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"Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Hummer Grabs Limelight at Open Air Demo.

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by Ryan Jordan | 2006-08-09 03:00:00-06

Silhouetted against the backdrop of the ragged Wasatch Front, home to some of the finest backcountry skiing and hiking in the United States, as part of the Outdoor Industry's most dramatic gathering of businessmen and product buyers interested in gear related to human powered sports, something different is here.

A Hummer.

If you like, you can test drive one.

And Hummer will donate $20 to Tread Lightly if you do.

Sounds worthy.

Tread Lightly has a name that invokes positive emotion from any hiker and they have a cute cartoon squirrel for a mascot.

And any similarity to the type of environmental stewardship we're interested in pretty much stops there.

Because "Tread" has nothing to do with walking.

That squirrel drives a four wheeler, pours gasoline over its cereal, and digs ruts for recreation.

Tread Lightly counts among their corporate sponsors:

  • American Motorcyclist Association
  • American Suzuki Motor Corporation
  • ARB 4x4 Accessories
  • Arctic Cat, Inc.
  • Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover
  • BF Goodrich Tires

Let's stop there. The list is long. View them all here.

Oh, and I almost forgot. Hummer. So back to Hummer.

Right, so test drive a Hummer at ORSM'06 and you essentially fund an organization hell bent on promoting motorized recreation on public lands.

That's just friggin' great. Welcome to the new face of the Outdoor Industry Association.

Hummer, of course, defends itself.

Nick Richards (Hummer's communications manager and apparently, chief pimp of environmental education) said in the Salt Lake Tribune this morning that Hummer seeks the active lifestyle market represented by many of us.

I bet they do.

Nothing like seeing one of the grossest symbols of American frivolity waltz up a jeep trail to a remote trailhead and spill out five ultralight backpackers out to commune with nature, eh?

Who invited these guys?

Clearly, OR let them in the door. But rumor has it that the formal invite was extended by Outside magazine. Hummer, after all, is certainly one of their major advertisers. Outside's CPEE Josephine Parr said "Hummer brings another dimension to the show".


A dimension that fools people into thinking that Hummer actually has something to contribute to the long term health of the Outdoor Industry by funding an organization with a recreational use agenda dominated by motorized vehicle use.

Also in the Tribune article, kayak maker Pyranha's Dick Good said "If they [Hummer hammerers] are so worried, why did we all fly to Salt Lake City and make this 45-minute drive from Salt Lake up here?"

See Dick run...

...From the very core of our industry's passion that allows him to even sell his products. Don't believe me? Then read the marketing B.S. that graces the Pyranha home page. Catch phrases like "not just" and "we're the same now as we were 30 years ago" etc.

I don't have a problem with SUV's per se. One can responsibly use the right tool for the job, right? After all, we do need some means of getting to the trailhead, and in some cases, those trailheads are remote and travel over rough roads. Trucks, and SUV's, can get us there.

Ironically, however, the number of large truck and SUV owners that actually use their SUV's to go to places that require a huge, high-clearance vehicle, is abysmally small.

Does a housewife need a Suburban to run her child to and from soccer practice?

Does a visitor on a driving tour of the National Parks really need a supercab truck to do it?

Do we need a vehicle that spends $100 in gasoline to make the 300-mile round trip from the city up a well-maintained road to a Sierra trailhead?

What the Outdoor Industry Association, Outdoor Retailer, Outside magazine, and Hummer have done this year is take eyes off of human powered sports with this absurd and knowingly controversial move, contributed to the national agenda of motorized vehicle use on public lands, and thus have placed a desire for short term sensationalism over the desire for long term industry health.

Choices must be made at a fundamental, personal level if we are to make a difference. The environmental damage and other costs of the recent BP pipeline failure on Alaska's North Slope dictates that our dependence on petroleum energy is unavoidable. As much as we'd like to, BPL Staff can't walk to SLC. Nor can we carpool, as we're too far distributed around the country. But while we're here, we'll do what we can. We'll carpool to and from our hotel (five of us folks in a compact car at 34 MPG), we'll take the shuttle to Willard Bay for the Open Air Demo, and we'll use our hotel towels for a few days. Small measures, for sure, but taken with some sensitivity to personal responsibility. We'll do our best to tread lightly while we're here.

And we won't demo drive the Hummer.


""Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)," by Ryan Jordan. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2006-08-09 03:00:00-06.


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"Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)
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Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
"Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006) on 08/09/2006 14:26:44 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

"Like Nothing Else": Warfare Marketing of the Hummer H3 (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006)

Michael Church
(machurch) - F - M
Outside/Hummer, etc. on 08/09/2006 19:36:22 MDT Print View

For the past several years, Outside magazine has been steadily pulling away from its roots, and now it has really gone all the way. It has been several years since I have read Outside, and now it looks like I never will read their magazine again. I sincerely hope most of the people at the Outdoor Retailer show aren't into this stuff. If they are, the future of our wilderness and outdoor recreation in general is in real danger.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Hummer on 08/09/2006 22:15:50 MDT Print View

Hell yeaaaahhhh!!!!! I drive a Jeep Wrangler and I loooove that car!! Who doesn't like tearing through mud and up 4WD trails?? Its manly and its fun---just like ultralight backpacking...

Oh and Ryan---its called the free market---if someone wants to spend a $100 to go to the grocery store, they may be a moron, but I dang well will defend to the death their right to choose with their own mind and not have the government make our choices for us. That would be socialism--and we all know how wonderfully THAT works...

Edited by ryan on 08/09/2006 22:58:12 MDT.

Ryan Jordan
(ryan) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Greater Yellowstone
Re: Hummer on 08/09/2006 22:57:50 MDT Print View

I rode dirt bikes for years. Was it fun, heck ya. If I got on a dirt bike today, would it still be fun? Oh heck ya!

Do I want to retain the choice to exercise my right to ride a dirt bike? Yup.

Will I exercise that right?

That's the core issue at stake.

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Free market on 08/09/2006 23:15:40 MDT Print View

Critiques of people's market choices based on some supposed objective baseline of "need" certainly do start to smack of the tongue wagging of socialists and other interventionist do-gooders. I'd like to think Ryan's critique was intended to be an aesthetic argument(and therefore admittedly subjective) rather than an economic position.

The Hummer H3 is inappropriate (poor capability) even for its marketed offroad abilities. For serious backcountry access a small format Jeep or for real manliness a Pinzgauer can slowly creep into amazingly intimidating terrain. Fortunately most SUV buyers are more interested in highway protection in accidents than tearing up the boonies. Hummers largely fill a psychological (neurotic) need moreso than a physical need. Image is a marketable commodity because it's easy.

Real men drive mini-vans; they're practically invisible to traffic cops.

