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Tom Curry

INTERVIEWERS: David Todd (DT) and David Weisman (DW)
DATE: April 5, 2001
LOCATION: Alpine, Texas
REEL: 2155

Please note that videos include roughly 60 seconds of color bars and sound tone for technical settings at the outset of the recordings. Numbers mark the time codes for the VHS tape copy of the interview.

DT: My name is David Todd and I’m here for the Conservation History Association of Texas. And we’re in an area just northwest of—of Alpine, Texas and visiting with Tom Curry, who is an illustrator and—and has been involved in—in a number of environmental issues here, ranging from green building to the Green Party to work on NAFTA and campaign finance. And today is what, April 5th year 2001 and I wanted to thank you for taking time today to—to talk to us.
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TC: Well, glad to be here.
DT: We often start these little interviews by asking you if there was a—an instance that you can remember that was maybe a good influence in—in trying to get you interested in the outdoors and conservation. Some—some teacher or friend, or parent that might of…
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TC: I think it actually started when we first—we first moved here in ’93 from Austin. And—and there was a—a rumor going around that—that around Big Bend park was—there was a lot of haze. And I found that hard to believe, because we’d been goin’ out there for a long time and camping and everything. And then—and then went down there to see it for ourselves and there was, all of a sudden there was like this brown haze all over the park. And—and it really, you know, I loved going down to the park and camping. And it was a way to get away from everything, you know, like the big cities and—and when I saw that brown haze, it just—I was just outraged and I think that just kinda started everything. And it turns out it was the coal firing plants over in Mexico that just came on line and—and all that—all that haze just all of a sudden was really noticeable. And, of course, we found out later a lot of it’s coming from East Texas, maybe half of it, you know, but that’s pretty—pretty much how I got started in—in environmental activism I guess you’d call it. But…
DT: While we’re talking about air quality, can you maybe continue and elaborate a little bit about what—what sort of work you’ve been involved with visibility issues and other (?) topics?
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TC: Well since then, Fran Sage has started the Sierra Club and got involved in, you know, that was the biggest issue the Sierra Club has is the—the clean air. And—and that’s what’s—I guess that’s the most important thing that Sierra Club’s involved in. Since then, we got involved in other issues, like radioactive waste and all, but that pretty much started it and that’s the number one issue I think. So…
DT: Well, speaking of radioactive waste, can you tell anything about your involvement in those kind of issues?
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TC: Well, we started hearing about the things that Bill Addington and Gary Oliver was doing, you know, their work against the radioactive waste dump they were trying to put in Sierra Blanca. And then they had a big meeting in Sierra Blanca where—which we attended and—and a lot of people showed up and—and that sorta got the ball rolling for Susan’s activity in the Sierra Blanca fight. And—and about the only involvement I—I’ve done there is like cartoons and things like that and writing letters and—and that sort of thing, you know. But Susan has actually gone and done a lot of lobbying and spent a lot of time traveling and you know, getting the word out and protesting. And, you know, I did go to one protest in—in Austin that was a lot of fun, you know, marching the nuclear circus they called it?
DT: Tell us about that.
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TC: Well, there was maybe two or three hundred people there. And they—and the—everybody’s dressed in like costumes and stuff and—and riding little unicycles and all kinds of bizarre things. And we marched down Congress and—and then around the capital. And—and the press—press picked it up a little bit, you know, and—and so it got a little coverage and got the—kinda got our message out, but at the same time the hearings were goin’ on and we ended up marching up to the, to whe—where the Sierra Blanca hearings were going—were happening and made a lot of noise while the hearings were going on and so, it was just fun.
DT: You mentioned that—that part of your involvement with the radioactive waste issue was drawing cartoons as an illustrator. Can you talk about some of the cartoons that—that you’ve done over the years, for newspapers and magazines, newsletters?
