Monthly Archives: July 2007

Day 136 & 137: MLwC, here’s a sign of change…

Saturday, we used my my car to go to the beach in the afternoon for a read and some people watching. We took the car because we have these beach-chairs-with-backpack-functionality that we love and were made for that very activity… and they’re a little bulky.

beach-chairs.jpg
Summer time and the livin is easy!

So we hopped in the car and I sort of unconsciously checked the gas. Half a tank, cool. In that moment, I realized I didn’t remember the last time I put gas in my car. It could be two months, it could even be more–I simply don’t recall. That, to me, is amazing. And a real sign of change in my habits. And I’m happy as a clam at how much money I’ve saved without realizing it! cool!

Speaking of Cool, NoImpactMan completely redefines cool on a regular basis and his recent addition of Ultra-cool drinking devices was a LOL moment–not that he isn’t totally serious–he is. But rather because his idea for water carrying devices just makes me giggle, it’s so…I don’t know…so what-they-would-have-done-50-years-ago and not given it another thought. We’ve come a long way, baby, or maybe not. Check it out here.

Also, it seems in the arena of personal action, we have a newish blogger, LaMarguerite whose blog name is a hoot: “My Inconvenient Truth: the Daily Sins of a Green Girl Wannabe.” What’s cool about this blog is how she chronicles this growing awareness around how we live and what the impact is. The post called “Why” is so interesting–it’s an earlier one where she wonders what I’m sure just about everyone wonders when starting to change how they live; in her case she sees a fractal in the way she forgets to bring her own bags to the store:

What happens when I choose the lazy way? What makes me go for “Plastic please”? My first thought is, why bother, such a small thing, it will not make a difference. The global warming problem is so huge. One little extra plastic bag, I can get away with it. Leave it up to the powers in charge, the heads of States, the big businesses, to come up with the big solutions.

I am very attached to my life as I have known it in America. Things I do not really want to give up: long hot showers, letting water running while I work at the kitchen sink, using the dryer to dry our clothes, the convenience of plastic bags, shopping for clothes whenever I feel like it, plane travel, printing indiscriminately on one side of the paper, our two daily papers, not having to unplug and restart my computer each time, paying my bills using snail mail, living in my big house, being a dilettante recycler. It all boils down to a short term personal balance sheet. What am I willing to give up in terms of personal comfort, in return for a relatively minuscule, and mostly unacknowledged, contribution to the larger pie?

The very fact that LaMaguerite is asking these questions makes my day. For the most part, we’re living unconsciously. Waking up, seeing the potential for change in the smallest choices is a huge step. All the product engineers, the marketing gurus and the bean counters have made this lifestyle of ours very easy–waaaay easier than doing otherwise. It’s waaay easier to just use the bag at the store than to remember to bring your own. But bringing your own is one small part of a larger frame of mind, and the larger frame of mind can maybe move mountains. You are my hero today, LaMarguerite!

Daily stats: Saturday and Sunday
Car: approx 7 miles (2 people, 2 tasks)
Bike: 0
Ped: approx 3 miles
Bus: 0
other: 0

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Day 134 & 135: MLwC, it’s a bike-a-licious world!

This story has been out for a few months but I only just ran across it yesterday: Google is offering 2000 bikes to its employees in EMEA

Of course the idea came out of uber-green Germany from Holger Meyer, Google.de’s first employee. So, why are they doing it?

So their employees can be healthier, get to know their city better and reduce the enviro-impact of carbon based transportation.

Dailys stats: (Thursday and Friday
Bike: 0
Car: 27 miles(2 person, 5 tasks)
Ped: 1 or 2 miles
Bus: 0
other: 0

Day 133: MLwC, food and the 4th

Here’s what the 4th of July looks, smells and sounds like in my neck of the woods:

seattle fireworks pic

Wall-to-wall people camped out at the beach from early morning on in order to have a good spot to watch the fireworks over Elliott Bay and Queen Anne.

Traffic backed up from the bridge all the way to and from the beach all day and until the very early morning hours.

