Smart One the First...
While we build a network of high-capacity underground electrical lines, we should also build high-capacity, high-speed, grade-level rail corridors.
Combining construction of both would lower the costs of each by combining right-of-way acquisition. Passenger rail, which is 5 to 10 times more efficient than air or car travel, would use local energy supplies and save energy over all.
Plus, this construction would spur the creation of hundreds of thousands of good jobs.Ari Ofsevit
We have criminally neglected rail travel in this country. We had many opportunities to create a great rail network on par with Europe's (people don't have cars in Europe like we do; they don't need to) and we have failed every time, opting instead for more highways and more cars. Here in New York City most people don't have cars. It's difficult to keep one here but it's also unnecessary. The subway goes nearly everywhere and the few places it doesn't go are served by buses. Better public transportation means a better environment. And more self-sufficiency for people of limited financial means.
I like Mr. Ofsevit's idea of killing two birds with one stone. Three, really. JOBS! But I'd go one step further and go with maglev trains for intercity and long-distance travel. They have them in Japan and they're awesome. They can't be plopped onto existing tracks but if we're making new lines (or refitting old ones) they should be considered. They're fast, quiet, and efficient because they eliminate friction. And, at speeds of over 300mph, they can compete with air travel.
Smart One the Second...
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases is generated by livestock production, more than by transportation.
Yet Al Gore does not even mention the need for Americans to reduce meat consumption as we attempt to rescue ourselves from the climate crisis.Michael Radkowsky
I pride myself on not being a sanctimonious asshole about my food choices. I ate meat for over 30 years and dairy for another 5 or so. So it would be abject hypocrisy for me to excoriate others for not doing exactly what I do exactly when I do it. Nobody wants to be told what to eat (or not to eat) and I'm not going to look down on anyone for the choices they make in this area.
But a vegan with a Hummer has a much smaller carbon footprint than a carnivore with a Prius. Just sayin'. (Vegan with a Prius? Now you're talkin'. Vegan that takes solar-powered maglev public transportation? Be still, my healthily beating heart.)
What I like in this letter is that Mr. Radkowsky does not even say we need to eliminate meat consumption but that we should think about reducing it. This is easier for people to swallow. How many times a week do you eat meat? Six? Drop that to three and you've made a difference. Food for thought.