Friday, December 23, 2005

Where I live

Date: Dec. 22
Mileage: 3.3
December mileage: 289.4
Temperature upon departure: 27

It seemed like a good night for a solstice ride, but I wasn't out the door until 10:15 p.m. On my way up to the trail my headlight went out and my brakes were slipping under all the new, wet snow. That deflated my resolve just a bit - I was grinding into the soft trail (mostly for naught) and it was dark - really dark. Solstice dark. A good thing to practice - but the headlight I need.

I was happy, though, because my illustrious Sen. Steven's first bid to open oil drilling in ANWR failed in the Senate. It's a mixed happiness because I feel a helpless sort of pity for my state's senior senator. I always picture him bent over some table in Congress, with his rumpled "Incredible Hulk" tie and the creeping great-grandfather sadness of his 80-plus years. He looks so tired and I think he just wants to go out with a bang. That's all he wants. But his bridges to nowhere crusade was just embarrassing. And now there's the band-aid ANWR solution that does little more than add to Alaska's fat coffers (not that I'll see any of that money. All of this revenue comes back as rebates for "real" Alaskans. We newbies get pay the tourism taxes and send our children to substandard schools.) But using ANWR to curb the mounting oil crisis is like trying to make Koolaid with a teaspoon of sugar ... you can make a little Koolaid, but try to spread it around and everyone's only going to end up with a bitter taste in their mouth.

For those who support the issue, all I ask is to consider what good it will actually do. Keep a few million cars on the road for a couple more years? Then what? I've stood on the edges of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; I've looking toward the sweeping tundra, rolling over an endless horizon; brown, desolate, still clinging to winter in June - and so unspeakably beautiful.

I'll give up my car. I will. Just tell me how to fight for this world's last true places.


  1. Jill,

    Let me first say that I'm no naive "tree-hugger" that thinks that industrialism is a thing of the devil. I realize we need to have a balanced relationship with nature, where we harvest natural resources in a responsible way. But, in my humble opinion, we are more often than not, behaving as if the resources were unlimited. Places like ANWAR and the like should be protected, period.


  2. Yeah, it's sad that before the oil age comes to its long overdue conclusion--a conclusion whose imminence is becoming more and more apparent every day--those who don't want to change will wreak havoc on the remaining semi-pristine areas of the earth in order to preserve our way of "life."

    All this long-term environmental damage for the ephemeral accumulation of capital.

    On the up side, nice blogging.

  3. There are two books I think everybody should read after Christmas: The Long Emergency by James Kunstler and Collapse by Diamond Jared.

    They both discuss the subject of resource depletion from different viewpoints. I think these books are so important that I've lent my copies out. As soon as the books are returned, I lend them out to someone else.

  4. Hey, great blog!!!!
    Just bumped into it from
    I just blew an hour reading it... at work. I thought I was a hard-core cyclist. Not compared to you!

  5. My sentiments exatcly! Although I have only been able to see it in pictures, and on TV, I feel that the Alaskan wilderness is one of the last truly magnificent places on earth.

    I'll give up my car too. I need to start riding the bike more anyway.

    Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas.


  6. Some GREAT commentary on this topic!
    I've also been seeing it in our forums, with varying viewpoints.
    Strange how different the viewpoints can be from those removed from the actual landscape.

  7. As a person who lives in an area that NEEDS one of those "bridges to Nowhere", the term "bridges to nowhere" is a load of crap. If there's any sort of emeregeny, we need another escape route. Also, since you are soo against using oil, have you considered how much oil, gas, pollution, etc will be saved if the a bridge is put in? It will cut the travel down by half. How is that bad for ANYONE??
    I'm not huge on sucking out all the oil of ANWR, but it is INACCESSIBLE to most of the human race so preserving the Pristine beauty isn't really the issue. Its deeper than that. I definately believe we need to start looking for different, earth friendly resources and cutting down on TRAFFIC from the Valley to Anchorage will help the cause. Pisses me off, the bridges to Nowhere is just a red herring to get the focus off the real issue and is purely political.


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