Category Archives: Local Politics

Day 264-266: MLwC and a Seattle Transit Rider’s Union?

I continue to be intrigued with the idea of a bus and transit rider’s union, which I touched on in a recent post. What would a transit rider’s union do and why might it be a good idea here in Seattle? In Los Angeles, the bus rider’s union has a voice in most if not all transportation plans and strategies, making sure that everybody has access to effective, useful, and affordable mass transit.

This means taking on large, well funded, contractor friendly boondoggles like light rail propositions that serve a tiny sliver of the population at the expense of the transit riders. It means making sure the routes serve all groups and that rates remain affordable. It means maintaining a holistic view of alternate transportation options to the single-occupant vehicle muddle that most urban areas struggle with now.

What might a bus and transit rider’s union do in Seattle? It would help the city hear the Voice of the Transit rider, as well as all the other voices that are shouting for traffic relief. That voice and presence at the table would maintain the perspective that effective routes and timetables, reasonable rates, safe buses and bus stop areas will help Metro Transit attract and keep new riders, thereby reducing SOV traffic and improving the environment to boot.

I’ve been so intrigued with this idea that I’ve started a wiki to begin tracking resources regarding transportation, and will add more categories to it as time goes along. Please feel free to add any resources or start new pages as you see fit–the them is personal action and the environment.

How can we start a Transit Rider’s Union in Seattle? I’m no organizer, for sure, but I’d be happy to help and to learn from others who have ideas about this.

Daily Stats (Mon, Tue, Wed)
Car: 20 miles and 3 tasks
Bike: 0
Ped: 6
Bus: 0

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Days 258-259: MLwC and Roads, Revisited, Rejected, Reviled

Thanks to Carless in Seattle for surfacing the above vid, a commercial which actually made the hair on my neck tingle with anxiety.

I’ve posted a couple of times about Prop 1/RTID referendum here in Washington; of course we had the election yesterday and it looks like the proposal is going down in defeat, if not flames.

I’ve been watching the comments on the news articles in the local papers and thought several of them were worthy of repeating here, as I think sometimes we underestimate our citizenry and they’re ability to rationally think through an issue. Of course there are lots of posts that do not represent the most rational approach, but hey. You can’t please everyone.

Posted by lowerwallfrd at 11/7/07 12:28 a.m.

I really wanted to vote for Prop 1, it just did too little for too much money, I had to vote no. I hope we have a similar and better planned bill next year. Light rail to Tacoma is stupid. I think Sound Transit is a nightmare waiting to happen. There are no additional funds that should be given to those pretenders.

Posted by cj in seattle at 11/7/07 3:53 a.m.

Perhaps it would help if we had smaller $$ for more specific spending goals. I think the size of this and the fact that it was a multiple project package scared people off.

Both my self and my husband ended up voting for it even though it size of it made me think on it a while. I recognize the importance of the responsibility of one generation to those who come after.

I think though that if we could get a package for just mass transit that it would take off nicely with voter support. There has been so much corruption in government that the public has become jaded by it. They don’t trust it anymore. Its important to public servants to recognize this.

Posted by jungleal at 11/7/07 5:51 a.m.

Prop 1’s flame out is worth getting up out of bed early to celebrate. Let’s have the media bring to light every penny of gas tax hike spending. Bring back those “Your Nickel at Work” project signs, and how about some “Your Another 9.5 Cents at Work” signs and some “Your Original 23 Cents at Work” signs and a breakdown of where the 18.4 cents per gallon of federal gas tax is going. If the Alaskan Way Viaduct and 520 bridge are so fragile and dangerous, why are they not receiving more immediate gas tax money??

Posted by rwb77 at 11/7/07 6:33 a.m.

