Archive for the Category » Going Green «

Sunday, May 10th, 2009 | Author: matk62

We’ve had a lot of rain in the Northeast this spring, but now it looks like we are getting some good weather this week.  All this wetness will quickly be followed by the blooming of trees and flowers which brought this Talking Heads song to mind.

The lyrics are very open to interpretation.  I like to think David Byrne is happy to see our modern society disappear and the earth returned to nature.  Although if you listen closely to the song, you could make the argument that he misses all of the “advances” and is disappointed with a simpler scenic world.  Listen to the last line “Don’t leave me stranded here, I can’t get used to this lifestyle”.

Either way it is a fun song.  I choose to focus on the positive message and would welcome some undevelopment of our urban lifestyle. What do you think of when you hear this song?

 

Here we stand
Like an Adam and an Eve
Waterfalls
The Garden of Eden
Two fools in love
So beautiful and strong
The birds in the trees
Are smiling upon them
From the age of the dinosaurs
Cars have run on gasoline
Where, where have they gone?
Now, it’s nothing but flowers

There was a factory
Now there are mountains and rivers
you got it, you got it

We caught a rattlesnake
Now we got something for dinner
we got it, we got it

There was a shopping mall
Now it’s all covered with flowers
you’ve got it, you’ve got it

If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower
you’ve got it, you’ve got it

Years ago
I was an angry young man
I’d pretend
That I was a billboard
Standing tall
By the side of the road
I fell in love
With a beautiful highway
This used to be real estate
Now it’s only fields and trees
Where, where is the town
Now, it’s nothing but flowers
The highways and cars
Were sacrificed for agriculture
I thought that we’d start over
But I guess I was wrong

Once there were parking lots
Now it’s a peaceful oasis
you got it, you got it

This was a Pizza Hut
Now it’s all covered with daisies
you got it, you got it

I miss the honky tonks,
Dairy Queens, and 7-Elevens
you got it, you got it

And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention
you got it, you got it

I dream of cherry pies,
Candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies
you got it, you got it

We used to microwave
Now we just eat nuts and berries
you got it, you got it

This was a discount store,
Now it’s turned into a cornfield
you got it, you got it

Don’t leave me stranded here
I can’t get used to this lifestyle

Category: Going Green, Green  | Tags: , ,  | Leave a Comment
Monday, May 04th, 2009 | Author: matk62

Instead of junking our gas guzzlers, wouldn’t it be better to convert them into gas sipping dual-mode vehicles?  Here is a story from AltEnergyStocks entitled “The Time is Right for Gas-guzzler to Dual-mode EV Conversions”.  The conversion idea makes more sense to me, but the price is too high right now.  Maybe they could bring down the cost through economies of scale and/or government subsidies.

The concept is simple – add electric power trains and battery packs to America’s least fuel-efficient vehicles and give them 50 miles of plug-in EV range coupled with unlimited internal combustion range. The potential benefits to the economy are enormous because the U.S. could slash gasoline consumption by a billion gallons per year for every 1% of the gas-guzzler fleet that’s converted to dual-mode. It’s also a solution that could be immediately implemented using domestic products and create untold thousands of new cleantech jobs.

bus bar on batteries.The story goes on to detail the current cost at over $10,000 and the breakeven point based on different gas prices.  This does not hold up well with today’s current $2.00 per gallon, but we know this will not last. So this could be a very viable option for our future.

The beauty of this idea is that the electric components would allow you to drive up to 50 miles a charge.  This would cover most daily commutes while the dual-mode could easily switch to gasoline for longer trips.  We get the best of both technologies.

This way many families could continue driving vans, trucks and sport utility vehicles to accommodate children and other needs.  While a Prius is a great vehicle for the single driver, it doesn’t fit in many other situations.  A conversion of our exiting fleet of vehicles would be a huge step towards energy independence.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Audin

Sunday, April 19th, 2009 | Author: matk62

One of the best bands from the 80’s is Dramarama.  I don’t think they ever made it big nationally, but they had a huge radio hit with “Anything, Anything” here on the East Coast.   This song was pure energy and is still one of my favorite songs of all time.

