Monday, April 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I’m disappointed in the rest of us though, but not because we don’t have more bag laws. Rather, I’m feeling piqued because individually, we are the cause of so many bags still blowing around. Who’s doing that littering with the butts and bags? Not to name names, but we can pretty much point at smokers for tossing the butts along the roadsides, not the cigarette manufacturers.
Ah. Now I get it. Like the gun debate, it’s not the gun manufacturers that kill; it’s the gun buyers who shoot. In the case of butts, it’s the smokers. With plastic bags, it’s the shoppers that are the littering perps. True, while it’s unlikely that a cigarette drops unnoticed from the smoker’s mouth, bag litters are usually oblivious. Well that makes us all suspects in the line-up.
Now for the interrogation:
Do you accept plastic bags for your purchases?
What did you do with the bag after you brought it home?
Did you ever use it again?
Did anyone see it blow off the table at the picnic?
Which child did you ask to retrieve it?
What did he do with it?
Did he throw it into the trash?
Are you sure it didn’t blow out of the trash can when the truck emptied it?
Something that seemed so insignificant at the time, like what you did with the bag at the picnic, can become a life and death issue. Bags choke marine and bird wild life. They fly up off the road to block the radiator grills of cars causing engines to overheat. They can blow onto a motorcycle helmet. Seriously, bags have a deadly side. They also make the neighborhood and roadside look crummy and leach chemicals into soil.
I’m just saying, you still have freedom to carry a plastic bag, so know that if you’re going to tote one, it’s safer when loaded. Don’t let it go off accidentally.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I was on TV news this week. For about 3 seconds. I spotted myself riding next to the window on a hybrid bus, taking a four mile trip around a big block from the Edison State campus past Kmart and back.
The Florida DOT is sponsoring “Hybrid Ride” a 31’ hybrid bus touring Florida counties on trial as a fuel efficiency model for para transit service. This week and next the bus is in Collier County where it will run the regular route from Naples to Immokolee as fuel mileage is monitored, then it will move on to show its stuff in another county.
Our tour guide asked if we riders could tell the change in the engine whine as the it switched from electric to diesel. No. I could not. I could not hear any whine, or maybe all I heard was whine. No matter, it sounded like a bus. The real point is that Hybrid Ride can improve fuel economy 25% to 60% and has reduced NOx emissions by 60% and 90% reduction in particulates.
After touring the state, Hybrid Ride will take its position in the Tallahassee fleet which is already recognized as a Florida Green Government by the Florida Green Building Coalition. Palm Beach County has purchased three hybrid buses, whether Collier will make that decision is still on trial. I'll be following the decision process. Glad I was able to catch a ride and thankful I'd chosen my green shirt for my 3 second TV appearance.
Para transit buses provide services for disadvantaged and special needs riders. Hybrid Ride had an elevator lift in the rear.
Hybrid Ride is a product of International Chassis and Eaton Electric Parallel Drive Hybrid System wth Lithium Ion Battery Pack.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Today our cul de sac experienced its first Smart Car zipping down to the end circle and back. If the pavement were skin, surely the little red car tickled the surface like a fly. From my vantage on the porch, it did look like a remote controlled toy except a pretty large fellow was behind the wheel.
I’m thrilled. Our neighborhood is the perfect venue. Within my two-mile radius of suburban sprawl, one can get to - - grocery, bank, bookstore, doctor, insurance, cleaners, gas station, restaurants, fast food, library, movie theater and anything else one needs - - without driving on a main traffic artery.
I called the local Smart Car dealer several months ago when I saw the little cutie on display outside of Whole Foods Market. Interestingly, the Smart Car dealer is also the luxury- superfast-prestige car dealer. I mean Lamborghini and Ferrari-level cars dealer. For a business model, I guess that fits because all such cars are special ordered one at a time. From a reducing GHG emissions business, it’s not really a conversation. Clearly, it's a prestige car business model.
It would be fun driving a Smart Car with its 1-liter engine for local errand running off the main highway. If everyone in the neighborhood had one, all the more fun. As for driving on a big highway, I will if you will.
Here is a link to the online Smart Car community website.
Friday, April 24, 2009
I’ve relied on the latest issue of Sky, Delta’s in-flight magazine, to pass the first hour of flight. April’s issue has the annual Earth Day article, this time featuring the actress/environmental spokesperson Daryl Hannah with some of her thoughts on the hard work of saving the planet. She says:
“. . .sometimes keeping my spirits up can be a challenge, but I’m constantly refueled by absolute rabid love for this planet and the beauty I see when I find it.”
(I sometime have trouble finding the planet also, so I definitely understand. Not so sure about feeling rabid; I have a strong commitment, but maybe I just don’t know the symptoms.) I’m teasing, Daryl, you’re a passionate advocate, if not articulate spokesperson for the environment, and I do know what you mean about the fight to keep your spirits up. Discouragement is the side affect of working so hard to make a difference and not seeing results.
But there are results. The gentleman in the seat next to me on this flight was embarrassed when he confessed that he’s not very good about recycling. See? There was a time when he wouldn’t have known enough to be embarrassed.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
I serve on the steering committee that organized the local event. As one might expect, the organizers are a group of committed individuals who are passionate. Passion can shake the status quo toward change. However, there is the pitfall to passion that can destroy the common purpose. That pitfall occurs when partisan political barbs catapult into a meeting.
Early on our group laid a ground rule against sending up political lobs during our discussions. For the most part, we’ve kept to it. Occasionally a zinger spews, maybe someone has a zinger habit. When it occurs in our small group, we immediately remind each other what we all have agreed: No party lobs. No party zingers. No political jokes.
The national discussions on Earth Day are about climate change and our communities. If you have the opportunity to participate in one of these discussions, please do. As a word of caution, watch out for the red herring, that darting political zinger. Don’t let the splat of a political affront distract you from the mission. Likewise, take care you don't chum the waters with baited comments yourself. The zinger is bait. Baitfish are small. We have bigger fish to fry.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This morning in honor of my countdown to Earth Day, I harvested a bucket of gorgeous black crumbled dirt from my compost, scooping it from the bottom with my hands. Totally earthy. I’ll add it to the soil when setting out the 18 vinca plants that have cheered me in the kitchen for the past week. The tray of plants, with blossoms of amazing magenta with white centers, has moved around the house. It has been a dinner table centerpiece, a coffee table decoration, a window sill box and overall my kitchen’s ode to spring.
While I love bringing home a perfect bouquet of cut flowers from the market, the budget these days won’t let me do it often. For $9.95, a tray of 18 blooming plants provided as much cheer and bang for the buck, plus they’ll keep on contributing through the season with cut flowers later. Just a thought that you might enjoy doing the same thing.