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GREEN Reactor column
[Published in The Blue Paper newspaper on March 15, 2013.]
Blue is the new GREEN
After over 50 local articles in most of the local papers (not to mention all those letters to the editors), I’ve happily come aboard the brand new local journal: The Blue Paper. The old “Blue Paper” was just the nickname for “Key West The Newspaper” or “KWTN”; this new journal is really named “The Blue Paper”. This paper won’t be limiting itself to any one topic at a time, it’s ready to follow any important breaking issue at any time. The Blue Paper takes investigative journalism to the next level. I look forward to adding my activistic and educational exposition to the mix. (Did I meet my syllable quota in that last sentence? :- )
For those who haven’t caught my “intro” columns in other local papers, a quick synopsis: My “internet handle” has been Reactor for 20 years. The roots of that nickname come from: 1) my relentless work ethic; 2) my strong social media reflex impulse; and 3) a not-so-well-known album (Re-ac-tor) by musical sage and peace and environmental activist Neil Young. To my fellow Neil Young Fans – the Rusties – I have been known as RE*AC*TOR. When I became a full-time Keys resident, the handle expanded to Key West Reactor. Later my column in another local paper shifted that to KONK REACTOR.
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on March 14, 2013.]
Into the GREEN
A couple of months ago I recapped my previous year’s contributions to KONK Life. Anyone who follows this column knows that its focus rambles all over the map, rarely ever on the same topic in consecutive columns. I’ve heard from some of you that you like it that way, and I too like and follow other columns of similar ilk. But I also feel the time has come for me to concentrate my focus — and that focus should target the GREEN spectrum.
As many of you know, a while back – at the time that I embraced the Green Party — I set up a Facebook page to share news and observations of GREEN issues, local, national and global. It has featured several of my green-related columns from here (most recently the one before this one) and lots and lots of news and views from all over. That Facebook page is the “GREEN Reactor” page (also easily accessible from outside Facebook via “GreenReactor.net”). I established the page as a place to segregate the GREEN stuff that I would have posted to my own Facebook wall (timeline) — so that people on my Friends list wouldn’t have to deal with it if they weren’t interested.
But for those who do see the importance of staying informed about GREEN issues (yep, I’m trying to shame the rest of you… *smile*) it just takes (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on January 17, 2013.]
Dept of Environmental Rejection
In the 1970s, riding the wave of environmental enlightenment as the nation woke up to the escalating damage from rampant development and profiteering, Florida established its Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER) — formed from various other agencies, including the Department of Air and Water Pollution Control (established by Florida’s FIRST Republican governor) and the Bureau of Sanitary Engineering. By the 1990s it included oversight of Florida’s water management districts, and was retitled Department of Environmental Protection. Our DEP was one of the largest such protection agencies in the nation, and took its responsibilities toward our quality of life and our very future quite seriously.
Even under Florida’s next Republican governor, Jeb Bush, the DEP diligently maintained its role as the protector of our state’s precious resources, (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on November 22, 2012.]
I proudly supported Barrack Obama against the mega-rich-financed opposition this year and am happy that he kept Romney out of the White House. Like many of my fellow ecology-minded and sustainability-seeking “lefties”, I felt that in this election the highest priority was to stop the regressive policies that Romney and the platform of the Republican Party sought to impose on our great nation. Yes, I’ve been frustrated by the less than stellar progress under Obama on vitally important issues like global warming, destructive drilling and poverty — but the stakes were just too high for me to cast a protest vote this time. (And I do believe that overall Obama has done a fine job in spite of the obstructionists.)
I have voted against the major parties in the past. In 1976 I voted for Eugene McCarthy over Ford and Carter, and in 1980 I voted for John Anderson over Carter and Reagan. Ever since, I didn’t look much to the third parties — especially after the 2000 debacle where the Ralph Nader vote in Florida (with help from the US Supreme Court) gave W the Presidency. (Many in the Green Party react fiercely to this contention, but it’s hard to NOT draw that conclusion.) (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on June 7, 2012.]
Developers Never Sleep
The last week of May showed how absolutely important it is that we remain ever-vigilant in our efforts to defend our environment and quality of life in the Keys. The always-lurking developers attacked on several fronts. Thankfully — unlike our old days of Bubba-power, Navy-pressure & Cronyism — this time they have been temporarily fended off by wise and honest actions of the Key West City Commission and the Monroe County Planning Board. But these are just skirmishes in the ongoing battle.
In Key West the shady backroom campaign by British real estate giant (more…)
KONK REACTOR column
[Published in the KONK Life newspaper on February 2, 2012.]
Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’
Back in the ‘80s my family would visit Key West regularly, and came downtown for the sunset celebration two or three times during each visit. One night we got there and found a massive wall on the western side of Mallory Square. It was an amazing site – a huge cruise ship parked there, mostly empty because it had disgorged its passengers among the ample crowds of tourists and locals who had come to see the famous, but now blocked, view.
We were flabbergasted by the thought that anyone would find it logical to allow such an intrusion on this venerable celebration. WTF??? But of course the next night it was gone — and so we assumed it was an aberration. Little did we know that it was just a portent of Key West’s rapid slide into the maw of the cruise ship industry.
By the turn of the century, Key West was pulling in 400 ships a year with over 600,000 passengers. (more…)
Key West Reactor column
[Published in Key West The Newspaper on December 16, 2011.]
Why we need Last Stand
Let’s take an imaginary road-trip to the olden days….
You drive your ox-cart to the end of the road at the end of a small valley, to a nice little village. You’ve visited it in the past, love it — and decide now to settle down there. From time to time other villagers move away, so the population is pretty stable and most of the villagers get to know one another.
Eventually a few long-time villagers and a few well-off newcomers acquire significant properties in the village. And some of them get a “fever” to acquire more and more. And more. To make matters worse, tycoons from other towns hear about the beauty of your village and are also struck by the fever. Even some of those without much to show for themselves find that there are money-lenders willing to stoke their feverish flames. (more…)
Key West Reactor front page article (under slightly different headline)
[Published in Key West The Newspaper on November 18, 2011.]
We’re All Gonna Die
In the last century, the seas around our island have risen 9 inches. In the rest of this century, if no change happens, the seas will rise over three FEET around us – could be as high as seven feet! Needless to say, the Keys as we know them will cease to exist. This is a fact. There is no global conspiracy of liberal scientists making this up to get more funding (or whatever other nefarious political reason Beck or Rush can dream up). Sometime in the not-distant future all of our real estate value will disappear.
But that’s NOT the biggest thing we must worry about! We need to worry about DYING. No joke. (more…)