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TC: I think the first cartoon I did was there was a bear that came into Alpine and it wandered in to the golf course. And it—and a lot of people were kinda shook up about it, so they tried to catch it and it went down the creek and got away. And then about two days later, they found it dead, some rancher had shot it, you know, so. That kind of outrage means—I said, well, I gotta say somethin’ about this. So I put a little cartoon toge—together and sent it to the Alpine Avalanche and—and for free. I didn’t ask for any money or anything, but it just kinda made me feel good, you know, to get a—to say something, you know, make a statement about that. And—and since then, I’ve—I’ve done a number of cartoons for the Avalanche off and on, you know, not a—any kind of schedule, totally free, you know, just to—just to be able to get somethin’ off your chest, you know, and say somethin’. And I’ve done cartoons on La Entrada al Pacifico and the flyovers they’re tryin’ to—military flyovers they’re tryin’ to conduct over the Big Bend and different issues, you know, things I care about.
DT: Can you give an example of how you make a political statement, but also make a joke? Maybe take the example of that bear cartoon or the flyovers.
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TC: Well I’d—I been—being an illustrator, I’ve done concepts for—for many years and it kinda comes natural. And I kinda think in terms of visual images, you know that—that—or metaphors that say something that you wanna get across. And but it mainly—there’s so much material out there, it’s so easy to come up with somethin’. It’s just a matter of putting a little twist on it, you know, and usually these ideas come almost subconsciously, you know, where you’re not even thinkin’ about it, you know. I’ll wake up some mornin’ and say, oh, that’s—that’s what I need to do. And it’s like the idea’s there. It’s almost like its not my idea, it just comes, you know. So come draw it out real
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quick, you know, and render it and sent it to the paper. And we have en editor here that runs the Alpine Observer now and he’s real good to work with. And—and he was in the—he helped us in environmental activism when he was at the Odessa American. And so…
DT: Maybe you could tell us about one of the cartoons that you felt was your favorite, or maybe most successful, or got the most remarks?
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TC: Well, the ones that deal with local issues primarily get the most remarks around here, but, I don’t know, the one—I did one of when George W. Bush was Governor and—and the cartoon was about him running around…
DT: You—you were telling us about one of your more successful cartoons, which I guess involved George W. Bush?
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TC: Yeah when—when Bush was Governor, well he was actually for the Sierra Blanca site, you know, and he was really pushing it and all. And so I did a couple of cartoons on that issue and—and one of em’ was a—was him skipping around the State marking a line across the “don’t” in “don’t mess with Texas.” And, it real simple little cartoon, but it was pretty effective because they used it in—in Austin and during the lobbying and all. And—and—but then, somebody called, I guess the—the pro-nuke people, I guess they probably called the GSD&M, the advertising agency in Austin and—and told ‘em about it and—and said that they need to put a stop to it. So—so I think that was—I don’t know if that—that was a pretty successful cartoon, but most of my cartoons only are seen locally. I’m tryin’ to maybe get an outlet somewhere else, in some other newspapers when I get enough of ‘em together, you know, maybe get syndicate goin’.
DT: Do you—do you ever find that publishers or editors are unwilling to publish your cartoons because they’re too controversial, or might scare off advertisers or subscribers?
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TC: Well it’s funny, you would think—I always thought they would, you know, I always thought that would be a problem, but it never has, I mean the—the editors have always run ‘em and then the—there was a little controversy sometimes, you know. The editors usually took the flack, you know, but amazingly, you know, but I always had to get the facts just right, because if I—if I don’t get the facts right, then somebody’s gonna, you know, have their say about it. But—but it really hadn’t been a problem. It’s really—but as long as you get your facts right, then they can’t really say anything. So that’s what I try to do.
DT: I understand that—that some of your cartoons have been about an issue that’s been pretty topical around here. The NAFTA and—and specifically the Entrada al Pacifico. I was wondering if you might talk a little bit about how the—the trade accord and—and—and then this proposal for this road to Mexico might—might play out in environmental (?)…
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TC: Well the idea of a—a big truck—truck route coming through Alpine, the place that we came to live and retire to was just, was another outrageous thing that, you know, it just kinda fueled our environmental activism, you know. It’s a—the truck route is somethin’ in the works. It’s a—it’s a something that Motran, an outfit called Motran out of Odessa, they’re promoting it to bring trucks from Mexico through Odessa as—to become a big warehouse, you know. They wanna build warehouses and—and somebody’s making lots of money at our expense. And Alpine and Marfa and these little towns, they—we get the truck traffic noise, the—the diesel fumes, but we don’t really get
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any of the benefits. So we started an organization called tourists, not trucks, TNT, an opposition group. And a—and a we have regular meetings and we get people involved and we try to inform people of what’s goin’ on. And we’ve got a petition goin’ around and we’ve got lots of signatures. And—and we’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably ninety percent of the people around here are against it, you know. That’s just—we don’t, you know, we’re not the Gallup Poll or anything, but that—we just kinda came to that conclusion. So mainly we just wanna get people kinda riled up about it, you know, so, the general public can get involved and—and maybe we can stop it somehow.
