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Showing posts from November, 2009

A Scary Night on Long's Peak

It was to be a classic day: the forecast was perfect for the time of year, August 22: calm, clear and warm. I was to lead a CMC rock climb up the North Ridge of Spearhead, and had formed a strong team. Kent Crites, a mountaineer of deep experience, was my co-leader, and Heather Pore was the sole participant, both strong climbers. Since Spearhead is about four mile hike in, and since Kent and I were a little older (in our fifties), we decided to hike in the night before and bivouac below the climb to have a fresh start in the morning. Heather, a mere 20 something, of course thought nothing of hiking in and climbing the same day, so she was to meet us the next morning.

Kent and I enjoyed a pleasurable and leisurely hike in the balmy weather. Rocky Mountain Park was in its full summer glory, as we drank in the majestic sights that make up Glacier Gorge: Mills Lake, MacHenry's Peak, Spearhead, Chiefshead, Arrowhead, Pagoda Peak and, of course, the west face of Long's Peak. This is…

The Growing Case for Local Banks

I read with interest an article in my local newspaper, The Denver Post, last Sunday, November 15, 2009, Too Big To Succeed? which was about how big banks are "too big to succeed" to help local businesses, and how we need to "revive the nation's broken community banking system." This was written by Henry Dubroff and John Huggins, who should both know the local business environment in Denver extremely well. Dubroff was formerly business editor of The Denver Post and the Denver Business Journal; he's currently editor at the Pacific Coast Business Times. Huggins is an entrepreneur and investor who twice served as economic development director for the city and county of Denver.

What was of interest to me is how their call for local, community oriented banking coincides exactly with similar recommendations I reading about several years ago (2006, 2007) in the works of David Korten and Michael Shuman. Both these authors have been decrying the disastrous effects of…

The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight

I'm currently reading this eloquent book by Thom Hartman. Published in 1998, it is highly relevant, as it simply and lucidly paints the global environmental catastrophes we have collectively created. It is also truly informative; I'll be posting excerpts here from time to time.

(p 47) So trees, as it turns out, are the major source of recycled oxygen for the atmosphere. They are our planet's lungs. ... A fully grown pine or hardwood tree has a leaf surface area that can run from a quarter-acre to over three acres, depending on the species. Rainforest trees have leaf surface areas that run as high as forty acres per tree. [My note: that's the equivalent surface area of a forty acre lake!] ... A rainforest tree will draw three million [emphasis added] gallons of water up through its roots and release it into the atmosphere as water vapor during its lifetime. While it may seem this would deplete the soil of water, actually the reverse is true: trees draw water into the so…

Which side is NPR on?

A comment I made on NPR's website, the day after a particularly upsetting report about the lack of consumer savings in America....

I completely agree with the previous comment by Lawrence Jones, and am insulted that NPR would make this statement:"For nearly two years, the U.S. economy has been struggling with a recession brought on by excessive borrowing, both for home mortgages and consumer purchases." What planet are you guys living on? This current recession, the worst since the Great Depression, and which remains to be seen if it exceeds it in severity, was absolutely caused by Wall Street, particularly its inner sanctum of the most powerful investment banks, starting with Goldman Sachs. Insinuating that the blame lies with a lack of consumer savings is not just grossly unfair, factually wrong and morally depraved, it puts NPR on the side of the hated Wall Street villains who have inflicted this pain and hell upon millions of American households that have lost their h…

Letter to Charlie Rose, news commentator

Mr Rose,

I am watching your interview tonight with Ken Rogoff. While I appreciate his expertise as an economist, he is disappointing to hear for his lack of insight to our current situation. Nonetheless, I will certainly investigate his latest book for his perspective on past financial crises. However, he seems to only offer the same old tired saw: we must grow our way out of this crisis.

I wish to suggest this a failed economic paradigm. With 6.8 billion people on the planet, and projected to reach 9 billion within a generation, when are the mainstream economists going to wake up and smell the coffee? Unlimited economic growth by all is no longer viable. What will take its place?

In a nutshell: ecological economics. You should check it out, as I predict it will be the economics of the 21st century, if we survive as a species. I know I'm just an unimportant, unknown voice, but I have followed economic trends closely all my adult life, teach environmental economics at a local communi…