typhoon flooded key highways used for transportation of oil, sending oil prices to $67 a barrel. It’s funny how nature has a way of evening itself. Just like a forest fire will will trigger rain, it apears that excessive fossil fuel usage will cause gas prices to rise to a point where we stop using them – at least in excessive amounts. Lets take a cue and use less oil before mother nature forces us too.

Filed under: Economy and Business, Environment, The World

Impressions of New York

New York CitySo I went to New York Manhattan last week. And of course this city is an excellent place for the study of urban theory, weather what not to do, or what to do right.

I’ve always been pro density, but the density of New York, was a shock, and took a moment to get used too. My first thoughts, where maybe, buildings could be too large. But I soon got use to that, and realized the architectural beauty was best observed at the lower levels.

The fact that most New Yorkers walked was my favorite part. I thought DC was easy to cross the street, because there where 10 others crossing with you, but New York, was defiantly easier because there where no left turns. I had started thinking a modified street grid pattern wast the best option, but now the classic street grid, with one way traffic seems the best.

Also I further believe my point stands, if we stop building roads, people will use other forms of transit. In New York traffic seemed frustratingly slow (people went a little slower than cars), and this is probably one reason for some to walk and use the Subway. Unfortunately I didn’t use the Subway, so I can’t have any opinions on that. But my impression of New York having a great transit system were further instilled.

Filed under: Environment, The City and Suburbs

5 Easy Ways To Save The Environment

Maybe it won’t save the world, but it will help reduce your carbon footprint.

1. Turn your computer screensaver to an all black version. While a slideshow, or pretty fireworks may be nice to look at, it takes extra processing power which takes more electricity.

2. When you’re not using a charger (cellphone, battery, iPod…) unplug it. The chargers still take electricity when nothing is attached to it.

3. Work in a 3 level office? Use the stairs if you suspect you won’t be sharing the elevator.

4. Use a clock (and other gadgets) that run off alternative energy, such as solar in the day, and battery in the dark.

5. Use Google whenever possible, they take deliberate efforts to save electricity. This is effort is multi-pronged, they save electricity in the server room, and in the office space.

Filed under: Environment, Technology, The World

3 Reason the Suburbs Are Bad

Suburbs: Large areas of land zoned for single use and low density buildings.

1: Destruction of the Environment

This happens on many levels. First being that the American farm is destroyed, and natural open spaces are destroyed. Then on the second level is the destruction of forests for wood to build houses. On the third level is pollution, because you must drive further distances to go to work, or even visit a resturant.

In a traditional city buildings are built upward saving farm space, which will run out if sprawl conitues. In European countries land is tigthly managed to prevent this. High and medium rise buildings are created from resources such as brick or steal, while these have environmental impacts when created, it is far less worst then deforestation. Obvious to anyone it is easier for a person to use mass transit or walk in a city.

2: The Future Slums

The white middle class is reclaiming the cities. Areas once occupied by whites in the inner suburbs are increasing home to people of diverse ethnicities. Some of these areas even experience crime on the same levels as cities. As the cities poor move out they can expect a four thousand dollar windfall. Why? Because the cost of owning a car is at a minimum four thousand a year.

3: Destroyed Farmland

Just like gentrification is viewed negatively, the thought of farms being destroyed should be repulsive. America still has plenty of farmland, but America can no longer feed the entire world alone. Besides the impact of wasted farmland, it is unfortunate for Americas hardest workers to find their land stolen, and ultimately wasted.


The reason I focus on the future is because continued investment in the suburbs is a top threat to America. The buildings that have been built, should be kept, to allow for those who want a three hour commute, to have the freedom to live where they want. The end of World War II marked one of Americas most prosperous times, and I hope we’ve not wasted our money by investing in a failed urban design.

Filed under: Environment, The City and Suburbs

Lakes Detected under Antartica?

Lasers beamed from space have detected what researchers have long suspected: big sloshing lakes of water underneath Antarctic ice. Read the story.A sea wall. In the future such walls will become more prevalent due to global warming.

My first thought on reading this was global warming. Later the article stated “It was not global warming, the water is 2300 feet under the ice, too deep to be melted.” It might not be green house gases affecting this, but geothermic activity. The earth maybe warming up in part due to natural issues, but humankind still needs to reduce the amount of heat we produce.

My number one concern (which is pretty selfish) on global warming is the absence of sandy beaches. Many beach towns have development practically next to the water. These multi-million dollar hotel/condo complexes the owners will not want them be damaged, neither will the people who own private beach houses. What will be done to prevent the waters from doing this? A sea wall. So when you go to the beach you’ll be seeing waves crash against a massive cement wall. Oh and you wanna swim? Just remember the waves will slam you against this wall.

Filed under: Environment, The World