I’m an Olive Green, Rational Environmentalism

A picture of olives in Jordan

Olives Come In Many Shades

Original Image

I’m An Olive Green, a Rational Environmentalist

On WUWT, a poster had made the statement:

WA (09:57:25) : Perhaps we should distinguish between Those “Greens” / “Environmentalists” who honestly believe that humans are stewards of the earth,

That got me thinking…

I’m an ‘old style’ ‘green’ in the sense of not wanting extinction of blue whales and thinking 50 foot visibility in L.A. in the 1950s was a bad thing and that maybe we ought to get our hands dirty and plant as many trees as we cut down for lumber and fuel.

But I’m quite happy to have farms, factories, a functioning military, roads, trucks, cars, homes and water development projects. I just want them done with a little bit of care for the world.

I would also like lots of parks and some wilderness (and it’s pretty clear we have lots of room for them and could easily leave 1/2 the world empty of people if we wanted to do that; with no real impact on our life styles. It’s all about being smart, not about deprivation.)

But wanting a reasonable portion of the world for people and wanting a modern technical and comfortable life for myself and my children means that I don’t fit in the modern green fascist movement.

So what to call myself?

I think I’ll try ‘olive green’ for a while.

I dig in the dirt and plant things. Mix some brown in with green and it’s a nice olive color.

Olives are productive. We don’t mind some factories that make things and a bit of order in our lives. We share our productivity with those who care for us and provide for our needs. “Will trade food for fertilizer and weeding”.

Olives and farming go well together. We can survive in the wild, but we also get along well with a more formal setting and play well with others, both human and non. We also work well in public places and “present well” in the landscape.

And olive drab even gets along with the military and hunting just fine. Most hunters I have known understood more about sustainable ecosystems that a lot of rabid greens. They know what happens when the wild pig population gets out of control and starts to destroy the rest of the ecology.

Olive is not overstated nor loud in public and olives never tell someone else what to do with their lives…

Olives and Energy

Prudent greens (which I’ve taken to calling “Olive Greens” which I call myself) “get it” that we need smart industry; and responsible business leaders know they live on the same planet and will be sucking the same exhaust…

On the issue of energy (and the need to get more, green or otherwise) I’ve summarized the choices at:


which I would summarize as “Don’t panic! We have all you want!”

An Example from Coal

There was another poster who had raised issues about coal power fly ash. Yes, it can be nasty stuff, but the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra applies here, at least for an Olive Green. I raised the point of fly ash as a resource:

Oh yes, that terrible terrible fly ash…

Have you thought that maybe it isn’t the ‘stuff’ but what you do with it that matters? That everything is a useful resource if you let the engineers make the decisions rather than the politicians?

For example, how about LEED buildings? Platinum level of environmental stewardship? Is that good enough for you? John Deere facilities in Greensburg were destroyed in a tornado, they rebuilt very very ‘green’.



As the city of Greensburg made its recovery, local leaders also decided they needed to build more efficient, sustainable facilities. “There was a ground swell of interest for the town to come back and everyone agreed that to do so, we would need to build green,” Estes says. After the towns leaders decided that all city-run facilities would be built to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum standard [see story on page 31], Estes decided that the new BTI Greensburg would follow suit.
“A shop is not typically thought of as being green because of the nature of what we do and the materials we are dealing with,” he says. “This might be the first shop environment in the country to be given a LEED Platinum designation.”
As part of the green building plan, recycled, local and renewable materials were used in construction. Cement foundations from buildings destroyed by the tornado were scrapped and much of the new parking lot at BTI Greensburg will be made from recycled cement.

Concrete inside the building includes fly ash, a fine, glass-like powder that is a byproduct of burning pulverized coal. U.S. power plants produce millions of tons of fly ash annually, which is usually dumped in landfills. Fly ash can be an inexpensive replacement for Portland cement used in concrete and is believed to improve strength, segregation and ease of pumping of the concrete. Also, the concrete floors are diamond polished, which Estes says makes them easier to clean and maintain.



Scott is investigating the use of coal combustion byproducts (fly ash, bottom ash) for providing a more durable feedlot surface. Using a coal ash stabilized surface is expected to improve animal welfare and performance, as well as provide opportunities for reducing some of the environmental impacts from feeding areas.



Worldwide, manufacturers are experimenting with using organic waste materials as a substitute for some of the cement used in concrete. These materials can replace up to 25 percent of the cement in the mix. Less cement means less greenhouse gas produced.