DT: So what would the route be for this road?
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TC: Well, you’ve—you’ve seen the signs along Highway 90, La Entrada al Pacifico, that’s generally where—where it will go. There’ll be—they’ll probably widen the highway, or they’ll—or they’ll probably put some kind of loop around Alpine. And, you know, you’ve seen so many little towns with—with loops around them and all the businesses sorta go out there around the—the highway and then the downtown dries up. So that could be a possibility for Alpine and I’ve seen that in other little towns and, you know you got your—your franchise, Wal-Marts and your shopping centers, you know. And then, that could be our feature here and—and that’s not what we moved here for, you know. We moved here for the little—the little small town atmosphere, you know, the way things used to be. That’s kinda—kinda the way Alpine was when we first came
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here, it was so refreshing. So to see all these things happening here is a, you know, I can remember Austin when it was a fairly small and there was so much growth and urban sprawl. And it kinda—kinda ruined it for us, that’s why we moved here. So now—now it’s just started following us.
DT: One other thing I—I understood you’d—you’d a written about and at least done cartoons for is campaign finance issues, which I guess some people feel are—are pretty strongly related to conservation and that you also made an effort to be a host to Granny D when she was coming through Texas. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about your feelings and your experiences in that area.
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TC: Well, let’s see, if campaign financers reform is something that most people don’t realize how important it is. I mean, our—our government is pretty much for sale and those who have the most money pretty much run things, you know. And—and people who can’t afford to lobby and—and convince lawmakers to do certain things, you know, are just out of the picture, you know. That means the common man. And so that’s another issue that—that I’ve done cartoons on and think about a lot and then.
DT: How wo—how would you try and illustrate something like that that’s kind of abstract idea?
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TC: Well, I just did a cartoon this—this week on that subject. And I did—there was—I did Uncle Sam as a—as a runner in the Olympics. And he’s got a little banner across that says Democracy. And he’s got the little lantern and—and he’s running, jumping across hurdles, you know. And the first hurdle is the Senate, he’s jumped across that, cause they passed it in the Senate, the McCain-Feingold Bill. And then the ne—and then he’s running up to the next hurdle, which is the—the house. And its—it’s a little bit higher than the Senate. And then the next hurdle would be the President, which is real high, you know. So, and then it has a banner across there that says McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Olympics, you know. So and I don’t know how that idea evolved. I just started thinking about it while I was in bed, you know, trying to sleep. And—and then you were asking about Granny D.
DT: Yeah, tell us about that.
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TC: Well, I think we—we got started getting’ the e-mail about this woman that started out in California. She was 89 years old and she was walking across the entire country in—to bring attention to Campaign Finance Reform. She was gonna walk all the way to Washington D.C. And a lot of people said, well, I don’t think she’ll make it and all that, you know, 89 years old, she walked through the desert. And, so I sent in a—an e-mail sayin’ well, if you ever come through Alpine way, or through Texas, you know, give us a holler. We’ll find a place for you to stay. That’s how—that’s what she was doin’, just finding people to stay with, you know, and cause she didn’t have a lot of money or anything, you know. So—so, out of the blue one day, she calls from outside of Van Horn
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and, I think it’s her—her son has a van that—that carries the equipment, but he doesn’t actually walk, you know. And she doesn’t ride in the van, she actually does the walking. And, anyways, she called one—early one morning and said she was walking through Van Horn, so we all got together, Hal Flanders, Ian Talley that worked at the Avalanche as a reporter. And Susan and I went up there and—and we were gonna try to find her and it took a while—took a while to find her, you know, we thought maybe she was on a different road or somethin’. And—and we actually drove out on the road, we didn’t see her and we were about to give up, we drove back into Van Horn and then—and then we got a—I think we got another message that—from—from—from a local café there that she was out there on the highway somewhere. So we drove back out there and we saw this little spec off in the distance there. And we got closer and it was this little old
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woman with all these signs, you know, signs that said “End the Bribery” and—and “Support Camp—Campaign Finance Reform, so.
