Monthly Archives: July 2007

Day 159: MLwC plus new scientific evidence

There is a bit of news out today re the debate over whether we are the Weather Makers, as Tim Flannery suggests (meaning human activity has so impacted the environment as to cause a catastrophic upheaval), or whether global climate change is all part of a natural cycle.

The article from Science Daily is a bit thick for non-scientists but the message is clear: physicist Pablo Verdes has created a model that includes all data on recorded and projected natural climate impacts such as volcanic activity and solar radiation–known issues with predictable patterns and outcomes–and project the impact, there is still a gaping whole in terms of explaining our current situation: rapidly rising temperatures, more frequent violent storms, melting ice caps, etc.

Following Sherlock Holmes dictum (I’m sure Dr. Verdes would not approve of a fictional character’s approval of his approach), that “when you have excluded the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Dr. Verdes has stretched the known causes as far as possible, making the whole natural cycle theory impossible, leaving the human factor as the only remaining explanation.

The gaping hole left in his model, Dr. Verdes concludes, is filled by our own activity. Bummer.

Daily stats: (Tue)
Car: 0
Bike: 8 miles
Ped: 0
Bus: 0

Day 157 & 158: MLwC and small news

How cool is this: I not only remembered the cloth bags for the farmer’s market today (not a very big deal cuz cloth bags are just easier to use at farmer’s market so I made that switch a while ago), but I remembered plastic bags as well! This is a first.

Here’s my new system: when I get home from the market, I unpack the stuff I get and if the plastic bag is clean and dry, I just empty it and put it right back in the cloth bag. Then next week I get to the market and voila, I have plastic bags. I personally think this is sheer brilliance. Since I just recycled two bulging bags of plastic bags today, I’m thinking we could make a real dent in our personal contribution to the mountans of this modern-living-through-chemicals product.

Okay, so it’s not big. But you takes your smiles where you find them.  Here’s a mini-challenge I’m going to take up this week: not one new plastic bag.  For all instances, re-use or use canvas.

plastic-bags-pix.jpg

It takes approximately 10-20 years for bio-degradable plastic bags to bio-degrade.  That’s a definition stretch, in my mind. It’s estimated that 500 million to a billion bags are used and discarded each year, and that’s probably a low-ball number; others estimate the number at 100 billion.

Daily Stats (Sat & Sun)
Car: 24 miles (5 tasks, 2 people)
Bike: 0
Ped: approx 5 miles
Bus: 0
Water Taxi: approx 2 miles

Day 155 & 156: MLwC and a wee bit more on Chinatown

Interestingly, after the post the other day re Green Films, New West offers another story that sounds chillingly like the Owens Valley rip-off that was the true-life basis of the fictional noir film Chinatown. The story, entitled “Water again,” (the infamous quote from detective Jake in Chinatown) takes place in Southern Idaho and follows a proposal to take millions of gallons of water out of the Snake River every day in order to sustain housing and development in the Idaho desert south of Boise….Hmmm, I wonder where I’ve heard that before.

Cadillac Desert chronicles what happened to the Owens Valley farmers and the vast, fruitful agricultural areas that supported local economies and provided fresh food for the whole region. When the water was siphoned off for L.A and the San Fernando Valley, those farms dried up–literally–and became part of history.

I wonder if Idahoans will allow the creation of their own Cadillac Desert, lining the pockets of Mulholland type developers who have purchased desert land on the cheap, hoping to turn it into an oasis–on the backs of tax-payers, local farms, and the eco-system at large.

Daily Stats: (Thu, Fri)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: approx 7 miles
Bus: 0
Desk: miles and miles deep into the early morning light.

Day 153 & 154: MLwC and one cool thing

Here’s a cool idea for those omni-readers among us that falls in the category of re-use and recycle: a book trading site. I found this on Teensygreen’s blog–(a great blog for Moms looking for smart ways to be more green) the book trading site is called BookMooch.

Pile o books–seacat.wordpress.com for more

The deal is you list the books you have that are looking for a new home, trade them off to folks for points and then cash in the points for books you want. Best to know what books you want because even though the search function is good, the browse function is horrible. Still, I entered Jane Smiley and got a full page of available books of hers and even a few I haven’t read.

All you do is pay the shipping to the requester, (if you’ve ever participated in Amazon’s marketplace, you know shipping books is pretty affordable ) and when you select a book, that person pays the shipping to you. Interestingly, they also participate in Amazon’s referral program, so if you don’t find the book you want, you can pop right over to Amazon for a fresh-off-the-press version, full price and shipping included.