Brett .
(Brett1234) - F

Locale: CA
Please refrain from environmental editorials on 08/10/2006 00:54:45 MDT Print View

And stick to what you guys do better than anyone, discussions of lightweight backpacking. I agree Hummers are extremely inefficient, but that is a subject for another website, indeed. Thank you.

Nancy Kline
(nakline) - F
Nothing else on 08/10/2006 06:28:46 MDT Print View

Without environmentalism, protection and preservation of wild places, there would be no backpacking through the wilderness, it wouldn't exist. You could backpack through the newest mall, or the wasteland that once was a forrest. How could backpacking or any nature recreation be a seperate issue? How is any human action not related to the whole human experience? This is a major problem with our culture, we compartmentalize so we don't have to be aware of how our spending $100 dollars, or rather what spending that much on driving 300 miles means, contributes to global warming and thereby the destruction of environment. There is no do-good subjective interpretation of what is happening to our world. There is not one, NOT ONE, climate scientist who does not believe that global warming, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, does not pose a critical and imminent danger to life on earth. All life, not just our selfish human life.

How can anyone say that driving trough the wild places at 50 or 60 miles an hour on their ATV, snowmobile, dirt bike, motorboat, or Jeep is about the enjoyment of nature. No, it isn't manly. It is a juvenile testosterone rampage, a *BEEP* all over nature, scaring the *BEEP* out of every living thing in it's path, leaving destruction and traces of oil and gas in it's wake. With this kind of "enjoyment" of nature, all our wilderness places will be very tired and worn in no time. Manly would be the wisdom of living in harmony with the flora and fauna of nature, and they aren't just beautiful to watch, their function is to help nature work, to keep it in balance. I am all for having wilderness areas be inconvenient to get to, maybe they will last longer. With the rise in population, even these areas are going to be loved to death pretty soon.

kevin roberge
(robergekj5) - F
Some thoughts on 08/10/2006 06:37:15 MDT Print View

Some thoughts:

Remember that Jordan indicates that its reasonable to own a jeep or a truck or what not to use in a wilderness setting, he's not condeming them outright. It seems as though he thought it was inappropriate to market a Hummer at this particular event. Context is important.

Perhaps Jordan is struggling with an age old pseudo paradox of the outdoorsman. Many folks would claim to love the outdoors, but in reality they don't, they love the 'idea' of the outdoors. Oh, they like to go outdoors, but like to have roads there, cleared campsites, really cool gear to bring, and like to have cities to go home to. This does not characterize everyone, but essentially the outdoors is a theme park for many people. They view it as a product, something to use whether its for photography, off roading, fishing & Hunting or what not. They're peak baggers, mileage braggarts, and accomplishment boasters. Many are not going to revel in the beauty of a fern or pleasant meadow.

One final note: There's nothing particularly manly about off roading, mudding or dirt biking. There are many talented women in that genre. Let's not defend our hobbies under the guise of masculinity.

kevin roberge
(robergekj5) - F
A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 06:44:29 MDT Print View

Just one final note: This country is in fact not simply a free market. We all enjoy many aspects of socialism. Libraries, public schools, roads, fire depts., police depts. welfare, health insurance for the poor and elderly, government grants for research, anti-trust regulations etc.

Its always amusing to me to hear modern folks proclaim the greatness of a free market economy, something that they have never known. A very cursory read over what life was like a century ago (when markets were much more free) indicates how much the common person benefitted, not much. The safety we enjoy today in building codes, clean water, safe food and much more we owe to socialists and unions from over a century ago who fought long and hard for the average american to live a healthy and productive life. Socialism has been an american pastime for over the last hundred years (even more so for the past fifty).

Cheers to socialism

Charles Strusz
(infochuck) - F
Envrionmental editorials on 08/10/2006 10:02:15 MDT Print View

Please do NOT refrain from environmental editorials. We're all supposed to be fnas of the outdoors, and that means preserving it for low-impact use.

Hummers are a blight on the landscape and society. They're for people with feelings of inadequacy and the desire to make themselves safer at the expense of others.

People have the right to buy 'em and drive 'em, and I have the right to ridicule them, flip them off, give them a piece of my mind, give them dirty looks, and tell their children that mommy is making sure the planet they inherit will be much dirtier.

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
Re: Nothing else on 08/10/2006 10:42:11 MDT Print View

"trough the wild places at 50 or 60 miles an hour on their ATV, snowmobile, dirt bike, motorboat, or Jeep is about the enjoyment of nature. No, it isn't manly. It is a juvenile testosterone rampage, a *BEEP* all over nature," -Nancy Kline

This is typical knowitall type hippie arrogance... you think you are so mature, enlightened, and understanding that if you don't understand an activity or it isn't fun to you, it must be a worthless activity pursued by juvenile people...

Motorized and mechanized outdoor recreation is fun for many people. Those people are not "juvenile" or idiots. They should be responsible and attempt to minimize their impact but your arrogant attitude is that they shouldn't be doing what they are doing because YOU don't see the point.

Let me follow your philosophy...

I own a front wheel drive four door sedan that gets 30mpg. Shoot me because it could be a 2 door since I am single.

I have a crosscountry mountain bike. Gosh, I really should walk. Who could truly enjoy nature from a MTB at 10mph?

I use my friend's snowmobile to for snowmobile assisted backcountry skiing. If I was truly in tune with nautre, I'd be a manly man and skin all day for just a single lap on the same terrain. (Note: I skin most of the time and combine it with the snowmobile assists.)

Scratch that... my AT skis should be banned from wilderness areas... the only way to enjoy nature is at a walking pace with snowshoes or nordic skis. Who could truly commmune with Ullr while ripping through the trees and snow at 30mph?

"With this kind of "enjoyment" of nature, all our wilderness places will be very tired and worn in no time. Manly would be the wisdom of living in harmony with the flora and fauna of nature, and they aren't just beautiful to watch, their function is to help nature work, to keep it in balance." -Nancy Kline

Nobody is talking about Hummers driving inside wilderness areas. The only thing allowed in wilderness areas are pedestrians and (for some reason I still don't get) equestrians.

"People have the right to buy 'em and drive 'em, and I have the right to ridicule them, flip them off, give them a piece of my mind, give them dirty looks, and tell their children that mommy is making sure the planet they inherit will be much dirtier." -Charles Sturts

I was with you up until that last phrase. Harrassing their children is way way out of line. While I would never own such a wastefull status symbol as a Hummer, if you started bad mouthing me to my little children, it would be considered assault and I'd knock you on your selfrightous butt. It would be no different than PETA activists telling children that their "mommy and daddy are terrible murderers" and promptly getting their butts handed to them.

Edited by Summit on 08/10/2006 11:02:12 MDT.