For affordable light rail: build it like many other cities are at much less cost, at-grade, not elevated or tunneled. Build it on existing rights of way, like highways and abandoned railroads. The gold-plated Sound Transit version is great for contractors but bad for taxpayers. And for a route, how about a simple loop around the lake? Start at Southcenter, branching off from the current elevated line, go to Renton, follow the old railroad right of way north to Bothell, around the upper end of the lake to Northgate, then past Husky Stadium into downtown. Don’t try a potential engineering nightmare with tracks across the lake; dedicate both floating bridges to Bus Rapid Transit; those are the two corridors where it would probably be most feasible.

For highways, spend dollars first on safety and maintenance (remember a certain bridge in Minneapolis this past summer …..). It is not WSDOT’s responsiblity to enable people to commute 40 miles one way at 60 mph on the same road at the same time as 100,000 other people. That’s what happens whenever new lanes are approved: developers come in with new housing and new strip malls and by the time the lane opens, it’s as gridlocked as the older lanes.

Posted by SleeplessInSeattle at 11/7/07 7:31 a.m.

Proposition 1 is NOT a comprehensive package. It is mainly an Eastside improvement project, with a small fragment thrown in for the rest of the area in an effort to gloss over what it really is. Is there anyone out there who is really dense enough to believe that light rail to Mercer Island and Bellevue addresses this area’s major transportation problems and environmental concerns, much less does anything to repair the roads and bridges in most need of improvement?!

We already voted in and pay an exhorbitant gas tax in this state for what was supposed to fund road/brige repair and improvement projects. At the time, 520 and the Alaskan Way Viaduct were specifically mentioned as projects that would be completed with that gas tax money. Senators Murray and Cantwell also got federal disaster money to help repair 520 and the Viaduct. Almost immediately after those two money sources came into fruition, our new governor began looking for ways to legally divert the Viaduct portion of those funds to 520. So, mark my words, 520 will be rebuilt whether Proposition 1 passes or not. Proposition 1 was just the boondoggle they were looking for to build the new 520. Now they’ll just have to use the money that was already budgeted for it, plus impose tolls. Gee, what a concept. And, yes, I certainly was thinking of my children, and their children. . .when I voted no. They would be the next generation paying for this mess, and they too would have no money left to devote to projects which would actually improve the quality of life in this area.

It’s interesting that when push comes to shove, the vote was anger directed at the government, and bewilderment over taxes already set aside for projects that are not being done. Very few of the comments really take on the larger issue of Transportation Alternatives or the issue of global climate change. Those issues are likely too big for most people to actually apply to a vote on roads. Nevertheless, and for whatever combination of reasons, we have wisely elected to not get sidetracked building roads to Redmond as a weird panacea for the rest or our many, many transportation problems.

Daily Stats: (Tue, Wed)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 3.5
Bus: 0
Many remote conferences, email, vid conferences and other alternative connectivity.

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 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 132: MLwC and the growing web of organizations

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 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 124: MLwC, the hundredth monkey and a global immune system

I’m into the second half of Hawken’s book in which he discusses the varied organizations that in hundredth-monkey ways are tackling the many issues of our day: poverty, corporate abuse, pollution, disease, and dozens of other concerns. Through the interconnectedness of the wired world today, these organizations can share best practices, learnings, energy, inspiration and sweat equity to move en masse towards a more equitable, safe, healthy future.

He suggests that these organizations can be seen as the antibody response of our planet to the threatening disease of pollution and environmental degradation. It’s really a cool idea, and it makes sense too: a growing number of us sense the threat we face, understand the very personal toll that pollution and diminishing resources are taking on us, and we are making choices that correspond to the way the body wards off infection and viruses. It’s the Gaia philosophy expanded out even further…and it makes sense to me. We are an organic part of an organic system–as much as we often like to think the real world really is composed of the shiny new products we create. I welcome the idea that a growing majority might be compelled to respond to the potential crisis we face in a naturally evolving fashion–albeit with urgency.

