Saturday, November 17, 2007

Passport Rapport avec Environment

It came today--only one week after applying for it. It's more rigid than the old one, due to the electronics inside, which I'm not supposed to expose to extreme weather conditions or other harsh conditions. Sure. Ok.

But I find the social critique more telling (I have to do this, I've been trained like a monkey to do so). I'd post images, but I bet the CIA would come after me.

Each page now features an American "scene" with a quote from some famous citizen: there's mount rushmore, the statue of liberty, liberty bell, but also cowboys herding longhorns, a depression era man plowing with two oxen and a close up of wheat heads to the left, a steamer on a river, an eagle with snow-capped mountains behind, a constituiton class ship sailing by a lighthouse, a train smoking up the prairie, a bear catching salmon in a stream with a totem poll as auspiciously placed as the wheat. Well. Ain't we integrated.

"For this is what America is all about. It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest sleeping in the unplowed ground. Is our world gone? We say "Farewell." Is a new world coming? We welcome it--and we will bend it to the hopes of man." --LBJ

"May God continue the unity of our country as the railroad unites the two great oceans of the world." --inscribed on the Golden Spike, Promontory Point, 1869

"We send thanks to all the Animal life in the world. They have many things to teach us as people. We are glad they are still here and we hope it will always be so." -- excerpt from the Thanksgiving Address, Mohawk version

These were on subsequent pages, one after the other, and the irony smacks me upside the head. Every image in here shows man's bending earth to his hope (and women, sorry). I find the other quotations uplifting, indeed I find all of them inspiring to some degree because we do have one hell of a nation, in the bones anyway. Platitudes work on me. But it's gonna be hard to learn from the animals when we kill them all. It's gonna be hard to learn from the land when it isn't there anymore. So much going on in the passport.

(And did you know that when you walk through customs now, your face is captured by a camera and digitally compared to national databases and the image in your passport to validate your goodness?)

Still, after watching the History Channel last night, I have faith in us. I saw how one paper manufacturing company uses methane from landfills to run its operation, uses bad pulp to create more energy, and captures CO2 and other stuff from burning it to produce yet more energy. Some companies store CO2 in the ground, working with oil fields to pressurize the ground and get as much oil out as possible. I even saw how algae can save us, make us zero emission. Algae is amazing. We can fix everything. We have the technology.

Go see what my good friend Bill McKibben has to say about a coffee bean roasting plant and self sustainability here:


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