Curt Peterson
(curtpeterson) - M

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Missing the point? on 08/10/2006 10:57:38 MDT Print View

It's not about the Hummer or off-road vehicles. It's about the point. Just like Jeep and Suzuki have an obligation to further their interests by advocating for them, human-powered backcountry recreation users have an obligation to advocate their positions and protect their interests.

I read this much more as disappointment that folks that share that obligation - Outside and the OR Show - are failing at it. Personally, I would think it would be shameful if folks at BPL, Backpacker, or backpacking gear manufacturers didn't advocate their positions. Kudos to BPL for doing it.

Unfortunately, it seems there's is less and less of it in the past few years. Obviously the motorized folks get it - they're doing a much better job at it right now. I don't blame them for trying - I blame the outdoor industry for sitting on their asses. Companies that put their money where their mouth is like Patagonia and Granite Gear are too few and far between.


Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Humming along on 08/10/2006 12:52:22 MDT Print View

In this great country of ours, we have the freedom to do or not to do many things. And these freedoms are protected by law!
I can legally:
- Choose not to protect the environment
- Ignore those who are in need
- Bother other folks with my smoking
- Advocate heavy backpacking gear
And I will da*m* do as I please, especially if I have fun doing it. And I am so happy that lots of folks spend their money and energy protecting these rights of mine. Where would we end up if some Socialists tried to infringe on my complacent, self-centered life-style? Don't make me think about it. And if you try to dent my Hummer, I will sue you.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 13:55:25 MDT Print View

Kevin Roberge--

Your ignorance is typical of the hyperliberal community that support Green Peace, PETA, Amnesty International, and the ACLU.

A free market outperforms the government in nearly all cases due to the face private companies face competition for their products and services, else they will be fired or go out of business. If, however, the government does a poor job, the solution is not to replace them with another company, but to give the bureaucracy more money.

And no, we are not a socialistic economy.

Just to reject allof your points, one by one---

building codes--set as a generally acceptable standard of safety--at the LOCAL, STATE, and less so, federal levels.

clean water--in New Jersey private companies are responsible for the purity of the water supply

libraries-- there are both public and private libraries

roads are part of the infrastructure and a strategic part of national defense(WWII and D Eisenhower)

Anyways--lets look at subsidized corporations that fail miserbly and would have gone bankrupt except for federal assistance.

--Airbus(owned by france)
----->>>>PUBLIC SCHOOLS<<<<----

Oh--and there is no consensus on global warming--unless it is from the amount of hot air Mr. Gore blows into the atmosphere...

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Chill on 08/10/2006 15:32:55 MDT Print View

My reaction to the reaction to the article is I wonder if it is possible to distribute xanax or valium over the internet. Sheesh.

A hummer H3 is offensive to me. Largely because it is designed to look like a macho off-road vehicle, which it isn't -- the original hummers (especially ones without the armor mods) are actually a reasonable off-road vehicle. An H3 is really designed to tell other people in the shopping-mall parking lot, "on weekends I wish I was playing outside."

Oh, I enjoyed the article very much.

Scott Ashdown
(waterloggedwellies) - F

Locale: United Kingdom
Re: Humming along on 08/10/2006 16:03:15 MDT Print View

Hmm, Sven

I'm not sure protesting your "Complacent, self centred, Do a as I da*m* please" approach to life of enviromental degredation, ignoring those in need or bothering other people with your smoke is quite the way to win friends and influence people on the site. Your right to point out freedoms in a democratic society, however, with freedom comes responsibility and I don't see any hint of that in your post, only insulting selfishness.

Sure, if you want to enjoy your Hummer do so but please consider that not everyone will necessarily agree with you.

Jason Smith
(JasonS) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Humming along on 08/10/2006 17:18:15 MDT Print View

I support and agree with what Ryan is saying.

The use of a SUV risks the lives of others. SUV's are three times as likely as cars to cause a driver fatility in the other car in a two-vehicle collision. SUVs damage the environment through low gas milage.

Sometimes we need to voluntarily give up what we want to do to benifit society as a whole. It's part of being a responsible adult.

Sven - originally missed your last line myself.

Edited by JasonS on 08/10/2006 18:12:07 MDT.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Some Of Us Are Tired on 08/10/2006 17:21:36 MDT Print View

Tired of people being so self-involved that they clearly do not think beyond what's in it for me.

The jokers at Hummer who create these sickening TV ads that show some young guy apparently emasculated in a grocery check-out line because his vegetarian choices have made him feel less-of-a-man compared to the guy behind him who has piles of he has to run directly to the Hummer lot and BUY his manhood back. They of the marketing ilk at Hummer (or some paid firm) are probably sensible people who would never let a commercial alter their self-perception or their needs...but do it for the cash. And the truly sickening thing is, this kind of imagery works on a lot of people...who again are unable to focus on anything other than how cool I will look with shades on at the stop light in my bright yellow metal box. And I can only laugh harder and harder in judgement as I watch these sharpies driving their extended cab long bed trucks to work in the morning, by themselves, in metropolitan commute traffic!

And once upon a time, while in undergrad econ. classes I too thought that Adam Smith had summed up capitalist reality for eternity with his invisible hand theory, right? Wrong! I am no Socialist. I am a realist. Like marketing guys who want to earn a buck. Or 24 year old, self involved ego dudes, or islamic extremists, people do not think beyond what's in it for me. And with a global economy and population growth that is far beyond anything Adam Smith could have imagined...more and more of our individual rights will have to go away. There is not enough physical space or wealth to keep everyone happy anymore. Now the rules start. And I agree with Ryan that at some point, you have to start to put your finger up at the institutions that seem only interested in encouraging the individuals to do something because it feels good and makes them a ton of profit, in spite of the fact that it is totally detrimental to the overall good of the planet opr it's population or both.

And as a side note, our floundering executives at America's auto manufacturers still do not seem to get the message. With the bell tolling in the background, and Toyota outselling them for the first time ever in the month of July, they decide it's time to bring back the muscle car....a new Camero for 2008. Duh! I suppose it could be off the drawing board by then though if gas moves on up to $4 or $5 a gallon....which is totally plausible.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Some Of Us Are Tired on 08/10/2006 17:28:13 MDT Print View

Isn't it amazing. NO ONE IS LISTENING!!!! With global warming on the increase (Well Bush says that it is not...Yeh right) and gas prices going up everyday (and even further now that a pipeline needs to be shut down). Why can't they see that we just need a automobile that is gas efficient, and better for the earth. Stupid people!

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Some Of Us Are Tired on 08/10/2006 17:46:49 MDT Print View

Why don't we have trains to the trail heads? I've thought a lot about a light rail system through the Cascade passes that could be a Summer tour ride (get the tourists to subsidize it you see) it), drop off hikers at trail heads, and be used for a ski train in Winter.

