Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blast From the Solar Past

Just thought I'd share this little gem. It's a poster I made in 1978 when I was twelve, apparently for a contest sponsored by our local utility company. This was in the wake of Jimmy Carter's speech of 1977 in which he announced his intent to begin a wave of solar energy, including a goal to "use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses." Ah, we were so enthusiastically naive back then, believing that this was the road we'd be traveling down - a path toward a future of renewable energy. Carter laid it all out in that speech, which is well worth reading in its entirety. Conservation, reductions in consumption, strategic oil reserves, reduction in dependence on foreign oil. But less than a few years later it was all derailed with the disastrous consequences we're seeing today.

We have a new chance to take a walk down this path toward sustainability. Will our leaders hold the course this time? I hope our own children's posters and dreams have a better chance of coming true.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ride of Silence Reminder

Just a reminder that the annual Ride of Silence is this Wednesday all across the U.S. and in many other countries as well. You can find rides in your area at: http://www.rideofsilence.org/

DATE: May 20, 2009
TIME: 7:00 pm
WHERE: Hundreds of locations world wide
Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All Time High Bike Count

When I biked in to work tonight I passed 60 cyclists in 2.5 miles, or a bit over 2 per block. That's a new record for my unofficial commuter bike count at 5:15 on Monday evenings. The warm weather is partially responsible, but I noticed that even on rainer darker evenings this spring there were more commuter cyclists than in previous years. With so many cyclists on the road, it actually makes it safer for all of us, since cars have to be aware of the bikes and vice versa. It's so cool to wait at a traffic light with 2, 3, 4, or more other cyclists.

In other news, I've been meaning to post updates on gardening, cycling, and our new sunroom, our new chickens, etc. forever but life is so crazy right now! Between the new dog, the new chickens, building the sunroom, the cat that became partially paralyzed last week, the other cat that had some kind of bad reaction (to poison oak maybe?) it's just been nuts around here. I'm posting way late at night, but most nights I'm just too darned tired.

In any case, this news was too good to pass up on passing on. Envision a future with more and more bikes!

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wow, A Politician Says The Magic Words

Check this out, Oregon Governor Kulongoski says the magic words - we must reduce consumption. These are words guaranteed to make any politician unpopular in these tough economic times, especially in a state where the unemployment rate is 2nd worse in the entire nation.

Kudos to Governor Ted for speaking out. Even if I don't always agree with all of his politics, these are things that need to be said. Every parent knows that we can't always say the things that make our kids happy. Sometimes we have to be the bearers of bad news: no, you can't buy that, you don't have any allowance money left. No, I'm not going to give you more money just because you already spent yours. Well guess what, us earthlings have used up our earth allowance of consumables, and we shouldn't be borrowing more from our future and our children's futures. Those in positions of power and responsibility need to be like the good but tough parents, saying the hard things and helping people wake up and take responsibility for living within our energy means.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Swine Flu: As If We Needed One More Reason To Buy Local & Organic

As if there weren't enough reasons to buy local, humanely-raised, sustainably-farmed, locally-butchered organic meats, now there's the swine flu. Evolved from a strain that emerged in 1998 on factory farms in the U.S. and forged in the pathetic conditions of over-crowded, immune-stressed hogs shipped across the country from farm to slaughterhouse, we now have a highly-transmissable and dangerous flu jumping to humans.

For more reading on this subject, Wired Science has an article about the evolution of the latest swine flu from its 1998 origins, and the Humane Society's Factory Farming Campaign has more information as well.

What can we do to prevent future outbreaks? Either don't eat meat, or refuse to eat factory-farmed meat. Seek out local sources for meat, milk, and eggs. Look your food and food-producers in the eye and see the conditions in which they live. What's good for them is good for us. Remember that being green isn't just about saving the Earth, it's about saving us humans on it too.