Archive for January, 2009

More Wind Jobs Than Coal Jobs

And guess which one is still a growth industry?  Or, will be if the government incentives come through.

Article here.

Review: Practical Recycled Calendars

I get a wall calendar and an appointment book every year in one of those green-light, year-by-year-receding-before-us kind of dreams of organization.  I had a pretty date book I got from a seller at etsy for assignments last semester, but it only had date pages and was consequently driving me crazy flipping back and forth trying to remember what was going on.

I am picky about my calendars, since it’s hard enough for me to remember to use them in the first place, and if I don’t like them, they’re just going to get “lost” on a shelf for 11 months.  I require tabs, month pages, and daily spaces from my calendars, and they must be in either sober and dignified or totally awesome patterns.  Plus, now I try to buy sustainable, so…I figured etsy was as good as I was going to get for a while.

But! When I was at Staples near Bailey’s Crossroads, I found a display of At-A-Glance weekly and Monthly calendars, in a new recycled version.  They’re 100% post consumer recycled paper, and the cover and binding have 50% and 90% recycled material, and the ink is vegetable-based.  I got the weekly/monthy appointment book for me, and the monthly for the Gentleman Friend (understandably, he was thrilled, with the smallest “th” possible), but they’ve got other recycled configurations, too. 

Then! My wall calendar was from Barnes and Noble in Potomac Yard this year.  They have an in-house printing company called Silver Lining, which is a member of the Green Press Initiative, and they print on recycled paper using soy ink.  There were a few displays of different calendars from Silver Lining before the New Year, when I got mine, but now you’ve got to search their website for “Silver Lining” to see what’s still in stock.  They are on sale.

Um.  This all assumes that you still need or want a calendar this far into 2009.  Or prep for 2010?  Either way, here’s to procrastination and post-New Year’s sales!

Green Building Forum Tonight

7-9pm, at the Washington Masonic Memorial.  There’s a presentation and some time for public comment on Alexandria’s Planning and Zoning Department draft plan, which is available here.  More details from the City of Alexandria website, should you wish.

See you there!


Here is why I did not bike to work today:

Bike in Snow

The snow also showed me that something small and inquisitive is visiting my composter unit.

footprints to the composter

Yeah, I should definitely put a heavier lid on that thing.

Inauguration Photos and the Aftermath

I’ve got an album of the night prior and the day of up here.  Photos are of the wandering around the streets we did the night before, scoping out some of the parade floats people had left around near 4th St (with keys in the ignition?).  The day of, we walked up from SW, hung out for the speech by the Monument, and then headed back around the tidal basin- you may recognize these places under thousands of people, which is what the pictures are mostly of.

The first picture is of the cookies our lovely host made us for the occasion.

Less than a week after all this coldness and swearing in and bunting, we’ve already got some promising environmental actions coming up!  I mean, I’m cool that President Obama spent last week renouncing torture and closing illegal prisons and refunding programs that offer full reproductive health care services to women, but I was starting to wonder where all the green was.  Today though, Pres O ordered the EPA to reconsider the rejection of California’s request to set their own stricter emissions standards, and asked the Department of Transportation to actually write up the rules to enact a 2007 law requiring a 40% emissions reduction in cars and light trucks.  We’ve had that law since 2007!?  Good grief, and good riddance.  (No use wasting energy on revisiting how much the previous administration made me angry, but I am tempted to add some OMG W SUX everytime I read something like this, for extra catharsis.)

But, oh, we’re getting a Climate Change envoy for the state department too!  I’m happy again.  Working internationally on international problems…it’s like a whole new world that we get to talk to!

About time we got started on that whole thing, too, since evidence is mounting that climate change is practically irreversible by now, and will affect our planet for hundreds of years even if we reduce emissions to almost nothing now.

P.S. Check out EcoCheap’s Inaug story and pictures of the WABA Bike Valet, too!

Progress: Impositions

Time is getting away from me these days- understandable, with illness, Inauguration, a visit from my Dad, a return to classes, and the gentleman friend’s birthday (today!) all this week.  I start every week with the most enthusiastic posting intentions, and get lost by Tuesdays.  I’m not hoping to make this daily all the time- I appreciate your attention, so I won’t waste your time when I really haven’t got much to say.  I just hope it evens out some day.