DT: Was this like a sandwich board on her or…
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TC: She had a sandwich board. And she had a little signs, little flags, you know. And, so the van pulls up and they give us all these little flags and—and signs and stuff. So we start walking with it, about, I guess, we walked about seven miles or somethin’ into Van Horn and—and this was on a stretch of road that’s in the middle of nowhere. You know, it’s like there’s hardly any traffic and it’s just nothin’ there. It was hot, you know, I think this was August. And by the time we got to Van Horn, it—it was kinda an interesting sight for the locals around there, you know, they saw all these people carrying all these
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signs and flags thinking, what is this? And so we found a place for her to stay that night and—and got to meet her and she’s—she’s quite a lady. And—and since then she’s walked all the way to Washington D.C. It took her I think another five or six months, I don’t remember. But right now she’s marching around the capital as the—the voting for campaign finance reform is going on right now. It’s in the House—the House of Representatives and they’re debating it right now. So—so she’s bringing a lot of attention to it by walking around the capital and she’s got a big following, maybe sometimes two hundred people walking with her. So she—she’s a real inspiration, you know.
DT: While we’re talking about politics, I—I understand that—that you and your wife have been involved in trying get a Green Party chapter started here in the Big Bend, can you talk about that experience and why you decided to be involved in that way?
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TC: Well, I think Vaughn—Vaughn Grisham is the—the man who actually got that going here in Alpine. He—he came over to a meeting one day at the TNT, tourists not truck meeting and sat in and—and was talkin’ about getting—getting people involved in starting a Green Party in Alpine. And—and so we had a couple of meetings since then and he’s kind of—a run with it and got—got people involved. And—and during the campaign we—we had some fundraisers and things like that. And—and actually, I think we got about, I don’t remember exactly, but it’s about eight percent of the—of the vote, which is better than the re…
DT: Presidential…
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TC: …maybe the rest of Texas, except for maybe—maybe Austin, you know. But, it’s a start, you know. Most people around here, you know, they don’t know what the green—Green Party actually stands for, you know. They—they think it may be just a bunch of—they call us liberals and, you know, and that sort of thing, you know, the—the tea and brownies set or somethin’, I don’t know, but…
DT: Well how do you see it as different from the existing parties, the Democrats and Republicans?
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TC: Well I think the biggest difference is that—that the candidates don’t take corporate money. They aren’t influenced by any kind of corporate money, the people that—that might want favors later, you know. Ralph Nader has never accepted any—anything but personal donations, you know. He won’t accept any corporate money or any—any—anything that might influence his—his, you know, if he was to be in office, anything that, like a—the Green Party’s not for sale, you know. And that—that’s one thing that—that I liked about it, you know. That’s—that’s just one of the many issues. And well, they’re are also better than the democrats, probably more involved in environmental issues, very—that’s why they call it the Green Party I guess, you know, so…
DT: Have they tried to organize any local or county candidates? Or was it mostly at a Federal level?
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TC: They had several statewide candidates. They were tryin’ to get somebody to run locally, you know. It would take a lot of work and—and so far I don’t think there’s been any volunteers to do that. But I think they will eventually, you know, be somebody, you know, come forward to run as a maybe somethin’ like a City Councilman or somethin’ like that, you know. That’s a start and then—and then maybe it’d be great if we had somebody run for a State representative, you know, cause most—our State representatives usually run unopposed, you know, so I think that would be interesting.
DW: Knowing how much money the State representatives spend on elections here in Texas, Texas Observer, you see that, how would you hope to compete given that (inaudible)
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TC: Yeah, I mean, how do you? How do you compete? I mean, how do you get exposure? How do you get T.V. time? I mean, nobody, you know, you can draw a few crowds here and there, but if don’t—if you’re not on television or something, nobody’s gonna see ya. That’s—that’s why I think the—the—the media actually elected our President here, you know, because of all the exposure. I mean if—if Ralph Nader had the same amount exposure time as—as Al Gore or George W. Bush, I mean, what do you think the—the difference would be, you know? He’d probably be President right now because—but only small crowds have heard what he said. Going back to Campaign Finance Reform, if we could get equal time for all the candidates, you would have a, you know, equal platform and—and people could actually make a decision based on, you know, the real facts instead of—of—of this media blitz we get.