Some examples of the localized antibodies that are collecting at the margins of our global culture (Hawken’s names names in his book, a list that is too lengthy for me to go in to here but I suggest you watch the video for more, if you can’t get the book):

the list goes on and on, and includes very powerful, very well known billionaires , ex-presidents, and celebrities, as well. It is a coalition of every level–from the margins of our society, working like antibodies to fight the many threats to our environment. There are more of us all the time.

Daily Stats (Monday)
Car: 0
Bike: 0
Ped: 3 miles
Bus: 0
internet: all over the place

Day 109 & 110: MLwC and who knew walking could be so complicated?

Well, who knew walking could be so dang complicated? Mytechvision (good luck on your exams!) sent along a BBC story about the controversy around children walking to school. I know the world is complex, more so all the time, and making decisions around child rearing even more so, but lordie, where’s our common sense?

What’s weird is that the school in question seemed to almost demonize the mom who thought it was okay for her son to walk a few blocks to school.

Speaking of walking and different cultural perspectives: this project I’ve been on in Chicago. It’s not actually in Chicago but a pretty cushy suburb of same. I told the project owners that next week I’ll stay in a hotel closer to the center so I can walk and they looked at me like I was a freak–no lie. I actually think it took me down a few notches in their estimation, and they pronounced that in no way would I be walking anywhere. It’s simply not done.

No reasons given, just “it’s not done.” I’ve already been out jogging around and have lived to tell the tale…not that I would tell them the tale. This is the same group that disparagingly described their workers as having to take “public transportation.” Hmmm–if they knew I bussed around Seattle, what would they think?

Bottom line: we’re so far from simple, smart, efficient forms of transportation in many urban settings that it’s a tad discouraging to think they could change their mind sets, but time will tell.

Daily stats (Wednesday/Thursday)
Car: about 15 miles total (carpool)
Foot: about 2 miles
Bus: heavens, no!
Plane: 1700 miles.

Day 97: MLwC & SP, baby, SP!

Solar Power!

solar2.jpg

We’re considering installing solar energy modules on our roof–nothing I would ever have expected to consider here in the mostly soggy northwest, but the technology has improved so much that it’s becoming a viable option.

Here’s an article about a standard installation; it describes the process of installing these new super thin and unobtrusive modules on your roof. The article also discusses the outlay of cash, and the homeowner’s reasons for going ahead and doing it.

The outlay of cash, by the way, is offset by massive tax deductions–both federal, and likely, local (nod to Senator Cantwell). Then, if you’ve got it set up right, and you continue your energy efficient ways, there’s a very good chance you can put excess energy back into the grid–making your meter run backwards, in effect–and actually make money on the deal. This made headlines during the rolling brown outs of the Enron age in California and highlighted an attractive plus to the alternate energy source. This chart shows the rapid increase of alternative energy into the grid during that time (2001-02):

Solar energy on the grid

So, here in Seattle, we’ve got a small start up company that installs these systems. We’re going to have them out to evaluate our house and see if we might be able to install a system, cost, long term picture, etc. They charge $80 for the evaluation but they’re a small shop and the evaluation is extensive, about a half day’s work with a written plan afterwards. We haven’t sched’d the eval yet, but we’re getting ready to.

I mean, you know it’s coming. It’s just a matter of time.

🙂

Daily stats (Wednesday)

Car: 0
Bike: 0
Foot: 3.5 walk/run
Bus: 0
Internet: 4 countries and many states.

Day 96: MLwC and the walking thang

(MLwC = My Life w Car, a year long project to become generally conscious of transportation habits.)

B2 had so many good points in his comment to Day 95, I hardly know where to begin. He’s right, of course–most urban and certainly suburban areas in the U.S. are built for cars. Especially here in the western U.S. It’s a sad truth, and changing that feature will be an uphill battle.

Germany gets high marks for its progressive and strong Green Party so it’s not surprising they encourage mass transit, bikes, and walking to the degree they do. But many of the cities are also very old–like really old–and those wonderful cobbled streets simply aren’t made for cars. They’d have to retool the whole city for cars…kinda like what they’d have to do for most US cities in order to make them more pedestrian/bike friendly.