So why do I think this is good? I haven’t tried it yet, so the jury is still out but it does a few things that are cool: it creates social networks of mutual benefit, it recycles perfectly good books to people who really want them, and it avoids chopping down more trees to print more new books. For those of us who mostly transitioned to the library a while ago, this is a logical extension. There is the issue of carbon based shipping, which excludes this from carbon neutrality, but hey, you can’t have everything. I’ll let you know how it works when I give it a whirl.

Daily Stat (Tues, Wed)
Car: 10 miles (3 tasks, 1 person)
Bike: 8 miles
Ped: 6 miles
Bus: 0
other: 0

Day 152: MLwC and Christian Environmentalism

I was raised Southern Californian, which back then meant something more along the lines of west coast new-age power-thinking. Sometimes my mom went to an Episcopal church but I rarely attended and am basically a clean slate when it comes to dogma. In my adult life I’ve veered off towards american Buddhism via yoga and meditation and that, truly, has made me a nicer person to be around–including to myself.

Yesterday as I took a walk through Lincoln Park after work, I got to thinking about a stat I’d seen, that something less than 7% of bloggers include opposing perspectives on their blogs–and I’m not talking about including opposing perspectives only to trash them. I would fall into that category, for sure. On the other hand, I feel that much of mainstream news is based on divisive headline grabbing, so I don’t exactly feel like “opposing views” is getting short shrift in the world.

That said, the notion of Christian Environmentalism wafted into my head. I’ve heard some mention of the “movement” in the last 6 months or so but nothing recently. I realized this was an opportunity to include viewpoints that are more challenging to me in my thinking–and I like that a lot.

A quick search on Google blogs reveals a lot of Christian Environmental discussion wherein lefty liberals are trashed for making up the whole issue of global warming–false science, global warming as the new lefty “idol.” Whatever. Global warming is kind of like God–if it’s true, you can’t escape it. Time will tell.  Wikipedia has an entry for Green Christianity which seems a bit more charitable than the cursory view I gave the blogosphere–that entry is worth reading.

I’d wanted to find a more reasoned, reasonable discussion of environmentalism and was a little disappointed, until I stumbled on the Chrysalis blog by Tim Keyes. Here was a calm discussion of the various concerns of this planet we inhabit and our spiritual/religious relationship to it. I was relieved. Here’s a nice quote from the entry:

Long ago, when a clergyman asked British naturalist J. Haldane what can be learned of God through the study of creation, he replied, “God has an inordinate fondness for beetles.” God has an inordinate fondness for life, too, which is all around those who have eyes to see it.


What I like about this post is that it tries to understand our relationship with the amazing gift of life that is the natural world all around us. I didn’t do an exhaustive search by any stretch, but I did peek into a lot of posts and too many of them focus on the “man in god’s image” therefore what I do must be godly and good and dominion over the rest of nature means I get to use it for my own ends–which of course are God’s own ends too, since we are made in God’s image. There is a real, live tautology there.

I welcome any readers out there to send me to other sites, because I really want to know: is there a Christian Environmental movement? Or is it more rhetorical maneuvering to maintain the status quo? I want to be introduced to some of that good old fashioned Christian fury that Christ was famous for when he spoke out against injustice and big business.

And finally, Look at me, Ma! I managed to find opposing viewpoints that more closely reflect my own!

Daily Stats: Monday
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: approx 3 miles
Bus: 0
Desk: sitting nearly all day! 😦

Day 150 & 151: MLwC and green films

I love a good movie–when it’s raining in Seattle, there’s nothing better than a good movie and a bowl of popcorn. Random and Sundry Things highlighted a Grist article on Hollywood’s 15 greenest movies a couple of weeks ago, you can find it here.

Chinatown, movie–for the full article go to seacat.wordpress.org

Random and Sundry was surprised that Chinatown was included in the list which pleased me in a weird way. It pleased me because it shows that the plot was so well crafted that the issue of overdevelopment in Southern California, the rerouting of water from the more fertile valleys to the Los Angeles basin was part of the backdrop–vs. a clunk on the head type plot, a plot with an agenda. Chinatown actually has a lot in common with Cadillac Desert, a documentary and good book, though you wouldn’t know it on the surface.

