Sunday, February 18, 2024

Net Zero

candle on a table

As the world confronts the global impacts of global warming and elected leaders scramble for legislative solutions to the climate change crisis confronting all of us, there is something that the powers that be should remember as we sometimes collectively lurch our way towards achieving “Net Zero”:

“Every Goal has Its Price”

This story mingling the current climate crisis with personal experience is fiction.

 Or is it?

To read the full story and decide for yourself, click the link and read on:

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A veteran north country writer & story teller raised in Saranac Lake, Dick enjoys “Living in the Day I Am In”, and then writing about it. A severely speech impaired 3x cancer survivor, his pen is his voice. He shares many of his Adirondack Outlaw adventures & tales here. Read the rest on his blog @

20 Responses

  1. Big Burly says:

    Apocalyptic? For certain a tale of the consequences of an insane and mindless pursuit of ephemera.

  2. And not to forget that evil, evil, evil propane you will not heat eat or have warm water.

  3. Nathan says:

    The wholesale change to electric everything is just crazy. The very wealthy can afford to suffer through the change. But many cannot afford electric cars, or the huge tax break for electric cars ( so poor help rich buy cars?) covering valuable farm lands with solar farms? use parking lots not use up land!
    Want to save the world? stop buying food from over seas and the massive energy to ship, grow locally, greenhouses are more energy efficient than shipping across the world.
    Make higher MPG cars standard, hybrids getting 40-60 mpg, no huge power grid needed, require pick-ups to be either heavy duty business required power house or 35 mpg mini trucks for those who us as a commutter, or just raise gasoline $1 per gallon and see people choose mpg.
    Offer tax breaks for people to up grade windows, insulate or upgrade insulation. reducing fuel use by 100,000 plus home would be millions of gallons of fuel saved every year.
    Making everyone get electric push mower or riding mower!!! sheer stupidity, small yard with push mower uses 2-3 gallons of gasoline a year~ you couldnt even make 1 battery for that energy. mower last 10-15 years, so say 45 gallons of gasoline or 5 huge pollution batteries and the hazardous recycling of waste.
    Riding mower i use 8-10 gallons a year moving 5 acres, i cant buy 1 battery for e-mower for that cost, or could anyone make a battery for that energy cost. just add a tiny catalytic converter.
    there needs to be real thought and process set-up to make our world more green. small changes can have real changes. if every home across america saved 10% fuel, that would be billions of gallons. if every car was hybrid for MPG, 25% more mileage, billions of gallons. demand that everything be designed to be recycled 100%.

    Make logical choices not knee jerk reactions that hurt everyone. electric everything is not a solution, the amount of pollution from making all those batteries, solar panels then add in nightmare to recycle them.
    How are we going to add a million miles of new power lines,10 million charging stations, all the new powerline crews to service. long lines to charge cars, trucks.
    make every parking lot a solar farm, then cars charge while parked, power goes right to cars, business, requiring less power line systems.
    We need to be looking at hydrogen as a real goal.

    • Nathan, thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts & comments. while I will try not to get “lost in the weeds” responding to all of them, I would like to add my two cents worth in on an area my “Net Xero” story & your comments did not cover- LIGHTBULBS! Now everything is LED, which was fine with us. My wife sincerely want to do our part. So, when we built my mom’s addition, & as we’ve remodeled and upgraded, every new light fixture has been LED. Recently, the overhead LED light in our “mudroom” entryway started blinking like a strobe. What I quickly discovered was- with LED lights, I couldn’t simply myself replace a $1 bulb. I HAD TO REPLACE THE WHOLE FIXTURE! since it was hard wired in, overhead, and I’m not an electrician, long story short, $400 later, I had essentially done what I used to do for a buck, changed a lightbulb. Not to mention that that entire LED fixture, & wiring now takes up space in a landfill. Further, the electrician told me that the whole electrical wiring was burnt. Could easily have set my house on fire. Welcome to knee jerk LED climate change legislation/technology. Don’t sell me an overpriced bowl of mud & try to tell me it’s chowder.

  4. gwen says:

    forward that to Hochul.

  5. Charlie Stehlin says:

    ” reducing fuel use by 100,000 plus home would be millions of gallons of fuel saved every year.”

