Thursday, January 07, 2010

Oh God, my blog made the Bee

A few weeks ago, when I clicked the button to publish the post Want a cozy fire? Wait 'til next summer... on my Sacramento Bee "Norcal Voices" blog, a little voice whispered to me "this will end up in the Bee print edition" but I published it anyway.

Sure enough, this past Sunday, January 3rd, 2010, the Bee opinion page ran it. Every month or two, they seem to pick out one of the posts and run it.

Normally, I'm thrilled to have anything in print. I'm very close to the school of thought that the only bad publicity is no publicity (sorry, Tiger Woods). But this time I felt equivocal about what I had written the second I wrote it. The post was, after all, complaining about environmental regulation, something I generally frown upon.

It is significant to have it in print because it ups the readership of the piece from roughly 3 people to thousands. I am not kidding about the 3 people. If I didn't have the page to my blog bookmarked, I could not find it on the Bee website. The other day I literally spent 20 minutes trying to find it and couldn't. And even my friends with the link can't see my post if they don't create a username and login, which most of them are loathe to do.

Reaction to my piece has been mixed. Inside my insular leftwing cohousing community (and my personal dwelling), people are disgusted by anyone who would be selfish enough to put their own personal need for a cozy wood fire over other people's selfish need to breath clean air.

Outside cohousing, even with lefties, the reaction is pretty much, "oh I know! I was so mad that they wouldn't allow wood burning on Christmas Eve! It was a perfect night for a wood fire and they said 'burning prohibited!' Can't they at least have a holiday exception?!"

Meanwhile the sole commenter on the web version of the post seemed to think that I went too far by even being willing to follow the law. Her perspective is that wood burning is a drop in the bucket on air pollution and it's only rich people that have fireplaces or wood anyway, so why bother regulating it, just get everyone out of their cars.

Come to think of it, that's a pretty good idea. We only drive one car and use foot and bike transportation a lot. Can we have an exemption from the ban?

Oops, I did it again. Well, at least this time it's not on the Bee blog so no one will read it at all.

1 comment:

Raines said...

You wrote: Well, at least this time it's not on the Bee blog so no one will read it at all.

Except for other cohousers so into it that they have search alerts set up for every use of the word "cohousing" on the internet. ;-)

Congrats on the ink in the Bee! And yeah, total net impact oughtta be a factor... I don't own a car, so do I get credit for all the flights I take? Hmm, sounds like carbon credits. Actually, I just saw a video last night that highlights the problems with "Cap & Trade" approaches to global warming, from Story of Stuff author/producer/narrator Annie Leonard (who happens to also live in a mini-cohousing neighborhood): The Story of Cap & Trade.

Perhaps a community exemption on the fire ban would be the ideal solution: one fire in the Common House vs. 20 individual ones would make it easier to control emissions. Kinda like regulating one electric generator rather than 20,000 tailpipes.

Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach
Planning for Sustainable Communities
at Berkeley Cohousing

Where we currently don't have any heat in our house (it's a long story, dating back about 15 years), so we'd technically be exempt from the ban on fires on spare-the-air days, not that we have a fireplace or anything.