While there’s plenty going on in environment news, I’d like to ramble about something else today.  (If you’re interested in keeping up, the Wilkins ice shelf is collapsing in Antarctica due to Global Warming, Lisa Jackson’s appointment to the EPA is still raising legitimate concerns, and we’ve got hard data showing how much faster dirty air kills you).  But today it’s the monthly goal on my mind, and it’s leading to a larger question.  The uncluttering goal is going well, in so far as I’ve cleaned out my place and today I organized the gentleman friend’s closet for him, for his birthday.  I also found some nice sweaters or him at the Salvation Army, and I’m getting him a compost bucket so he can bring his foodscraps to my compost bin when he visits. What a great birthday for him, hunh?! He is very appreciative- he even seemed to like my suggestion that we spend some time tonight making a pile of his excavated clothing to donate.

That wasn’t all.  I am not so single-minded that I do not appreciate how underwhelming this birthday fun sounds.  There was computer hardware and music and dinner and a keg and Cheetos for his party.  Kegs are the ultimate reuseable drink containers, by the way, despite their frat connotations.  Check Total Wine for containers of good things- call them to check what’s in stock, it might be better than what’s listed.  I digress.

The GF supports me, and he makes an effort to reduce, recycle, and reuse.  But ultimately, this is my set of goals, and I know better than to assume they’re his.  While you can give a boyfriend a compost bucket, you can’t make him fill it.  After my initial rush of sustainable enthusiasms, I occasionally wonder if I’m pushing him too hard with my efforts.  He complains about the smell of my compost and the meatlessness of my cupboard, and my reluctance to use non-hippie toothpastes.  These are all understandable complaints.  

I don’t feel like I’m being held back because the GF’s not as pro-active environmentally, and that’s where we work.  I have asked him to post here on his view of this, so you might be getting a diatribe on compost buckets in small apartments from him soon.  

So, how do you balance your environmentalism with that of your friends and/or loved ones?  Do you do it all together, or does one of you take the lead?  Are there things you don’t do for the environment to keep your SO happy?  I am curious.

Inauguration Day

swearing in

Obama was getting sworn in on the tiny screen.  I was yelling under the Washington Monument.  It was a cold day.  More photos when I thaw.

What’s Left

I’ve made my feelings on Bush’s administration and environmental policy clear- as clear as incoherent rage can be- so on the his last day in office, I’ll let others sum it up for me.

The Guardian: The Worst of Times

Fox News: Bush’s Environmental Legacy Draws Mixed Reviews

National Resources Defense Council: The Bush Administration’s Dirty Legacy

PBS: The Bush Environmental Legacy: 9 Landmark Decisions

All the sources listed mention the last minute reprieve for huge tracts of ocean land Bush just ordered, and not surprisingly, only Fox News feels that catapults his record from “Disaster” to “Mixed”.  Other news organizations are careful to point out that without enforcement and dedicated resources which our lamest duck no longer has control of, the new ocean preservation areas are just a cynical gesture: all legacy, no responsibility.

But tomorrow, we get a new chance.  I’m staying in DC tonight for a celebration with some friends, then we’re headed to the Mall Tuesday to join in the Inauguration.  I’ll post my pictures- even if all I get are the backs of people’s heads- for everybody who can only join in spirit!

If you are coming, make sure to check the list of street closings and forbidden items, and consider biking in, since the WABA is offering two free bike valet services near the mall for you.

I’d Be More Outraged If I Felt Better

So apparently the GF didn’t have food poisoning last week, it was a real disease or something, and I got it.  So while I continue my recovery, do ponder this article on pirate geoengineering from Wired last week.  Scary, hunh!?

Congressional Bicycle Caucus Riding High

The NYT profiled the founder of the Congressional Bicycle Caucus today, a Mr. Earl Blumenauer.  The group is pretty much what it sounds like, and Blumenauer (D-OR) is quick to point out how enhanced biking opportunities are good for basically everything that ails us- from obesity to oil prices.  I’m a believer, but I can wait until it’s not cold as (all the analogies I come up with here are obscene, so insert your own and we’ll keep this family-friendly) to start biking to work again.

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