The 40-Year Plan:
'cause it ain't gonna happen overnight...
by Ken Krayeske
11/26/06 (note - I forgot to post this way back when)
I spotted State Rep. Andrew Fleischmann (D-West Hartford) crossing Asylum Street around Nov. 1 as I pedaled to East Hartford on some Thornton for Governor errands.
Andy was heading to a conference call on Allyn Street. We walked and talked about the election. I think mentioned how Cliff and I had put more than 2,000 miles on Cliff’s car in the last two weeks of the campaign.
I wondered what the environmental impact of the democracy was: how many pounds of carbon emissions had this election been responsible for? How many tons of trash did self-government generate?
He said it was probably less than the amount of pollution generated by coal-fired power plants we haven’t been able to clean up.
I countered, though, that if we could clean up the political culture, mainstream culture would follow. If the leaders took some steps, the people would follow.
This midterm was the most expensive election in American history, by all accounts, featuring thousands of candidates who aired more than 980,000 television commercials, printed up millions of pieces of literature, and handed out gazillions of stickers, buttons, sponges and various other pieces of paraphernalia.
After the few collectibles that will end up in the Museum of American Political Life at the University of Hartford, much of it will end up in the landfills of America. Is this good for our country?
Back in January, I interviewed New Lamont for this column, and I asked him if he was going to build an energy efficient campaign. He promised that as Senator, he would espouse policies promoting energy conservation.
Not satisfied, I pressed the point, and asked, “Will we see you taking a train from Greenwich when you have a campaign event in New Haven?” He replied: “I have a hybrid. My hunch is that I have so many places to go that I have the same dependence on the automobile as other Americans. That is just a fact of life right now.”
The fact of life is that World Meteorological Organization on Friday, Nov. 4 released a study, reported by Reuters, that “Levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record last year and are likely to keep rising unless emissions are radically cut.”
So, in his $15 million quest to restore Habeas Corpus, exactly how many miles did Ned Lamont’s Stand up for Change bus rack up? Exactly how many pounds of carbon dioxide did it emit? Could he have run his bus on biodiesel?
And would that have signaled to the people of Connecticut that he was a different kind of leader, one who was willing to spend a few extra dollars to look out for their collective future?
And of Lamont’s record ad buy, and of those nearly one million other television commercials across the land of the brave, how much electricity did they suck up in production and editing? How much mercury did the coal burning power plants scatter across the surface of the planet to generate the juice that beamed the negative ads meant to depress turnout?
And how many people boycotted participating in self-rule because of all those dirty ads? What kind of carbon sinks will the electorate erect to make up for its consumption during its attempts at continuing rule of the people, for the people, by the people?
I’m going to guesstimate, based on the amount Cliff and I drove around, and figuring the campaign events we had, etc, the Green Party’s gubernatorial campaign required persons to drive about 100,000 miles at an average of 20 miles per gallon.
According to a calculator at safeclimate.net, we added about 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. That’s not counting the 60,000 pieces of literature we handed out, the tv commercial we aired, the electricity we needed for email, and so on.
How are we supposed to cut that down, communicate our message and inspire people to act? I’m stumped. But not having the answers doesn’t mean I won’t continue to search for them.
If you have any ideas, please submit them to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few of the like dozen flyers I received from Ned Lamont, Joe Lieberman and Jodi Rell.