I like a good story, and I hate it when a good story is sacrificed for an overbearing agenda, even though entertainment is often a good way to spread real information. So, even though the true story is hugely important and captivating all on its own, Chinatown is a movie, it’s fiction that is meant to bring the historical facts to life. The greed, the ruthlessness, the corruption.

One film that would have been interesting to include, and which any discussion of Chinatown always reminds me of in terms of period and plot is…oddly enough: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Why? Because the murder in that animation film, and the whole plot, is based on the idea of removing the existing and beloved Red and Yellow Street Car lines from the Los Angeles basin, in order to put in thousands of miles of freeways–the current freeway system that L.A is famous for. It was a true event and was chronicled, and as the basis of a Disney animation, make for a good story as well as a commentary on choices made out of greed, corruption, and ruthlessness.  Highways mean cars, cars mean gas, gas means money, and money means business.

What other Green Films would you like to see on the list?

Daily Stats (Sat and Sun)

Car: 0
Bus: 0
bike: 0
Ped: approx 2 miles

Day 148 & 149: MLwC and a 4 minute vid about how we connect

Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us

Take 4 minutes and watch this vid created by a group of students at Kansas State University’s ethonography dept. It’s amazing and inspiring and beautiful in its weird way. it’s the world we are living in and participating in. it’s us.

I’ve had family in town all weekend with a ten year-old to show the sites of Seattle and environs to. We did a lot of it via bus, ferries, monorails and foot–you know when you’ve worn a ten-year old out, you’ve walked a lot.

Daily Stats (Thur, Fri)

Car: 0
Bus: approx 5 miles
Ferry: approx 8 miles
Monorail: approx 2 miles
Ped: approx 7 miles

Day 146 & 147: MLwC and the awful truth.

God, how I admire the Compacters. I really, really do. I sometimes think: maybe next year I can take on the issue of consumerism, but not right now. For me, it’s bigger in many ways than changing transportation methods. Why? Because I’m a consumer.

The awful truth: I bought the iPhone. I did. And I love it.

Whew. Really, here’s the deal. I switched to a Mac about 2.5 years ago in response to the last in a series of Dell computers that imploded under the weight of its own bloat. The hard drive died after only 3 months and while I had the warranty, the whole machine spiraled down from that point on, so when it finally became too much for me, I took the plunge and switched. The main driver: I had a lot of friends who claimed to have the same high functioning machine for more than 4 years.  I’d never had a desktop last longer than 3, and by the third year it was like pulling teeth to get it to do even basic stuff easily.

I am now officially hard-core on Apple; I’ve even bought stock. I’ve never relied on a computer to the degree I do my powerbook. So when the first demos on the iPhone came out, I had this thought: I wonder if Apple could do for my relationship with my phone what it did for my relationship with my laptop? I hate phones–they’re a pain in the butt and none of them work very well. I will do almost anything to avoid using my mobile and anyone who knows me knows to contact me via email unless they can’t avoid the phone.

The more I learned about the iPhone, the more intrigued-yet-skittish I became. Finally, I decided to give it a try and ordered one online. I can only tell you this: I’ve made more calls in the last 4 days than I have in the last 4 months. My dear mother is undoubtedly pleased on some level that I have an iPhone, even though she doesn’t know what it is, because I’m so much more willing to call her.

But here’s the rub: I now have two mobile phones waiting for me to recycle them properly–I will, there are better paths for recycling phones than computer equipment. I’ve also had 3 or 4 desktop computers, uncountable routers and cabling, and 2  laptops (one still works, a Toshiba, which has been relegated to my partner).  I am painfully aware of my own hill of techno-detritus.

seacat.wordpress.com.

I know–compared to someone like my friend Brian, I’m hardly scratching the surface of true gadget consumerism, but I think of the mountains (no, I’m not exaggerating) of computer and computer related crap that is being hauled to some landfill or 3rd world country for disassembly or permanent “storage” and it makes me want to scream.

I noticed that NoImpactMan  posted re his lust for an iPhone, but he has so far held out to purchase a used one because that works with the rules of his NoImpact contract. All I can say for my purchase is that I didn’t drive my car to get one.

My hope is that this device will last a very long time and that when it kicks, Apple will have a nice recycle path in place for me to use. I may be in complete denial….

So, okay. Bottom line: many of those close to me are happier now because they can reach me more easily. My business partners are happier because I’m willing to talk to them on the phone and do fancy things like attempt multi-party conversations and the like. I’m happier because I’ve got a phone that works really really well for both biz and personal–seriously, this thing is a quantum shift. It’s a beautiful thing.