When they look back at our era, our insane attachments to automobiles will be looked upon as a great folly of history.

I'm going to build a machine that kills 40,000 people a year in the US and permantly disables more like 250,000. This machine will get us into strategic wars and insane diplomatic policies, turn our economy upside-down, pollute the air, water and soil, ruin the climate, and make out cities dirty, noisy, barely livable places. What devilish machine is this? The automobile.

Sven Klingemann
(svenklingemann) - F
Sorry for the confusion on 08/10/2006 17:54:25 MDT Print View

I guess I was naive (sadly) to assume that my posting would be recognized as a sarcastic comment on those who just don't care about the well-being of others and the environment. I totally agree with Ryan and those who support an environmentally and socially conscious way of life.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 18:41:27 MDT Print View

Crazy Pete -

What would you say if I said "your ignorance is typical of self-centered, *BEEP*-the-facts conservatives"?

I thought so - so let's put puerile name-calling aside.

There is widespread consensus on global warming; the free market often runs away with itself for profit at great cost to the environment, the public, and others; even if you favor individual transportation there is no sound argument for fuel inefficiency and squandering finite resources; I could go on with many more examples of our current folly.

As many others have already said, just because you have the freedom to do something doesn't mean you should. We all owe it to each other and our grandchildren to conserve, preserve, and protect this planet.

I think that's really quite self-evident, regardless of your politics.

True conservatives conserve; fascists threaten, insult, and selfishly grab whatever they can for themselves. regardless of who or what they trample in the process.

Josh Holland
(jdholland) - F
Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:01:25 MDT Print View

Steven Nelson I've got a global warming question for you. Has the earth not been in a warming trend since the last ice age?

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:09:26 MDT Print View

yes, but we as human kind have been expiditing it! Please stop the BS Josh...please. We are not here to pick fights with others

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:20:12 MDT Print View

Actually the fascists were socialists who would largely agree with much of the ethics expressed here that are dismayed at the results of voluntary exchange.

We all have different values coming from different experiences and different dispositions. The most democraticly applied common denominator that actually expresses our values meaningfully, tangibly, but never staticly or objectively is the marketplace where votes are only counted when they are backed up with offers of dollars, and non-voting still counts because someone will always find a way to get someone to satisfy a want and spend money.

Politicians don't worry about satisfying the vast majority who are non-voters(at least in the US where the 2-party 2-step doesn't wash anymore with most people), but entrepreneurs do.

Freedom isn't pretty, it's very messy, but the alternatives ultimately come down to elites applying fraud or force or both to get people to do that which they wouldn't choose. A future with increased interventionism will have more lawyers and uniformed goons with guns: that looks to me like a world with more Hummer type vehicles, not less.

Real education (as opposed to publicly funded warehousing of student cattle) is the solution to this problem, but unfortunately the forced education we now have largely leads to inefficient education in basic skills, indoctrination to statism, non-critical thinking, prolonging adolescent behavior, and the very herd-like mentality that makes marketing Hummers in places like OR and Outside magazine successful. Ryan wishes they wouldn't so it, but the rub is that it makes money. I don't think this would have been written if the car on display was a Mazda-5 or a Subaru, or a mountain bike with a brushless electric hub motor.

So while I agree with Ryan's aesthetic critique, all I can say with regard to some of the collectivist yearnings I hear is: be careful what you wish for. As an engineer and a german, I'm quite sure given enough control, I could deliver a perfectly functional solution to these problems. I propose a Highway Safety Administration force or Wilderness Safety Administration force to match the TSA that did a fine job confiscating toothpaste this morning.

I wonder, are Hummers popular because of all the speedbumps popping up like mushrooms in our lives?

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
motorized outdoor recreation on 08/10/2006 19:24:22 MDT Print View

it absolutely is fun

and juvenile

and irresponsible

as an adult I can recognize all three and make the choice to forego the fun

and I'd be happy to point that out to anyone or their kids

Josh Holland
(jdholland) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:30:16 MDT Print View

Since when did asking a question become picking a fight?

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
josh re: global warming on 08/10/2006 19:40:09 MDT Print View

warming trend since last ice age not the same way it's been in a warming trend the last 20 years.

glaciers in alaska are a scary example - they've receded more in last approx. 20 years that in previous approx. 2000 years.

people can play with sematics and data manipulation all they want - global warming is a fact we will be dealing with.

it's affecting (significantly) food cycles in the arctic and subarctic - currently some are doing better, but others are rapidly declining from the change in surface ocean temps. ocean food chain close to being severely changed.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:44:31 MDT Print View

agreeded with Neil on all points here. Josh I am not trying to pick a fight just trying to keep balance, Hope I did not seem like I was attacking in anyway.If so sorry.

Edited by kennyhel77 on 08/10/2006 19:52:21 MDT.

Josh Holland
(jdholland) - F
Re: josh re: global warming on 08/10/2006 19:46:08 MDT Print View

Thanks. Thats the kind of answer I was looking for.

Miguel Arboleda
(butuki) - MLife

Locale: Kanto Plain, Japan
Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 19:46:25 MDT Print View

I've decided, three days later, to take my comments out of this idiotic splash of words. It's embarressing to even be part of it. I shouldn't have said anything in the first place. Spill the vitriol away everyone. No one is listening to anyone.

Edited by butuki on 08/13/2006 08:59:23 MDT.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: josh re: global warming on 08/10/2006 20:15:38 MDT Print View

Josh - carbon dioxide levels are also at an historical high, and on an accelerating curve. Ice cores (from the Antarctic and Greenland) have been analyzed to show atmospheric content over the cycles of the most recent ice ages, and they show that this is a pattern fundamentally different than what occured during the natural cycles of ebb and flow.

Edited by slnsf on 08/10/2006 20:20:43 MDT.

Cris Reifsteck
(unsuperguy) - F
my 2 cents (plus 1) on 08/10/2006 21:15:36 MDT Print View

1 cent: I like trees. I like plants. I like small living creatures. Therefore, I don't drive on them. I also like breathing, so I'm really conscious of what pollutants I contribute to the atmosphere.
2 cents: Our economy, ie the 'new economy' is closer to socialism than it is to capitalism. I don't know if this is good or bad, just that refering to the 'free market' as something close to reality is fairly ridiculous. One thing I would like to see is 'free market' unsubsidized fuel prices.
3 cents: If any of you are interested in learning about climate change, I suggest taking a course at your local community college and critically examining the bias of whatever source you get your information from - including your community college. While you're there, you might even want to take other courses, like economics or political science.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: A eco-political note on 08/10/2006 22:22:09 MDT Print View

Miguel A., you take being a cynic to new heights! I kind of like it. While not quite that fatalistic yet, the older I get, the more my feeling that overpopulation is the root of most problems in the world. While Neil B. points out , and rightly so, that many of the US social systems are dysfunctional to say the immediate change in either would not mitigate the fact that whatever the case...enough people in this over-populated world just gravitate towards the wrong or lazy choice.

