On Dreams (part one–inspiration)

I don’t always remember my dreams, but I like the stimulation I get from them even when I forget most of what started it.  This morning I awoke thinking about whether there might have been a toxic spill at some time in the past near my new residence, which is in a mobile home park backing onto an industrial area.  It’s not something I’d thought about at first, when I moved in about a month ago (btw, the new number, once again, is 530.542-2579).

I’d been thinking only of the FEMA trailers of Katrina fame and the unfortunate reaction I had in Ginger’s fifth wheel last winter on first moving in there.  My guess is that, if information on hazmat spills is available at all, it will take a concerted effort and no little exercise of my experience dealing with bureaucracies, to find out.

Having almost always been a home owner, I’ve pretty much been insulated from this kind of concern.  Although that’s probably not as sure a thing as it should be, since the obligation to divulge such items upon sale is something which seems to be enforced mostly with a wink and a nod, especially under the teabag party philosophy which has been gaining strength for some forty years, now, under the guise of Reaganism

Then my mind went on to what role law and government really ought to have , and what role it actually has.  On the one hand, it seems to me that, if there has been a hazmat spill in this area, I should, as a potential resident, be informed.  People holding property near such an event should be required to inform potential renters and to notify buyers (for real) of the event so the newcomers can choose to put themselves at risk of the possible side effects of long term exposure to any remnants of the spill, especially if they have, or intend to have, children.  As it is now, they simply have no choice, because they have no knowledge of the risk in the first place.

But I’d be dumbfounded if such were the case, especially as pertains to renters like myself.  Trailers are rented by people who can’t generally afford influencing legislators, while trailer park owners–owners in general–not only can afford such influence, they are usually savvy enough to wield it.   And there’s clearly a lot of money involved in such information, for a history of a hazardous spill would clearly drive rents down drastically.

So it’s highly likely that whether there’s ever been a spill across from my new mobile home residence  or not of, say, mercury laden sludge, I’ll never know.  But I’m too old and handicapped now to worry about it in any case.  It takes me too long to get the research done.  Hell, I’d probably die of a stroke or something before finding out about what would probably only be a thirty year threat anyway.

But still, it seems to me there ought to be a law.  Young people should not only have access to the information, they should be actively informed of such data, and their incomes shouldn’t be a factor.  If some company spilled the goods, that company should not only have to clean it up, it should have to bear the expenses, even those at first hidden, entailed by informing people of the fact.  It shouldn’t be the trailer park owner that bears the consequent deflated revenue, it’s whoever spilled the stuff in the first place.

BP, for instance, should be paying so much for the gulf spill that I find it hard to imagine how, even it, would be able to survive the cash crunch.  Lost revenue on the gulf coast will last for scores of years.  And that won’t even reflect most of the true extent of the damage to the environment.  Government’s role ought to be to try to set all that right–if not to make it right, as can’t possibly be done there.  Only by making BP pay the true costs will future BP’s have a true incentive to avoid the same errors that BP made in order to cut corners and increase profits.  Such corner cutting should hold real costs, and the role of the government should be to assure the costs are so high we never have another spill like that one.  We shouldn’t have had this one after the Valdez.  Or the Valdez after Santa Barbara.  Etc., etc.

But, if anything is obvious, it’s that BP isn’t going to be hurt very much.  But that’s another story.

Or maybe not (See what I mean about how the stimulation from one good dream (or bad, as in this case) can be such a delight, in terms of how it just gets the mind going?)  Maybe the issue is really the same across the board.  Maybe the real problem is that

government has taken on the role of protecting businesses more vigorously than protecting the people.

Being protected by the government, of course, isn’t something that you always want.  Often don‘t  In fact.  Government always seems to be too eager to protect us from ourselves, or from some “evil” that only threatens us if we decide to embrace it, like homosexuality or drugs, or, heaven forbid, any choice we might make to escape the various grids that shape our lives–most  of which amount to large scale exploitation by some large corporation or another.

But, certainly in a democracy, government views its role as serving the interests of the ones who most can deliver–and do–votes to elect the government.  And, in capitalistic societies, that usually comes down to one and only one thing:  money.  The impending election is a prime example.

Money.  How odd.  I seem to have arrived, after long rambling, at the obvious.  Money  equals power.  I’d hoped that Common Sense for the Third Millennium, the 501(c)3 organization I’m currently shepherding into obscurity, might have been an instrument to fight that trend.  Having the imprimatur of a tax exempt non-profit, it could easily get grants that could be a valuable source of income for anyone willing to support its goals.  With so many looking for a living, you’d think there’d be people coming out of the woodwork to participate.