    And then there’s the other side of the coin….all of those yahoos who step out of their huge twin-cab trucks, or cars, and leave their engines running while their buying cheap processed food, and shooting the sheet with others, at the local Stewarts, or wherever local….sometimes which can take all of ten minutes which, when you times that by who knows how many million yahoos across this land America, adds up. That’s a heckuva lot of emissions being spewed! Not that anybody really cares, and why stop now when we’ve come thus far! Who gives a hoot anyway? Who cares if glaciers are disappearing? Who cares if the oceans are becoming acidic? The coral reefs dying off? Polar bears on the way to extinction! What do those matter anyway when we have our over-bloated selves to be concerned about! I mean really! Let’s get real! What’s more important? Us or them?

    New York State Traffic and Vehicle Law, Article 33, Section 1210, states: “No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall permit it to stand unattended without first stopping the engine, locking the ignition, removing the key from the vehicle…..”

    Here is a law which goes unnoticed, it is buried deep in the midst of 14,990 other laws. It goes un-enforced, ever since day one when it was first put on the books some decades ago. And so here we have a governor whose desire it is to take away wood-burning stoves from those who are still attached to the old, simplistic, charming way of staying warm on cold winter nights, when the winds are howling outside of their windows……………………. I do believe yahoos leaving their engines running while outside of amusement centers for however long, or short, are more a threat than Abigail and Winslow, with their ‘little ones’ clinging nearby, taking advantage of the warmth which comforts them in front of their wood-burning stoves!

  6. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “Now everything is LED, which was fine with us….”

    LED lighting is far from a cure-all, it has a downside as has been talked-about on this platform in the past. Artificial, or man-crafted, light has its woes, including hazards to, or death of, species. Just from my own experience I say this, not from anything I’ve read anywhere else. Observant me! O’ the thoughts of long ago nights when so much was gained from reading by candle-lights!

  7. louis curth says:

    Dick, you are making me jealous! You just jotted off this story that you call “fiction”, and you’ve already got multiple comments flowing in!

    I’ve tried everything I can think of to get people fired-up to get out of their barka- loungers and go take back our democracy,. That’s my idea of how we can fix this place that we all love and pass it on to the young folks that come after us. And how many replies did I get? Zilch!

    I learned my writing style from ATU’s Barney Fowler (got that Jim Odato?), back when Barney lobbied hard in his column to get the forest rangers a much needed pay raise, and it worked! Wow, said young me, this is powerful stuff!!

    Maybe that doesn’t work so good anymore and fiction is back in style.
    Dick, you got any thing by Hemingway kicking around that I might borrow?

    • Mr. Curth, I’m not quite certain what to make of your feedback & comments, but I am taking it all as a compliment, so for that I thank you. As to writing styles, the classic authors in my library, and choosing fiction as a vehicle, I’ve got most all of them on my shelf. I’ve even actually read several. I often choose short fiction as a vehicle, because ironically enough, I find that the freedom of not being tightly bound to true life events is also the freedom that allows me to write real. I’ve got any Ivy League education, and am pretty well read, probably most influenced by authors like Poe, Conan Doyle, Twain & de Maupassant, though none of that likely shows up in my writing efforts & most folks wouldn’t know it. I simply write who I am, an Adirondack raised outdoor living north country boy. I try to be real. One lesson they taught us as young Army intelligence officers was, “When employing deception in an operation, remember that the best lie strays in only the minutest of detail from truth.” I’ve always taken that to heart and employ it when I write fiction. I also employ a few select self-imposed rules: “Write from the heart” “Write what you know” “Don’t put pen to paper unless you’ve got something to say” & “Know your audience”. I also never write anything without input from my muse, that indispensable voice sitting on my left shoulder whispering into my ear. I feel short fiction is by far my strongest suit. I enjoy writing and sharing my stories, and sincerely hope folks enjoy reading and discovering something in them of value.

      • louis curth says:

        Dick, rest assured that my comment was intended to be complimentary to you. I think your writing is a wonderful gift from you to all of us who read the Explorer/Almanack and I thank you.

        I was also trying to express my disappointment that we haven’t achieved more progress in making democracy work better for people in need – but writing in a bit more light hearted way that readers and commenters might relate to. Maybe I messed the mark on that. If so, I’m sorry.

        Keep on writing whether novels or anything else. We need you.