We already have incresing numbers of lawyers, in large part because "that" particular group of people never wants to be ultimately responsible for their own actions. We already have goons with guns. I read today that some kind of armed entity will now be monitoring the airports full-time. Education...or reasoned discussion time is out the window.

Wants and desires and your ability to pay for them does NOT direct all resources to the best end. (their are too many examples but: (kiddy *BEEP*/paris hilton cd's/pitbulls/rocket-launchers/"Quad-Stacker" from Burger King) There is clearly loads of money waiting to be spent on all these things and more. That is the whole point of this thread I believe. I am the last person to want to give away any freedoms...ANY! But, when someone buys a house across the street from you for example...and they decide to let their 17 y.o. son get a Pitbull...and you have toddlers...and the Pitbull gets out and runs up on pedestrians walking by...and you have to not be outside your house for fear of the really start to wonder if ALL people are responsible enough to know what's best. Obviously not! And you start to reluctantly feel that trading little pieces of your freedom to insure the lowest common denominator is looked out for might be the only way. With all the conveniences we are afforded in this new millenium...I am not so sure it would not have been a better life in the 1920's.

And finally one last stab at just amazes me that a consumer could watch a TV news magazine, where the illustrious psychiatrist who consulted GM on the Hummer's development could articulate that they are basically a goofy way of threatening other those ridiculous commercials that without mincing words states that you are buying a set of balls that you clearly need...and not feel like a total Jackass driving down the street. The company that makes them has told you, YOU ARE to get you to buy them!

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: my 2 cents (plus 1) on 08/10/2006 22:24:02 MDT Print View

Lets see---per capita CO2 production is lower today than it was in the 70s, and the majority of the temperature increase in this century took place in the first half of the century. Also, the temperature fluctuation we are experiancing now is not anywhere close to the rise experianced in the Middle Ages(Gore conveniantly manages to forget this fact).

Geez, that kind blows a couple of big holes in your global warming environment, doesn't it??

And as to your ignorant conservative argument--imagine Newt versus Nancy---imagine who would win. :D

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
NIMBY on 08/10/2006 23:02:53 MDT Print View

Those who want to control greenhouse emissions in a serious enough capacity to actually affect the climate change trend while NOT DESTROYING the global economy at the same time: You'd better learn to LOVE NUCLEAR power.

You'll need nuclear power if you want to turn off all the coal/natural gas plants. You'll need the lastest generation designs for all the new reactors. You'll need fuel reprocessing/recycling to minimize waste. You'll need breeder reactors to maximize available fuel and minimize fuel costs. And you'll need even mroe of that sweet emission free nuclear power generation to produce hydrogen for fuel cells and to charge batteries that will replace gasoline/deisel engines.

If you just want to control temperatures, the nobel prize winning scientist (for his work on the ozone layer) has a serious solution:

My summary of the plan: Stratospheric baloon deployed short half life sulphur particulates will increase Earth's albedo (reflectivity) thereby countering global warming due to increased thermal retention due to increased greenhouse gasses.

In two words: WEATHER CONTROL!!!!!!

Realistic, global, CONTROLLABLE climate manipulation!

We as a species should master control of the weather. It is the next true technological milestone of a civilization. Seems like this will have some side effects (pretty sunsets (how will spectral changes affect plants?)) Lots to think about... Whatever the reason behind global warming, this could be a control mechanism that could prevent disaster.

It will make Greenpeace pee all over their dredlocked pubes with hatred. IT'S UNNATURAL MAAAN!

PS I stand by my comments on page one and notice no objections.

Edited by Summit on 08/10/2006 23:20:41 MDT.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: NIMBY on 08/10/2006 23:08:45 MDT Print View

*deep voice*

The nation who can control a storm will control the world

*end deep voice*

No one objects to Summit CO because
A)liberals don't understand satire
B)it was a solid argument

Charles Strusz
(infochuck) - F
Per capita? Crazy Pete's crazy! on 08/11/2006 06:59:43 MDT Print View

Pete: simply spouting uncited statistics will not do to prove your point, excepcially when the statistics you cite are useless. Saying per capita capita C02 production has decreased since the 1970s (a broad range) is meaningless in a world where the number of capitas has dramatically INCREASED. That's right, there are MORE HEADS now (roughly two BILLION more. depending on which starting year you use. Source:, so even producing less CO2 per head can net us greater total production.

The cluetrain: ride it!

Charles Strusz
(infochuck) - F
Summit, CO: on 08/11/2006 07:04:15 MDT Print View

Perhaps nobody's responded to you beacause you are an obvious troll who is inclined to use phiscial violence to solve all of his problems. To wit:

"PETA activists telling children that their "mommy and daddy are terrible murderers" and promptly getting their butts handed to them."

I'm sorry, but PETA protestors (not a fan of those folks myself but I'll defend to the death what they have to say) yelling at you and your children is their right (provided they aren't threatening). Exposing you as a hypocrite/planet-killer/whatnot is my right of free expression. Sorry if you don'tlike people talking to your children. Perhaps you should not take them into public, but if you "hand their butts to them", it's YOU who can expect to be slammed with assault charges.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Do something about it on 08/11/2006 08:21:21 MDT Print View

There is nothing wrong with debating global warming, but at some point you need to do your part in using less energy. Start taking steps to lowering that KWH usage each month. Surprise me and get it down to 100-200 KWH/month or even below 100. It can be done, easier for single persons than for those with families. Use less car travel and natural gas too.

Cris Reifsteck
(unsuperguy) - F
Crazy Pete (and everyone else) on 08/11/2006 10:00:21 MDT Print View

Wherever you get your information on global warming, politics, economics, trees, 4 wheel drive vehicles, terrorism, human nature, etc. I urge you to examine the bias whether it's the New York Times, CNN, Rush Limbaugh, Al Gore, your local community college, or your friends. Be critical of your sources, whatever they may be. It's a lot of work, but I think it's worth it.

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
Well Said Chris - Charles, Not so much on 08/11/2006 10:35:40 MDT Print View

Chris - Well said! Virtually every news source has some bias/agenda and the truth is almost always found inbetween.


Charles - If you really think that PETA has the right to try and brainwash peoples children to HATE their parents because their parents DARE TO NOT BE VEGAN, then you have some problems I cannot help you with. I can tell you that harassing people's children is illegal, the level at which PETA does it is assault, and self defense is legal if they don't go away. I've never personally knocked anyone on their butt who didn't hit me first (and I haven't had to do that in 10 years), so you can scratch your little "your a violent meanie" attack off the list. You, however, do need to recognize it is completely out of line to try to interfere with the parent/children bond of other peoples' families just score points for your politicial cause.