When the mayor of Seattle recently announced his plan to make bikes an attractive alternative transportation option, I recall someone wrote into the local newspaper decrying the idea since, good lord, people on bikes don’t buy anything! Why would our tax dollars go to a group that can’t buy anything? It was a depressing and eye-opening response…not to mention ridiculous. Our entire culture is literally built on going and buying. Everything in our infrastructure makes those two things easy…and other things less so.

My friend Brian said: imagine closing one entire street the length of Seattle and opening it up to pedestrians and cyclists. Imagine the traffic you’d get. And imagine the cafes, the stores, the theatres that could spring up along that route.

Well, I’d love to see it–I could see it in my mind instantly. But we’d have to retool everything.

And speaking of retooling–another conversation later with Yo raised the question of “why do we just automatically think we need to drive?” I’m thinking it’s because we’ve been raised with movies and adverts and pictures of people having the time of their lives, roaring down the coast highway, zipping around gorgeous empty curves overlooking the pacific ocean…and by now we’re hardwired to believe that image over our own experience–of bottle-necked freeways, smog, the price of gas, congestion, noise, maintenance, etc.

quantum-leap-car-730928.jpg Now here’s the real question: isn’t it a coincidence that what we call “cool” just happens to be something that can be commoditized and packaged easily (a car and a lifestyle) while something as normal as apple pie is simply not cool at all, not commoditized, not packaged, not marketable? I’m talking about walking, of course.

Daily stats (Tuesday)
Car: 0
Bike: 10 miles
Bus: approx 1.5 miles
West Seattle Water Taxi: approx 1.5 miles
Foot: approx 6 blocks

day 83 & 84: My life w car *and* Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

My Mom called and said, “you have to get this sauce: Frank’s Red Hot.” Why? Because cayenne will cure just about anything and it’s the best hot sauce she’s ever had. Hmmm. She said it’s curing her arthritis–and that has some basis in fact, apparently.

franks-red-hot.jpg

They don’t sell Frank’s at our local organic food store, couldn’t find it at the other market we frequent. But they did sell it at Safeway–a store I never frequent for lots of old, Chavez days reasons–so we picked up two bottles and tried them tonight.

The weird thing: Frank’s Red Hot has got the most basic ingredients you can imagine. Cayenne, vinegar, salt, water. That’s it! So how come my back-to-basics grocery store doesn’t stock it? And also: it’s cheap! Maybe that’s why–they don’t give away shelf space for nothin’.

What else is going on? John Lombard wants to save us from ourselves: he’s single handedly trying to raise awareness about the degradation of the Puget Sound, the destruction of salmon habitat. I’m still really unclear about how come salmon is a common dinner entre when its numbers are diminishing at an alarming rate, but here’s a site that explains how to eat salmon if you are inclined, while still protecting the environment.

Saw “My Name is Rachel Corrie” at the Seattle Rep the other night and was blown away by it. It’s closed now in Seattle but has already hit the road and is making a wave in EU international tour. This is about the young American woman who was run over by a bulldozer and killed in Gaza in the Palestinian camps. She was a writer with wonderful journals she kept from 5 years old on–the play is based on those journals, right up to the last 5 minutes of her life. Wonderful, amazing–one woman show. The pamphleting outside the theatre seemed a gross continuation of the same politics that killed this young woman and kills young innocence the world around. Made me sad.

What else? We just put organic compost on all the beds in our yard (we have a lot of yard) so spring must really be here even though the temperature is so abnormally low, the evenings still dropping to the high 30’s. Also, the local Farmer’s Market started–paltry pickings, it’s still too early for much produce, but it’s a great thing to have it back! Support Your Local Farmer’s Market!

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And I think that’s all for now.

