Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for November, 2007

Day 26 of Daily Footprint Project. My search for a bike continues. Yesterday, I drove 38 miles to look at an old Murray bike. What I did not know is that some of the older bikes come without brakes. To stop, I am supposed to pedal backward. Not for me, I decided.

Then I got this very sweet email from Tim, one of the sellers on Craigslist, who had the nearly perfect bike, except it was too big for me:

Oh Marguerite..just a few tips as I saw your blog on your newly potential bike purchase in Sac., ….for me personally, I have? bikes…I use one locally only for the library, errands, drop my kids off to school during the Spring and no rain season, exercise to see/feel the peaceful Zen in our neighborhood when I ride super early Sat. a.m. before all the people rise up and no cars around..such a nice feeling, check out different streets and where it leads to etc. etc…. it is sooooo cool to think that all the places that I can travel wo/ paying extras for gas, oils, maintenance and saving the environment…that bike is my most frequently used bike that I can lend out to help others and it looks really beat up, but very well maintain ever so often so others won’t touch or take it when I leave it at a library..I’ll probably get attached to it eventually..the next higher end bike is the one used mostly on weekends on sunnydays and if needed can go pretty far wo/ breaking down and stranded.. as for my last one it’s for ocassional use with groups..fear of theft…if you plan to you it on a daily basis and reliability, and to limit cost on fixing repairs, and polluting PA w/ bike parts and additional landfill plastics, wrappers, tubes, glues, patches, and other bike parts and spares, I do recommend a better quality bike so that you can spend more time in cycling your zen and not worry about flats, and additional stress…..my 1st bike was purchased last summer (early) from a young women locally w/ celebral palsy…so sad she had to sell her 1989 mountain bike for $50 (?), I didn’t have the heart to ask for less of it’s condition.. but it cost me brand new cables, tires, tubes, paint, job frame rejuvenation, flats, stickers for decoration, newer parts etc. etc…?over $125 plus.. so even though the bike looks like it’s worth under $30.00 the work, time, and parts put into it was a lot more from this owner’s perspectives.. so if you buy a better condition bike it will cost a lot less to fix up and a lot less to pollute our land for others….believe me from experience..riding a newer bike is worth the money and pleasure…I’ll probably be selling my bike this summer…anyway hope the story/tips help…T

Getting a bike is not as simple as I thought. I need to do some more research and phone calling before I start driving places again.

Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #26

Water
personal:
flush toilet 3
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 4
shower at pool 2
wash fruit
mom:
communal:
rinse dishes
rinse salad

Electricity/gas
personal:
electric toothbrush 2
microwave tea 2’
microwave milk 2’
laptop on all  day
microwave oatmeal 4’
microwave soup 2’
mom:
bake chicken leg in small toaster oven 30’
fry potatoes 5’
communal:
lights

Food
personal:
tea
organic milk
organic apples 2
organic chocolate
oatmeal
leftover takeout soup
whole wheat bread
dinner at friend’s house
mom:
baked  organic chicken
fried leftover potatoes
organic green salad
whole wheat baguette
communal:

Waste
personal:
toilet paper
orange peels
mom:
paper wrapper for chicken
salad scraps
communal:
3 newspaper plastic wrappers

Recycling
personal:
mom:
communal:
2 papers
junk mail

Transportation
personal:
drive to bike dealer 38 miles
drive to pool 6 miles
drive to friend’s house 3 miles
mom:
communal:

Non food shopping
personal:
mom:
communal:

Read Full Post »

Day 25 of Daily Footprint Project. This is the bike I want:

Biking the Environmental TalkBiking the Environmental Talk

Biking the Environmental TalkBiking the Environmental Talk

A vintage Schwinn Beach Cruiser, for $140, on Craigslist. Above my initial $100 limit, but for such a beauty, I am willing to bend. The only problem is, it’s in Sacramento. Its owner may come to San Francisco in the near future. That means I will have to wait, and if he does come down, I will have to drive to pick it up.

I am excited. This could be my Christmas present.

Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #25

Water

personal:
flush toilet 2
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 5
shower at pool 2
mom:
communal:
run dishwasher full load
rinse dishes
rinse veggies

Electricity/gas

personal:
electric toothbrush 2
microwave tea 2’
microwave milk 2’
laptop on all  day
microwave oatmeal 4’
mom:
fry steak
microwave potato 10’
communal:
lights

Food

personal:
tea
organic milk
organic raspberries
organic chocolate
oatmeal
local oranges 2
mom:
chocolate pudding
organic raspberries
scones from Whole Foods
organic steak
baked potato
communal:
organic tomatoes and fresh local mozzarella salad
takeout chicken soup from Whole Foods
organic whole wheat bread

Waste

personal:
toilet paper
mom:
paper wrapper for steak
communal:
3 newspaper plastic wrappers
leftover turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce
half salad
half burrito
leftover fish
old olives
tofu cake
old veggies
old jams
half bread
old peanut butter jar
old parmesan

Recycling

personal:
mom:
communal:
2 papers
junk mail

Transportation

personal:
drive to appointment 5 miles
drive to pool 6 miles
mom:
communal:
drive Prad to airport  45 miles

Non food shopping

personal:
mom:
photo paper
communal:
flea medicine for dogs

Read Full Post »

Barely recovered from the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday mania, I am being asked to step right into Christmas mode. There is no avoiding the ads, the Christmas aisle at the drugstore, the daily mentions of preparations in the paper, and the creeping frenzy that I feel in my surroundings.

Real vs. Fake, Which Tree is Greener?‘ Not only do I have to get a Christmas tree, but beforehand I am to do some research and read a whole page article. Nothing is ever simple anymore. Just reading about the pros and cons of each options was enough to give me a headache:

  1. The new fake tree. It looks so real, you won’t even notice the difference. Some even have a fake smell to imitate the real thing. The stuff will last you for years. Imagine, no more trip to the tree farm every year. No more loading the monster on the top of your car. No more mess of pine needles throughout your house. No more watering. Done, you are set. And why worry about how to dispose of it? By the time you are done with it, it will be years, and hopefully by then, we will have figured out how to dispose of plastics without taxing the Earth too much. Still, there is the environmental cost of producing yet another man made plastic object.
  2. The used fake tree. There are tons of those floating around. You are not generating new plastics. This is a very reasonable option. I can’t help but wonder about the life of those trees prior to being recirculated. Did they witness happy Christmases? Who were their prior owners? How come they got ditched?
  3. The real tree. If you are like me, and can’t stand the idea of a plastic tree, go ahead, indulge yourself and your family, and don’t change a thing to your tradition. Gather your whole crew into the biggest car you own, and set out to your usual spot. Go to a tree farm to cut down your own, or just visit the nearby lot with already cut trees. It’s so much fun trying to pick the perfect tree, not too crooked, not too tall, not too short. Will it fit? We never made it as far as the tree farm, always went to the same lot close to our house. If you are environmentally correct, this is something to think about. How much gas will you use to drive to the tree farm?
  4. The live tree. Forget all that cutting and buying a fake. Instead go to the nursery, and buy a potted tree that you can reuse every year. You can bring it inside for Christmas, otherwise keep it in your yard. Of course, this is not an option for people without a yard. Nothing wrong with that option, that I can think of.

Last year, Prad and I opted for a live tree, and we will be bringing it back into the house next week. The nursery did not have a suitable pine tree, so we ended up with a holly tree instead. I kind of liked the idea of branching out, of not getting the same boring old pine. The children were disappointed. Yesterday, Catherine asked about the Christmas tree. When were we going to get one? I reminded her about the holly tree. She stormed down to her room. ‘Getting a real pine tree, that’s what Christmas is about

Read Full Post »

Ever wonder if you can make a difference for a more sustainable world? Read the article I wrote on Lisa Max, in Environmental Graffiti:

 

Grandma Dreams up Big Solar Plan in Kitchen

 

If you are like Lisa, and have been an agent of sustainable changes in your community, drop me a note. I have this series of guest posts on La Marguerite, where I invite people just like you, to share their stories. It’s called BlogActs, for blogging and activism.

Read Full Post »

Last week’s Black Friday and Buy Nothing Day, inspired me to write, ‘Finding a Sustainable Middle in a Country of Extremes‘.

