Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Miss Vero is still plowin through emails and checkin out all the new gossip, but...we can save it till tomorrow for y'all. After wakin up bleary eyed at 8am (very unusual for Miss Vero indeed), we noticed LDouglas' comment on the TCPalm - http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2009/jan/06/solaris-goal-change-local-anti-03/?feedback=1#comments -and thought it would be more appropriate to post "Greetings from Green Acres" today in response to Mr. Lemmons article about our new County Commissioner, Mr. Bob Solari. Is it Miss Vero hunnies, or does it seem that there's nothin new about Mr. Solari at all? Maybe he's just grandstanding a little and puffin up to all those he made promises to in the campaign, we're sure it'll pass.

Oh! and here's a link to the Indian River County Medical Center's tax returns - especially for our reader SilentMartian. We would love to welcome jsteel or anyone else who is interested and somehow connected to this story, to do a guest article at the Beach House. We think such an important topic should be thoroughly discussed and we know we'll never see it in the PJ, so all of y'all are welcome here. MWAH! missvero@live.com

The link was provided in our original post from October 14th "Your Dollars Make No Sense":

And now...

Someone asked what green collar jobs are and what a green collar economy is so before I move on, I thought I'd explain it as far as I know it.

The book by Van Jones, "The Green Collar Economy, How one solution can fix our two biggest problems" defines green-collar jobs as:

"blue collar employment that has been upgraded to better respect the environment"

"family supporting, career-track, vocational, or trade-level employment in environmentally-friendly fields"

"examples: electricians who install solar panels; plumbers who install solar water heaters; farmers engaged in organic agriculture and some bio-fuel production; and construction workers who build energy-efficient green buildings, wind power farms, solar farms, and wave energy farms"

My favorite explanation for green collar jobs is from the "Green for All" website. They list them as jobs that "protect our health and the health of the planet".

A green collar economy is a little more in depth. While Van Jones does a good job of going into detail without overwhelming you, the premise of his book is fixing "our two biggest problems". Problem one is socioeconomic inequality and problem two is environmental destruction. Basically, problem one is we have too many poor people with no employable skills, too many unemployable because they went through the criminal justice system, the most polluting factories etc. located in poor neighborhoods and lack of a stake in the environment in those neighborhoods.

Problem two in the book is listed as environmental destruction and the resultant effect of climate change. I wholeheartedly agree with "fixing" our socioeconomic inequalities. We can't expect to experience economic growth if there's no growth from the bottom. That would be much like expecting a corn stalk to grow and support tree branches. In other words, what good is economic growth if all it achieves is people with plenty of money already in the bank to have more of it to put there?

I also wholeheartedly agree with "fixing" our environmental destruction. I just see plenty of reasons just as worthy as climate change alone. We all know that environmental destruction comes with huge cleanup costs, almost always borne by the taxpayer. Maybe you know about the billions in subsidies (again paid by taxpayers) to polluting industries like coal and oil. But there are many hidden costs. I'll give you an example later.

Right now our economic woes have caused gas prices to go down. But they'll rise again and there will be a point where they'll not go back down unless we come up with good alternatives in the meantime. Putting investment into alternatives is a big component of a green economy. And it's very necessary for our economic recovery. High energy prices causes stagflation. The book explains stagflation as happening when prices go up while the number of jobs goes down. We're feeling it at the grocery store despite their best efforts to hide it with smaller size packages.

Retrofitting buildings to conserve energy and produce energy is also a big component and where a lot of green collar jobs come in. The federal government itself owns about 500,000 buildings. Each year it's us taxpayers who spend more than $3 billion to heat, cool, light, and power them. Using taxpayer money to outfit those buildings with solar would create jobs in the private sector and would be an investment rather than a hand out. It would eventually pay us back with interest too. Just think what across the board conservation and in house generated energy would do for reducing costs for businesses, hospitals, and the people who need their goods or use their services. Not to mention, the savings to individual homeowners.