The twin smells of barbecue and wood fires, combined later with sulpher from the fireworks themselves.

Boom boxes blaring, kids running around laughing, squealing, adults talking over too much beer and sun…but all having a pretty good holiday.

And food. Chips, hotdogs, hamburgers, pizza, take-out chicken, store-bought cherry pie…a cornucopia of processed american food.

Which brings me to the Slow Food, an international organization with over 80,000 members started in 1986 as a reaction to McDonald’s and other american fast food enterprises. They focus on the intersection of community, farming, food production, taste, health, and the pure enjoyment of real, unprocessed food. Their mission statement:

We believe that everyone has a fundamental right to pleasure and consequently the responsibility to protect the heritage of food, tradition and culture that make this pleasure possible. Our movement is founded upon this concept of eco-gastronomy – a recognition of the strong connections between plate and planet.

Anyone who gets their food at a local farmer’s market is part of the slow food movement, whether they realize it or not. Anyone who takes the time to prepare their meals, who cares about what goes in their body, or who enjoys real, unprocessed food, or prefers restaurants that use local fresh and organic produce is part of the slow food movement. Because in our culture, it is much easier to just buy a bag of chips, pick up some hot dogs or burgers, grab a mass-produced pizza and knock back a six pack of fast-brewed beer.

We have come to expect so little from our food. In a fast food world, it’s all about quantity, not quality. In a slow food world, those values are reversed.

So, anyway, I spent the day with pals (so great to hang with your girl gang, Di!) and had lunch at the Pike Place Market. Later I rode home to spend the evening with some more friends; we had slow cooked spicy black beans, rice, guacamole, corn tortillas, salad, and a fresh fruit crisp with cherries from our own pie-cherry tree in the backyard…and man, was it good! How was your 4th?

Daily stats: (Wednesday)
Car: 0
Bike: 15 miles
Bus: 1.5 miles
Water taxi: 2 miles
Ped: approx 2 miles

Day 132: MLwC and the growing web of organizations

rooted_substrate.jpg

 Michael Spalding, one of the editors at WiserEarth commented on Hawken’s seminar noted here earlier. I thought his comment was worth highlighting as the wordsmithing captures the ideal and mission of WiserEarth so well:

That long list of grassroots organizations that scroll on and on, is actually a part of WiserEarth (www.wiserearth.org), an online tool to improve the quality of connections between anyone interested in social justice, environmental restoration or indigenous rights. If the unnamed movement is analogous to the immune system, as Paul suggests, then its success does not depend on the strength of any one organization or individual, but on the quality of the connections between them. WiserEarth was designed to all the community develop the connections that they need to better do their work.

We live in an age when “quality of connections” has a meaning its never had before, and WiserEarth is creating a space to leverage the potential of our connectedness.  Will this change how the world works? Early days, but I have no doubt whatsoever.

Thanks Michael!

Daily Stats (Monday)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Bus: 0
Ped: 0
Desk: about 15 hours worth.

Day 127 thru 131: MLwC –somethin’s goin on

Ever find yourself in the middle of a project, right in the middle where the end seems far away and you can’t remember how it all started and suddenly you just feel like f*ckit, who cares? I’m sort of, but not entirely, in that place with MLwC…and I don’t know why. I mean, I like all the new habits I’m carving out for myself. I’m perfectly happy–no, I’m happier!–taking the bus downtown and am going downtown more often and enjoy it more. So, what’s up?

I think it might be all the summer tasks to tend to, the garden stuff, the out of town visitors, the trips, the fun-in-the-sun…all combined with a lot of work travel lately and I guess I’m feeling like the whole MLwC thing is too much to think about. Or maybe I feel guilty for driving when I do–which still isn’t very often so I don’t know why it’s such a big deal in my mind.

But somehow, it is. Somehow I’ve become a little fascist in my own mind. A fundie about driving. How the heck did that happen?

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To be continued…..

Daily Stats (Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun)
Car: 0
Bike: 14.4 miles
Ped: approx 10 miles
Bus: approx 10 miles
water taxi: 2 miles