Otherwise you are no different than the evangalist missionary who screams at little kids that, "Your mommy and daddy are going to HELL and they are sending you to BURN IN HELL to because they don't believe in ______"

I once tried to explain to a PETA person that their overly selfrightousness, intolerant, militant attitude and immoral, overly aggressive tactics were actually counterproductive to their cause and certainly did damage to the rest of the environmentalist movement as a whole. We end up getting painted with the same "extremist" brush by association. PETA's antics gets them headlines that should be given to more effective and reasonable movements. This activists only response to my attempts atdiscussion was to scream "MEAT IS MURDER" at me until I walked away. What a great way to get your across!

A smug selfrightous environmentalist is just as annoying to me as a smug selfrightous person from any other cause.

Edited for formatting.

Edited by Summit on 08/11/2006 13:40:27 MDT.

Scott Ashdown
(waterloggedwellies) - F

Locale: United Kingdom
Re: Sorry for the confusion on 08/11/2006 11:55:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for setting the record straight.
Scott :-)

Richard Sullivan
(richard.s) - MLife

Locale: Supernatural BC
Kidz Corner on 08/11/2006 12:29:24 MDT Print View

Charles Strusz
(infochuck) - F
Summit, CO: You miss the point. on 08/11/2006 16:58:44 MDT Print View

I'm not saying PETA activists or missionaries screaming at parents in the presence of children is a good idea. I think it's slimy. I would personally never engage in such behavior. If you read my original post, you'll note I merely claimed to have the RIGHT to. I also have the good sense and common decency NOT to do such things.

But I absolutely reserve that right for myself and others. If you don't want PETA activists hurling insults and epithets, either A) don't wear fur around them B) don't go into public C) IGNORE them, and trust that you've raised your children to be smarter than to fall for publicity stunts; trust that your bond is stringer than that. Yelling, "baby chipmunk killer" at you while you're with your kids is NOT assault; it's NOT yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Is IS protected speech, no matter how unsavory.

As to interfering in the 'parent/children bond'[sic]: that's done all the time, frequently to 'score points for a politcal cause', like it or not. Schools, programs such as D.A.R.E., churches, television, etc. ALL communicate with our children, unless you keep them locked in the basement.

Ken Helwig
(kennyhel77) - MLife

Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Re: Summit, CO: You miss the point. on 08/11/2006 17:00:19 MDT Print View

geeez guys come on....

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Politics on 08/11/2006 19:05:11 MDT Print View

What can I say...

The Right is always Right.


Robert Brookshire
it's an illusion, folks on 08/12/2006 11:58:32 MDT Print View

Craxy Pete said...
"Oh and Ryan---its called the free market---if someone wants to spend a $100 to go to the grocery store, they may be a moron, but I dang well will defend to the death their right to choose with their own mind and not have the government make our choices for us. That would be socialism--and we all know how wonderfully THAT works..."

I once agreed with this sentiment, right up until I was smacked in the face by the fact that our market ISN'T free. You can pretend that people have the right to choose with their dollars, but our dollar market is presently destroying wealth all over this planet because people actually believe that dollar value represents real value somewhere behind those curtains we call the "Free Market". It's a sham, my friend. Do you think there is ANY value created by the sale or driving of a Hummer (or any other fossil-fuel powered vehicle)?

When you visit the dealership, does your purchase decision include the costs of environmental damage (air and water pollution doesn't stop at park boundaries), energy depletion, and third-world depravation? Not likely. We THINK that purchasing a product is a personal decision (a freedom) to spend our hard-earned money on whatever we wish, but we are wrong. Wrong because our purchase does not just affect just us as individuals. It affects us all and this is where American rugged individualism runs right up against the reality of the cramped aquarium we call Earth. An individual with $50,000 to buy an SUV is making decisions that affect a lot more than just themselves. They are voting for a whole slew of other people that haven't the power to make the decision for themselves. Those people simply don't get to vote. We call ourselves a democracy, but then promote a "free market" where all votes are counted in US dollars. Do you think you have an equal say in your government when corporations spend billions of dollars lobbying Congress to lower their own tax burdens or gain access to natural resources? This "government versus free market" stuff is pure hogwash, but it's used by politicians to get our votes. Where would that "free market" be without the interstate system or huge hydro-electric dams? Nowhere. There is a complex system of economics at work, but there is no detectable distinction betweeen "government" and "free enterprise". All you'll find if you look is a humongous gray area.

Think beyond individualism, for none of us in a developed country are acting within our own rights when we make "free market" decisions. We assume otherwise and pretend that each of us has a God-given right to drive an Abrams tank if we can afford to. If the rest of the world were to consume as much as the average American, we'd need 5 more Earth's to supply the resources. That's not American wealth creation at work. It's robbery. The free market is lying to us all, but all of our children will be left with the tab. There are a lot of things that you can do about this as an individual, but justifying someone else's theft is not one of them. That Hummer driver is stealing more from your kids than that Prius driver is, though they are still both running up a debt.

Edited by brookshire on 08/12/2006 12:20:04 MDT.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/12/2006 16:04:19 MDT Print View do get to make a decision...but your decision has less influence than other decisions. I did say a free market, where money determines what will be made and what will not. Obviously, if one has a product that only 2 people want to buy, it will not be produced, but if many people wish to buy it, then it probably will. Thus, your hate filled diatribe actually supports the idea of a free market that thrives upon competition and consumers voting with their dollars.

The world apologizes that the market rates your skill set lower than others and thus does not give you as much influence as those with greater skills--the reason professional basketball players maker a hundred times more than most of us.

Neil Bender
(nebender) - F
Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/12/2006 20:13:37 MDT Print View

One problem with the argument regarding external costs is that not everyone values the environment, and isn't willing to pay for it. For those not willing, some means of force will ultimately need to be applied. Force means government and government is composed of individuals who still make decisions for their own individual benefit, with the special protections afforded by any office. Power corrupts.

The ultimate question for interventionists is: what services are best applied at gunpoint? So far wilderness is one of them we accept, as is national defense, but rationing commodities is questionable and has never worked economically because such schemes remove human motivation to improve and prosper. Far from being fair, such schemes lead only to government connected haves and everyone else a have-not.

If however, you are also making only an aesthetic argument with the understanding that people are free to make bad decisions then you essentially accept the premise of a market (voluntary production and exchange). We can both agree that people need to be educated and discerning in their economic decisions, but it is arrogant of us to assume that economic evaluations are anything but local subjective assessments of personal circumstance, resources, inclinations, and individual expression and personality. It's too easy to project our values onto a strawman generic consumer, but such ideals ignore the diverse needs and unique insights of the individual.