Daily stats:
car: apprx 35 miles (2 people, about 9 tasks)
bike: zip
bus: zip
flexcar: zip

Day 64: My life w car

I love this idea discussed by Web Worker and based on an article in the New Yorker regarding the personal cost of commuting in America. Lots of people have studied the issue and impact of commuting, but one, Harvard Politicial Science professor Robert Putnam, has actually come up with an easy rule of thumb for thinking about the impact of commuting: Every ten minutes of commuting results in ten per cent fewer social connections.

(A side note here that the one of the people Nick Paumgarten interviews in his article about commuting notes that she has tried every available commuting option including the bus–which she found “depressing.” Why are buses depressing? I find them so myself, even though I don’t want to. What am I missing?)

Web Worker discusses Putnam’s idea that the farther spread out our Work-Sleep-Shop triangle is, the less happy we are. The closer, the happier. So, if you commute 2 hours to work and back every day, that’s going to hit your happy-quotient. If on top of that, you have to travel a long way to get groceries, etc, that will also hit the quotient. Putnam’s conclusion: “…the bigger the refrigerator, the lonelier the soul.”

As Web Worker notes, there are real advantages here for the biz-at-home worker–that person would have to be pretty happy because the triangle is smaller by quite a lot. But wait! What about social isolation because you really are working all by yourself, day after day??? She offers a number of antidotes to isolation: conf calls, IM, blogging, twitter (which I just tried and didn’t quite “get” on the first go-round). I would also add that it’s nice to step outside for a few minutes or a few hours and work in the yard or walk through the neighborhood. This offers lots of chances to feel more connected with your own hood, and that’s a good thing. Even feeling more connected with your yard, the birds, the fresh air, helps to alleviate isolation. Yesterday I took a break from the desk to spiff up the driveway garden some and of course, a couple of neighbors stopped by which brightened my mood considerably.

So, one side of my work-sleep-shop triangle is pretty short (when I’m not commuting to El Salvador or some other place on a regular basis) and that also allows me to do a lot of my tasks/shop stuff by bike, which also postively impacts my health, energy and the environment. And as Martha would say, that’s a good thing.

Daily Stats:
Car: 0
Bike: 2.5 miles
Flexcar/Bus: 15 miles (Bus)

Day 61 thru 63: My life w car

Couple of things on bike, traffic, time, and space. Not space, like outer-space, but space on the road.

bike-in-traffic.jpg

Mayor Nickels of Seattle last week announced that he wants to spend millions to make space on the road for bicycles. More bicycles–the answer to global warming.

Personally, I got the broader message here, and appreciated it. But the next day on the local public radio station here, it sounded like some people, both cyclists and drivers, were pretty skeptical of the initiative. Cyclists because it was a lame proposal in a few key respects: bike lanes don’t mean cyclists are safe or that drivers will take up biking any time soon. For example, more cyclists are nailed by right turning cars into bike lanes than just about any other situation.

Drivers were mad because they didn’t want to see that much money going to something that wasn’t going to make their commute any better. Traffic in Seattle is horrendous–it typically rates around 3rd or 4th in the top worst cities to drive in. So, drivers were mystified by the apparent message from Mayor Nickels: ride a bike instead.

To me the message was muddled. It should have been a lot more inclusive, rather than aimed at cyclists: Every bike on the road means one less car on the freeway or street or thoroughfare. Bless those rugged souls who have taken one small but real step towards actually reducing the traffic!

Still, biking is a tough business in lots of ways, which brings me to today’s topic: time. It takes time to ride places. Duh, you say. But really–it takes a lot of time, and time is one thing most people don’t have much of. As we careen into a new world order, one less endowed with the natural resources we’ve come to rely upon, our ability–so taken for granted–to jam pack our schedules with a million back-to-back events and meetings–while still living in the outskirts of town–will be mightily challenged.

