Back in April, I began an exercise in driving less and driving with fuel economy in mind. What I learned surprised me. Simple, obvious steps made the most difference. I drive a 98 Oldsmobile Alero and before I began, I was getting about 27 MPG, now I am up to 34 MPG. That’s a 7 MPG savings, using simple steps anyone can do.There are groceries, banks and just about everything I need within walking distance from work, so as a rule, I drive to work, then I drive home and that’s it. I occasionally drive to run some errands (there is only so much walking one can do on a lunch hour).
I began turning off the car at train crossings, or when stuck in a traffic jam, but the biggest jump occurred after slowing down to 60 MPH. I went from 29 MPG to 34 MPG. That’s huge.
Also, I rode my bicycle over 120 miles in June, and I’m well on my way to matching that for July. That’s trips to the hardware store, bank, goodwill, and beer runs (all within about 3 miles of my house). At 34 MPG, bicycling alone has saved 3 1/2 gallons of gas, or almost a 1/3 of a tank. That’s amazing!
Much praise has been heaped upon designer Ross Lovegrove since his solar trees first debuted in Vienna in October 2007. Essentially a solar-powered streetlamp — but also a work of art — the structure creates, as the designer puts it, “complex natural forms in a city that can benefit all of society.” They also save energy — and have managed to survive Vienna’s dark spells, with light still being generated even after four days without direct sun. From the article,
“When we were setting up the tree outside it was quite wonderful,” Lovegrove said. “Even when we had one stem, it was incredible, it seemed so insignificant but actually it really stood out and it proves this point that modern technology and design can really lift people’s spirits, it becomes an eye catcher because it’s sort of out of context. The Solar Tree is just a streetlamp but actually some of the small things which can have a big impact on our life are all open for reinterpretation.”
With the first-generation lamps firmly planted on some of Europe’s most famous streets, Lovegrove is now planning on the next-generation design. It will be called the “Adaptive Solar Tree” and, just like the real thing, will feature robotics that seek out sunlight or respond to changes in weather.
It was only a matter of time.
With most commercial turbines over 265 ft. tall, they were bound to attract the base jumping crowd. Thing is, they’re not the easiest things to get access to — so we’re wondering whether this crew has an inside man to let them climb to the top. Not to mention turn off the turbine for the jump. Nice view, though.
Note: The following is a peak energy introduction written with Sharon Astyk for our forthcoming book, “A Nation of Farmers: Defeating the Food Crisis on American Soil,” to be published in the Spring of 2009 by New Society Publishers. This excerpt will be a review for those who follow her site and mine but might be interesting to those who have only recently become agitated by $4/gallon gas and who want to learn more. It’s very important that those of us comfortable with this topic help to shape the emerging conversation as one of opportunity not tragedy. No doubt this will mean doing things differently now and in our future but all is not gloom and doom. The rising cost of energy could be an opportunity to address big problems- a catalyst for positive change. With that in mind we must frame this not as ‘the end of the world’ but as the beginning of something better.
“To alcohol- the cause of and the solution to all of life’s problems.?
Hello! Welcome to the first of many installments in my adventure of chicken raising. I recently just introduced 2 chickens to my urban palace and I thought it would be interesting to follow along with my trials and tribulations. Hopefully if I make mistakes it will help you avoid them if you decide to embark on this sort of thing on your own.
I was helped along in my chicken adventures by talking with many other chicken owners about what they’ve done, as well as the great website City Chicken. I read two great books which I would recommend, Chicken Tractor by Andy Lee and Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens. I thought both of these books were great, and while I didn’t think one book covered all the information I wanted, together they did cover a lot of what I was concerned about.
Let me say, I wasn’t born on a farm or really around animals. We had a cat and a dog at various times when I was growing up, but we didn’t have a steady menagerie of animals at my house. What I’ve learned has been from reading books and talking to others. I guess I tell you this to encourage you. Just because you don’t have the background in raising animals doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I’m just at the beginning of my adventure, as I write this, and I’m still nervous and scared as heck. Especially when they sort of dart around. It freaks me out, but I know there is plenty of information and help online and with people I know. I hope Groovy Green can be a resource for you if you are starting out on an eggcellent adventure!
Town zoning board getting you down? Anti-wind organizations befuddling you with their concerns? Feeling the ache of not being able to install your own personal turbine? Well, now you can shut out the rest of the world and focus on this great new kit from Lego called “The Vestas Windmill Kit”.
Standing over two-feet tall, this model of alternative energy features a Vestas wind turbine, control center, and a van. But don’t expect to buy a bunch of these and string them up on your roof. While the turbine is motorized, it’s not generating its own power. That probably comes from batteries. Damn them!
Can the next Lego set please include a solar array to power this thing?
Still, I love it.
Both presidential candidates have stumped for a new “green” economy. To me this smells of the supposed transformation to the “information economy” touted only a decade ago. Fortune had this to say on June 30th:
What senators McCain and Obama believe about U.S. energy policy matters – hugely. To fight global warming, the next President will oversee the transition to a new, green economy , which will result in one of the biggest business transformations of the 21st century and potentially one of the largest transfers of wealth since the creation of the income tax.
I used to ride a motorcycle. It was a Suzuki GS 1150. That’s 1,150cc engine with 123 horsepower. Since it only had to accelerate 500 pounds, it could go from 0 to 70 in less than 3 seconds and only one gear change, which I knew from personal experience. It was the kind of bike that taunted you, that dared you to ride fast.
There was a gas station near one of my favorite riding places that sold high octane racing fuel. I loved to fill up and go for a long twisty ride. The racing fuel had a different smell, it smelled like adventure.
Riding a motorcycle is such a manual process. Between clutching, shifting, accelerating and braking, you have to use both hands and both feet. You lean into turns. Riding involves your entire body.
My motorcycle riding days ended when someone made a right turn in front of me. I was enjoying a straight road to the maximum, went around a bend and right in front of me was a car, pulling into a driveway. I would have swerved into the left lane, but there was an on coming pickup truck. My only choice was to hit the brakes. I remember seeing the horizon fly past my feet, then I landed in the gravel on the other side of the car. I walked away with a sore wrist and a scratch on my right ankle. The motorcycle never ran again.
We’re all about choice when it comes to death here on GroovyGreen. Sure, you don’t have much say in how you’ll go, but you can definitely make sure your exit is packaged just right. Take for instance these eco-friendly custom cardboard coffins from Creative Coffins. Each one is made from 60% recycled paper plus wood pulp sourced from sustainable forests, contains only natural starch-based glues (no screws, bolts, tape, or other fittings), handles made from natural woven cotton, and is completely non-toxic. Better yet, you can have them custom designed — or choose from any number of beautiful designs already on the site.
My favorites are the “Gone To Seed” theme or the “Box of Candy” design — mainly because it would be really funny to see some kid’s face if they thought it was a giant box of candy. Ok, probably not.