But that group’s survival seems far fetched at the moment, as my energy for keeping it alive has waned and there’s not been a scurrying from the proverbial woodwork.  If any of you would be interested in talking with me about how you might help avoid CS3rd’s demise so that it could take up the baton on questions such as these, use the phone number above.  I’d love to discuss it.  But act promptly, for CS3rd may not exist soon unless some shining knight, preferably highly motivated to protect the people in general over the monied classes, comes riding to its rescue.

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3 Responses to On Dreams (part one–inspiration)

  1. Barbara says:

    Hey you,

    As you know, I agree about the responsibility/obligation of the corporations to clean up their all-too-frequent and careless disasters, but what about those of us who persist in using their products? If there were no call for them, there would be no profit in it and they’d find some other occupation.

    Not only may the love of money be the root of all evil, but so, too the love of ease and convenience that we Americans are so devoted to.

  2. George says:

    This goes back to the issues raised by Jim’s comment to the entry on “The Burning Apple” (10-07-10). In my opinion, the problem, always, comes down to one and only one thing: population.
    There’s no validity to blaming any of us for our individual behavior. At least not emphatically. That’s not to say we can’t ease the effects of our presence here on earth by exercising aware consumer practices. Nor even that we don’t have to pay attention to such factors if we hope to get out of the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into. But that’s not even close to being at the heart of the problem. If we were all perfect consumers in terms of recycling and making wise choices of products, we would only be postponing the eventual collapse of the system.
    If nothing is ever done about our population growth, the end result is exactly the same–at least insofar as the impact on humanity. The power of the exponential growth is not dependent upon what kind of consumptive and/or waste producing creature we are. Nor what technology we use to produce the commodities, to consume them, or dispose of the by-products. It is that we are consuming creatures and we do produce waste.
    My most radical position on these topics is my insistence that our population has grown so extensive that the threat of collapse we pose now isn’t merely to humanity, but to Gaia Herself. I’m not alone in that position, although I once thought I was. No less than James Lovelock himself seems to have come to that position. But he, too, finds himself being dismissed out of hand by many traditionalists in the environmental camp.
    Those who obsess on Al Gore’s carbon footprint as proof of his being a hypocrite are just blowing smoke. They are actually so obsessed with obscuring the essence of the problem that they want only to introduce distractions. Solutions are the farthest thing from their minds. It’s a full time job denying the obvious. And, worse yet, not doing that job interferes with profits, so it’s a job many feel compelled to do well.
    That we all drive a car is because we get around via car. There’s no other way, especially in the U.S., to get around. We do have to put the political will into making it not only possible, but easy, to be able to get around by some other means. Our guilt, if it is appropriate at all, isn’t that we might be involved in driving. Our guilt should be if we aren’t doing something to change that. Doing everything we can along those lines.
    More often than not, that comes down to money, for it’s often the case that doing the right thing in order to promote being able to do the right thing more easily is expensive. For instance, buying organic is very expensive compared to buying non-organic. But there has to be a market for the organic produce to ever become less expensive Organic is better for Gaia, which should be our primary motivator in making the choice.
    But not everyone can afford that. And, like it or not, the final decision has to revolve around what each of us can afford, for our final motivator always will be our own, personal, circumstances, not the abstract concept of Gaia’s well being. You’ve got to make your own, honest, evaluation. “Honest” in the sense that you’ve at least put the abstract into the mix. Once you’ve decided, though, guilt is no longer appropriate,
    But that’s not the problem, anyway. The problem is that there are too many of us to be fed, clothed–accommodated.
    In today’s society, there is absolutely no way one can avoid being a “hypocrite,” unless one just choses to deny humanity’s ill effects altogether. Don’t get distracted by the truth of that point. Nor fooled into thinking that good behavior on your part will win over those so committed to denial. The problem is that there are too many of us and that there are even more of us now, here at the end of the sentence.
    Every day we gain about 210,000 people worldwide. Every season that amounts to more than 18 million. The planet’s human population is growing by the equivalent of a New York metropolitan area every season. Four NYC’s a year.
    We Don’t notice it so much because it’s spread out over the whole surface. But all those people eat. They drink. They s-word. They exhale, pee, and occupy space, too. If we were to measure it in lifetimes we’d see that eating nothing but asparagus isn’t going to help our children. Not if we don’t get a handle on the population growth. The legacy we’re passing on to our grandchildren is far more depressing than just the big debt we’re leaving them as a cherry on the top.
    Okay, enough of this. I think I’ll take in a shmup. And I’ll try not to obsess on the guilt that ought to go with that. No sense in it.

  3. Hank Raymond says:

    Actually, Al Gore’s carbon footprint does bother me. I’m not talking about the footprint he has while traveling around spreading the word, but his energy sucking house. He could easily have a carbon-neutral house. Why doesn’t he? Or maybe I’m misinformed?

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