Donde pongo el ojo pongo la bala.
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Category — environment

Wheels, wheels, keep on turnin’

There are certain images that just spark something in me… and today, it was one that Beca posted on Facebook.

I know that some people may say, “A car can fit four or five people, that’s an exaggeration.” However! The fact that cars CAN transport 4 or 5 people doesn’t mean that they DO. Next time you’re commuting to the office in the morning, look to the left and then to the right of you. Cars usually have one passenger in them at any given time. More people are in them when you’re on a road trip or when the whole family is going somewhere, but since when do you go to your office with your whole family?!

George provided a useful link to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website which states, “The average number of persons occupying a car is 1.59 and has not changed much since 1995. The largest increases from 1995 to 2009 have been in the occupancy rates for vans – from 2.07 to 2.35 – and sport-utility vehicles – from 1.70 to 1.92 persons per vehicle.” (For additional data, click here.)

Additionally, the cost for the infrastructure necessary for these different types of transportation is proportional to the “space” needed. Maintaining bike lanes is never going to cost as much as adding lanes to highways and building overpasses. (Not to mention that you’ll end up paying $15-50 to fix a bike, but potentially thousands to fix a car… and crash with another bike at full speed, you might have a broken arm, crash with another car at full speed, and good luck to you.) And let’s not confuse the REAL issue here: more than a matter of “space”, it’s a matter of energy efficiency and how using these different types of transportation affects our overall well-being and the future of our planet.

Whether you believe in global warming or not is not even an issue. Fact is, fossil fuels are huge contaminants and in the long run, are not an ENDLESS source of energy. So it doesn’t matter if we disagree on climate change or not, I think we can all agree that the contamination caused by emissions and leaks in the air and in the ground adversely affect our health… not to mention the fact that driving makes stress levels rise and reduces human interaction. Public transportation and bikes are not only good for your health, fitness, clean air, but you end up at least saying hello to people you cross paths with more often. And riding bikes more often would lead to developers having to take it into account as a form of transportation when planning cities… Can you imagine the advantages of having to travel shorter distances to take your children to school, to get groceries, and the additional time you would have for leisure if you cut your commute that much shorter? We’re talking huge improvements on so many levels, and drastically better quality of life…

I’ll keep dreaming and posting. :)

October 17, 2011   1 Comment

Paper or plastic?

We are what some might call dirty hippies. (I am?)

TANGENT TIME! Yep, I’m one of those annoying people — we are those annoying people that start using “we” for like, everything once they’re married. Fact is, George and I not only share a lot of the same opinions on The Big Subjects in Life™, but as roommates who get to make out without disappointing our parents by being libertines (yep!), we spend basically all of our free time together. So, yes, I will annoyingly overuse this plural personal pronoun (say that five times fast!), but only because it just makes sense. For us. (heehee See what I did there?)

Anyway! We are what some (though, I hope not a lot of you) might call dirty hippies. Recycling. Composting. Reusing things. Repurposing things. And taking reusable bags with us to the grocery store to eliminate the need for plastic or paper. That said, I respect everyone else’s opinion to disagree. You don’t recycle? I won’t judge you. You don’t reuse? I don’t care if you don’t mind wasting money! You don’t believe in global warming? That’s OK by me!

TANGENT #2! If you don’t believe in global warming because of the really brutally cold winters we’ve been having, let me just stop you in your tracks: “weather” and “climate” are not the same thing. “Global weather” averages out. It’s always raining somewhere, flooding somewhere else and sunny in another region. There is a GLOBAL AVERAGE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE, and there’s no denying that with emissions and general mistreatment of the planet, that average is steadily climbing. Global warming causes increased precipitation, increased precipitation causes hail, snow, etc. as well as more violent storms of all types,not to mention longer periods of drought and bigger floods. But, if you don’t believe in it for any other reason than using the temperature/climate/global warming argument, then I’m not going to disagree with you.

Yesterday evening, I pranced on over to Publix for some groceries with my reusable bags in hand. At the register, I handed them to the bag girl and she visibly rolled her eyes. I’m going to assume it was because she was very sleepy and they were dry or because she has some sort of weird new eye-rolling disorder called ocular rotativitis. She started putting away the fruits and vegetables and made the usual comments, “Tee hee, do you eat any normal food?” Lady, that IS normal food. Junk food full of preservatives and artificial coloring is what is not normal. I smiled and checked my Droid and tried tuning her out…

“Why didn’t you put each type of produce into one of those separate plastic bags out there? It’s easier to sort them at home. And they’re free!”

Yes, I didn’t use them because I’m cheap. “It takes the same effort for me to put the stuff in the produce drawer when I get home if the stuff’s in individual bags or not… also, you know, the environment?” I pointed to the reusable bags, indicating that clearly I don’t like additional waste. She ‘harumphs’, finishes bagging, and has a couple things left that don’t fit.

“Paper or plastic for the remaining things?”

“I… can just carry them in the cart.”

“You don’t want to do that with the pineapple,” now she has telepathy? “There are germs all over.”She struck a nerve. I agreed to plastic, figuring I could use the bags for trash. I watched her use two separate bags, one for the pineapple, one to take the eggs out of the bag in which they already were.

“No, that’s fine, I don’t need two. They can go in the same bag.”

“The pineapple will crush them.”

“But I don’t want another bag.”

“But it will crush them. They need their own bag.”

“I don’t want it…” The cashier looked at me with pained, pleading eyes. The people behind me were starting to get impatient. “FINE. FINE.”

I’m sorry, Planet. I tried.

July 6, 2011   16 Comments