Went to this NetGreen thing today at Bergen Park in Ballard. Took the bus, even. A dozen or so "electeds" on hand (city, county, federal) with their attendant staffers. Lots of bikes. An electric Zapcar. Lots of self-congratulatory speeches.
Did you know Seattle has an Office of Sustainability & Environment? Dude who runs it, Steve Nicholas, holds Master's from Harvard, no less. He's all up for this project, whatever it is. So's city councilman Richard Conlin, who quotes Al Gore that global warming's a moral issue. Similar sentiments expressed by all the other electeds, including Jim McDermott. But I still don't get it.
Can't fault the notion of a "carbon footprint"--shorthand for our individual, personal contributions to global warming.
But now it gets hazy. Offsets? Pollution credits? Going "carbon neutral"? And how does this get applied to a single neighborhood like Ballard? Why Ballard, for that matter? Why should Ballard get to be "cooled down" and "carbon neutral"? How about the clubs in Pioneer Square and Belltown?
Whole thing looks like a terribly complicated way to raise money for environmental projects. And money's what it comes down to, make no mistake: you have to buy your way out of the mess you've made by sending cash to somebody else, who spends it on a far-away project that "offsets" your messy greenhouse-gas-emitting, global-warming lifestyle. A check for 50 bucks ought to cover it, buy you a year's absolution.
Worthwhile? Maybe. Practical? Doubtful. Yet another example of elitist navel-gazing? Sure looks like it. No wonder "liberal environmentalists" have such a lousy reputation. And I are one!