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Posts Tagged ‘gas’

I woke up Thursday morning

And pulled myself from bed.

Struggling with issues at work

Left me exhausted even after sleep.

I got in my gas-guzzling truck

And drove the 20 miles to work.

On the radio

They spoke of hungry children in South Africa.

Who go to school on Thursday because they get fed

But don’t on Friday because they don’t.

My heart cried

But I didn’t.

Because I don’t.

I worked all morning

Progress.

For some.

I got back in my gas guzzling truck

And went to pick up our dog.

From its haircut.

It wasn’t done.

I walked the pet store.

Cat food for cats with sensitive skin.

Cat food for obese cats.

Cat food for skinny cats.

No food for kids in South Africa.

No food for kids who are orphans in South Africa

With AIDS.

Just cat food.

I picked up the dog.

She doesn’t like me

But she was glad to see me.

Her haircut cost more than mine do.

I put her in my gas guzzling truck

And drove 20 miles home.

Inside my heart cried.

But I didn’t.

Because I don’t.

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Today I had to stop and fill gas. It is one of my least favorite things to do, but I couldn’t put it off any longer. Let’s just say it is a good thing I live up hill from town. We always fill at the east Fairbanks Fred Meyer’s store because we get a 10 cents per gallon discount for being regular shoppers there. I pulled into the gas pumps, just missed getting hit by someone pulling out while looking at their dashboard, and parked at one of the center pumps.

Embarrassingly, despite my environmental leanings and tree hugging credentials, I drive a 96 GMC extended cab sierra pick-up. IE, gas guzzler. But the price was right (thanks Mom and Dad) and it has been a good vehicle for getting around on some of our ventures into the Alaska wilderness. None the less, it leaves me more than a little depressed when I fill it up, and not just because of the hit my bank account takes.

I climbed out of the car and into the brisk 25 degrees below zero, Fahrenheit, air. Depending on which bank thermometer you went with, it could have been as cold as 30 below, or as balmy as 22 below. Personally, I think the banks set their thermometers differently to give us some illusion that they aren’t all in cahoots. I, for one, don’t buy it.

Banks aside, I stood watching as the dollars on the meter quickly outpaced the gallons. It wasn’t much of a race, the dollars had a 3 to 1 advantage over the gallons (with my 10 cents discount).

As I was standing there, in my too light high water carhart pants and my boiled wool slippers, looking pretty much like a doofus (I’m entering my doofus phase), I spied the bundles of wood for sale next to pump attendants shack. Certainly, I’ve seen bundles of wood before. I’ve even seen this same brand. Today, standing in the cold, feeling guilty next to my inefficient truck, burdened by the necessity of having a gas fueled vehicle, the bundles of wood pushed me over the edge.

Let me clarify. Fairbanks sets in the middle of a boreal forest that stretches from Alaska to the Atlantic coast of Canada. We have no shortage of trees locally. Or firewood. But for some reason Fred Meyer is shipping logs in from Washington state. No less, using Oil to ship those logs in from Washington state. Oil that had probably been harvested on Alaska’s north slope, then shipped Seattle in order that it could power a barge to haul wood from Washington back to Fairbanks. (Like God, Football in Oklahoma, Oil gets the big ‘O’ in Alaska.)

Somebody, please explain the economy in that process. I don’t get it.

To top it off, the bundles are wrapped in plastic. PLASTIC. Not the stuff you want to burn in your wood stove, or use to start your fire with when burning your imported logs. (I didn’t check, maybe the logs are stamped with ‘Made in China’ somewhere.) Plastic, a non-renewable resource. Plastic, made of oil, that sometime in prior years may have flowed through Fairbanks heading south, returning now, to go into the landfill to be mined by some future generation in desperate need of petroleum products for things we take for granted, like say, medicine.

So, a wood industry, making a point of their “renewable” resource wood, uses plastic to keep their bundles together. Why not newsprint, or some other low-grade paper that could be used to start those logs on fire? Maybe it isn’t as cheap as plastic, but that may only be a matter of time, unless you figure all the oil making paper uses.

What about invasive species? We have infestations of insects threatening many of our trees and natural habitats in Alaska. Is there any threat from new invasions from these untreated woods being shipped in from the south? Honestly, I don’t know enough about it. But even if the likelihood of the imported wood being infected is minuscule, why expose our natural resources to any risk when we don’t need to?

And Fred Meyers, the store chain that brought re-usable grocery bags to the mainstream in Fairbanks, replacing their old plastic bags at the landfill with plastic wrap for logs. There are certainly sources for firewood locally, I wonder if they were explored? (That would be no.)

When the weight of our human folly comes crashing down upon, cleansing the surface of the earth of our collective stupidity, who do we have to blame besides ourselves?

OK, well maybe God.

And Exxon.

And Conoco-Philips.

And BP, how could I leave out BP?

But mostly just ourselves. Will we leave our children to bear that burden?

One last thing about the pallet of imported firewood bundles, it was almost sold out.

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