Russell D. Hoffman's World Famous Environmental Issues Page

High Tech Environmentalism

Russell D. Hoffman's Own Home Page for Environmental Issues

The following is a special announcement:


Y2K RISKS -- What YOU can do!

The Hoover Dam was built to last -- as a working hydroelectric dam -- for 3,000 years. The concrete won't even be fully set for centuries. The rest of government policy should also recognize that America expects to have a future.

The web pages presented here are designed to be scientifically accurate but easily understood. They discuss some of the most complex issues faced by today's environmentalists, from the point of view of a humanist, technologist and futurist.

These essays and articles have been linked to by prestigious environmental organizations around the globe -- and we thank everyone kindly for each of those links!

I love technology and I believe it is vital to mankind's future.

I have been a computer programmer for nearly twenty years. I ride the fanciest high-tech mountain bike money can buy (well, the fanciest my money can buy, anyway!). I have some pretty good computerized tools. But we must temper our use and our love of technology within the limits of our fragile and complicated ecosystem. And most of all, we must believe that with our efforts, our world will survive!

Oh look! Mankind put another 1000 years under our belts!

But it will surely be our last 1000 if we don't change something. Right now, as we turn to a new millenium, our world is in crisis. Hardly a soul alive really believes the world is a clean, fresh, healthy place to bring up baby humans and other living things. We all see the effects -- cancers among our friends and family, even our pets and livestock. Chest pains when we visit "the city" (whatever city we live near. Or if we live in a city, just chest pains, day in and day out.) Piles of garbage unattended, oil spills on T.V., old cars and old car batteries left to rot. Everywhere we are assaulted by excessive packaging, throw-away tools, and eco-deadly lifestyles. Somewhere there's a balance but we know we haven't achieved it.

We haven't even come close.

We in the "environmental" movement have been torn among tasks -- our resources are stretched too thin. We must unify! Every voice counts. Every problem needs ten thousand voices to fix but only ten people to do the damage. In times like this -- in these times -- each individual in the "environmental" movement must be as strong as a hundred polluters!

Frankly, we are losing a lot of the battles.

Maybe even most of them. And so, many of us have become passionate. Others of us have given up--lost hope. Many of us have focused on one topic -- we have learned to focus, we have learned about empowerment -- but we must not lose sight of the war while we fight our own individual battles. There are no generals to guide us. (The other side seems to have all the generals.)

It seems we cannot unify because the individual causes are so vital, so drastic, and yet so varied, that each of us burns out in our own little world. Sometimes we are fractured at the outset--one wants to save the snail darter by not building a hydroelectric dam, while another wants the dam built to stop the spread of nuclear power. And meanwhile, nuclear, coal, and oil are wiping out or deforming equally deserving species.

We live in a real world, with daily problems. Two billion people do not even have electricity--they will never read this. And there is no way we will be able to save every species, every habitat, or even every person.

Let's all try to keep our eye on the ball from now on.

We can't stop fighting for the things we each really care about. Nor should we. But I believe that everyone who wants a clean earth must somehow show a common spirit so that the politicians and bureaucrats and most of all the polluters themselves know that the jig is up -- we demand a clean earth with free expression for everyone! And I believe there are more of "us" than "them". But we are so divided, and so torn, and are working so hard trying to solve each individual crisis, that as a movement, we are burned out.

Couch-potato environmentalism.

So when you read through these articles and you think "Gee, I should do something" by all means do it. Click on President Clinton's email address and send him a message! Send four or five different ones before you leave this site! Please! They want to hear from you! They need you to show them you are out there! I've made it as easy as I can for you, trying hard to give you lots of hotlinks to other organizations if you want more information and giving you lots of information to start with, in a nice, easy-to-read form! So take the ball and run with it, for goodness sakes! Now is as good a time as you will ever get! Before they get good at filtering out our voice, or before they silence us all by cutting the Internet connection or pricing it out of existence!

So please, read these essays, get angry about one or two of the topics (your choice which ones), fire off a message to our elected officials, and then get on with your life and the things you feel passionate about in your own world. (But tell others to visit us!)

You Can Do It To It Too!

Learn from these examples how to empower yourself, and get out and build your own web sites about the things you care about! But don't forget that each person who cares about the health of this planet must take part in many, many causes. A movement divided is as good as a movement defeated -- and "they" know that.

And if you are moved to do anything, thank you so very very much! I thank you. The fellow environmentalists who have worked so hard inside these movements I can only write about, thank you. And believe me, Mother Earth thanks you and your children and your children's children will thank you. You might even thank yourself some day.

Made in U.S.A.

These stories are written by an American. A proud, free, American living in a proud, free land. They are distributed through a free Internet. I've lectured from London to Florida to Boston to Los Angeles about computers and technology. Nothing I've seen in twenty years of computer work compares with the Internet for what it can do for us. Without the freedom that my blessed country has given me these pages could not, would not exist.

I believe that the so called-environmentalists so outnumber the polluters that if we were unified we would surely be able to change the world -- stop much of the utter madness. And I believe the tool for that unification is available to us right now, but who knows for how much longer? We love the Internet and believe it is the greatest tool mankind has ever had. Let's use it.

But... There's always a but...

But even that freedom is being eaten away! If you value your free voice, or mine for that matter, if you want to be able to talk about the things you care about the way I talk about the things I care about, please honor and thank the people who are fighting that battle. They have names. They have faces. Let's not waste this tool, and let's not let them take it away!

I had the opportunity to interview some of the people who are on the front lines of the freedom-of-speech battle. One of these interviews, with Phil Zimmermann, the author of an encryption program called PGP or Pretty Good Privacy, has become a download classic at this web site and is used in college courses and by movements and individuals around the world. Another interview is with famous computer magazine publisher and "electronic freedom fighter" Jim Warren.

If you wish to preserve our freedom of speech on the Internet, I strongly suggest you familiarize yourself with what these people are saying. And then, maybe you'll understand how important it is that you click on "send" a few times and let other people know how you feel!

We can be a united voice!

We don't need to march on Washington (or maybe we do for our own catharsis) but if enough of us simply let the politicians know what we think, simply let them know that we are out there, we might start seeing some changes. And anyway it's never too late to start trying.

The following web pages describe a variety of environmental problems and contain links to other sites and to other areas of this site where you can get more information. But try to take the time to look at each issue, because each one desperately needs your voice added to it.

California Redwoods
96% of The California Redwood Forests have been destroyed. Is a Zero Cut policy really necessary? Here are the environmental issues involved.

Space Debris

Space Debris is a problem few people have ever heard of. Read our shocking exposé about the incredible pollution problem in an area of space known as 'near earth orbit'!

From the Folks Who Brought You Chernobyl:

A plutonium-powered Russian space probe falls to earth, November 17th, 1996.

Cassini: NASA's deadly dilemma.

The Cassini mission to Saturn will carry 72.3 pounds of the deadliest substance known to man -- plutonium. Does it make any sense to try to send this into space?

Global Energy Network International

A plan to interconnect the world through an electrical energy grid so that renewable resources in distant locations can supply the energy needs of populations centers around the world. By crossing borders and cultures, it will interconnect the world in more ways than one. Tutorial written be GENI staff members.

Table of Contents

The Animated Software Company
Mail to:
Last modified March 27th, 1997. (Y2K-announcement added October 28th, 1999, Nuke announcement added Nov. 2001))
Webwiz: Russell D. Hoffman
Copyright (c) Russell D. Hoffman