Global Warming

Patrick Foley patfoley at
Sun Jul 13 22:15:30 EDT 2003


College professors are surely guilty of overconsumption and poor energy 
planning (like most people), but it doesn't help the world much if such 
a small population suddenly reforms itself. We need a concerted effort 
which requires, among other unpopular things, higher energy prices, more 
solar power, better home designs and a commitment by everybody to live 
in reality not fantasy.

However it is my experience that many professors drive the most energy 
effective cars in their class, or even bicycle (I live in Davis, CA). 
Many have no children and few have more than 3. Many live in small 
homes, or what is more important , energy efficicient homes. Many Davis 
homes have 8 foot ceilings and the house codes require energy efficient 
windows etc. The house I own is 1400 sq feet but what matters more is 
its east west layout and the arrangement of trees and such. We do not 
air condition. I drive a 39 mile per gallon Saturn to work, but a 20 mpg 
Dodge truck to the field. That's the smallest vehicle that can do the 
job and hold my 6'8'' body.

My biggest failure to conserve energy in the past few years is probably 
travel, especially by air and wandering around the western United States 
looking at flowers, bees and leps. This is a guilty pleasure, and I am 
willing to pay for it. I am even willing to pay the external price 
(including the effects on global warming) if I can get everyone to do 
the same. So I am like you. I won't become a better world citizen until 
I can get some guarantee that others will too. But I will vote for 
higher energy taxes, family planning, international cooperation and 
environmental protection. Will you?

The concept of good citizenship, is not that we are called to be saints, 
but that we are called to share the problems and the solutions. We need 
to build a society that encourages us to be good environmentalists, 
rather than discourages it. Are you with us?

Patrick Foley
patfoley at

Paul Cherubini wrote:

>Pat Foley wrote:
>>I am utterly convinced that continuing to pump large amounts of 
>>greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is foolishly dangerous. As a 
>>citizen and father, I feel like an irresponsible failure for letting 
>>such stupid things happen. How about you?
>Pat, I don't see much evidence that college professors and the leaders
>of major environmental groups are seriously worried about global 
>warming. If they were, they'd be willing to make serious lifestyle changes
>to reduce greenhouse gas production. Serious changes like adopting
>children instead of creating them, driving smaller vehicles and buying
>smaller homes.  Instead, I see college professors have 
>successfully lobbied for salary increases that have outpaced the Consumer
>Price Index by an increasingly wider margin each year for the past two 
>decades  Professors are 
>using part of this extra money to buy larger, heavier, less fuel efficient
>vehicles and larger, more resource consumptive homes in luxuriously
>landscaped subdivisions which consume large amounts of open space. 
>So Pat I'm not going to get too excited about greenhouse gas production
>until I start seeing biological science professors worried enough
>about it to start driving 4 cylinder two wheel drive compact cars, 
>compact station wagons and mini-trucks like they used to drive back in
>the 1970's.  And start living in modest 1200-1400 square foot homes 
>like they used to when they couldn't afford anything bigger.   Will college 
>professors and highly paid environmentalists ever likely make these 
>lifestyle changes? Well one clue is that none of the major environmental 
>organizations are encouringing the public to stop having children, buying 
>SUV's, Vans or at least stop buying 6 and 8 cylinder models or four wheel
>drive / all wheel drive models or to stop buying large homes to help combat 
>global warming.  For example, the Union of Concerned Scientists website 
>merely recommends: 
>"When you buy your next car, look for the one with the best fuel
> economy in its class."   "If you own more than one vehicle, use the less 
>fuel-efficient one only when you can fill it with passengers

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