Another basic problem with externalities is there is no known mechanism to calculate the magnitude of external costs. At least a marketplace (voluntary exchange)is capable of resolving prices. That's what a price is, an agreed upon cost where an unforced exchange can actually happen. Economic calculation under socialism is infeasible (see Hayek or PBS series Commanding Heights). Fortunately for socialists, they usually have a free market nearby or an internal black market to perform economic calculation in the dynamic establishment of prices.

You also seem to be implying that everyone owns all natural resources. This can easily lead to the effect known as the tragedy of the commons where since everyone owns a resource, no one is willing to care for it. A wilderness can be policed, but in general productive resources other than war production have been found to be best trusted to free enterpise. I don't know about you, but I sure don't want government producing my food or my clothing, or other daily basic needs that don't actually depend on a central infrastructure.

Interstates and dams are nice benefits but if a private corporation did these exact same acts, people would be examining the costs as well, and such economy of scale operations might be found harmful as well. But you can't (successfully) sue government for submerging canyons or stealing land from farmers and indians.

This notion also is extremely neglectful of the adventurous souls who develop resources to the benefit of those who are willing to pay for them. I have no claim on the earth's bounty that I'm not willing to pay or work for. If I'm wrong in this let me know what's mine that I haven't claimed.

Prius and other hybrid cars also have externalities associated with them such as disposing or recycling of heavy, metal and toxin laden batteries. The market has already exposed that even with Toyota loosing money voluntarily to game their CAFE numbers, even with tax subsidies (stealing from the many to pay for the guilt ridden commuter feeling holy and green), the buyer of the hybrid will spend more on transportation than the owner of a Civic or Scion xB.

Here's a good summary of the issues as seen by both sides:

Here's a good analysis of all aspects of public goods fallacies:

Our children will also be left with the tab of government pyramid schemes and debt, largely because government, unlike private business doesn't need to operate uner the real constraints of profit-loss accounting. A bankrupt government likely will plunder the earth even more voraciously than any greedy entrepreneur. Then they will steal from the innocent serfs to pay for their clean-ups. Think nuclear war. Think agent orange. Think trichloroethyllene from an airforce base in your ground water.

If our Constitional (limited) Republic was honored our government would have few favors to sell to corporate rent seekers and pressure group lobbyists. But when the purpose of government becomes plunder the only rational response is for people to collectivize into factions and demand their share.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/13/2006 01:19:03 MDT Print View


(RavenUL) - F
Re: Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/13/2006 02:43:16 MDT Print View

"But when the purpose of government becomes plunder the only rational response is for people to collectivize into factions and demand their share."

Actually, the only rational thing is for the people to STAND UP and tell their government "NO!"

Anything less is to legitimize what you yourself called "stealing" and "plunder", and to "demand their share" means nothing less than selling your right to not be a victim so long as you get enough hush money.

But that is a rant for a different topic.

Edited by RavenUL on 08/13/2006 17:14:07 MDT.

Lorraine Pace
(SowthEfrikan) - F
What a load of stupid rhetoric on 08/13/2006 08:01:57 MDT Print View

As a third worlder I always get particularly teed off when some godly American starts talking about how you in your country are ruining ours.

What makes you so special? Give me a moment to bow to you and your incredible might.

Do you really believe that BS about consuming more than your "fair" share of the world's resources? Well, if you care so much why don't you just move permanently to one of our pimpley little nations and live there. Go on, you can do it, lots of environment to save and opportunity to feel even more superior and smug than usual.

The planet has been hotter and colder than it is now; fossil fuels have very little to do it; many scientists have protested their names being placed on global warming papers; I defend the right of anyone, anywhere to buy a hummer; and the environment will always have wild spaces, it always has and always will without the intervention of do-gooders; and the wilds are not just the preserve of a chosen holier-than-thou few who walk.

I seem to remember a plane of some kind being used by some hiker to get out of the artic just recently. Now how much fossil fuel was dumped in that little exercise, I wonder?

I just love the way that the tolerant and progressive are so intolerant of anything that doesn't fit their world view.

Cheers to the soccer mom who uses an SUV that is more likely to save the kids in a wreck than some "environment friendly" tin pot.

And please leave we in the third world out of it, we don't need to be patronised.

Have a nice day.

David Lewis
(davidlewis) - MLife

Locale: Nova Scotia, Canada
Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/13/2006 09:17:59 MDT Print View

Crazy Pete wrote: "your hate filled diatribe"

Robert's "it's an illusion, folks" post was hate-filled?! Wha?

Robert Brookshire
Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/13/2006 15:11:25 MDT Print View

I had no intention of hatred in my "diatribe." If I sometimes sound a bit "high and mighty" in my posts, it is not intended as such, but I did once subscribe to many of the arguments that free-market, individualistic proponents often use. As such, I can't help but feel that I've already made those mistakes and I want to share with others what I've learned. I don't know everything, by any means, but I do want to discuss things in good humour and with as much factuality as possible. I think that all conversations should be friendly, since all parties share mutual respect for one another despite our differences, right?

Ryan may well be applying personal opinion to the "Hummer at ORSM" issue, but I do understand his concern. Even Subaru, whose owners (including me) are often "green" types with bikes, kayaks, etc strapped to their cars, tends to play up "protecting the Environment" while there is no such thing as a car that protects the environment. However, Subaru is involved in Leave No Trace, an organization that promotes Human Powered activities, instead of Tread Lightly, which tries to reduce the damage of fossil-fuel powered activities. Tread Lightly is not inherently evil and are doing a necessary work to create a culture among ATV'ers and others that off-road fun must be had responsibly. However, Tread Lightly is trying to make a compromise that can't really be reached. There is no such thing as sustainable gas-powered off-roading within present park boundaries with the current growth in off-road participation. Kermit the Frog is on PBS telling people that "It IS easy being Green" on a commercial for the Escape Hyrbid. The Escape Hybrid is a fine product, but it's not at all "green". It's simply less destructive than it could be. Our culture just has no comprehension of the size of the problem and therefore thinks that buying a hybrid car or recycling a small portion of their trash is going to help the Environment. It's hard to blame us for wanting to maintain our high-energy lifestyles, but it's also hard to sit quietly while so many pretend that our current free market is going to save us. The void is vast between the average US citizen (including me) and sustainability on any front. Protecting public lands is just one of those fronts.

As our aging transportation industries try to grapple with social responsibility in the 21st Century, they are bound to keep pursuing impossible compromises such as Tread Lightly while still growing their sales figures. These things are totally incompatible within the limits of our planet, but it's hard to blame Hummer for trying to make it's products appear innocuous to the buying public. They feel that this is an appropriate response to Hummer-bashing. It's easy to see that this is totally empty "feel-good" marketing, but if you made Hummers for a living, you'd certainly want to fight for your livelihood.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: Re: it's an illusion, folks on 08/13/2006 15:51:30 MDT Print View

A scientific explanation should clear up this mess quite nicely says I....