A few coal-rich nations use fly ash, a residue created when coal is burned, as a supplementary cementing material. Brazil’s excess of bagasse, the dry pulpy residue left after the extraction of juice from sugar cane, has proved a reliable composite in concrete. Likewise, the fine gray-white ash of rice husks, chemically similar to cement, is increasingly used as a substitute ingredient in Asia.

I’m not a ‘green’ I’m an ‘Olive’

I don’t mind making things better using technology (as in the above examples), I don’t mind make a living from the land, I like farming and construction. It just ought to be done with a bit of respect for the land and the folks who will follow us on this earth. Pass it on a little better than you found it.

And I don’t panic because someone hands me a lemon, I just make lemonade (and a nice olive lemon marinade for the trout dinner… ceviche anyone?) and would love to have that dinner on a fly ash containing “green” patio next to a fly ash containing “green” swimming pool…

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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23 Responses to I’m an Olive Green, Rational Environmentalism

  1. H.R. says:

    You kill it, you eat it; waste not, want not; and ya’ don’t foul the nest. That’s what I was taught.

    Is there room for a martini ‘olive’ in the environmental movement?

    REPLY: You Betcha! Olives don’t mind a good party and know that life is about feeling good and enjoying your time here, just clean up when the party is done and invite good friends. -ems

  2. pyromancer76 says:

    And don`t forget olive oil, an enhancement to life along with foods from the Mediterranean. Being a good steward of the environment seems essential to the present as we humans multiply on Earth. I think your idea of returning engineers to the kind of stature they held in the 19th C is an excellent idea as is leaving half of Earth in its (of course, somewhat managed) natural state.

    Other principles of the 19th C were representative democracy and enabling inventiveness, productivity, and competition from the widest base. But here is where I, a Liberal, part from my Conservative friends. There must be some ceiling to wealth or the same desire for power that James Madison was so aware of in the political sphere happens in the economic.

    Most American wealth used to be in the hands of Conservatives (formerly known as Republicans and their capitalist backers who hate competition and call workers “the un-productive” in comparison to themselves). It also used to be American wealth. Unfortunately, today the vast wealth that has backed not a Liberal administration, but a Marxist, Islamic-oriented one, has come from outside the U.S., from all those energy billions we have been exporting (and from those — Soroses, e.g., — who have killed one civil society after another by global financial shenanigans.)

    E.M. Smith, thanks for your good sense, humanity, and the wonderous diversity of your thinking. As a rational environmentalist, I am onboard for olive green.

    REPLY: Thanks! BTW, I’ve never quite “got it” as to what “civil society” means. Seems like a redundancy to me. Can’t quite get what an “uncivil society” would be other than no society at all. Perhaps you could enlighten? -ems

  3. H.R. says:

    Hi, pyromancer76

    “And don`t forget olive oil, an enhancement to life along with foods from the Mediterranean. Being a good steward of the environment seems essential to the present as we humans multiply on Earth. I think your idea of returning engineers to the kind of stature they held in the 19th C is an excellent idea as is leaving half of Earth in its (of course, somewhat managed) natural state.”

    Yes. Yes.

    “Other principles of the 19th C were representative democracy and enabling inventiveness, productivity, and competition from the widest base. But here is where I, a Liberal, part from my Conservative friends. There must be some ceiling to wealth or the same desire for power that James Madison was so aware of in the political sphere happens in the economic.”

    Please consider this from me, as I greatly value your postings here and elsewhere. There already are laws against monopolies, and competitetion should pare marginal profit to nearly zero. It is when there is collusion be’twixt private interests, be it big business or wealthy individuals, and government that we run into the fleecing of the majority of individuals in a society.

    Also, our founders realized that as soon as the majority came to the realization that they could tax a minority into subsidizing their life, the American experiment was doomed.

    Our current elected officials, be they Republicrat or Demlican, have discovered the way to perpetual power is through promising something for nothing to those who will vote for them and will not have to pay directly for the goodies they get. (In the long run, they pay with their liberty and prosperity, IMO.)

    Ahem… Nuff’ o’ that… meanwhile, your reference to olive oil brought a BIG smile to my brain. All I brought to the table was a martini. Olive oil is a bit more substantial.


    Hey, Olives have synergy! Martini AND ceviche AND Olive Oil Vinaigrette AND Pasta with Olive Oil and Garlic AND … They all play well together and each makes the other a bit more interesting!