I didn’t purchase it without thinking about those mountains of computing devices…but in the end, I did purchase it. The awful truth.

Daily Stats: (Tuesday, Wednesday)
Car: 5.2 miles
Bike: 6.5 miles
Ped: approx 3 miles
Bus: approx 15 miles
other: 0

Day 145: MLwC and the little things

La Marguerite and Substrata both commented yesterday on the radical act of simply paying more attention (those are my words, their comments are here). There are all kinds of ways of being more conscious–writing a blog is a way of noticing things. Talking about your stuff with a friend–your friend helping you to link your life together–that helps you to be more conscious.

And watching what happens when you decide to do something different, that’ll really help you pay attention. I’ve learned that so vividly on this MLwC project.

A friend of mine sent me a link the other day to a site I’d forgotten but is worth visiting. I was stuck working on something and his email came right at the perfect moment (thanks Paul!). I was able to take a break and play with Brian Eno’s site Oblique Strategies for a while. It really helped to jog my brain a little!

So, why am I mentioning this? Because doing one unexpected or different thing helps you see everything differently for at least a little while, and sometimes even longer. I’m convinced that’s why Marguerite mentions (as well as a few commentators on her blog) that before she knew it, she felt things in her life were shifting just a little–just on the basis of having changed a few habits.

I recently finished A Perfect Mess by Eric Abrahamson–a great read, highly recommend it. One of the things they discuss is the link between mess and creativity and specifically: it’s tough to be very creative if you do the same thing, the same way, all the time. Mess it up, they say, and find your brain more than a little woken up simply by taking a different route to work.

So, yeah, if you decide to take on change such as committing for 90 days to turn off the water when you brush your teeth, or taking the bus to work one day a week, the rewards are huge. Yes, you’ll get instant enviro-karma/dharma points but even better: your brain will wake up, colors will be brighter, ideas will appear out of nowhere…who knows where it could lead. A happy, active brain is a good brain.

Daily stats: (Monday)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 0
Bus:0
Desk day, and do I feel it in my body!

Day 143 & 144: MLwC and the way we were (less efficient was perhaps better…)

My partner and I were riding back from the west seattle farmer’s market today, transporting precious cargo in our panniers and the little stow-away on the back of my bike: rainier cherries, fresh pasta, tomatoes, bibb lettuce, red onions, spinach.

As we peddled home I started thinking about when I was a kid and how my mom got food to our baby-boomer household: once a week, a trip to the store and our local farmer’s market and back home again with a load of food for a family of six. That was pretty much the regime. We didn’t get in the car again for days.

If we ran out of something, we walked to the nearer store–not as big, not as cheap, but a nice walk and easy to do.

The deal was: we didn’t jump in the car for everything. We just didn’t. And I grew up in Southern California–it’s not like I didn’t grow up in a car culture, I did. But using a car was sort of a big deal back then–it was expensive and also, walking and bike riding were more common. When I stayed at my grandmother’s house in Los Angeles, we rode the bus everywhere–it’s just what you did.

Then I got to thinking about the price of gas now compared to then and thought driving was probably so much more expensive then. When I got home I checked out the price of gas adjusted for inflation and here’s what I found:

pump price from then to now

Turns out we were paying per gallon back in 1960 about the same price we’re paying now. What happened, how come We’re driving like fifty times more! Upon more investigation, what happened was this: in the late 70’s and early 80’s, gas prices soared, we were in the midst of ongoing crisis in the middle east and the government called for more efficiency and less reliance on middle eastern oil. Car companies responded by making more fuel efficient vehicles–compared to the cars we had when I was growing up, the Country Squire station wagon we had, for example, these new cars were wildly efficient. The old cars had terrible mileage–like 6-10 mpg, making everyone very careful about when and how they drove. So, enter the age of the fuel efficient car.

station wagon promo pic

Does the fuel efficient car help us use less gas, make us less reliant on ME oil? Hell no! It helps us drive wherever, whenever, and in the largest-ass car we can get anytime we want. We’re using per capita way more oil now than we were back then when cars were completely inefficient. So, was the drive to efficiency (no pun intended) a good thing? Not so much, looks to me.

Anyway, back to my ride home….I recognize that I’ve reverted to that earlier model now. I’m going to pretend that my car gets 6 mpg and that fuel is more expensive than water. And I’ll be calmer, happier for it. Cars are incredibly addictive–I know I’ve said this before, but I was just marveling at it again today, so it’s on my mind. I’m feeling sort of old fashioned, in a weird way, and I like it. Simpler. Calmer. Easier.

