Friday, April 23, 2010

This one's for the hippies

So it was Earth Day. Now, I am a Republican, but I'm not opposed to the earth, strictly speaking. And lots of experts and admirable people are very worried about the earth. But it's always a good idea to do some critical thinking, since experts and admirable people are not always right.

So, here are a few things to think about. First, by most measures, the Earth is in better shape than it used to be. Second, recycling trash is often more wasteful and harmful to the environment than just throwing it away. Third, modern cars emit less pollution while speeding down the highway than cars did fifty years ago when they were sitting in the driveway. A lot less.

I'm not saying we shouldn't keep trying to improve and protect our environment. On the contrary, I think that God has called all of us who live here to take care of this place. Plus, it's just a beautiful, weird world we live in, and there's so much we don't understand. I think we should try to preserve its wonders.

But, as I said, there's a lot we don't understand. And it's not hard to imagine how we might foul things up, even if our intentions are good. The fact is, our own political system has become so complicated that its workings can not be comprehended, not just by citizens but by the policymakers themselves. And that makes me confident that the laws we pass are doing a lot of good for the activists and lobbyists who help write them, rather than hopeful that they are doing a lot of good for than the environment.

It's a thorny problem, but most of us can agree on the desired outcomes at least-- healthier planet, healthier humans. So as we're trying do devise policy solutions, let's think carefully and be prepared to question our own preconceptions, not just the preconceptions of those we disagree with. And let's speak clearly, and keep our discussions open and civil.

And anyone who can't agree to that is a dumb stupid idiot.

--SAN GIOVANNI UMILIATO

Sunday, April 04, 2010

It's like rain

So we had an EQ gathering today before Priesthood Session, and there was loads of food. Each of the four singles wards contributed something. I think. It may have just been the senior primary and the two junior primaries, but not the nursery. I don't know.

Anyway, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. I had a slice of pizza (Papa John's, not bad) and about halfway through a burrito I realized I was getting full. But burritos start falling apart as soon as you start biting into them, and so I decided to finish. But then I still had like three or four inches of sandwich from Subway which I had not even started. I thought about throwing it away, but that seemed wasteful. (Yes, I know, it's no more wasteful than having a fat man who is already full eat it.)

So I set it down on the folding chair next to me during conference. And I kept looking over at it, and sometimes I could smell the jalapenos. So I would remind myself that I was not really hungry, and that I could always have it after conference if I felt hungry then.

But then I got tired of waiting and decided to just eat the stupid thing.

It was right when Elder Uchtdorf was starting his talk. He was telling this story about a researcher who gave marshmallows to little children and told them if they would wait a few minutes without eating the first one, they would get a second one. Most of them, of course, at the marshmallow before the second one could show up. And then the researcher tracked these kids over decades and found that impatience correlated with all kinds of problems for these kids later in life.

My sandwich tasted terrible. Mostly the bread was all soggy. Maybe I waited too long to eat it. Or maybe I didn't wait too long enough!

--PAN YUE-HAN