doodlemaier: (Default)
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Special? "Special" for me or special to the world at large? I snicked some wine bottles out of a few people's recycling bins to put my own homebrewed beer into, but I wouldn't call it "special" because I'll do it again next week.

I mean, fuck it, I am special because everyday is Earth Day at [livejournal.com profile] doodlemaier's half acre (except for those increasingly rare occasions when I wake up on Venus, or where ever) and I'll tell you why. Because, everyday I look around me I see the "things" of my life, regardless whether I love 'em or hate 'em, I take moment to consider from what and where in Nature all those things came from and what went into to bringing them here. Are they well-crafted? Are they useful? Are they even still serving any purpose at all?

Every single bit of the wealth in the world is derived from nature, and the sorry fact is that most of it is utter garbage; mass-marketed, disposable, created on someone's shift who's bored with their job in a factory somewhere that took it miles and months to get where it is. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle (and in that order of priority) So yeah, I'm celebrating Eart' Day today, and tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and for the rest of my life.
doodlemaier: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]There's no one single thing I do everyday, although if I had my druthers I'd live in a climate that allows me to ride my bicycle everyday. I live 5 miles form work so @ 25 miles/gal. and $3.50/gal petrol I figure I save $7/week $42/month. I've installed rain barrels under the downspouts of my home so that I can collect water from my roof: This reduces (slightly) the amount of run off to the local watershed and allows me to "recycle" water for plants when my neighborhood is under water restrictions. I live in a freezing cold house all winter (t-stat set only warm enough to prevent the pipes from bursting), I live in a smelting pot with very little a/c all summer. I repurpose everything from glass jars to beer bottles to newspaper. Even paper towels have a hierarchy of re-use: From drying hands, to wiping a counter, to cleaning something really grungy off the floor, and then maybe the floor again. Just because it's dirty doesn't mean it's done.

I'm slowly learning to make things that I want rather than buy them, although it tends to be a hit-or-miss proposition. Before I buy anything new I check my local thrift shops for a reasonable facsimile. I don't drink as much beer now that I appreciate the amount of effort and energy that goes into its creation.

I experiment with anything I can do to reduce the use of electricity: I removed all the wall-to-wall carpeting in my home and replacead them with area rugs, so now I sweep the floor rather than vacuum. I unplug appliances when not in use: Even appliances that are turned off draw current up to the point of the power switch creating a "phantom load" that can account for upwards of 40% of an entire electric bill. I only buy compact flourescent light bulbs and shut them off when I leave a room. I hang small LED flashlights in cupboards so that I can find things therein without turning a light on. I go to bed when it's dark. . .

I draw a lot of inspiration from the stories my great grandmother would tell me as a child about growing up during the great depression. They lived very well with out a lot of things, including money, and didn't really miss them, either. Learning and being constantly aware of the source in nature of everything you hold dear is essential to truly appreciating them. Simple questions like "what did people in this situation do before there was electricity?" and "what options are available if the Home Depot wasn't 15 minutes away?" get the mind out of the lazy, sand-trap pitfall of convenience. Everything with me is penny-wise experimentation to determine what makes a difference and what doesn't, as well as what I can tolerate.

As far as what I could do more of, I could transition to a completely meat-free diet. Some 17% of all greenhouse gas emissions are supposedly produced by the meat and ranching industries, whereas cars only contribute about 15%. As it is I really don't eat a lot of meat or drive a lot of car, I consider these luxuries. I could plant a garden and start canning vegetables. This is actually in the works, although there are still a lot of bamboo and other invasives in my yard that need to be removed first. I'd like to install solar panels and a wind turbine at my house for heat and electricity. Unfortunately these options require a significant financial investment up front. And as much as the cost of energy is rising these technologies are very promising and will soon pay for themselves, but when you don't have the money you don't have the money. Perhaps these will be viable upgrades when it comes time to replace the roof, and as we establish equity in the property. Basically I need to continue to learn, read everything I can get my hands on and practice, practice, practice.

I was reading an article in Time Magazine about "winning the war on global warming" where they claim to want to "ensure the survival of our way of life for future generations". We as a culture need to get past this way of thinking and learn to live differently. Afterall, it's "our way of life" that's created these problems to begin with.

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The exquisite itch

October 2015

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