Life


(1) We’re hosting Turkey Day, as always, for friends.  This year we’re having 16 people total, and, while we’re vegetarians*, we do cook a turkey.  Today we bought the turkey.  We chose an antibiotic-free bird.  Here’s the odd thing.  All the no antibiotic, free range and/or all-natural fresh birds were between 10-14 lbs.  All the fresh turkeys that were not “natural” were between 14-24 pounds.  And the chemical free-for-all frozen birds were up to 35 lbs.  Hmm….I think I’ll go with the pre-2000 Barry Bonds turkey rather than the McGuire/Sosa/post-2000 Bonds turkey.

*Note: While my partner is a strict vegetarian, I will eat some ecologically appropriate fish or poultry about once a month when my body craves the protein or fish oil.

(2) Dislike sprawl and like walkable neighbors?  Just found a cool website called Walk Score that evaluates the walkability of your address based on how walkable errands and amenities are (e.g., mass transit, groceries, stores, restaurants, parks).  Just type in your address and get your score.  I find it to be a good predictor for locations that I have liked living in.

I just finished reading Peter Hessler’s River Town.  I earlier reviewed his second book, Oracle Bones.  Oracle Bones is the easier read and easier to engage, as it’s style is more journalistic like that of Jon Krakauer.  I found River Town harder to get into, but once I did I found it to be the first book (of the many I’ve read about China) that actually brought me back to my own experience in China.  It was an excellent read and now it is the book that I will recommend to people when they ask me to describe what it was like to life in China for a year.  The book described all the challenging and fascinating aspects of our experience: getting sick from the pollution; struggles with the languages; choosing to become regulars at local establishments; the stares and laughs; having more time when isolated in China; teaching Chinese students; etc.  I highly recommend the book.

I just finished my talk on “Climate Policy and US-China Relations” in downtown Salt Lake City.  I really didn’t know what to expect in terms of discussing climate change at a law firm in Utah.  All in all it went OK, and the view of the mountains from the 22nd floor offices of Holland & Hart was absolutely spectacular.   I had anticipated at least one climate skeptic and had prepared a response but no such questions arose.  Instead most folks seems interested in (1) my argument that the Chinese have accepted a cold and Darwinist reality that only economic powers will have the resources to adapt to climate change and thus China sees no need to curb their emissions or limit economic growth, and (2) whether China, and the U.S., are actively preparing climate adaptation measures and projects.

All is all, I’m very much enjoying my time at the University of Utah and the Stegner Center.  It’s great to meet environmental law professors at another school, and I’ve been able to catch up with some old friends as well.

In route to my lectures at the University of Utah College of Law, I stopped in Milwaukee for 38 hours to see friends, family and former colleagues at Marquette University Law School.  I was able to have dinner at my favorite Milwaukee restaurant Crazy Water and tried a surprisingly good restaurant that I hadn’t been to before.

Now I’m in Salt Lake City, and it’s clear I’ve developed a somewhat new fascination with the West.  I think this started when I drove cr0ss-country last year and loved the mountains of Wyoming, and has taken hold since teaching Natural Resources Law again and discussing all the federal lands and national parks of the West.  I think this will be cured only by a two-month trek of natural resources in the West.  For now, I’ll enjoy the beauty of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges out my window.  But my fascination also results from my strong distaste for the sprawl and low-lying development of western cities.

Legal Planet has an interesting post about how California’s cap-and-trade program will go forward.  See here.

Please vote today.  I love election day and treat it like the civic national and state holiday that it should be.  We also call it “Family Voting Day” and my partner and I walk our kids to go vote before walking them to school.  This morning had three highlights: (1) At breakfast my older daughter (age 5) asked, “What type of people do we vote for?”  I used words and phrases like “people who want to help others,” “progressive,” and “good leaders.”  She asked, “Dad, what’s progressive?,” struggling to pronounce the word.  I said progressives are people ‘who want change that helps people who can’t afford important things.’  At which point, my daughter said, “I know what is progressive.  Kids without money need doctors.  Doctors should go to kids’ houses if the kids need doctors.  Moms and dads should be able to go get a doctor and bring them home to the kid.”  With a big smile, I applauded her on this wonderful idea.  (2) My younger daughter (age 3) literally running to City Hall because she was so excited to vote with the family.  (3) When we dropped off my daughter late to Kindergarten, on the tardy slip line entitled ‘Reason for being late,’ the staff person wrote “Voting.”

I posted an election day preview yesterday, and I’ll start live blogging election day shortly.  Go Vote!

The Congressional Research Service has published “Environmental Laws: Summaries of Major Statutes Administered by the Environmental Protection Agency

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