Quality of Life vs. Regulations?

Benjamin Franklin  Benjamin Franklin

“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

I have a large carbon footprint.  The kids are all “cooked” and done, I am a widow and live alone in a rambling house on a large lot.  Despite all this, my carbon footprint is lower than what you would expect.  I compost my green waste, my recycle bin is always full and I often fill my neighbors bins (I don’t understand that one.) My bees produce sweet organic honey, my chickens keep the bees healthy by eating all the bugs that might invade the hives.  I eat the eggs they produce and feed the chickens all my kitchen scraps from the organic veggies/fruits I raise or purchase.  I recycle greywater and sustain my fruit trees in drought and give away much of my bounty to family, friends and the local soup kitchen.  I chose not to buy a hybrid vehicle because of the disposal of the batteries and the distance the vehicle components travel prior to assembly.  I owned my last vehicle until it died and the repair was more than the value of the vehicle.  I have a truck parked on the side lot that is over 10 years old.  It is more sustainable than a U-Haul rental and the kids are in the rental stage of their life so they will move a lot until they settle.  I still have a mountain of “stuff” of my own and from my beloved’s robotics shop that I am downsizing.  I get along with most everyone and don’t expect anyone to rescue me in a natural disaster or if I loose my job.

Do you ever wonder if a Christian woman in the Sudan thinks quality of life is about “stuff” like American men and women do, she probably doesn’t. Are there some common threads to the two extremes? What quality of life is all about? Definitely something I feel worth my time to ponder. More personal changes will be forthcoming as I continue to downsize my possessions so they do not control my time.

Perhaps my ideal quality of life is to live life at my own choosing without being molested by individuals, groups or the government.  I work in a department that deals with environmental regulations.  I constantly sort through the miasma of verbiage that has to be so precise.  One comma out of place can change the meaning and regulators often do not care if you left out a comma or placed it incorrectly.  You get the fine!

I fear the direction my country is taking.  People are blinded by their passion or a charismatic speaker.  The scientific method is an unknown to most people. People often don’t understand that many governmental agencies do not, in practice, have any real oversight.  On paper there might be a “dotted line” relationship to oversight.  Take the California Air Resources board; they manufacture nothing so promotions are based on number of people they supervise.  Do you see the inherent problem there!  The agency continues to bloat every year, getting bigger and bigger.  No problem, at the end of the year they just take the cost of operation and divide it up to the major players and send them a bill.  No product or even reduction in pollution is achieved as a result of this bloating.  It looks like a tax, feels like a tax but is called a fee, it stinks like a tax that IS passed on to the consumers.

One of my co-workers sent a document with thousands of data points in it to the Board.  They communicated back that a fine would be forthcoming because they could not open the file.  My company IT Department examined the file, the email etc.  There was nothing wrong with the file other than the size, it was just over a megabyte.  The IT guy volunteered to make the 2 hour (one way) drive to SFO to find out what happened.  Sure it burned up more fuel, spewed more greenhouse gasses, but the fine would be big and next month, more of the same.

He was escorted through cubicle-ville and glanced at the screens as he passed by at mid-morning.  Desk after desk in the large room went by and he saw over 50% of the workers were watching YouTube or a video which consumes bandwith.  Emails over a megabyte can’t get through because there is no bandwidth.

He worked with the Board and explained that they needed more bandwidth or less YouTube.

We paid for the IT person’s time, the fuel and vehicle to send him to SFO, his meals and the legal fees to contest the fine.  Don’t worry about it, it was billed out as cost of goods sold and you paid for it!

What sounds good during an election cycle is not always good.  Buyer beware!  I don’t believe we need more regulations, rules or a bigger government.  We have some good ones on the books but they are not enforced.  I prefer to vote with my dollars.  Perhaps I’m being a bit naïve but, I still wish to live my life at my own choosing without being molested by individuals, groups or the government.

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