Tag Archives: history

The Presidency: Prime for Preaching

We all know how the federal system works. Although the president is not a tyrannical ruler with an overwhelming amount of power, he (thus far) has a whole lot of power, and a large degree of influence on the citizens of the United States, as well as some others around the world.

Last year, during the presidential campaign, I remember reading about how the Obama family bought a new Ford Escape Hybrid. He did this under pressure, a presidential candidate with an slight emphasis on environmental issues couldn’t drive something dirty. He had to lead to pack in fuel-efficient, low polluting technology. I have not seen the numbers, but I assume that sales went up for this car after Obama bought one. If he is buying it, it must be a good choice, and a smart one for the future.

The thing to note, is that this is a symbolic gesture. In a modern presidential campaign, a candidate travels effortlessly around the country with a huge staff. It a very mobile operation. That means jets, cars, trains to the max. If Obama drove his new Ford Escape Hybrid for the rest of his life instead of something less clean; it would not adverse effect on the pollution from his trips on a 747 in the span of two weeks. Nevertheless, by changing perspective and remembering that Obama is a leader and therefore trendsetter, everyone who follows him in buying a hybrid SUV may offset that. If not, they are on the right path.

In office, Obama has been making smart choices too. The first one hundred days of a presidency–the presidential honeymoon–are a time for a president to get a lot done without a lot of hassle. Obama got a lot done for the environment. For example: tax credits for clean vehicles and home energy usage, the symbolic (but trendsetting) planting of a vegatable garden; the declaration of greenhouse gases as dangerous and the reducation of pollution.

Good work. Obama is placing himself among the green ranks of Jefferson, T. Roosevelt and Carter; while distinguishing himself from such dirty presidents as McKinley, Jackson and Hoover.
It is important to have a president that cares about the environment. Whether we like it or not, the president gets work done, legislation signed and put into effect. In addition, a president can broadcast a green message to the people. The president is someone to follow and learn from; if he goes green, we go green.

While environmental concerns may not be as in-our-faces as the economy of health care, it is in dire need of our attention. If Obama is lucky with those two problems, his next step would be a comprehensive energy program. Carter tried in ’77 and failed miserably. But I say, ‘Yes We Can.’


Survival: Take One

Working defiation of survival: to hit the curveballs that life throws at you, ideally knocking them out of the park

Outside magazine is the place to go if you want to learn how to survive. Of course, in this modern day of age you don’t pick up the actual magazine, you go to the website: a unrestricted mass of information.

While perusing the home page of the survival section, a couple of interesting things caught my eye right away. The first thing I saw was “Ask the survival guru.” I liked this for two reasons; that there was in fact a survival guru; and that you could ask him whatever survival question you may have.

What do you do when your stuck in nature with nothing but an iPhone? Ask the Survival Guru.

Second was a section called “survival skills 101.” These are the basics of surviving, an introduction if I may and I was quite interested in some of the things I saw. I was not surprised to see building and starting a fire, nor was I surprised by a section on packing essentials. But one thing caught my eye: Paiute Deadfall Traps. It could be the foreign word, or possibly the word ‘dead,’ but I was nonetheless intrigued. The link lead to me a video of Tony Nester of Ancient Pathways (The Survival Guru himself). Not only did I learn how to make a deadfall trap with which you can kill small prey to eat; I was introduced to a very interesting argument about survival. In the words of Nester

“If you want to live off the land, look at the archaelogical record of your area. Why reinvent the wheel? Ancients peoples are the blueprint of survival for that region.”

I found this to strike a harmonious chord throughout my brain. Survival is a human instinct, as a species we’ve been doing it since the day our cells evolved into something living; and as individuals since the day we were born. It’s funny to think how reliant we are on modern things to survive, when it was done for thousands of years with out any of that. I think we can do it if we try.