Posts Tagged ‘cars’

I know, I know, the American people are suffering. 4$ a gallon, and rising. I should share our nation’s outrage, and feel sorry for my compatriots. At the risk of being perceived, once more, as a cold-hearted human being, I decided to take a look at these numbers – from here and here

Makes me wish for $8 and up, a gallon . . .

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More potent than the most virulent tirades from flaming climate deniers, are the silent thoughts that circle in our minds and negate even our greenest intentions. It takes trained attention to catch these thoughts. Right now, for instance, I am about to go grocery shopping at Whole Foods. Only a few miles away. No objective reasons for why I can’t bike. Still, my mind is already made up:

I am going to drive. Don’t ask me to be good. Don’t ask me to be green. I don’t feel up to it. Need to be pampered. Out of sight, out of mind. Plus I am angry about stuff. Can’t deal with all that other shit. I fall back on what’s familiar, what I know best. Can’t, don’t want to make the extra effort. Right now, it is just me, me. Could care less about the planet, and what’s going to happen in ten, even a few years from now. It is too much work. I want simple. No room for other considerations. 

See what I mean?

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A table is worth a thousand words. This one appeared in a short op-ed piece by Paul Krugman, in the New York Times

Boy, am I proud to be French sometimes!

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If one had any remaining doubts regarding the power of money, recent news about SUVs and gas prices should take care of those. In America, since the rise in gas prices, SUV sales have dropped off dramatically, and people are switching to smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Dealers don’t know what to do with their inventory.

In China, on the other hand, where gas prices are state regulated and fixed to $2.90 a gallon, SUVs are selling like hotcakes.

Money does talk.

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12 by 8. That’s the universe I live in. 12 by 8, inches. Twelve hours a day, glued to my computer screen. I know, I can use my eyes, and my ears, and my mind to visit the world, from that tiny window. Still, that feels pretty limiting. I hadn’t really thought about it that way, until last weekend, when I decided to follow Charlotte’s hint to plant some vegetables in our yard.

In the midst of pulling out some weeds, it hit me big that I hadn’t been out in the world, really out, in a long long time. Out, as in getting down close to the earth. Out, as in getting drunk from forgotten smells, the grasses, the dirt, the air. Out, as in hearing the white noise from the dancing stems. Out, as in seeing the nearly invisible hairs on the tiny leaves . Out as in fighting with the subterranean roots, that threatened to overtake the fertile soil. Three hours later I rose, my body aching, and happy.

Since then, it has come to my attention, that the wonder of the Internet, and more broadly technology, comes at a price. We have shrunk our world to a series of metal boxes and rectangles. Computer, TV, car, plane, it’s all the same. A world that is tasteless, odorless, and cold. A world that filters all the noises and sights from the outside, according to some pre-established programs. A world that takes us further and further away from nature.

No wonder I feel cut off. 12 by 8, inches, that’s the extent of my connection.

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The Day Before Christmas:

Last night, all my resolutions of not giving into the pressure, vanished. The deadline was becoming near, and there was no escaping. Twenty three family members were going to be present at our Christmas Eve dinner tonight, and I was not going to let them down with no gifts. 11pm, and I was still working on a list. The years before had been easy. This time, the looming reality of global warming added a new level of complexity.

In the end, I decided to hold a White Elephant party after dinner. This way, everybody would have a ‘gift’. For the children and close family members, I went out this morning and got green gifts to please my green conscience: massage certificates, recycled Patagonia fleece top, Ugg slippers, leather gloves, wool scarves, sweaters, gift certificates for iTunes and books at Borders. For all the women, I got ceramic Peace pendants from a local artisan.

Christmas Day:

Hardly any cars in the streets. I wondered why for a second. Prad reminded me that all the stores were closed. All of America was staying home to celebrate Christmas with their families.

Flashback to my youth, back in France. When each Sunday was just like today. A day when all the stores were closed, except for bakeries and pastry shops. Sunday was a day for the family to gather around the kitchen table, and enjoy a sumptuous lunch that my mother had prepared. Followed by a long walk to help us digest all that rich food.

Sure, it was a pain sometimes. We had to plan and make sure we were all set for Sunday. Otherwise we would have to make do with what we had. Or we would go borrow from our neighbors.

Back to the house, I overhear the children bitching, that ‘Everything is closed. That sucks. I want to shop.

The Day After Christmas:

Time to return presents. One of my relatives thought I would like a multicolored purse from Talbot’s. The thing is still in its box, half wrapped into its original plastic, and with its tag on. I can’t wait to dispose of it. It will not let it sit on my dresser one day longer.

The cars are back in the streets, and the mall’s parking lot. Transporting hordes of shoppers, anxious to catch the best After Christmas sales.

Green Girl Wannabe’s Christmas Chronicle

I feel almost relieved from this Not So Green Exposure. Life is back to normal, and there is something strangely comforting about this flurry of activity.

Talbot’s would not give me money back. Instead, I got a store credit. $33. I walked out happy from feeling so light. Better a tiny gift card than a big ugly bag.

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Being on vacation, made me realize that, being green is work. Why is it that all that is worthwhile, requires work? One needs to work on relationships, work at work, work at being a good green citizen. . . Here in Paris, I just want to enjoy, indulge, and be lazy. This morning, I played tourist with the girls, and rediscovered Montmartre. We had lots of fun looking for bargains at the Marche St Pierre, where the Petit Bateau shirts went for 3 Euros. The Sacre Coeur disappointed us with all its tourists, and its Las Vegas makeover. In the shop, Catherine bought a medal for herself and her sister. Everything was for sale there, even the candles, at 10 Euros a pop. It is easy to take a vacation from being green, not so much from consumerism

The one good thing about Paris, is the transportation. We are learning to rely on our feet again, to go from place to place. In two days we have walked, taken the subway, the bus, and the Batobus on the Seine. No car, with the exception of my brother giving us a ride from the airport. We are eating so much, and still, we are losing weight from all the exercise. I wish California was not so dependent on cars. The people would be healthier, and the air would a lot more pure.

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