Monthly ArchiveApril 2007

The Smart Jitney: Rapid, Realistic Transport

ByGroovy Green Apr 19, 2007

Smart JitneyCommunity Solutions recently issued a report about modifications necessary to our transportation infrastructure in a future world where we experience declining oil supplies. (Community Solutions, if you aren’t familiar with them, is the group that created the documentary “The Power of Community: How Cuba survived Peak Oil”) They are proposing a system they are calling the Smart Jitney, which is essentially a souped up ride share program designed to reduce the amount of cars on our roads. And I have to say, I like it. I like it a lot.

I recently read through a report by Alliance Bernstein about the future of automobiles where they placed all the marbles for our future transportation needs in the plugged in hybrid basket. Essentially making quite a few difficult, and risky, assumptions that we will be able to sequester power plant emissions (unproven), generate clean energy for our homes and cars (not at the levels we are generating now), and create a new infrastructure built around a totally new type of car (to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars). In short, they are making some huge leaps there to support their given choice for transportation.

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How To Grow Shitake Mushrooms

ByGroovy Green Apr 17, 2007

Anyone who’s been to a gardening class or a permaculture class about how to produce more food from home has heard the question, “What can I grow in the shade?” Shaded areas, especially deeply shaded areas of the yard, are not especially conducive to growing fruits and vegetables. Those plants like sunlight. So what is a Victory Gardener to do? One answer is mushrooms.

At this point I’d like to share my status as a novice concerning mushroom cultivation. This is my first attempt at growing fungi for personal consumption so feel free to learn with me but please don’t label me an expert. I’m just figuring this out as I go and sharing the experience. I’m following the directions of the Mushroom People of Summertown, TN. I’m going to grow Shitakes and you’re welcome to follow along.

After receive my inoculation plugs in the mail, my brother and I thinned several trees from a family member’s property.

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Summer Groove: Solar Pool Fence and Solar Garden Shower

ByGroovy Green Apr 16, 2007

Even though it’s April 16th and there’s 16 inches of snow on the ground here in Ithaca, NY, I’d like to think that I might have a use for these innovative products sometime soon. That is, if I can even get my hands on them.

First up is a “Professional Solar Garden Shower System” called the Solar Fizz. This portable showering unit uses reflector tubes to capture solar energy and heat water to 70+ degrees Celsius. Each tube can hold 15 liters — with a complete system capable of providing hot water for an entire family. Each of the units displayed on the website is claimed to be portable; but even the 15 liter version might be a little unwieldy if you plan on roughing it somewhere. The only problem is that the technology is limited to a few countries in Europe and Asia. They’re looking for distributors in North America; no any of you eco-entrepreneurs out there — have a look! Outdoor showers are the bomb-diggity — especially pollution-free, hot showers.

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Savinar and Sundance Deliver On Documentary “A Crude Awakening”

ByGroovy Green Apr 15, 2007

savinarA friend to Groovy and always ready with an interesting comment or two, Matt Savinar is reaching out through your television in The Sundance Channel’s THE GREEN. This new three-hour block of television premiering this Tuesday features a wide range of high-quality programming covering issues of sustainability and green ideas. I received a few screeners a couple weeks back and have been pouring over the shows with great interest; after all, this is a guy without television and I was happy not to miss out on the series.

I launched into a full review over at the green entertainment site, Ecorazzi, but I wanted to put a little more emphasis on this week’s 90 minute documentary, A Crude Awakening. Obviously, this piece covers the issue of Peak Oil and does a masterful job of slowly easing into the topic in such a way that makes the dire consequences that much easier to grasp. We’re given phenomenal access to historical video footage of oil boom towns that now look like derelict theme parks and even Marion Hubbert (the father of the theory of Peak Oil) presenting his concept on television in the early 50s mid-70s. Commentary from several notable geologists, politicians, and energy experts adds impressive information (as well as warnings) to the visuals.

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Are We Past Peak Knowledge?

ByGroovy Green Apr 13, 2007

In this essay I draw a distinction between facts, information, knowledge and wisdom.  I use the term information to mean a collection of facts.  I use the term knowledge to mean the absorption and consideration of, experimentation with, and refinement of information; essentially the path to wisdom.  Or to work backwards, wisdom is the mastery of knowledge which is the assimilation of information which is a compilation of facts.  It might seem unnecessary to distinguish these differences but I believe its one thing to collect facts, quite another to understand how they matter to each other and something entirely different to begin to really know what you’re doing and how you’re doing it; let alone why.