Edited by crazypete on 08/13/2006 15:52:20 MDT.

Robert Brookshire
Re: Bender on 08/13/2006 15:58:55 MDT Print View

I don't disagree with most of what you said.

I don't claim that humans "own" all natural resources. I did not mean to imply that, but this assumption is built into both American culture and economy (I can't speak for all others). I can't possibly hope to tackle that assumption within my miniscule little lifetime, so I don't bother arguing that point.

Free markets are not bad at all. I SUPPORT free market economics. Socialism fails miserably because it can't price goods and services, as you said. I am not a committed communist or any such thing, but I am simply saying that our free market could use a lot of improvement. Yes, you have a right to ask how we are going to improve it, but I say that we start by doing away with our subsidized energy and resource infrastructure. We give energy producers tax breaks and cheap access to gas and oil. We give our lumber industry cheap access to public timber. We subsidize the consumer conveyor belt (GDP is a 1-way path that leads from resource to landfill as fast as possible), but then wonder why environmentally-friendly practices are more "expensive" than business-as-usual. Many people will deny my claims and I may very well be wrong, but I've heard too many convincing arguments that show that even our gasoline taxes are inadequate to cover our government's costs in acquiring that fuel. We therefore pay for our fuel partly through our income taxes, but since we don't SEE that cost, the free market does NOT accurately reflect those costs (and just try to get a member of congress to support an increased gas tax right now). In fact, the globalized "free" market depends both on cheap labor in poor countries and upon cheap transportation, provided by petroleum that is also located primarily in poor countries (and will increasing become so, since developed countries have nearly exhausted their own supplies). Local markets can more accurately reflect costs precisely because they are local. I claim that free markets are good, but that we don't live in a free market.

Hyrbid cars are no panacea and I make no claim otherwise. There is conflicting data on them, however. Some studies show a positive lifetime savings compared to regular vehicles of the same size, especially in reduced oil consumption (~70% or our oil is used for personal transportation). It is most certainly true that a Yaris is more environmentally friendly than a Prius, but how many people are going to buy a tiny car? Very few. Even a Prius is considered a small car in the US.

Edited by brookshire on 08/13/2006 16:04:17 MDT.

Robert Brookshire
Re: Lorraine on 08/13/2006 16:00:42 MDT Print View

And for the third-worlders out there, I think you misunderstand the point. I have no interest whatsoever in living my own little "self-righteously green" existance in some barren place. My interest is in affecting my own place where I live. I am a very small person, but every single one of us makes some difference one way or the other. You may be right to call me "godly", but I also know for a fact that the numbers don't add up. In the past 40 years, the poor of the Earth have gotten poorer, the rich (including this high and mighty American) have gotten richer, while the middle class has all but disappeared! Seriously. Globalization has destroyed the world's middle class. Well, *something* certainly has and it sure does happen to precisely correlate to the energy consumption of the so-called Developed world. Energy = wealth and third-world countries are getting the scraps. Sure, the term "third-world" is condescending, but I use it sarcastically just because all the people in "developed" nations are so convinced that the rest of the world can somehow be as wealthy as they are. It's all bunk.

And you're darn right about me on at least one point. I hate the concept of soccer moms protecting their kids through "the best defense is a strong offense" mentality. I know too many people that actually buy a vehicle because it's "bigger, heavier" and therefore deemed safer. Tell this nonsense to a Formula One driver. Heft does not equate with safety. Cushioning does. It is totally possible to produce lightweight, efficient cars that are still big enough for fat Americans and their 2 kids.

I certainly have no intention of partonizing the "third-world", but I apologize for it anyway. If you live in the third-world and have visions of American-style wealth and industry, I do wish you the best, because like it or not, there aren't enough resources to go around. No matter what you think of me, the only option will be to battle for what resources there are and I can't see how any intelligent being would think that's the best course of action. With Americans spending by far the most per-capita on their military, I'd say that it'll take a lot of suicide bombers to keep the US from obtaining whatever resources it wants. Luckily, since the average American's physical health is dropping compared to the rest of the world, we probably won't be able to control those resources for long. :)

Have a nice, as well.

Edited by brookshire on 08/13/2006 16:07:25 MDT.

Summit CO
(Summit) - F

Locale: 9300ft
Graph on 08/13/2006 20:26:04 MDT Print View

Pete, while I don't agree with your graph, it is absolutely hillarious.

For me, more horsepower makes me sad in the pants (specifically in the left pocket where my wallet lives since I have to drive a lot).

OTOH HP sure makes me happy when trying to get a hard pass on a two lane mtn pass when stuck behind an ascending semi with a line of traffic behind it.

My 4banger will have to suffice...

Lorraine Pace
(SowthEfrikan) - F
Robert on 08/15/2006 17:12:33 MDT Print View

Actually, I was not talking directly to you.

But since you chose to reply, I'd like to thank you for assuring me that I and the billions of others who are middle class do not exist, and inform you that my non-existent middle class lifestyle in Africa was far better than what I am experiencing here in the US, and that the non-existent black middle class in my country outnumbers the white population.

Oh, and the "gap" between rich and poor has been supposedly growing since the Romans, and every breath we take uses up the world's finite resources.

Green nuts drive me nuts.

Robert Brookshire
third-world on 08/24/2006 18:25:20 MDT Print View

40 years of data. Bars represent percentage of world income earned by each group. Full presentation available here. I'm not trying to argue and intend all of this in a kind spirit, but anecdotal evidence doesn't really mean much on a global level.

Edited by brookshire on 08/24/2006 18:32:35 MDT.

Peter McDonough
(crazypete) - F

Locale: Above the Divided Line
Re: third-world on 08/24/2006 21:47:54 MDT Print View

Of course, the top 1% also pays 40% of our taxes as well. I know, tax the *BEEP* rich!!! Why do they have so much money?? Immmmm just as talented as they are *flips burger* There is no middle class, and the economy is crumbling and the hole in the ozone is shrinking---I mean growing according to the bozos in the Sierra Club. America is great, the middle class is strong, so stop being an ingrate and start living the American Way.

Valentin Zill
(Valentin.Zill) - F

Locale: Europe
Re: Hummer on 01/17/2007 07:51:56 MST Print View

Ryan - your article is great.

Crazy Pete - if some people destroy our nature just because they want to have some fun, I can't stand idly by. Remember that nature is for all of us, it is a gift. If someone doesn't want it, OK, but that doesn't give him the right to keep others from enjoying it! And a government that forbids people doing foolish things doesn't have to have anything to do with socialism, seen!?!
Ultralight Backpacking is also about no impact, don't forget.