High-Speed Internet, NIMBY, and Weed

Faster Internet Generates Greater Time-Squandering Opportunities, the Hypocrisy of Fracking Opposition, and the Growing Cult of Pot.

Our service provider recently upgraded their network in our area, and for the first time Trish and I have access to true high-speed, wireless internet. We’ve finally entered the year 2008. Consequently we’ve been streaming movies and series. Trish is hooked on Orange is the New Black, and I find myself unable to stop watching a 35-episode long program called The Killing. I’m something like fourteen in as we speak. This is rare for me; most series lose me fairly quickly. I think The Killing is working because it focuses on a singular event—a murder—and then follows all the reverberations that result from it. That said, the show is starting to delve into increasingly improbable conspiracy muck and wild coincidence; we may have to break it off if it gets too bizarre.

What the Frack?

There is a lot of collective uproar these days over using hydraulic fracturing to procure regional natural gas. It’s an environmentally degrading process, and hell, I’m against it too—but the problem as I see it starts with demand, and I can’t help but notice a heavy element of the “not in my backyard” mentality at play.

Our fuel consumption arms corrupt governments and supports wars, our fuel consumption has destroyed mountain ranges in West Virginia, our fuel consumption has ruined coastlines and wetland habitats from Alaska to Florida and beyond—yet we keep on pumping. We’re insistent on getting out of the Middle East, but we don’t want to destroy our own habitat, but we don’t want to stop consuming. It’s all fine when it is somewhere else, happening to “others”: Arabs, hillbillies, Inuits, Canadians; we wring our hands a little, pay it some lip service, but never lift a finger to stop it. When the threat of environmental degradation finally comes knocking on our own front doors, then we throw our hands up in despair.

Renewable energy sources are clearly the wave of the future, but America is notoriously slow when it comes to implementing new environmental technologies—the entrenched powers work overtime to sludge up the process of moving forward. In the meantime we need to use less power: drive less, turn off the lights, stop with the A.C. On the topic, indoor marijuana cultivation currently accounts for 1% of energy consumption nationwide and 3% here in California. Those numbers are poised to go up as states loosen restrictions on growth and sales.

Gone to Pot

People are crazy for their pot these days. I don’t mind pot; I definitely think it should be decriminalized. That said, I had a problem with pot when I was younger. I lived a solid chunk of my early adult life stoned 24/7. Those were not great years for me. I wasted a ton of time and money, and missed out on a lot of opportunities. I lived to get baked. I can’t count the number of times I could have gone to some great show, or done something productive, and instead I chose to spend my time sitting on the couch, getting stoned, and watching T.V. We didn’t even have the high-quality video games available today. I know some people who handle their pot really well, and others for whom it is a detriment to their quality of life. But you know, to each their own.

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Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.