    Take a look at:


    Where I say:

    “This is how democracy always fails. 51% decide to tax to death 49% so nobody chooses to be in that 49%. Repeat; spiral decent into poverty. “Democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for lunch!” explains it nicely. That’s why we have historically had a Republic.

    But no more. We are now a Democracy. ( Senators are no longer representatives of the States appointed by the states, they are directly elected. Almost ditto the POTUS where we still have a little bit of an isolation in the Electoral College, but they are now largely directly reflecting the popular vote anyway thanks to individual state laws. So for all intents, the POTUS is a directly elected position. You must appeal to the masses to get the votes.) Democracies are not stable.”

    Note that the “Democracies are not stable” is a link to evidence for same. We are supposed to be a democratic republic to prevent those instabilities…

  4. Ellie in Belfast says:

    Olive Green. I like it. I really like it. There are times when I shudder at the word environmentalist these days. So many that wear the label seem so blinkered – or naive.

  5. H.R. says:

    Hey, hey, hey, E.M. You found the right spot to close the italics. Thanks!

    There was an extra martini in there before I finished typing. Be informed: I type TWICE as fast when I use two fingers. ;o)

    Ellie in Belfast said it directly and well; :”There are times when I shudder at the word environmentalist these days. So many that wear the label seem so blinkered – or naive.”

    pyromancer76, Ellie, yourself (and so many others that post on WUWT and now post here)…

    Wear it with pride… OLIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!

    P.S. Ya’ll please take notice how I closed the italics that time. Thank you very much.

  6. slow to follow says:

    “And I don’t panic because someone hands me a lemon, I just make lemonade (and a nice olive lemon marinade for the trout dinner… ceviche anyone?) …”

    lovin’ it! :)

  7. j ferguson says:

    An olive with capers?

    REPLY: Oooh! I like it! Never thought of mixing olives with capers before… I make a nice fish dish using either trout or salmon where I drench it in lemon juice (or some citrus – orange and tangelo work well too, as does lime..) dust it with pepper & salt, dot with butter, and sprinkle on some capers; then roast about 20 minutes (for large chunks, 15 for smaller sizes). ladle on some more capers just before serving. YUM! Now I’ll have to try it with olives and capers… I think this is going to work well… -ems

  8. Ellie in Belfast says:

    Mmmm. You are all making my mouth water. Martini, olives, fish, citrus…. Reminds me I used to make tomato and lime tapenade to die for. Sun-dried tomatoes in oil mixed with olives and the zest and juice of a lime. Blitz to a paste. Anchovies optional. Very different & works well with fish. Must try that one again.

  9. Adam Gallon says:

    Us Brits have been making use of fly ash for ages, Breaze Blocks!
    The foundations of the M1 motorway are from crushed rubble taken from the bombed-out bits of London courtesy of the Luftwaffe.
    Our menage is surfaced with rubber shredded from old car tyres and your good old “Wattle & Daub” was a mixture of mud, horse or cow manure & straw.
    Olive Green, good colour, pity the bloody things taste so vile!

    REPLY: You said “pity the bloody things taste so vile!” That is what the Martini is for! (You could also try a better brand of olives. There are literally hundreds of variations of olive, spices, packing, etc.)

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Ellie, you MAY NOT post such a tease and not include quantities … I’ve never made a ‘tapenade’ before but it sounds great. Now I either spend a day figuring out how to make and use it or you pony up some details! ;-)

    BTW, clearly Olive Greens know how to enjoy themselves and are not doom and gloom end of the world is neigh types !

    OK, we have a general meal plan going here… I think we need to pick a date for the “kick off” event.

    I propose September 29th. It was traditionally “Michaelmass” day but has been deprecated by the churches. No need to let a perfectly good feast day go to waste! It is also “curiously appropriate” given what the “M” initial stands for in E.M…. and the tendency of certain knights to take on certain evil empires…

    From the wiki:

    His feast (September 29) in the Middle Ages was celebrated as a holy day of obligation, as he was the patron of knights, but along with several other feasts it was gradually abolished since the eighteenth century. Michaelmas Day, in England and other countries, is one of the regular quarter-days for settling rents and accounts; but it is no longer remarkable for the hospitality with which it was formerly celebrated. Stubble-geese being esteemed in perfection about this time, most families had one dressed on Michaelmas Day. In some parishes (Isle of Skye) they had a procession on this day and baked a cake, called St Michael’s bannock.