DT: Well, we’ve—we’ve talked some about—about policies that are conservation oriented and issues you’ve worked on, I was wondering if you might be able to tell us a little bit about things that are more concrete and maybe describe some of the work that you’ve done in the green building area. You’ve got this lovely home here that’s made out of Adobe and I understand that you’re getting ready to build another house that will be made out of fiber Adobe. I’m curious if you could tell the advantages are to building in those ways and how you do it?
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TC: Well, we first moved here, I got real interested in Adobe houses. I just—for the aesthetic value mainly, cause they just looked so sculptural and—and interesting looking, like they belong in the Southwest. And so, really got interested in that and—and the—the studio we—we built in town is—has that look to it and then we built this house out here in the country, which is all Adobe. It’s Santa Fe style, but then I got to thinkin’ how much labor it—the crew, you know, was, you know, we were exhausted at the end of the day. I helped the crew work on the—work on the house and it—it was a lot of labor. Once it’s done, it’s great, you know, and—and it’s very ener—energy efficient, and has thermal mass, you know and all that. But then I got interested in straw bail houses because of their energy efficiency. And I read up on that some, but then I discovered that that’s quite a bit of labor also, pretty labor intensive and straw bail is probably works really well up in a real cold climate. But you know, we’re—this is a different climate down here. So, and then, I think it was Hal Fland—Flanders that mentioned somethin’
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about, he heard somethin’ about these people in New Mexico who were working in this recycled paper and they were calling it paper crete cause they mixed a little bit of cement in with the paper. And so, started getting’ interested in that and I started readin’—readin’ a little publication called Earth Quarterly, a guy in New Mexico was puttin’ it out—puttin’ out, had pictures of the houses people were building. And—and thought this was really intriguing, you know. And so, some time went by, and I didn’t much about it and then we went—took a trip down to Presidio and there was a—a—a guy that kinda lived out in the country there that was kinda makin’ paper crete blocks on a small scale, you
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know. He was roofing his house and he was makin’ these little blocks. He was makin’ little walls and things like that. And he showed us operation, it was real small. And I said, well, shoot, I could do this, you know. And I know where to get lots of paper, you know. You get it from the recycle yard here, or from around town. And—and so I—I already had this mortar mixer that we used to build this house with, you know, to mix the Adobe mud and all that. So I used that to mix a—mix a few—mix a big batch and I made a few blocks and let ‘em dry, see what they would do, you know. And—and after about two weeks, they were real dry, you could pick ‘em up and you—and they were so much lighter than Adobes. And I said, gosh I wished I’da known about this before we build this house, you know. It woulda been a lot less labor, but…
DT: What did you put in these blocks, is there any additives? You put clay, or…
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TC: Well it’s—there’s—you can use different formulas. What I was using mostly was about seventy percent recycled paper and then thirty percent sand and ten percent Portland cement. Put that in the mortar mixer, mix it up and put it in forms, like a regular adobe forms. And—and it dries about, you know, in a—in about a week it’ll dry, which you can actually pull ‘em out of the forms in—in less than an hour, you can pull ‘em out of the forms. With Adobe’s, you have to sit there and you have to struggle to get ‘em out. And with the paper crete blocks, they—they shrink just enough where it’s easy to just to pull ‘em out. So, I think it could be the building material of the future because it has so many advantages. It doesn’t burn, it’s termite proof and—and water will—will
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soak into it a little bit, but it’ll dry out and it doesn’t deteriorate, you know, but you’re gonna seal it anyway with somethin’ if you’re building a house, so. And since then, I’ve gone to some workshops out in New Mexico where they’re building some alternative houses. A place called Sun City in—close to the Mexican border out there. And they’re building some really interesting houses, some are underground, some have dome—domed roofs and everything. And learned a lot from that workshop and gotten even more involved in it, you know. And—and then a—a friend of mine from Dallas who I’ve been corresponding with by e-mail, I got his name from the Earth Quarterly and we started corresponding e—by e-mail and he—he decided to move out here. And he’s building a house just down the road here. So we were toying with the idea of just starting a small business, you know, actually constructing a few things around town using paper crete blocks or—or fiber Adobe, which is seventy percent, no sixty percent recycled paper and forty percent clay. And—and I think that has more possibilities than the paper crete, because it’s—you can build a block for absolutely nothing. And…
DT: Like digging the clay on site?