Organic agriculture and "some bio-fuels" are the third big component of a green economy. Organic agriculture because conventional agriculture requires more oil use and is quite polluting. Organically grown is not only proven better nutritionally but yields are proving to be better than conventional, even when conventional is using genetically engineered crops. And organic doesn't come with the unknowns and health hazards showing up with GE. As for bio-fuels, it's "some bio-fuels" because the fuel from ethanol made with corn is not worth its negatives. It's so energy intensive some say it uses more oil than it produces. It does cause food prices to rise. It's highly polluting adding to the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Our mandate to require a bigger percentage in the coming years is leading to the destruction of forests. And we're subsidizing all that at about 50 cents a gallon. But there are other promising bio-fuels on the horizon made from switch grasses and algae for example.

Maybe Mr. Obama's stimulus plan won't be the magic bullet we're all hoping for. But the money put towards green jobs and a green economy at least mostly won't be wasted. As Van Jones said in his book, "It is true that we cannot drill and burn our way out of our present economic and energy problems. We can, however, invent and invest our way out”.

Another good quote from the book, "we in America are about to break up with oil. Why not break up with poverty and discrimination too?" A good part of the book offers solutions and ways to go about that. It's an easy read if you'd like to learn more.

Otherwise, you can also learn more at the "Green for All" website:

Or here. Lester Brown from the "Earth Policy Institute" has been advocating for an "eco-economy" for a long time and has written a book about it. That's an economy similar to the green economy but it tells the truth- especially ecologically.

Here's an interview of Lester Brown from "Grist". He believes the green economy is “the great growth industry of the 21st century" topping the technology industry of the 90's. That makes me think bubble economy. But it's okay because it's hopefully going to buy us some time to figure out our new place in the global economy and help make us more competitive.

Here's a Plan B update, a small portion of another book Lester Brown wrote on the current job creation from renewable energy.

So what about all the other hidden costs? I'm glad you asked. :-) I'll give you one instance, coal powered plants. We know how much the subsidies cost us. But we don't know the total tab because we don't add up all the hidden costs. We know mining for coal pollutes water sources. We know it sickens and kills miners. We know it leaves pollution behind forever. We know it destroys natural beauty. We know coal plants spew mercury. We know that pollution damages buildings. We know it kills forests and lakes and the fish that live in them. We know it lands in the ocean requiring tuna and other fish to be labeled with warnings because it's unfit to eat at will. We know it causes birth defects. And there's a pretty convincing study linking autism to mercury. We know 1 in 150 children (if not more) have autism or an autism spectrum disorder. We know Florida just passed a law requiring insurance to cover treatment up to $38,000 a year. What we don't know, is the tally of all those costs added up.

There are 200 diseases linked to pollution. Choosing to invest in the current economy with all its many hidden costs seems ridiculous when it's quite evident investing in a green economy comes with so many hidden benefits.

TTFN, LDouglas


LDouglas said...

Here's a link to another good site sent to me by Miss V. The latest article says president-elect Obama wants to double renewable energy production.

I also want to add in the Van Jones book, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. wrote the foreword. He pointed out how our dependence on foreign oil and fossil fuels is dragging down our economy. He said Iceland was once 80% dependent on foreign coal and oil and among the poorest in Europe. According to him, now they're 100% energy independent and corporations are lined up to relocate there to take advantage of their low energy costs.

virtual vero said...

Miss V,
So why do you think the Hospital Foundation has not filed with the IRS since 2006? Also, pull up the hospital's tax forms (I believe its still listed under Indian River Memorial Hospital, Inc.). It shows Susi getting paid in the $300K range by each entity, as well as his retirment benefits in the $600K range.


virtual vero said...

Each entity means the Hospital Foundation and the Hospital itself to the tune, I believe if I'm reading the forms correctly, of almost $700K annual salary. That's twice what the president of the United States makes. In a recession. On taxpayer's backs. With the hospital laying off, cutting budgets and reporting a deficit.

LDouglas said...

Received the following in an e-mail from Governor Crist's office today:

Seems he wants to "foster" homegrown and small businesses in his economic stimulus plan.

BlessUrHeart said...

Solari and his builder/banker buddies are no surprise to anyone who is paying attention. He's never been anything more than the builders mouthpiece, and it is sad that this community would elect him. The only green he sees is the money they stuff in his pockets. Part of the cancer that has taken root here in the county.