        • Thank you again, Mr. Curth. I guess I’ve been spit on, kicked in the teeth, cast aside & shunned often enough by the “established” “professional” holier than thou writing community that I’ve become a bit anti-social & quick on the draw. All part & parcel of my writing persona’s evolution as an Adirondack Outlaw. In all things I write, fact, fiction or otherwise, therein lies the truth.

      • Boreas says:

        Fiction has been fueling cable “news” for decades now.

    • Oh, and as to your Mr. Odato reference, I’m not sure what that meant, but don’t feel alone. I’ve had nearly 100 articles, essays & poems posted here in the Almanack. Despite all of that, when I made a point of introducing myself to him at a Saranac Lake writer’s event, he had not the slightest idea who I was.

      • louis curth says:

        Nope, just to clarify, my aside to Jim Odato was to acknowledge the value of good journalism. I tried to do it by citing Barney Fowler’ (who most people won’t remember, but Jim would), and the strong influence Barney had on my activist writing style.

        I’m a fan of Jim’s reporting, especially his series on my alma mater, PSC.

  8. You Can Do Better says:

    This is pretty alarmist and follows the framework of big oil/right wing propaganda and conspiracy which is all over the web. How much of that stuff do you read Dick? Have you considered the impacts of continued oil exploration?

    We made it from horse and buggy to gas cars just fine. You can sit back comfortable in front of your wood stove and watch progress from afar, nobody is coming for your wood stove.

    • YCDB, 1st of all, thank you for reading & weighing in. To your comments: I’m a life-long independent, believe it or not, on most issues, centrist/moderate & if anything left-leaning. I’m most certainly a believer in the daunting realities of climate change. However, I am not convinced that we are always (or even generally) taking the most prudent of directions in addressing its issues. that’s a whole big discussion in and of itself that there is not time & space for in my response here. What I can say from personal experience on this issue & my “Net Zero” story is this, it has become increasingly difficult to find a service technician who can service our home’s oil burning furnace, let alone get parts. It thus dawned on me that the powers that be can (or maybe already are), effectively “ban” fuel oil as a home heating source without actually ever having to bear the political fallout from having legislated it so. All they have to do is make it so economically unviable (as a dwindling market). It’s simply a logical profit motive extension of the push for alternatives. As one real life example (the experience that actually served as the motivational basis for this story): Our long-time home heating company just sold off the fuel oil portion of its business to Mirabito. On the surface, that all seems fine, except for the fact that what Mirabito DID NOT pick up was our previous company’s service department. I searched far and wide before I found a reasonably local company that still has fuel oiled furnace service techs still on staff. They’ve all moved on to propane/natural gas. So, my wife & I, both retired, are now suddenly facing the very real potentiality that in the foreseeable future, we will be forced to take on the unbudgeted/unplanned expense of replacing our home’s entire fuel oil-based heating system. Now, to answer your question, I do keep apprised of what I perceive to be apparent trends going forward. Thus, I am reticent to invest in a propane fueled heating system as a replacement for our oil furnace, as I fear, based on climate change implications & legislative trends, that is simply another short-term fossil fuel-based solution. That leaves electric heat, which we already use for my mom’s addition which we put on several years ago, the month-to-month cost of which, beyond installation, for our entire family home would be economically overwhelmingly daunting. “Invest in installing solar or geothermal”, they say. Well, do the math, beyond the daunting initial outlay expense considerations, not to mention north country weather, at our age it’s unlikely my wife & I will live long enough to ever come close to recouping such an investment. So, playing that whole real-life scenario out in my head, we are back to electric heat, augmented by our wood stove, which we already rely on heavily through north country winters. There’s a lot of chatter out there, real or otherwise, about movements to limit or eliminate wood stoves as a NYS/north country heating source. This story simply combines my real-life fuel oil furnace concerns with that chatter and carries it forward to an imagined conclusion. That’s why it’s fiction, the purpose of which is to stimulate thoughtful discourse & discussion on climate change issues & adjustments that have become critical for all of us. That’s one of the beauties of fiction. It allows us to examine & consider issues pertinent to the day & speculate regarding their potential outcomes. As I am here now, while I sit warmed by the comforting heat of my woodstove. Thank you.

    • FYI “You Can Do Better”: Contrary to your condescendingly snide anonymous moniker, “Net Zero” is currently going internet viral.

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