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TC: Yeah, like I—I’ve excavated some—some clay out of the side of the mountain here on my property that I was gonna build something on anyway. So you use that dirt and screen it a little bit and use that. It’s a little—a little bit of work involved, but you got a product that’s totally earth friendly and you—you’re using recycled paper that would end up in the land-fill. And so—so you—you could be saving the city money, you know, there. And so, it has so many advantages, you know, has—I’m thinkin’ about puttin’ together a brochure sometime and just—and maybe getting a website someday, just—just and maybe think of a clever name for the blocks, call ‘em wonder bocks or somethin’ like
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that, you know. And—and I don’t know, I’m not an entrepreneur or anything. I think it’s a small-scale kinda thing, you know, buildin’ your own houses and—but that’s where that’s goin’ so far. I mean, I could talk all day about, this is a interesting subject, alternative building materials and—and—and it’s totally new. That’s why most people haven’t heard about it, but it’s about where straw bails were about fifteen years ago. Nobody knew about straw bails, you know. They’re—they’re becoming real popular now, but I think paper crete is actually a better—it has the same insulation value as straw bails and it’s easier to work with, you know. So I think it’s just a matter of time before it really catches on.
DT: Why do you think it is that people are looking towards alternative materials and technologies for building houses and going away from traditional balloon frame building?
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TC: Well, I think because our forests are being depleted for one thing. And I think paper crete would, and straw bails both are very earth-friendly materials, things that would be discarded anyway, you know. So—and you can actually build houses out of tires and just about anything that’s gonna be thrown away, you know, that can’t be recycled. So I think there’s a interest in that and it’s also a cheap way to build. But these materials, you just can’t go down to—to your local Home Depot or somethin’ and buy this—buy these materials. You have to devise it and most people don’t—aren’t to that point yet and a lot of people are and they wanna do somethin’—some kind of alternative building. And I—I think that’s why there’s interest in it now.
DT: What do you think are the big obstacles to getting people to adopt it more?
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TC: I guess the main thing is that the idea of making your own building material. Nobody see—does, I don’t think they wanna go through that process. They wanna—they just wanna go down to the lumberyard and just buy their materials, you know. And it’s—it’s probably a lack of information too. But there’s—locally here, there has been a lot of interest in it, people are very intrigued by it and they’re always asking about it. And there are a number of people that want building projects done, you know and they keep asking about, can I buy some of these blocks and all that sort of thing. And we’re just not set up to do that at this point. But—and people bring—bring me paper all the time. It’s like, businesses around town will just bring over paper and load it in my truck, you know. I just go out there and it’s already loaded. And they just, they don’t like the idea of
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throwing it in the landfill either. So—so that’s another thing they—they’re intrigued by is—is what to do with all this paper that—which is about, I think seventy-five percent of the landfill is nothin’ but paper. So—and not all of it can be recycled. So another thing that helped, Flanders and I were—were talkin’ about is—is actually, like the local recycle yard here and any town can do it, is to take—take the paper that goes into a recycle yard and set up an operation there. Where the—the guys that handle the paper could actually be building blocks instead of spendin’ time shipping that off somewhere, save transportation costs, use that material right here in—right in the town locally. And that’s another thing we’re might be pursuing in the future, you know, is get—get the recycle yard involved, you know.
DT: You talked to us about a number of things, everything from radioactive waste to the problems with—with trade and traffic related to NAFTA and the Entrada al Pacifico to campaign finance and its affect on politics. I was wondering if—if you could tell us if there is one or more environmental problems, maybe including these or others that you think are the most serious that are facing us?
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TC: Well, worldwide I guess—I think global warming is very serious. I don’t think people realize how serious it is. We have administration now that just shuns it and thinks it’s not important, either that or they—they’re influenced by, you know, the big oil companies and all that—that—that it’s not in their benefit to do anything about global warming. And it’s a—it’s really a big issue and like Europe is very involved in doing somethin’ about it. And—and they—their—their—relations with Europe is going downhill because of—because of this, I think. And I think it’s gonna come to a—a front here pretty soon, because United States, I think emits about twenty-five percent of the world’s CO2. And we’re only a small fraction of the population and so we’re really
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responsible and we’re the one’s that are holdin’—holdin’ back any kinda progress to do somethin’ about this. And it could be too late by the time—by the time we get involved, until we have to get involved in it.