    No idea how to work olives into a bannock…

    I’ll also propose All Saints Day (November 1) as the annual “Olive Greens” celebration day. One is advised to practice often, however, in preparation ;-) Other suggestions for date cheerfully entertained.

    “All” seemed like it ought to cover all pretty well… and Olives don’t have a problem celebrating on any day they feel like it, others religions are their own business and do not direct when someone else can choose to do what they feel like doing… besides, after all that candy on Halloween, a healthy meal is probably in order 8-\ The fact that the Catholic church tried to take over a Pegan celebration day (Samhain and Lá Samhna) just makes it all that much more “flexible” IMHO!

    So, place your votes, they will be counted then I’ll make a choice based on whatever pleases me most 8-)

    The Celebration

    The evening starts with a martini with several olives in it.

    We need a ‘starter’… Greek Salad? The one with greek olives in it along with ??? (I’ve eaten it, but didn’t look real close at what was in it. It’s a traditional dish… some veggy stuff and?)

    We have a small “side salad” with the dinner. Olive Oil Vinaigrette.

    Main course of “salmonid of your choice” be it salmon, trout, whatever: in civiche


    looks good, though I’d add green olive slices and use a bit more olive oil. Other choices here:


    or roasted as per the above directions with olives and capers.

    “Garlic Bread with Olive Oil ” bread topped with romano or parmesan cheese and italian seasoning.

    Asparagus or other vegetable (this looked good:)


    A pasta side dish of Aglio con olio


    Looked interesting, though I’m more likely to use a radiatore or fusilli shape pasta… and I’d add some fresh purple basil for color and flavor, and probably use a mix of a couple of different olives as a garnish… and I like a 50/50 mix of romano with parmesan…

    But just how does one work in a ‘tapenade’?

    I’m not much for deserts, so I’ll just go for a 2nd Martini 8-) unless someone can come up with a bannock or ??? that fits the theme…

    Other suggestions welcomed!

  11. Ellie in Belfast says:

    Sorry. I cook by feel so I’m not much one for quantities. Try equal quantities of SD toms and olives by eye*. 1 or 2 limes (juice and zest) to taste depending on the quantity of tapenade you’ve made – probably two for me as I love limes. Blitz to a chunky paste, not mush. Add oil from the tomatoes to get consistency right for spreading or dipping.

    *just found a normal tapenade recipe with EU and and US quantities, so I’d suggest about 1 Cup each & 1 lime. Recipe also suggests capers (2 tablespoons) to keep j ferguson happy, and dash of brandy.

    Serve on really good bread with the Martinis or drop the Greek Salad (no don’t I like Greek Salad).

    Bannock is just non-yeasted bread – savoury or sweet, could add olives.

    Any non-fish eaters could go for Boules de Picolat (le ‘plat de l’été’ pour ma famille aprés nos vacance à Roussillon ) http://www.atfirstglass.com/2009/01/southern-french-meatballs-boules-de.html

    I’m with you on the desert. Hic!

  12. Ellie in Belfast says:

    Damn! I’m hungry again.

  13. H.R. says:

    I’d go for All Saints Day. Wouldn’t want to slight any of the other saints now, would we?

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    The meatballs ala Roussillon are a keeper! I’m already plotting how soon I can make them…

    OK on the tapenade ‘by eye’. (Here, it is called ‘being a dumper’ and that’s how I generally cook, just dump in the right amount… unless it is a new dish and I have no idea what is right or what it is supposed to be 8-0 )

    So we divide the bread into part for toasted garlic and part for tapenade. Tapenade & French or Italian bread as a ‘starter’ with the Martini sounds like a nice touch… A bit of Greek salad (I remember it had a far amount of feta cheese in it too… would work well as starter food…) and the “pre-meal” phase seems pretty well defined to me.

    Dinner salad for cleansing the pallet mid meal and to lighten the heavier dishes.

    With 2 or three main dishes, fish and meat with choice of particular meats in the meatballs, seems like the main course is covered well.