Daily stats: (Saturday, Sunday)

Car: 0
Bike: 6.2 miles
Ped: approx 3 miles
Bus: 0

Day 140-142: MLwC, trees and ivy

As my mom used to say: “mad dogs and englishman go out in the noonday sun...” I was thinking of that the other day when I was running in the middle of the hottest July 12th on record in Seattle. Here’s the breaking news: it’s a lot harder to run in the hot weather than cool. Unless you’re one of those marathoners who do Death Valley every year…I’m clearly not.

Did you get the video I posted the other day–The Wind? It was very clever and took me twice thru before I realized the dude was the wind. Great ad for green energy in Germany.

So, I was running through Lincoln Park and came to the far beach trail only to find these three college kids, all roped up in climbing gear and harnesses–they looked so buff. I asked them what they were up to–taking advantage of the opportunity to stop–and they said they were going to climb down the cliffs and remove ivy from the trees. God love them, they’re from earthcorps and partnering with the Seattle Parks Dept to organize groups and volunteers to remove ivy. You can read more about it here.

urbanforest.jpg

What’s the big deal about english ivy? English ivy is a non-native, invasive plant that literally takes down large (and small) trees, overwhelms the native understory and generally wreaks havoc if left unchecked. Worse: it’s sold in lots and lots of nurseries and hardware stores. Why? Cuz it grows so easily! It would be nice if it could be outlawed but no such luck yet.

We’ve removed most of it from our lot, but not all. Our neighbors have done a great job of getting rid of theirs. People are starting to get a clue about it, so that’s good news. Here’s what it looks like, there are different kinds of ivy, but only English Ivy is the invasive:

englishivy.jpg

It’s beefy, but easy to pull out, so if you have any, grab it by the roots before it takes over.

Anyway, kudos to the teams of volunteers out there (more global immune system in action?) and in other parks in the region for tackling the job and helping to save our urban forests.

Daily stats: (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)

Car: 29 miles (2 tasks)
Bike: 0 miles
Ped: approx 7 miles
Bus: 0
Other: not so much as you’d notice.

The Wind

The Wind

Speaking of trees and the wind, in the previous post…I happened upon this fantastic commercial for wind power. Fabulous!

Day 139: MLwC and the long, hot days of summer

In Seattle, unlike a lot of places, we don’t usually get a whole lot of really, really hot summer weather. I grew up in S. California and know (and have missed) truly long hot summer days.

But the last few years, it does seem that we’re getting more of those long, hot summer days and often, even though it’s cold and rainy for much of the year and people go a little cabin-crazy around February, you hear a lot of grumbling among natives about when the rain and clouds will return. Can’t please everyone, it seems.

This last winter was, well, treacherous. Mind you, for the most part all we usually deal with is lots of rain and Seasonal Affect Disorder. Last winter we had record breaking amounts of rain and wind like you wouldn’t believe–this is not hurricane country by any stretch and yet we had hurricane force storms roll through large swaths of the region. The biggest storm is now known as The Hanukkah Hurricane, for its timing right on the holiday.

Why do I mention this? Because a lot of trees fell during that storm, which was bad enough–I mean, a LOT of trees. Power was out for a couple of weeks in many areas, roads were blocked. This is an area with a lot of urban trees…though less than we used to have.

Because a lot of trees fell and did a lot of property damage, the following months were marked by the daily cacophony of chain saws and chippers. Not just to handle the fallen trees, but to take down the remaining trees around houses. There are several houses just in our neighborhood with huge (I mean huge) trunks in the lots where once were mighty and beautiful evergreens and pines.

Now, when the hot weather has hit, these houses no longer have any shade at all and the sun is hitting full force, causing the house and gardens to heat up. Result: much more dependence on air conditioning and watering to maintain the status quo. (I’m not even going to get into the loss of habitat resulting from the urban clear-cutting).

wilsons_warbler pic

Do I blame people for being nervous about trees around their house? No, I don’t. I’m a little nervous myself–our house is surrounded on all sides by madronas, cedars, pines and we watch them with real trepidation when the winds hit–which interestingly is much more than ever before. I recall reading in The Weather Makers that one of the impacts of global climate change will be an increase in extremes–bigger winds, bigger droughts, bigger rains–in all the places that used to have “normal” amount of same.