DT: Did you see a—an effect from global warming in the—the high desert around here? Or you think you, be a problem for you locally, or is this more of a general concern?
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TC: Well around here I think, you’re—I think we’ve already seen some climate change here. We’ve seen a little change in we—weather patterns and different climates. We’re get—we got a little bit more humidity than we used to have. And that can be documented and—and scientists are pretty sure that all these—all this climate change is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change and—and air pollution has cau—is causing more droughts out here. We’re having less rain than we use—we used to have and I think that could be part of global warmings that…
DT: What is your advice to younger people who might be coming in and seeing a problem that’s as big as climate change or as frustrating as a problem that’s not recognized by your government? What sort of encouragement, or advice, or insight would you give them?
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TC: I think young people have a lot at stake here, because they’re gonna—they’re gonna live—live in this world and the next generation is gonna have these problems compounded, you know. Global warming is gonna increase if—if nothing is done about it, along with air pollution and other problems. And I think they should get really involved. Unfortunately the media doesn’t inform young people. They’re more interested in entertainment and so getting the message out is the problem. And young people are pretty naive about the subject. I think they—they’re kind of aware that somethin’ is not right, but they don’t—they don’t know exactly what it is. And so a—a lot of—a lot of young people seem to be rebellious these days and they’re not sure why, but it’s—I think, deep down, I think they’re gonna inherit a lot of the problems that—that we’ve caused, you know, so…
DT: So once they—they become aware of some of them, is there any sort of advise that you might give them about how to—how to respond to these problems, or passing on to them?
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TC: Well, join the Green Party for one. That’s one. And try to get informed, you know, and try to—try to find out what’s goin’ on I think and—just informa—they—they’re not getting’ the right information I don’t think and they’re not being informed. If you talk to young people today, they—they’re not really sure what’s goin’ on. They—the—the schools teach environmental issues to some degree, you know, and—but I think that—I think people should really realize the importance of it, you know. And even more it—it’s just as important as—as other issues, like economic and all that sorta thing. And—and young people should get involved, you know. They should start caring and—but they need the right—the right kind of information. So we need to—the media has to—has to get involved a little bit more I think, you know, these issues. I think they will when things star—start getting’ pretty bad, so. I hate to appear negative, but that’s—the more you—the more you hear about global warming and some of these other problems, it’s—I think it’s time for everybody to start waking up, you know.
DT: I was hoping that you might be able to tell us about a place that—that is significant to you and that might give you the—the reason and the encouragement to remain involved in these kind of environmental problems, which aren’t always the most encouraging and the—like you say they can make you sort of pessimistic, but is there a—a place that you like to visit that helps restore you?
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TC: Well, any—anywhere down in along the river and some of the remote areas that, I guess the Na—Big Bend National Park is a good place, because it’s protected. There’s no—there can’t be any development there and you can go hiking into the desert or—or up into the mountains and be totally alone. And—and you can really get a different perspective on things, you know. You can see how—how things should be up there, you know. It’s very quiet and you’re close to nature and you’re away from urban sprawl, you’re away from all these other problems. And—and, I don’t know, it’s very—I don’t know it’s just a—you get a—you—you’re up there in the mountains and you look down and you can see like all the other problems are down there. And you—it’s a great feelin’, like you just wanna stay there, you know, but you’re in a remote area, you know. And—and you have to take your own food and water up there and you gotta—it takes a while to get there, but once you’re there, you know, your little time in this little—little paradise that’s totally quiet and everything, is—it—it’s very good. I think everybody should do that now and then. They’ll get a different perspective on things. And they—they get a—a totally different outlook on—on the problems we face where it’s so involved in day to day activities that we don’t realize how things should be, you know. So—that answers that.
DT: Thanks for giving us the insights and the memories and the time. Thanks very much.
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TC: Well thanks for being here.
[End of Reel 2155]
[End of Interview with Tom Curry]