Thursday, May 01, 2008

Food Shortage: What would Mormons do?

If you have not read about it in the news you have no doubt felt it at the pump and in grocery store lines. Food and gas prices are soaring.

For me, this sharp increase over the last year seems a bit more shocking. When I left for overseas in early summer 2006 groceries seemed to be somewhat stable. Since returning last November after being gone nearly a year and a half, the difference is more obvious. Food in America basically requires special financing plans, a second mortgage or a third world GDP.

But a larger concern seems to be the shortage of it. A sudden surge of Westerners rushing to make bio-diesel seems to be getting the brunt of the blame. Ironically this hasn’t reduced our fuel efficiency or costs nearly as much as we hoped it would. Further, such an effort seems to have more been like shooting ourselves in the foot, since now in addition to ginormous gas prices we have ginormous food prices. The other day I was surprised to find that lemons on Safeway’s produce aisle were on sale for 89 cents each. Whoa, a lemon? Well, I guess as the old adage says, when life gives you lemons, make…you get it. But actually, life isn’t giving me lemons; it’s selling them to me at way too high a price.

So what to do about it? There is no doubt the alternative energy solutions are needed, but let’s not be too hasty with that idea. It’s now becoming increasingly clear that the bio-fuel solution isn’t a solution at all. In fact, I find it ironic that the many bandwagon environmentalists have done more to harm than good in the name of conservation and being everything green. I blame Al Gore, if for no other reason than he’s an awkward lark with sketchy facts at best. We need to avert bio-fuels and move on to more efficient solutions like hydrogen (which I think is the best solution for transportation fuel, if we can master it).

Americans should also reduce their dependence on foreign crops and begin thinking about the home garden again. Imagine if every American family began to grow their own vegetables. I am no economist, but I think this would aid in the shortage solution.

But the overall point is not just blind conservancy. That doesn’t work. Just because it seems environmentally sound, or is an energy alternative, does not mean it’s a great economic practice. As governments continue to hash out solutions, I think I’ll make like a Mormon and build up my food storage.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Local murder story reminds us to behave ourselves in private, too

Of late, the news here in Bellingham has been consumed with the disappearance of Ferndale High School Assistant Track Coach Jeremy Scully. Last Thursday, Scully was reported missing and on Saturday his car was discovered alongside a road near Lake Samish, just south of Bellingham. The keys were still in ignition and the door was ajar. On Sunday, several hikers stumbled upon a body on Blanchard mountain with a gunshot wound to the head. This morning, the Bellingham Herald reports that the body was Scully.

This is a sad story to me, and one that seems to have caught my attention. I did not know Scully, and know little more about the case than what investigators have told the media. However, it seems random and odd that someone like him would disappear and be found murdered.

The news has also made a big deal out of the fact that Scully had an online membership to an adult swingers site. The connection to that and his murder is still largely speculation. However, it seems to be the most highlighted part of the case, second to the recent identification of his body.

That brings up a more trivial point. We all have our skeletons in the closet, some that we may not be so bashful about, even while we are alive. But I think this is a point that behooves us all to pay attention to (Larry Craig take note): the things that we consume ourselves with, whether they be illicit or not, embarrassing or not, righteous or not, all have larger implication on the mark we leave and our perceptions of others. As humans we are compelled to do good and make right. I always say that we ought to make the world a little better for us having lived in it. Sadly, sometimes our biggest efforts to do that can be thwarted by our smallest secrets.

It’s saddening to me that Jeremy Scully will not be remembered in public view as a great track coach and teacher who likely influenced the lives of many young people, but instead be remembered as that teacher who was involved in some freaky underground swinger site.

Christ compels us to live by a higher standard. He said that no longer is it just a sin to commit adultery, it is even a sin to think about committing adultery. Meaning, do the right things even when nobody else is looking. Be prudent, practice righteous. Because you never know when the things you do will define the memory of your life.

My condolences to Jeremy’s family and his girlfriend.