Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


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.

Can the Tuna

The UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species rejected a proposal to completely ban the fishing of Bluefin Tuna today.  It’s been overfished for years, and populations are down to about 15 or 20% of the population in 1970.  But even if the ban had gone through, Japan said they’d opt out of it, which, yes, seems to indicate they don’t understand the meaning of a complete ban.  Instead they successfully argued that someone else should regulate the fish catch, not the UN, which seems to me to skirt the point of collapsing fish stocks and completely unsustainable fishing practices (red herring kills the bluefin tuna!), but it worked.

CITES also rejected a ban on trade in polar bear parts.  Their meeting continues until the 25th of March, and they’re due to address ivory sales and endangered sharks, too.  I feel like with all this important decision-making about the future of some very endangered species, their should have mug shots on their website with important updates about what they’re going to allow to die out more this year, but it’s mostly information about their meeting’s hotel selection.  There is a poignant animal slideshow deeper into the site, though.

How depressing this all is!  I need to stop imaging a group of bears voting on how many humans to harvest and think of anything else.

Thankful For

I’m celebrating in Tennessee with my family, and that’s rather enough to be thankful for.  What with the sleeping in all weekend, somebody else cooking, and cheese balls.  My immediate happiness at this situation is making it hard to remember the big stuff to be thankful for, but it’ll come, I’m sure.

Until then, have a happy Thanksgiving yourself, and if you’re stuck for a recipe, check out this article about the space cookbook.  Unfortunately there’s no instructions for freeze-drying or irradiating the results to be launched into orbit.  To get that air of zero gravity authenticity, tape your tofurkey to the dining table and float away halfway through the meal.

New Goal

Happy November!  About time I got back on the wagon here, but all I can think of is, it’s cold, so I should figure out environmentally friendly ways to stay warm this winter, right?  I’ve had my heat on for a couple weeks already.  I do turn it down to 50 during the day and such, and I always wear a sweater and a blanket-cape and warm socks and furry slippers and such around the house when I’m cold, but it’s still on 68 when I’m home, which I personally, as the daughter of my parents, feel is Too High.

I have some ideas on how to deal with this, so I can turn the heat down- say to 63?  I get cold very easily, and I don’t function well when I’m cold.  But I could get up and do some calisthenics every 30 minutes to keep my sluggish blood flowing (unrealistic, my couch is too soft).  Space heaters are good.  They only work in my bedroom and office, since the other space in my apartment is all joined and too big to heat efficiently with a space heater.  I could spend more time in the bedroom and office.  I could eat more hot soup (tomato soup comes in a box at Whole Foods!  my kind of cooking).  More oatmeal, more tea, etc.  Using the oven warms up the kitchen, too.

Should be enough behavioural changes, but the apartment leaks heat like whoa, so some towels by the windows (single-paned of course) might stop what’s escaping at the edges, at least.  As it’s not my place to convert, I can’t do much beyond that to stop the leaks.  I have up curtains.

Any ideas on what else I can do to stay warm and get that thermostat down even further?

Remember the Animal Noises?

So there’s a squirrel that likes to hang out in my mechanical closet, and he bangs around near the vent.  According to the very nice maintenance guys, this happens regularly in winter, so they have a system:  they bait a box trap with peanut butter, check it until they get the furry sucker, and then release him in a local park a couple miles away.  Pretty humane and thoughtful of them, really.

They’ve been leaving notes they were there when they come to check the trap, and this is the one I got yesterday:

“Service:  Checked squirrel trap

Comments: Squirrel is too smart”

Hehe, uh-oh.

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!?

Gas is Cheaper

I’m sure you noticed.  I did, when my biweekly fill-up was only $28.  Also, Mom informed me that Dad found gas in Central VA for $1.99, after she got it for $2.04.  This was exciting because one of my Dad’s favorite things is procuring cheap gas- once he remapped my route to high school so I’d hit the $.99 station.

According to Reuter’s, we’re still not driving as much as we were last year, even though gas (and oil) has dropped by 50% since July.  Woot!  Perhaps we have finally begun restructuring our lives around more sustainable methods of transportation!

Or not.  The article points out that the economy is so bad right now that even with gas at $2, instead of the $5 or $7 that seemed possible this summer, lots of people still can’t justify as much gas as they’re used to in their budgets.  The reduction may make some able to take holiday trips, so we’ll likely see a normal spike in driving in the next couple of months, but the overall decrease in driving might be here to stay.

I’m torn between being happy about this and cranky at the underlying causes.  I’m not one who thinks the ends justify the means- so let’s focus on trying to see less driving as a thin silver lining?

Environmental Action Plan Is A Go

The Open House Monday night in the bowels of the Lee Center was well-attended, though it was hard to tell who was an innocent civilian and who was with the VA Tech group or the City.  I dropped in and got a copy of the EAP, read through it, and was very pleased.  This is the list of the real stuff Alexandria is going to be doing to become an Eco-City: goals, maneuvers, plots- stuff that, if the City doesn’t do it, we will be able to tell, and get mad at them for it.  I do enjoy accountability.

Representatives from the City explaining various aspects of the plan (8 or 9 main bits, check it all out at the Eco City website, there’s a linked .pdf) were stationed all around the room, and after a bunch of speeches on the process, we were made to ask them questions and give them suggestions.  At this point, I had to go home and do my homework and cook dinner, etc.

I like what I had time to see, and I’ve gotten a few emails reminding me to keep up with them since.  Just from the faces of those attending, thought, it looked like the same people who showed up for the Summit.  Fortunately, during the speech portion, it was emphasized repeatedly that the City is aware of this.  Part of the Plan is a series of community projects, aimed at both making Alexandria nice and getting lots of people all over the City involved in this.  Hope it works out!

I look forward to being able to pitch in on some of the projects.  Going to meetings and filling out surveys is one thing, but I’ll feel much more active cleaning a waterway or whatnot.

Read the EAP Phase I and take the survey on what you think about it at the VT Eco-City website.

Oh, Thank Goodness

From the WaPo (free sign-up necessary to see the whole thing, typically):

Transition advisers to President-elect Barack Obama have compiled a list of about 200 Bush administration actions and executive orders that could be swiftly undone to reverse White House policies on climate change, stem cell research, reproductive rights and other issues, according to congressional Democrats, campaign aides and experts working with the transition team…

The president-elect has said, for example, that he intends to quickly reverse the Bush administration’s decision last December to deny California the authority to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from automobiles…

Before the election, Obama told others that he favors declaring that carbon dioxide emissions are endangering human welfare, following an EPA task force recommendation last December that Bush and his aides shunned in order to protect the utility and auto industries…

They’re reportedly keeping the list open to reverse Bush’s parting blows to the country planned for the next few months.

It’s hard not to be giddy about the administration-elect, actually.  I’m sure they’re going to bug me one day, but for now, I will float upon the realization of my wildest dreams.



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