Easy and fun things to help the environment

Humorous Reflections on Fun Incremental Change.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ask them to Dance.

I've had an idea.
You know, (I hope) that there are hundreds, if not thousands of ways to save energy. Some sexy; solar PV, wind generators, passive solar water heat, tankless water heaters, geothermal heating and cooling; and some not so sexy, but perhaps even more effective; insulation, caulking, electric and water conservation, duct cleaning, filter changing, stopping Vampire-energy drain, getting more efficient appliances and electronics.
All of these things are great and most are pretty reasonably priced. If you own your home. What if you rent?
If your landlord did one or two, or ALL of these things, he'd (or she'd) save a lot of money in the long-run and make the property more appealing to future renters, and take the Eco-guilt off of renter's shoulders.
I propose a contest in which we open it up to renters to propose ways to kinda, sorta suggest, cajole, influence, incentivise or extort landlords into wanting to apply some of these energy-saving strategies. Think of your ideas and submit them to vince@denvergreenstreets.com and I'll try to come up with a really nice prize (besides helping to save the planet) like free tickets to a cool event or concert or something else fun. You will also be a guest on a special "Hip and Yucky Show" podcast, to explain your ideas.
Lets get everyone involved. Like anything else that makes a community work, The More, The Merrier!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Did you happen to see this?

To put this in terms of Urban Homesteading: “Oh, for plucks sake!” (a chicken reference)

You hear about bad teachers sometimes. Something should be done about them.

You hear about bad students. Do something about them also. Maybe get them good teachers.

You hear about people fined and jailed for gardens. That’s right. I said GARDENS.
You know, plants and flowers and vegetables. That kind of garden.

Now, this. It is pretty apparent that local governments don’t have enough important work to do. I guess in these communities there must be no crime and 100% employment. The schools must be great, and the streets clean. The hospitals cheap and efficient and everyone gets along like a happy crowd at a rave where the water has been spiked with ecstasy.

Bullcompost, bullcompost, bullcompost!

This is community!
This is Education!
This is Science!
This is farming!
This is food justice!
This is giving students a purpose!
This is what we should ALL be doing.
Memphis oughta’ re-think why people percieve the South as backwards.
This should be REQUIRED not criminalized.

Baby Steps...

Stand up for Dinner.

Okay, I admit I wasn't there when it started, and even if I had been, I probably would not have done anything to stop it.  I mean, come on.  Who knew?  I’m sure I would have been one of the stupid ones.
Ever since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution,we haven't known what to do with all the waste products that we were producing.  So we just let them go wherever they went.  We just threw them away.  Of course, one of the biggest ones was coal.  All the smoke, and all the dust.  And of course, all that soot.  Soot is the physical byproduct of burning coal.  It's a black, oily dust that gets all over everything.  Everywhere.
You've seen pictures of all those cute little ragamuffins during the Industrial Revolution all covered with black soot.  They looked sort of like the Little Rascals all smeared in black-face.  So the smoke and dust got into the air.  Then there was the slaughterhouse waste.  And all of the leather tanning chemicals.  Since we didn't know what to do with it, we just let it go and gravity did the rest.
Fast forward to now.  For several hundred years now, we've been letting our waste get into our water, and therefore, into our food.  But allowing it to get into our food indirectly wasn't good enough for us.  Oh no.  Because of agribusiness and its incredible greed, we are putting the poison directly onto our plants.  Hell, we are modifying our plants, to the extent that that we don't know if they are poison or not.  Same with our livestock.  Pump them full of antibiotics and steroids and test the results on the consumer market.
As a result of all these stupid farming practices, there is a movement toward slow food, grown naturally and organically.  In order to be certified as organic, a grower must go through rigorous regulations and testing.  It doesn't help when a neighbor is spraying pesticides and fungicides onto their fields because the wind bends to no man. If this airborne stuff gets onto the organic crops, it invalidates the reason for the natural process and gets the “Organic” designation lifted. Thanks guys.
So, if you prefer to eat better, you may still be at risk from those who don’t give a manure, as long as there’s profit in it.
Funny thing. Because of the extensive use of pesticides and antibotics, the bugs and the infections (bugs) have become immune and stronger than ever. And, it turns out, monoculture in farming will deplete the land very quickly. By the way, this fungicide that they’re using can kill the mycelium layer in the soil, a fungus that literally makes growing anything possible.
Where I wouldn’t have been able to do anything back in the 1800’s, that isn’t the case today. We have really got to start looking at the big picture.  Everything has consequences.  For my part, I try to avoid buying products from companies that don’t or won’t employ sustainability best-practices. Vote with your wallet.  Money is the only language these pigs understand, and I say we get all Rosetta Stone on their rumps.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Close? We were like this.

Have you ever heard the expression, we were really close?  I was close to my mother?  My family and I, we're real close?  There's a reason that we use the same word for proximity as we do for physical relationships.  Traditionally, the people you know the best are the people you interact with the most often, or the ones you are close to.

Before the big exodus to the suburbs back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, people used to live in relatively close proximity.  Neighbors were "close".  You didn't need to develop a closeness with neighbors and coworkers.  It was already built-in.  Moving away from other people, was part of what we perceived as the illusion of wealth.  The wealthy lived isolated from everyone else on large estates.  If we move away from the city and get a little bit of land, we can pretend we are wealthy, too.  We're so lame.  We didn't exactly know we were lame, but looking back, we were pretty lame.  In the 80s, Alex Haley taught us how important it was to get back to our roots.  I couldn't agree more.

 Early people gathered into tribes, for companionship, for safety and so that they could rely on the unique skills of different individuals within the tribe.  That way, you see, not every single person needed to know every single thing.  This was a kind of collaborative sharing of knowledge, sort of like a human library, where you could borrow the skills and knowledge of one individual and use them as long as you needed them.  It actually works surprisingly well.  A lot of us call this a society.  And members of the society are said to be social.  People that feel the society works well are called social-ist.  If the guy knew how to build stuff out of wood, you spoke to him, explained to him what you needed and negotiated some sort of payment or compensation.  The carpenter was the businessman and he communicated with you directly.  And you paid him directly.  There was no need to go to some fat cat, some go-between, some broker to do this for you.  Therefore, none of the wealth that you needed to compensate the carpenter went to anyone except the carpenter. 

When this middleman came along, he siphoned off money or goods that should have gone directly to the consumer and to the craftsman.  Part of the honest wealth that the consumer had generated, be it skills, or foodstuffs, or clothing, or some goods that were considered of value, were taken by this parasite.  In addition, some of the skills the carpenter was offering in return for compensation weren't compensated for it’s correct and true value.  The people on both ends of this transaction were made poorer by the introduction of this middleman.  Hence, Co-Poor-Ation. When the Co-Poor-Ation moved in, we started a new group of the tribe who became wealthy by doing nothing.  So everyone got to share the poverty, except the Co-Poor-Ation.

Little by little people are beginning to see the error of their ways.  Some people are doing their own work, stuff they used to hire specialists to do.  People are growing their own food, and raising their own livestock.  And oddly enough, they are doing this in the city.  We're re-learning how to live in communities, and it's a good thing.  It's the only way were going to be able to maintain any sustainability.  I say share.  Barter.  Build things.  Weave and sew textiles.  Grow vegetables.  Raise livestock.  Butcher your own meat.  Do whatever you have to do to your chickens, and pluck the Co-Poor-Ations.