Archive for April, 2008

Earth Day: Media Aftermath

I’ve finished my organic vegetarian dinner (don’t be impressed, though, I had a chicken sandwich at a national chain for lunch), and I found a few new colors of hydrangea and mint seeds at the Grocery tonight: good earth day.

I’m impressed with the media: they managed to be breathless about the Democratic nomination and the importance of Earth/Going Green/Climate Change simultaneously. With all the coverage today, though, the best article on the subject was published Sunday.

The NYT Magazine carried an article by Michael Pollen (author of “In Defense of Food” and “An Omnivore’s Dilemma”) on why personal sustainability matters. Sure, it’s easy to win my affection by talking about gardening and Czechoslovakian revolutionaries, but his article touches on more than that. Give it a read, if you’ve ever felt like you can’t do anything about climate change, or need a refresher in today’s sea of greenwashing, or even if you’ve got that notion that only the free market can deal with climate change effectively.  Something for everybody, and well-written, to boot.

From the article (after his request that, as a first step, people attempt to grow something edible):

“[G]rowing even a little of your own food is, as Wendell Berry pointed out 30 years ago, one of those solutions that, instead of begetting a new set of problems — the way “solutions” like ethanol or nuclear power inevitably do — actually beget other solutions, and not only of the kind that save carbon. Still more valuable are the habits of mind that growing a little of your own food can yield. You quickly learn that you need not be dependent on specialists to provide for yourself — that your body is still good for something and may actually be enlisted in its own support. If the experts are right, if both oil and time are running out, these are skills and habits of mind we’re all very soon going to need. We may also need the food.”

Also, he mentioned that Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House! Imagine that! Reagan took them right back down, which doesn’t surprise me even a tiny bit, sigh, but they were up there once, and that’s shocking. Why does that have to be shocking?

And in a quick 180, worst coverage of Earth Day goes to WorldNetDaily News. Well, “News”. Their contribution was an article about how uppity women who insist on working out of the home are one of the biggest threats to the environment out there. Maddening, if it weren’t so originally perverse and totally laughable. Found the link through Feministing, who has an excellent response.

Spread the Earth Day Love

I’m back, and I’ve got a few changes coming here for you soon.  Photo Albums!  And such!  But today, it’s Earth Day, and there’s some love to be sharing.

My plans for Earth Day were mostly to trick people into drinking some organic wine and watching The Day After Tomorrow (still the best climate change movie ever produced, ever, sorry, Gore.)  Well, some aspects of that would have involved more necessary trickery than others.  I’m having a hard time finding anyone who finds that movie to be as much of a work of genius as I do.  But given school and work, film and wine will need to happen later on.  I’ll definitly pet my sprouts, though.  That should be plenty earthy.

For a small celebration, though, I want to share a few links to blogs I’ve been reading and enjoying.

A More Perfect Market had a recent post on the problems of landholders cashing in on their forests- the ‘greenies’ and government are making it harder for them, and who’s it helping?

Bean Sprouts has a recipe for Goat Cheese and Roasted Vegetable pasta.  It’s part of her eating-vegetarian challenge.  Since goat cheese is delicious, how challenging can this be?

At Climate Progress, the talk is usually wonky and political, but for Earth Day they’ve posted a discussion of why we shouldn’t focus on saving the planet, but instead on saving ourselves (massive weather changes being way more damaging to people than the huge spinning ball of molten rock we’re allegedly concerned with).

Crunchy Chicken is doing a lot of good work, all the time, but the one that catches my eye is her series on highly attractive men on the environmental movement. This time, it’s Guillermo from LocalHarvest, a website dedicated to local farming. Good pic(k).

Eco Samurai is brewing beer at home for all the environmental, and delicious, reasons.

Eco Warrior collected some interesting ideas for making planters from things that aren’t planters.

Garden Punks has a great series of instructions and photos from their most recent garden design. Rather inspiring, but I’ll have to be content with rearranging my planters in attractive groupings for now.

No Impact Man gave a wise commentary on the recent and possibly counterproductive debates between some climate policy types (including Nordhaus and Shellenberger, who wrote “BreakThrough”) on Climate Progress.

People and Nature has collected a list of things to do outside, especially with kids. Makes me want to find a child to make go outside. In the legal-est way possible.

There’s plenty of Earth Love in these parts- well over 24 hours worth.  Fortunately, when you’re a sustainability blogger, every day is Earth Day (cheesy grin).



New Links

I put up a bunch of links to blogs I’ve enjoyed earlier in the week, and they deserve some introduction.  I’m on a vacation in NYC right now, though, so a specific list of all the things I love about these new guys will have to wait.  For now, check them out for yourselves while you miss me, and I’ll be back next week with photos of the crocheted coral reef.

My Lavender Might Be Alive

Baby Lavender

It’s the greenish smudge in the middle. I’d read a lot about the difficulty of growing lavender from seed, and my soil isn’t draining well at all (lavender loves to drain!), so I had despaired. But something’s come up. Only one baby lavender, from about 20 seeds, but that’s ok, it’s a start.

