Solutions & sustainability - August 12
Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Living simply by sharing space
Martha Raines, Associated Press via Seattle Times
Keri Rainsberger isn't rich. She works in the nonprofit world for a relatively low salary. Yet, as many Americans are scrimping for every penny, she hardly feels the pinch.
She still tithes 10 percent of her income to her church, even as other members have cut back. She rarely worries about rising gas and food prices. And she never bothers to balance her checkbook, because she doesn't come close to spending what she has.
"I live so far below my means that it doesn't really register," says Rainsberger, a 31-year-old Chicagoan. "I don't have to think about money."
How is this possible?
For starters, she has no car and commutes by bicycle each workday. She also has no mortgage payment and chooses to live in an "intentional community," a partly shared space where $775 a month covers everything from utilities to meals.
(5 August 2008)
There are many ways to make simple living work for you. The intentional communities mentioned in the article are only one way. -BA
Going vintage is going green
Jenna Woginrich, Huffington Post
Every time I visit any green living site I'm reminded of all the fancy advancements in technology that are constantly reflecting a more environmentally aware consumer. Heck, it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to see coffee mugs made out of recycled bottles, backpacks with built-in solar panels, and refrigerators with energy star seals of approval. We've got engineers and scientists figuring out how to make products smarter, more sustainable, and better for the planet. This is all great, and I applaud the minds behind it, but has anyone looked around and asked themselves...
"Man, this sure is a lot of crap... don't we already have a lot of crap lying around?"
There are a lot of green gadgets out there, but in a world inundated with rampant consumerism, big box stores, and cheap plastic toys -- here's one a truly green alternative people keep forgetting about. Buying old...
(6 August 2008)
Bikes, Copenhagen and Disneyland: what we have in common
Mikael Colville-Andersen, Bottleneck Blog, Los Angeles Times (journalist website)
Mikael Colville-Andersen writes two blogs about cycling in Copenhagen: copenhagencyclechic.com and copenhagenize.com. It's a good city in which to write about biking, considering that Copenhagen has earned a reputation as one of the world's most cycling-friendly towns. Given the interest in cycling among Bottleneck readers, we asked Mikael to explain how Copenhagen came to embrace bike culture:
Hello, Los Angeles! Man, I've always wanted to say that. A warm hello from me in Copenhagen -- the World's Cycling Capital. The sun is shining here in Copenhagen and the weather begs for a trip to the beach. It's a great city for cycling and on days like this you'll see over 50% of our population riding their bikes to work, school, the supermarket, the cafes and the beach (photo below).
While thinking about this guest blog for the L.A. Times I found a reference to cycling in Los Angeles the other day: "There is no part of the world where cycling is in greater favor than in Southern California, and nowhere on the American continent are conditions so favorable the year round for wheeling."
It's from a 1897 newspaper article, back during Bicycle Culture 1.0 and back when 20% of all trips were made by bike in Los Angeles.
(8 August 2008)
Go-getter gets governments going on sustainability
Peak Moment via Global Public Media
Energetic Kris Holstrom is the first Sustainability Coordinator for Telluride and a smart Colorado county. The action plan she developed encompasses energy efficiency and renewables, green building, food and water security, economy, and recycling/resource recovery.
She enlightens us about green codes, incentives and rebates, a household energy audit program, public education speakers and conferences, even farm tours for schoolkids. For Kris, what’s at the heart of sustainability is building relationships within the community and with the land, wherever we live.
(24 July 2008)
Always cycling with the wind behind you
Maurice Laparlière, Radio Netherlands
You still need to peddle but the battery helps. The electric bike is all the rage on Dutch cycle paths this summer, and enthusiasts have nothing but praise for it. "This invention deserves a Nobel prize."
There's a revolution going on in the world of the bicycle. The new electric bikes, or e-bikes, are a hit in the Netherlands with everyone from pensioners to school kids. The demand is so great, the manufacturers can't keep up, and you can wait up to six months for one.
... Wim van Vliet of the cycling trade association Bovag raves about the bike with an almost religious zeal:
"A professor from the VU University Amsterdam said, 'This bike deserves a Nobel prize.' And I'll tell you why. Old people do less exercise. They can't go jogging for fear of injuries. And pedalling a normal bike can be too hard for them. But you can keep riding an electric bike well into old age!"
With a looming energy crisis, there are some objections to be made against the electric bike, but Mr Van Vliet dismisses them with a wave: "A full battery will give you an extra push for 50 kilometres, and cost three to five cents. And it's so pleasant to ride that you'll leave your car more often."
(11 August 2008)