Sunday, August 22, 2010

Early Fall Day

This August 22nd has been the perfect early fall day: comfortably cool and crisp, partly cloudy but with lots of sun. Some foliage beginning to turn color. Blackberry pickers along the Chehalis Western Trail in force. Stiff breeze from the west. The forecast called for showers early today but they never came. A perfect day to ride.

So was yesterday. I rode both days. Today was a 16 mile loop north on the CWT and back through northeast Olympia and its exurbs. Yesterday I rode a 19 mile loop over to The Evergreen State College and back via southeast Olympia.

Today is the kind of weather that lures people to this area. Many are shocked to find the climate gray, wet and somewhat cooler during other times of the year.


Good News. Caveats Included.

Voters in Australia throttled the governing Labor Government for reneging on its commitment to a carbon tax..

Labor hemorrhaged votes to the environment-focused Greens party as the government was punished for shelving plans to charge major polluting industries for every ton of carbon gas that they emit. ...The Greens' record support in the polls increased the party's Senate seats from five to nine, giving them the leverage to become kingmaker in deciding which major party controls that chamber.

Reality check: The opposition Liberal Party is led by a climate change skeptic. His coalition took one seat more than Labor.

At Foreign Policy Charles Kenney makes a credible case that the past decade has seen genuine progress.
Even the wars of the last 10 years, tragic as they have been, are minor compared with the violence and destruction of decades and centuries past. The number of armed conflicts -- and their death toll -- has continued to fall since the end of the Cold War. Worldwide, combat casualties fell 40 percent from 2000 to 2008. In sub-Saharan Africa, some 46,000 people died in battle in 2000. By 2008, that number had dropped to 6,000. Military expenditures as a percentage of global GDP are about half of their 1990 level. In Europe, so recently divided into two armed camps, annual military budgets fell from $744 billion in 1988 to $424 billion in 2009. The statistical record doesn't go back far enough for us to know with absolute certainty whether this was the most peaceful decade ever in terms of violent deaths per capita, but it certainly ranks as the lowest in the last 50 years.

Lots more in the article, including a sobering reminder of "humanity's malignant effect on the environment...". The first comment notes that the decade has been not so good for the US.