Happy Belated Earth Day!

I spent mine being slightly less deathly ill, trying to work, at book club, and moving.  So, not so celebratory, though it was a good book club (We the Living, by Rand- we picked The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury for next month).

Fear not, though, there is a chance for those of us who couldn’t celebrate today to still do Earth Day in style.  This Sunday on the National Mall there’s a big Climate Rally- some sort of demonstration for climate legislation, plus speakers and music.  I am not entirely sure how this is going to catalyze change, but I’ll check it out, if only to bask in a sea of hopeful environmental thoughts for a day.

There more information and an RSVP here, if you’re interested.


Like these guys!

Except I am violently ill again during this move and thus not as adorable as these little Fairy Penguins (that I saw last year in NZ, on the Otago Peninsula).  Much more hacking and mucous in my nesting process.  I might have a moving allergy.

At any rate, I hope to be settled and back to caring about the environment soon.

New Rule

Remember that time my goal was posting regularly?  My grandmother reminded me about that today, and asked for something newer than cherry blossoms.  Thanks for keeping me honest, grandma!

So, before I show you the beach where I was last week instead of posting for you, the new rule is:  If I don’t have time for a post, I will post you a picture I’ve taken of something.  Perhaps with words explaining a topical point.  Fast for me, new for you!

But, I learned from the goal to post more that I like posting, and again I’m feeling an itchiness and slight guilt when I don’t, which is good.  Except for that week at the beach, in which I felt no guilt at all, because life was beautiful.

In conclusion:

The ocean has eroded away groves of trees to just stumps on this section of Corolla.  Beautiful and cautioning.

Spring has Sprung

Cold and soggy, but it’s here.  Behold!

Possibilites of Cycling

Not right now for me, since my bike is still stuck on my balcony.  It will be unstuck soon- has to be, I’m moving in a month- and I’ll be riding it.  There have been many new cycling developments in the last few weeks.  For instance, Biking Person, my new landlord, has already shown me (threatened me with) the best cycling route to our current workplace.  This was aided by Google maps, which now has a filter to show you the best biking path from place to place.  It’s not right as often as driving directions and I find that “bikable path” is a highly subjective term so grain of salt and double-check.  I’d die on the path he showed me though.  I’m terrible at cycling on real streets.  I don’t know what to look or listen for, and I’m constantly nervous.  But he also pointed me to a free class by the Washington Area Bicycle Association, on exactly that- beginner and intermediate cycling on real streets.  The next one is Saturday at 1, and then again April 15th at 6.

Great idea, hunh?  And I’m finding out just in time.  But DC is trying to make it easier for cyclists in the city by opening larger bike lanes soon, on some major thoroughfares.  Check it- the link gives you maps and some renderings. The first one down Pennsylvania Ave.’s median should be done in May.

Biggest news, though- the Secretary of Transportation announced last week that walking and biking are just as important kinds of transportation as driving a car, and that his department will treat them as such, from now on.

Take a minute to consider that.  Some people just live too far from their destinations to have the option of foot or bike transport.  But most of the time, it’s just not safe to get on the roads where cars have all the power and space, even if the grocery or work aren’t that far away.

According to that Wired article, it means that federally funded projects- with stimulus money, that’s lots- have to include many modes of transportation.  That’s bike access and crossing points, safe spaces for pedestrians, new bikeways…

Where would you not drive if you could walk or bike safely and conveniently? I’d like to be able to bike to the metro.  Right now it involves several rough intersections, crossing under a highway, and no bike lanes on any available road.  It’s much easier (though with the bike path assaults, not safer) to bike to the metro 40 minutes away than the one that should be 10 minutes away.

All these changes aren’t getting my bike off the balcony, though.  Dah.

Items of Note: Life, Choices, Life Choices

Remember how Planet Earth was/still is completely amazing?  Discovery/BBC (the same people who did Planet Earth) is doing another series in the same vein, with incredible nature footage, impressive feats of film-making, ants catching a fungus that explodes their heads (or at least I hope- That’s my favorite episode, hands-down.  That and the shark that eats the seal in mid-air).  It’s Life, and you can watch clips and an explanation here (after a commercial). Oprah is narrating, and it’s a pleasure to hear her calm voiceover as this Komodo dragon tries to eat a water buffalo.

If that clip didn’t make you hungry enough to stop reading and go get a snack, check out this article from the NYT’s Green Inc column.  It summarizes a study of the behavior of consumers who are given green shopping choices, and who buy environmentally-friendly things.  The gist is, viewing ecofriendly shopping options makes us more altruistic.  But actually buying green stuff makes us smug, thieving jerks:

“People do not make decisions in a vacuum,” the researchers concluded, adding that “while mere exposure to green products can have a positive societal effect by inducing pro-social and ethical acts, purchasing green products may license indulgence in self-interested and unethical behaviors.”

The experimenters attribute this to a “single-action bias”, which leads people facing big problems to rationalize making one small responsive action as ‘enough’ to then consider those problems solved.  I’m not sure how that progresses to petty theft (read the article) but perhaps green consumers feel they deserve a little extra for their troubles?  I recognize myself in the single action bias description, for sure. I’ll check for the other part later this week (I need to stock up on recycled TP- will it cause me to cut off an old lady in the parking lot?  Stay tuned!)

Third noted item is also scholarly. I’ve got all the responses I want from graduate programs, and I’m deciding between the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  I welcome opinions to flavor my other research.

My Failure Trumped By Our Success

So I’ve messed up the every other day thing technically twice now, but this weekend was most egregious.  In my defense, the weather was so mind-blowingly gorgeous Saturday that I could not possibly sit inside long enough to blog.  Instead I picnic-ed up and art-ed out, then had a party.  And today, I had to sleep and start moving.  Yes, I am moving again,  but it’ll be great:  I’m moving in with my friends, Biking Person/EcoCheap and his wife, and we will live a happy green life together for several months until I have to move again.  I’m excited to blog about our household environmental efforts- they have a real compost pile, and a rain barrel! Think I’ll be able to convince them to try my AC-less summer?  (Actually I’m not sure I could convince me to do that again).

But I was not moving all day.  I spent tonight at the Capitol building, waiting to hear news on passing the health care reform.   The crowds of protestors were small (maybe a hundred?  but I am terrible at crowd estimation, and it was dark and they milled around), and supporters even smaller, but a friend and I found some nice people with a radio playing the CSPAN coverage and we listened to the speeches and chatted through the vote and rejoiced at the passage!  and caught the metro home.  It was a wonderful day, and I am sure you will excuse my posting lateness in your excitement at our first national efforts to protect our right to health care.

Photo is of our group gathered around the radio, waiting for the voting outcome.

Doesn’t the Capital look gorgeous tonight?

All purposeful for once.

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virescent.blog (at ) gmail.com

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