Oiling a Slippery Slope Toward Economic Ruin or Turning Suburbanites Into Farmers?

I’ve been doing a lot of driving these past few months, after not driving at all for several months. Driving a pickup truck – without hauling goods – and using it like a passenger car is ridiculous and expensive. I’m not the only one weaned on cheap oil. For the past half century Americans fell in love with their pleasure vehicles as rural countryside was transformed from farmland into a landscape of suburban and urban sprawl crazy-quilted together with roadways and super highways. Along the way we’ve gotten lazy, fat, and now suddenly poorer. Goods and services once deemed essential (listen up landscapers) to our personal lifestyles and the economy are becoming unaffordable non-essentials. When W took office a barrel …

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Where Do We Go With What We Have?

“Opinions are like assholes…everyone’s got one” is a saying that rattles around my head constantly these days. I’m not really sure why, for it’s an old familiar quote that I can’t attribute to anyone in particular, though I first heard it perhaps twenty or more years ago while working as a contractor (btw: contractors have more witty and poignant sayings than philosophers, politicans and educators combined): maybe because it’s an election year…or because the war continues to drag on…or because the economy is flailing, like some kid learning to swim in the ocean against the tide…or because the New Jersey Giants beat up on the New England Patriots…or maybe because I have just returned from a winter-time conference listening to …

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Raving Against Paving

“To build a road is so much simpler than to think of what the country really needs.”
– Aldo Leopold

Our yearning for ‘hitting the road’ and exploring new terrain is an American obsession that predates the invention of the automobile. Early settlers moving westward via animal power established trails and encampments that spawned our culture’s unending desire to experience new places, see new sights, exploit resources and impose changes in land use patterns.

The introduction of the automobile, the development of suburbia and a national highway system gives most of us freedom and mobility to move as we choose but at what cost? The typical car commuter spends upwards of 90 minutes per day getting to and from work. …

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