Quotes: Choosing Wisely on Climate

Joan Harvey is a fellow contributor to the Monday Magazine at 3QuarksDaily. Her latest column addresses the importance of developing the right strategy to address climate change.

“If we’re going to solve this problem on which the future of humanity depends, we need focus. For the layman, the question becomes: Are you a green consumer? Or are you a green citizen? A green consumer may own a Prius, recycle diligently, and worry about plastic straws. A green citizen focuses on policy, and makes sure the people they elect also understand good energy policy. They recognize which policies will actually be able to move us toward zero emissions in the next three decades and push for these.”

I like her idea of precision intervention:

“Half the carbon in the U.S. economy goes through monopoly pipes and wires, and these are controlled by Public Utilities Commissions in each of the 50 states. Each has five members, so there are 250 individuals who control half the carbon in the country…. If you go to them with an ethical or technical argument, they will listen to you…. This is relatively easy leverage.”

She’s right, too, that

“doing a little bit of everything is not going to save the planet. If we’re going to solve this problem on which the future of humanity depends, we need focus.”

But while they may not save the world, there doesn’t seem to be any harm in mini-crusades like this one here in Ho Chi Minh City:

Quotes: On Patience, and Resilience

“it is sometimes tiring to try to get the Vietnamese to do something which is, after all, for their own good (or so we think . . .). On the other hand, when I step back just a little to look at everything, it seems to me that the Vietnamese have taken our overbearing presence rather well over the last few years. We arrive here with no knowledge of the country or of the situation and immediately start giving advice, some of which we can really turn almost into orders because of the materials and money and transportation that we fully control. I think that no American would stand for such a deep and continuing interference in our affairs, even if it appeared that survival was at stake. Yet the Vietnamese accept it, and with rather good grace.”

– Richard Holbrooke as a young foreign service officer in Vietnam, quoted by George Packer in The Longest Wars in Foreign Affairs magazine.

“This part of the city belonged to the Westerners, and the Vietnamese here were in the business of making money off them—either by feeding them in the restaurants, selling them the items from the rickety stands, driving them about the city in the rusted cyclos, having sex with them, spying on them, or some combination of the above.”

– on Saigon, 1965 from Tatjana Soli in The Lotus Eaters

Quotes: Dumbing Down, Fast as We Can

“TRUMP CUTS AID TO 3 MEXICAN COUNTRIES.”

It’s getting harder to argue this point, but to CS&W readers outside the United States, when the American cable network Fox News refers to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras as “3 Mexican Countries,” there are lots of us who realize that that is a mistake. Honest.

Quotes: He Must Be Right

“And while MPs deserve credit for trying, there is unlikely to be a majority in the country for a deal cobbled together over a weekend on the basis of MPs’ third or fourth choices that could decide the next 100 years of our history.”

– Gordon Brown on the state of Brexit after the government plan’s third defeat.

Quotes: Speeches of the Elite

John Lanchester from his new book, The Wall:

“I fell for a moment into a reverie, a kind of guided dream, in which I imagined baby members of the elite being born from chrysalises, already wearing their shiny suits, their ties pre-knotted, their first clichés already on their lips, being wiped down of cocoon matter and pushed toward a podium, ready to make their first big speech, spout their first platitude, lose their virginity at lying. They’d be made to do that before they were given any food or drink or comfort, just to make sure it was the thingthey knew first and best, the think that came most naturally.”

Quotes: The American President on Pollution

“You look at our air and our water and it’s right now at a record clean. But when you look at China and you look at parts of Asia and you look at South America, and when you look at many other places in this world, including Russia, including many other places, the air is incredibly dirty, and when you’re talking about an atmosphere, oceans are very small. And it blows over and it sails over. I mean we take thousands of tons of garbage off our beaches all the time that comes over from Asia. It just flows right down the Pacific. It flows and we say, ‘Where does this come from?’ And it takes many people, to start off with.”

From an interview with Donald Trump in The Washington Post.