I used to work downtown at Amazon where lots of people biked to work. But as I moved up the chain of command, and clothing/presentation, and back-to-back meetings starting early in the morning became regular requirements, I have to say my commuting habits changed significantly. I wonder how we’ll all deal with that in the future? Will we relax time and appearance requirements enough to allow for transportation that goes slower than 25 miles per hour

woman-suit-bike.jpg

So, finally: Daily stats. I’ve had a lot of things to do in the last few days that have required me to drive a lot more than usual. And another one coming up tonight. Good news: few trips were solo, and fewer still were single task. I can say that this practice for the last couple of months has indeed helped me change some of my habits. But the past few days have still brought home the fact that biking takes time–and sometimes time is simply not available.

Daily Stats:
Car: approx 36 miles, multiple tasks, two people
bike: approx 4 miles
flexcar/bus: 0

Addendum: WildAid is now Wildlife Alliance

I was notified last month that WildAid had made an organizational and name change at the start of the year, but neglected to use the new name in my note yesterday–and Wildlife Alliance Dev Mgr Michael Zwirn contacted me to clarify. Here is the new name: Wildlife Alliance. Check out their website here.

You can check out their great work and a review of their organization at Charity Navigator online. Give often and generously. And if you work with less-than-favorite companies like I do, consider it money laundering–or your very own corporate green initiative.

Thanks Michael and team for all the good work you do!

Day 38 & 39: My Life w Car

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Above: the old library.  Below: the new.

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The newest library remake in Seattle opened today, a complete remodel of the previous one–Southwest Library, my favorite. We rode our bikes over for the opening; the place was jammed with families and kids and walkers and riders like ourselves. When I see something like that, a great new library, a fabulous resource for the neighborhood, I feel great about paying taxes. That’s exactly where I want my taxes to go–to help the whole neighborhood share and take care of a great resource that enriches us all.

Daily Stats (2 days):

Car: 5.5/3 tasks

Bike: 3.5 miles (2 tasks)

flexcar: 0

Bus: 0

Day 34: My Life w Car

Back from my Big Cruise Adventure–my Mom’s 80th birthday cruise to the Sea of Cortez on the Holland American line.

Review: I truly believe that cruise lines are floating food courts and should be named thus. I have never really experienced that level of passive consumerism and it didn’t sit well with me. That said, the whole thing was really for my mom and I managed to shut my mouth and play nice for the most part.

The good news: when my partner and I were off the ship, we managed to see and experience some pretty nice sites. We were introduced–albeit quickly–to a few great spots in the Sea of Cortez of Baja California. We’ll be back there soon to continue our snorkeling and kayak love affair.

I had to stop reading The Weather Makers while on this trip as it was just too depressing to be part of what seemed the epicenter of our consumption crazed culture (probably wasn’t, just seemed like it).

The very, very good news is that there seems to be a huge environmental movement in Mexico. The guy in the snap above is part of a program to save and reintroduce the native macaw population of Mexico–he talked to tourists about not buying parrots from vendors–even in the US, etc.

In Loreto, we went to a gorgeous preserve area off the coast and snorkeled around. Supposedly, there is no big development allowed in Loreto but you can see they’re going to lose that fight. I saw advertisements for retirement communities and the number of real estate offices was truly surprising. Beautiful town–hope they can hang onto it.

The Sea of Cortez was truly spectacular and I hope it doesn’t become too terribly “consumed” by tourists such as myself. Worse are the number of communities, condos, etc that are sprouting up everywhere.

Being on that ship for 10 days really brought home overpopulation. How come overpopulation isn’t a big topic? We have 6 billion people on this planet–we outstripped our resources in 1987 and have been robbing the piggy bank ever since and still, we keep reproducing. I recall that Bill Gates mentioned, upon receiving the monster grant of billions from Buffet, that he would continue to use it to wipe out disease. Asked why he didn’t tackle overpopulation, he answered that overpopulation takes care of itself when communities are healthy and infant death diminishes. Maybe that’s true, maybe so. But I’m skeptical.

Anyway, very glad to be home.

Stats:

Ship: I don’t know how many nautical miles or how many tons of food.
Bike: 8.5 miles/1 task
Car: 0
Flexcar: 0
Bus: 0