This past weekend my little corner of the world experienced the coldest temperature ever recorded in the month of April in our area- 21 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now in North Carolina we’re used to light frost until the middle of this month, but those of us who garden tend to catch spring fever a bit early when we have warm weather in March.  This year we did and so I played my part and planted a few early tomatoes before it was really safe to do so.

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Eco Fashion Q&A: Sustainable Skivvies

ByGroovy Green Apr 10, 2007

We have returned! New queries have been rolling in, and it is time to start posting some answers. This week’s question comes from e4 (aka Edson): How about green underwear?

Love it – short, sweet, and to the point. Oddly enough, I’ve been doing a fair amount of research on eco-undies in the past month, even being interviewed by a foreign magazine on the subject. Simply put, you’ve come to the right place. ;)

Anything that is going to come in direct contact with your private parts should be, above all, chemical-free. Organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp are the three most common sustainable fibers for green underwear, all of which are quite comfortable and long-lasting. Though finding these skivvies are not as easy as, say, organic cotton denim, the options are many. As the closest thing to your skin, you owe it to yourself to wear eco-undies.

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An Inconvenient Truth :: The Transcript

ByGroovy Green Apr 9, 2007

While I’ve seen Al Gore’s documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, up online in various forms, this is the first time I’ve found a transcript of the film to enjoy. I say “enjoy” truthfully because reading this transcript after watching the film allows for a greater appreciation of the immense scope of knowledge presented over the course of 90 minutes. Didn’t quite follow a certain part of the film and would like to review it? Looking for an exact quote from the film to use against/in support of Gore? It’s all right here. Below is one of my favorite quotes from the film:

“You remember that home movie of the earth spinning in space. One of those spacecraft continuing on out into the universe, when it got 4 billion miles out in space, Carl Sagan said, “Let’s take another picture of the earth.” See that pale blue dot. That’s us. Everything that has ever happened in all of human history has happened on that pixel. All the triumphs and all the tragedies, all the wars, all the famines, all the major advances: it’s our only home. And that is what is at stake: our ability to live on planet Earth, to have a future as a civilization.”

Not Looking Good for the Southwestern US: “Mega” Drought Predicted

ByGroovy Green Apr 7, 2007

UPDATE: I located a chart of Lake Mead historical water levels, and put it below the fold (click on “more…”)
MSNBC has an article out today sounding an alarm on the Southwestern United States’ fresh water situation. Not only is the wage gap between rich and poor workers reaching pre-depression levels, we are also threatened by a “dust bowl” similar to the same period of time.

While traveling in Nevada two weeks ago, I was able to travel to see the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. A thick layer of bleached rock formed a ring around the reservoir, showing the loss of billions of gallons of fresh drinking water. The level of the lake fell a hundred or more feet below a run-off/overflow culvert.

After seeing this first hand it is easy to believe the article:

Drainage Culvert

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When An Environmentalist Has Dinner With A Hummer Executive

ByGroovy Green Apr 6, 2007

I’ve just returned from the 2007 NY International Auto Show and it’s time to start releasing the jumble of thoughts, videos, and other interesting experiences I had along the way. General Motors extended an invitation to Groovy Green and Ecorazzi to attend the event and meet with top executives to discuss the latest green issues. Being somewhat of a cynic towards the pairing of the words “green” and “American auto industry”, I jumped at the opportunity.

So, it was a somewhat awkward moment when I took my seat at dinner and found myself sitting next to Hummer’s Executive Director, Ross Hendrix. He even had a giant “H” pin on his sport coat lapel. To my left was GM’s Vice President of Environment and Energy, Beth Lowery. She mentioned to me that no less than two years ago, it would have been impossible to gather executives in the same room as journalists; much less environmental bloggers. The level of access GM is providing is unprecedented. Even greater, they’re willing to listen and talk. I dove right in.

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How to Start a Compost Pile

ByGroovy Green Apr 4, 2007

Here we are cruising into April which means many parts of the country are experiencing the first warm days of spring. Also arriving is the annual spring cleaning of yards across America as people deal with the remaining fallen leaves of last autumn and mow down their lawns for the first time this year.

Of course we here at Groovy Green advocate strongly for turning those Lawns into Gardens and if you must retain some turf try a manual reel mower. They’re cheap, use no fuel (other than that of your muscles), have no emissions, and are relatively easy to sharpen.

But if you or your neighbors do bag up all those leaves and grass clippings, consider this a prime time to start a compost pile. There’s a more in-depth article on why and how to compost here, but if you’re looking for a more simple explanation of how you can recycle your yard waste and create some great compost for your garden, here are some simple directions.

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