Last night, I soaked peas, basil, and a few more climbing guys (which allegedly go nicely with morning glories), and I planted them tonight. soaking seeds

Hopefully their pots will drain better- I filled the bottoms with gravel to give the base some breathing room. Gravel was collected from a defunct water fountain and the side of the road, on my way home (Yes, I washed my hands after, mom). I did have to purchase dirt yesterday, though, which is the most ignominious part of urban gardening. Hypothetically, I could steal it from a public green space in the dead of night, but that’s not fair to my neighbors. Plus it’d be full of puppy doo and broken glass.

HD sells both organic and non-organic dirt!  Well, I got potting soil, but they had “regular dirt” of both kinds too.  I bought the non-organic kind, but I’m wondering the impact of growing vegetables and herbs in it, since it’s got the chemical fertilizers and such.  I’ve got enough for a while, and I won’t waste good dirt, but I should read up more on it and make a more informed decision next time I obtain some. Also, bags of dirt are surprisingly heavy, and I’d like to thank the nice man at Home Depot on 236 who helped me get mine into the car Tuesday afternoon.

(The morning glories and chives are still growing too!)

chives day 8morning glories day 8

If It’s Tuesday

Then I went to the thrift store. I had a legitimate purchase today- I needed homes for the seeds I bought yesterday. Mission Accomplished. First though, the other stuff.

Art Deco Cream and Gold Frameblue stars long sleevesColorful Camp Shirtblue tuxedo blouseblue skirtHoney Sweater

Picture Frame, $2, 8.5x11ish- it’s a gold and cream deco-like design painted on the underside of the glass.  I actually got this last week but neglected to put it up. Blue Star Shirt, $1. Colorful stripy camp shirt, $4. Blue tuxedo-style blouse, $4. Skirt with great fabric and horrific shape, $4.  Honey-colored sweater, $5, with a nice thick collar and cuffs, off-center zipper, moss-stitch front texture…ooh I like it.

I feel, after a few of these posts, that I should justify the amount I shop at thrift sales, and the amount I buy when I’m there.  Acquiring too much stuff being all unsustainable and whatnot.  I grew up hating shopping for clothes, so I never owned enough that I liked, or enough useful items, to make it through a week without feeling gross or awkward in my clothing.  That is very unsustainable.  So I’ve donated most of it, and now I’m having a great time getting things I actually like.  Thrifting has replaced about 90% of the “real shopping” needed to replace wearables.

This might all taper off when I have enough for warm weather.  Or when my tiny closet explodes.  But for now, I’m not feeling guilty about having “too much” stuff to wear.  And all that other stuff that’s not wearable, but just cool?  It’s at least all useful.  Though if I buy more fabric scraps, my sewing pile will explode.

Anyway, the alleged reason for the visit:New flower pots

My new planters, obtained for under $20 together.  None of them have drainage holes, so how do I deal with that?  Someone mentioned gravel in the bottom to aid soil drainage?

Sack Race Regulation

Speaking of relay races… last year about this time, the courts pointed out that the EPA had a duty to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, since they’re pollution, and hurt the environment, and allegedly the EPA is all about environmental protection or whatever.

The EPA promised to get back to the American people on that by the end of 2007, but we got nothing. Last week, a coagulation of groups and places (including Baltimore City, the state of Maryland, and Washington DC) filed a lawsuit against the EPA, seeking their proposed emissions limits, or really just any indication that the EPA is doing it’s job.

Meanwhile, some members of the House said it’d be silly to let the EPA write the laws, since they’d just get sued by anti-regulations types if they did. Instead, they think that legislators should pass some emissions laws, post-haste.

And today, rumors surfaced of a White House plan to control greenhouse gas emissions– maybe to be presented to the legislature by the end of the week (maybe take some people’s minds off that Colombia FTA, oof).

Well well.  Let’s start with the White House.  It’s not April Fool’s (I checked), and I don’t think it’s opposite day, so they might actually be serious.  Conventional wisdom has it (see resigned comments in other articles) that as long as Bush was in office, greenhouse gases would roll freely along.  Bush has proven himself to lack all sorts of foresight- has he just now caught up with the rest of the world?

Then the legislature.  After the biofuels silliness, will we really be so strapped as to ask our more posturing politicians to make coherent and helpful rules based on good science and a basic understanding of the economy?  Sends chills down my spine, that’s what.

But the bureaucrats, the ones who have the experience in drafting regulations, and the capacity to understand the research, and who had a great reputation for cleaning up America, will they even pay attention?

So, I can’t fathom that the president really has a plan (and even so it might go through the legislature), I don’t trust the legislature to get this right, and the bureaucrats are no-shows.

Regulation of greenhouse gases is the first, most basic step in tying pollution to a cost in the market.  If we assign pollution no cost, the market will never “correct itself” to stop destroying the ecosystem we know how to live in.  If we assign it the wrong cost, free marketeers will get to whine about interventionism, and the market will do insane things and freak everybody else out (see biofuels and food, rising costs of).

With these bozos vying (or not) for the chance at the prize, I don’t see a way for anyone to win.  They’re just thrashing around on the field, trying to figure out how to stand up.

Meet My Chives

Chives day 1

I was away for about 24 hours and they made their move.  The morning glories are growing like the weeds, which is what various people have assured me they are.  Pretty weeds, though.  I hope they don’t choke out my baby kalanchoe.

Glories day 6

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