Yesterday was Black Friday. Despite all my good intentions, I ended up joining the crowds at the mall. I have gotten much better at taming my consuming urges, to the point where I do not even feel the desire any more. To refuse my daughter, however, that’s another story altogether. She was so sweet, and I wanted to please her. Off we went, and ended purchasing all three items on her ‘need or rather want’ list. If I still had any remaining doubts on the extent of the challenge facing our society, the sight of all these people, happily walking from store to store, multiple shopping bags in hand, and on a mission to find more bargains, put an end to them.

Then, comes Adbusters, and its arresting Buy Nothing Day TV ad with a burping pig, calling for us to put a stop to our consuming frenzy. I did not know about Buy Nothing Day, until a few days ago. Now, it seems everywhere I turn, someone has vowed to not buy anything for a day, a week, and sometimes even as long as a year. You can make it as tough as you like, depending on your own fortitude. The Compact people are gathering momentum, and their two year old Yahoo Group of diehard non-shoppers is going strong with 8,500 members. There is also No Impact Man and his one year experiment.

From one extreme, to the other. Either you can shop till you drop dead, or you are to stop shopping, cold turkey. In both cases, I dare question the sustainability of such extreme behaviors. It is now an established realization, that we cannot keep on consuming the way we do, without jeopardizing life as we know it on this planet. What concerns me, . . .

Read more

Read Full Post »

Day 24 of Daily Footprint Project. After writing the last two articles on ‘Biking the Environmental Talk, Part 1 and Part 2, I felt the pressure to follow through, and to go on Craigslist. It really helps to make one’s commitment official. My green pride was at stake, and I had to take action. After looking at several ads and talking to a few prospective sellers, I am leaning towards an old Schwinn woman bike. It would please me to not spend more than $100. Tomorrow, I am to take a look at several bikes. I am getting excited. I am even thinking of giving the bike a name.

Daily Footprint Project
Daily Log
Day #24

Water

personal:
flush toilet 2
wash face 2
brush teeth 2
wash hands 4
shower 1
mom:
rinse dishes 3
wash fruit 3
communal:

Electricity/gas

personal:
electric toothbrush 2
microwave tea 2’
microwave milk 2’
laptop on all  day
fry eggs
heat bread in toaster
mom:
communal:
lights

Food

personal:
tea
organic milk
organic persimmons 2
organic chocolate
organic eggs 2
Indian bread 1
mom:
chocolate pudding
organic raspberries
scones from Whole Foods
communal:
Indian dinner at sister in law’s house

Waste

personal:
toilet paper
mom:
communal:
3 newspaper plastic wrappers

Recycling

personal:
mom:
communal:
2 papers
junk mail

Transportation

personal:
mom:
communal:
drive to sister in law’s house 6 miles

Non food shopping

personal:
mom:
communal:

Read Full Post »

The Daily Footprint Project has taken me to the micro level of my personal footprint, down to the most minute details. I am only one out of six billion people, however. How do I fit within the larger picture? I wanted to know. I found this world map of environmental footprint on the Footprint Network:

Learning From Environmental Footprint Statistics

The map tells me I am in the largest red zone, along with 300 millions other Americans. Together, we have succeeded at becoming the largest offenders against the environment, both in terms of our per capita and combined environmental footprint (from Living Planet Report):

 

snapshot-2007-11-26-18-21-41.jpg

I am left wondering where does the nine point six come from? What is it about the way we live in this country that makes us such outrageous consumers of the world’s resources? Here is what came to my mind, in random order:

  1. round the clock services

  2. big cars

  3. big houses

  4. master bedrooms

  5. hot tubs

  6. pools

  7. large food servings

  8. big appliances

  9. big everything

  10. driving everywhere

  11. love of electronics

  12. waste, throw away culture

  13. malls as meccas

  14. online shopping

  15. suburbia

  16. credit cards

  17. advertising

  18. red meat

  19. processed foods

  20. cheap gas

  21. cheap water

  22. cheap electricity

If only things were not so big, and cheap, and convenient, we would not be so tempted to consume as much. I know I wouldn’t. I don’t whenever I go back to France. And the statistics are here to prove it.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 26 other followers