The point is, we live in a systems based world. You do one thing and it has an impact over here, over there, and in places you can’t even predict. Because of that, yes, our choices matter.

Trees have always been a source of natural air conditioning and protection for homes. Sometimes that protection can turn into a liability. Many of the more knowledgeable people I’ve talked to have suggested that hard-core pruning, thinning out of volunteers and the like will make the existing trees stronger and less likely to fall. Degradation of soil, lack of care, removal of necessary understory brush will cause the trees to be weakened. We sort of live in a magic world where all things– trees, animals, weather, people– are seen as objects to be used as we wish, rather than as a healthy systemic environment requires.

So, here’s to a long, cool drink this afternoon in the hammock. Shade–sure, it’s old fashioned, but it works.

Daily stats: (Tuesday)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Bus: 0
Ped: 0
It was a lot-of-deskwork-day.

Encyclopedia of Life and E. O. Wilson’s one wish

I just visited the Encyclopedia of Life and watched E.O Wilson’s 20 minute video, upon receiving the 2007 TED prize.

Wilson discusses the vast importance of insects to our living environment….he focuses on the massive scale of insect life that is simply unknown and yet are key parts of our great chain of life.

Also: there’s a fabulous vid-within-vid moment accompanied by Billie Holiday.  Worth a watch and a listen.

So, what is E. O. Wilson’s one wish?  That we work together to build the Encyclopedia of Life– built and shared by all communities around the world.  For the first time ever, the ability to gather and share the enormous magnitude of knowledge about science, biology, the climate, global warming, species preservation–the ability to gather this information is within reach due to the internet.

Well, if you check out eol.org, it looks like Wilson got his wish.  Cool.

Day 138: MLwC and who’s afraid of Big Green?

In my other life, I work with companies on issues that usually involve change. Sometimes the change is big, such as introducing wikis and blogs as alternatives to KBs and KM systems. While these alternatives are of significant interest and use to frontline tech help agents and online customers, they are not viewed in a welcoming light by IT or, often, by the owners of the existing KM infrastructure. Why? Because the new stuff means the end of the old stuff and the old stuff has a million built-in benefits that those teams would like to hang onto.

Why do I bring this up? Because the same problem can be seen in the case of our current administration and e-pluribus-unum (that would be us, you and me).

So, for example, you’ve got a post out today on postcarboncities that discusses the amount of money–good old money!–that can be saved by instituting changes that also, at the same time, all together now, reduce pollution and the collective carbon footprint. He’s pretty detailed and specific about changes that could be made. And he has some good examples of changes that have been made that not only make systems more efficient but also are good for the planet:

  • In 2005 the city of Stamford (CT) earned a Climate Champion Award at CA-CP’s New York City conference following the release of their emissions inventory. The award celebrated actions that reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent — curbing global warming and saving the city more than $1.1 million in annual energy costs.
  • In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg signed Local Law #86 of 2005, which sets green building standards for certain capital projects. The law affects approximately $12 billion in construction, including $5 billion in new schools, over the City’s 10-year capital plan. It requires most new and substantially renovated City buildings costing more than $2 million to be built according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard or other equally stringent standard.
  • Keene (NH) is looking into hiring an Energy Service Company (ESCO) to retrofit city buildings using a performance contract in which the ESCO is paid solely through the resulting energy savings. Keene expects to save a minimum of $30,000 a year through the retrofits.
  • In 2006 the City of Pittsburgh (PA) was awarded $300,000 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to integrate biodiesel in its entire diesel fleet. The City’s plan, developed in partnership with Steel City Biofuels, will displace 30% of Pittsburgh’s petroleum diesel with locally-produced biodiesel .

The list could undoubtedly go on but here’s the thing: the people are now clearly leading the leaders and the leaders are not budging and will not budge because it is not in their interest to budge. Utilizing all these new systems and applications means less business for the old school, the boys in the back room, Big Oil, Big Industry and the like.

Protectionism runs deep. But here we are, the people leading the leaders, and we will continue to demand change because the change makes sense. And here’s the most important thing–it’s like some companies I know of that have thousands of active wiki internally but officially have none, yet–when we make changes in our own small circle of influence, that change ripples outward. It cannot help but be so. It is what Hawken’s is talking about when he talks about our global immune system. Interesting times, indeed.

Daily Stats for MLwC: (Monday)

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 3.5 miles
Bus: 0
other: 0