John Mott-Smith

Per Capita Davis: What to think

A longtime friend recently sent me an article by the renowned author and thinker Noam Chomsky titled “The End of History.” The article argues that the adverse effects of climate change will effectively put an end to 10,000 years of civilization on the planet. My friend asked what I thought about this. My reply was […]

September 18, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Paso Fino and Dalhart, Texas

Re=purposing vacant land: Done right, increased density via infill development can be a boon to residents by creating the conditions for neighborhood-oriented businesses within walking or biking distance. But if there aren’t businesses within a reasonable walking distance, then increasing density in suburban settings really only increases car traffic: more greenhouse gas emissions instead of […]

September 04, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: The village roundabout is a cautionary tale

In my last column I argued that “sustainability,” unlike “taxes,” is not a four-letter word. Apparently I was wrong, at least insofar as some in the city of Placerville are concerned. Along comes a story in my morning newspaper that planners in that burg have proposed roundabouts as traffic improvements in their downtown. The rationale […]

August 21, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Sustainability is not a four-letter word

This column has, at various times, struggled with the question of whether individual action or broad governmental policies and regulations represent the best path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, it’s a false premise that we have to choose one or the other. We need both. But the interplay between the two continues to […]

August 07, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Turning away from fossil fuels on a dime

The movement to persuade institutional investors to “divest” their portfolios of stocks of corporations primarily engaged in producing or combusting fossil fuels is picking up steam. The World Council of Churches, representing nearly 600 million churchgoers in more than 150 countries, voted to divest its own holdings and to encourage all of its member churches to do […]

July 17, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Hummingbirds and elephants

“Per Capita Davis” has been the title of this column for nearly six years. It was born out of my perception that individuals acting together would be the main motor for achieving greenhouse gas reductions. Sometimes I have my doubts. Sometimes it seems the problem is too huge, that no matter what we do as […]

July 03, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: It’s hard to believe unbelievable news

BELIEVE IT OR NOT: The news is full of stories about our energy future; some grim, others hopeful. Most include numbers to back up the point being made. It can sometimes be hard to sort out truth from fiction given the seemingly universal nodding of humanity’s collective heads in agreement with Mark Twain’s caustic phrase: […]

June 19, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Optimistic beyond the tipping point?

SOME ALARMING NEWS: Two apparently unrelated news articles caught my attention recently. In one, a South Korean ferry sinks with hundreds losing their lives in part because the captain and many of the crew allegedly told passengers to stay put, don’t worry, while the ship sank and they abandoned ship. The other article was about […]

June 05, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: More good news on climate change work

It was so much fun writing the last column about good news on the climate change front that I thought I’d try it again. The good news starts on the national level. Some members of Congress, led by California’s Sen. Barbara Boxer, have formed the Climate Change Caucus. Members say they don’t expect passage of […]

May 15, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Help Harper with its big idea

I’ll get right to the point. PG&E solicited applications for a $15,000 grant to schools for “Big Ideas” through its partnership with the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. The good news is that Davis’ own Harper Junior High School is one of three finalists to receive this grant. But — and this is where […]

May 01, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Now, for some good news

The last column was about bad news from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. They issued three reports recently. Last September, the first report made the point that scientists are 95 percent or greater certain that global warming is being driven by human actions. In the scientific community, 95 percent is essentially 100 but leaving […]

April 17, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: More bad news on climate change

I had several ideas that I wanted to write about for this column, and I just got back from a really relaxing vacation. I didn’t think about climate change for a whole week. I was looking forward to writing a positive, hopeful article. But everything went kablooie when I read an article in Monday’s New […]

April 03, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Put it on the table and put a price on it

A headline in the news recently read: “Lack of water will raise Roseville rates.” The headline says Roseville, but it could be Anytown, USA. The point is that people are going to have to pay more for water and, as a result, will use less of it. This type of rate hike is commonplace in […]

March 20, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Per Capita Davis: Now’s the time for energy upgrades

Financing solar or energy efficiency: There’s a new program available to Yolo County residents who would like to install energy-efficiency measures or put solar on the roof but hesitate to lay out the cash to do so. The program is called Clean Energy Yolo and was adopted by the Board of Supervisors and all four of […]

March 06, 2014 | Posted in Columns | Tagged ,

Special Publications »

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
Copyright (c) 2015 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.