Sunday, January 13, 2008

The next sure thing - must act now!

The lead editorial in The Funny Paper today sounds like one of those breathless mortgage radio spots where the fast talking huckster tells us we will never see rates this low again.

Or maybe like one of those penny-stock broker cold-calls where we are urged to act now, because this company you've never heard of is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

The Funny Paper's next "Can't Miss Sure Thing:" Sustainability.

First, with a track record like theirs, one would think they might keep their hubris under wraps just a tad. These are the same people who brought you the bio-tech boom, touting the 10,000 biotech jobs that were sure to come from the half-billion or so public dollar investment in OHSU/South Waterfront.

But there's a reason for my slogan for Portland: "Where nothing succeeds like failure."

The fact that The Funny Paper has been the mouthpiece for every high profile failure in Oregon government over the last few decades is no reason to stop now. They are so sure that Oregon can be the global leader in sustainability that they want to bet the bank - again - to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

They want Portland to create a "major research institute," which would "anchor the emerging 'innovation quadrant' of degree programs" in our universities. Huh? What on Earth does that mean? When The Funny Paper starts talking about "emerging" this-and-that, I think of their touting "creative industiries," "bio-tech," and all the other expensive failures they have shoveled up over the years.

But it gets better. Not content with just throwing public dollars at the latest fad, they want to infuse the fad into all our public institutions: "Imagine, too, a systemwide commitment to infuse sustainability into ALL college-level programs. And yes, to reach down into public schools."

"None of this can wait," they tell us. I can almost hear their heart palpitating. Of course it can't wait. If we wait, we might see that this sustainability craze is just the latest in a long line of fads that The Funny Paper has been suckered by over the years. If we wait, we will realize that most of the so-called sustainable building and energy practices are really not cost effective - that they really involve spending a lot of money to save a little energy, and the only way there will be any demand for it is if government mandates it. (Which of course they support.)

Well, let's call The Funny Paper's bluff. Let's one-up them. Let's embrace sustainability in a major way.

What, I ask you, is less sustainable than the newspaper business? Think about it! It requires cutting down trees. It uses harmful and unnatural chemicals to process the pulp and run the printing presses. It burns fossil fuels to deliver the product to every nook and cranny of the region every single day.

And all this for a product that has a one-day useful life! What could be less sustainable than that?!!

So I propose that we re-raise The Funny Paper in the sustainability game. No more hardcopy daily newspapers - internet only.

It's just not sustainable!


Anonymous said...

Imagine the Oregonian lecturing us on sustainability when their very business is one of the worst offenders in the state.

Let's stop buying the newspapers. It's our duty.

Anonymous said...

My question, how many rolls of Charmin does it take to equal the weight of a Sunday Funny Paper?

Then lets compare shelf life and useful purposes.

I rest my case.

SUV said...

Didn't this funny paper editorial board tell us:

That CIMCAM would "anchor the emerging 'innovation quadrant' of K-12"?

That the PPS had a "recipe for success" with the "Strategic Plan, new contract for Ben Canada and a $70 million local option levy passing?

That the Tram would linchpin an emerging biotech cluster?

That a headquarters Hotel is vital to the State's economy?

rural resident said...

Synonyms for “sustainability” include bearable, endurable, sufferable, and tolerable. The concept emphasizes not going backward because of excessive use of resources. But it also implies that we won’t make much progress and that we won’t find or develop new resources.

If sustainability had been the prevailing philosophy years ago, life expectancy would be less than 60 years. Would we still be awaiting the deliveryman with blocks of ice for our “ice box” to keep food cold? Watching black and white TV (or no TV at all!)? Driving around in a Model T? Living in homes with an average of 800 square feet?

I’m all for using limited resources wisely. It’s also time for the O and the sustainability crowd to recognize the role of technological advancement in enlarging resource supply.