    Might need an alternate choice for vegetable… Asparagus can be hard to come by in Fall… Perhaps…I once saw this marvelously simple dish prepared by a friends “Jewish Mother”. Sticks of several vegetables were crisscrossed to make a stack (like in the game of “pickup sticks” on a cookie sheet. They were coated with oil and sprinkled with seasonings, then roasted. There were carrot sticks, some large green beans I think, what may have been potato and / or yam sticks, and maybe either parsnip or turnip. (Unfortunately, I did not have time to stay for dinner, just got to watch it be put together and into the oven). It comes out lightly browned fairly quick… No idea what it’s called or specifics on the colorful pile of things that went in. Probably doesn’t matter much… Call it “roast vegetable sticks” for now… The seasonings smelled like a mild middle eastern mix. Sort of a hint of cinnamon or allspice with coriander or ??? Hard to sort out a vague memory from a decade ago… not quite a curry, but sort of like a couscous spice … It would have to be adjusted to match the rest of the meal anyway. Maybe I’ll just start with Olive Oil salt and pepper and see what I can work up.

    And we have a starch with the pasta.

    Other than the (optional for some of us ;-) dessert, I think we’re pretty well along?


    Still no explanation of “civil society”? Do I have to go a googling? ;-)

  15. JLKrueger says:

    Martini’s don’t interest me, I prefer a good single malt. Perhaps a wee dram of Highland Park 25, or maybe a Bowmore 21 or Cragganmore Distiller’s Edition…with olives on the side for me. To go with the bloody (and I mean dripping) steak I intend to have on 1 December when I get home from Afghanistan for leave. Actually I have a rather long list of foods I’ve missed…and not enough time to eat them all before I head back to Afstan!

    Oh yeah, sorta back on topic…

    My yard at home (in North Carolina) has over 15 maples that I’ve grown from seed. They’ve made a huge difference, now that they’re mature, in the summer time temps in my yard. In the shade they provide, it’s often 10 – 15 degrees cooler, making it downright pleasant. And think of all the CO2 they soak up too! I also got rid of most of my grass and instead have a yard of wildflowers that bloom from early spring to late fall. Attracts lots of finches, wrens, cardinals and bluebirds.

  16. E.M.Smith
    I wrote you today, in WUWT but my post was either snipped or something happened with it, so I write you here.
    It´s about your And I’m now feeling skeptical about the “chemicals cause ozone depletion” thesis too
    I wrote there the following:

    Solar protons are hydrogen nucleus H+ which reduce ozone O3 in two steps:
    2H+…+O3 = H2O + 1/2O2
    2H+…+1/2O2 =H2O

    So, the water cycle, it is not closed but opened.
    Solar proton events:

  17. Correction:

  18. 3x2 says:

    We need a ’starter’… Greek Salad? The one with greek olives in it along with ??? (I’ve eaten it, but didn’t look real close at what was in it. It’s a traditional dish… some veggy stuff and?)

    We have a small “side salad” with the dinner. Olive Oil Vinaigrette.

    Throw the whole lot in a bowl and add bite size lumps of Feta.
    (and fresh baby Ceps if you have some available)

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting. I’ve noticed that there are several “race conditions” at the solar level that are always presented as a one way street. We have tons of mass being blown out of the sun and we have dust and rocks falling into the sun. Net balance? Not mentioned. We have cometary ice and now you point out protons joining with O3 to make water; yet we are told H2 escapes to space from water broken by UV at altitude.

    If there is one thing this whole AGW experience has done it is that I have become increasingly skeptical of all sorts of things that I’m now told “science has discovered”. For me this is a pain. I always idolized the scientific method as the one sure path to truth. Now I find ever more reason to think “Naaaah”, somebody may have made it all up… So we might be gaining ocean, or losing it, via the same solar wind.

  20. E.M.Smith says:


    The menu is only a suggestion! Feel free to have what you want and work in olives where you like!

    Per trees: They self regulate leaf temperature via controlling transpiration. All the “global warming” we’ve measured might be something as simple as cutting down a lot of green that was cooling the air via transpiration.

  21. Dear E.M.Smith:

    Your observation Looks like a Birkeland Current signature to me.
    it is very. but very interesting.
    If protons, as it is obvious, make water out of ozone, then the southern pole, as protons are positively charged, has the contrary sign: Negative, so S.pole is a cathode, and north pole, where most electrons go (aurora borealis), positive, the anode.

  22. Murray says:

    I guess I’m an olive green also. There are lots of things like flyash that can be reused beneficially. Before retirement the 3Rs were one of my responsibilities in a microchip company, and with some effortb we found numerous profitable 3R opportunities. One of my favorites was the “mud” precipitated from the acid neutralization tanks. Turns out it increases the strength of concrete blocks, so we went from paying to put it in landfill, to being paid by a cement company for the privelege of hauling it away. All of environmental stewardship initiatives enhanced the bottom line when developed intelligently.

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