This week I would like to feature another song by Dramarama called “What Are We Gonna Do?”.  Please excuse the mistake in the opening line, we know Earth Day is April 22nd, but I guess they had the date wrong when they recorded it.  Seems kind of funny now to make such an obvious mistake when we have instant access to the internet.  Back then, song writers just wrote lyrics and I guess nobody took the time to actually check the date.

Anyway, I found this video on YouTube that uses the song with some wonderful images of our beautiful planet.  There are also 50 inspirational messages to help encourage all of us to live better and take action.  I hope you find motivation in one or more or the messages while enjoying the music.

 

It’s April 21st and everybody knows today is Earth Day
Merry Christmas, Happy Birthday to whoever’s being born
And now I’m trying hard to think of something
meaningful and worthy, kind of earthy
to make everybody ask themselves just

What are we doing here?
and what are we doing to her?

I don’t know
What are we gonna do?
What are we gonna do?
What are we gonna do?

Category: Going Green, Green  | Tags: , ,  | 3 Comments
Sunday, March 29th, 2009 | Author: matk62

According to this story from AP, Earth Hour was a big success.  I am very excited about any idea that can gather this much attention and increase awareness of our current energy consumption.

I was at a party Saturday night where the hosts turned off the lights and lit candles.  It was a fun experience to share with friends and all the kids were even more enthusiastic than the parents.  The youth of today wants us to reduce our wasteful habits to leave them a better world.

Here is a video celebrating the first 2 years of Earth Hour while encouring even more participation this year.

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 | Author: matk62

This week’s song is a strong recommendation from my 10 ½ year old daughter Jane.  It was not my first choice, but she can be very persuasive.  If you are not familiar with Miley Cyrus, then you do not have a young girl in your house that watches Hannah Montana almost every day.

After listening to this song, I have to agree with her.  It has a great message about the youth of today telling us all to wake up to the everyday challenges that we face.  Unfortunately, many of us are currently looking the other way.

So, maybe this song will inspire you to take action.  If not, you might be harassed like me, by a cute girl singing this song during your next car ride.

Ohh
Can you take care of her
Ohh
Maybe you can spare her
Several moments
Of your consideration
Leading up
To the final destination
Ohh
The Earth is calling out
I wanna learn
What it’s all about

But everything I read
Is global warming
Going green
I don’t know
What all this means
But it seems
To be saying

Wake up America
We’re all
In this together
It’s our home
So let’s take care of it
You know that you want to
You know that you got
To wake up America

Category: Going Green, Green  | Tags: , ,  | Leave a Comment
Sunday, March 15th, 2009 | Author: matk62

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this week I would like to feature an Irish group.  There are so many great ones including Van Morrison, U2, The Waterboys and The Pogues.  The band I chose for this week is Snow Patrol doing their song “Chasing Cars”:

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I believe the song is about a girl, but when I listen to the lyrics I can also hear a cry for Energy Independence.  Go ahead, look at the lyrics above while listening to the song and let me know what you think.

Thursday, February 26th, 2009 | Author: matk62

Lent is a time that Christians spend focusing on their relationship with God by stripping down to the essentials.  For many of us, this means giving up chocolate, alcohol or smoking.  This can also be a time to dedicate to volunteering and helping others.

In this spirit of the season, I saw an interesting story on Fast Company entitled “British Bishops Call for Carbon Fast During Lent”.  A group of British bishops ran a successful “carbon fast” last year and they are calling on followers to again reduce their energy usage.Lent

Over at The Daily Green, they offer “9 Things You Can Give Up For Lent That Will Help The Environment”.  Here are their suggestions:

  1. Give up plastic (and paper) bags
  2. Stop buying bottled water
  3. Stop receiving unwanted catalogs
  4. Give up conventional detergents
  5. Give up the clothes dryer
  6. Give up conventional toilet paper
  7. Give up paper towels
  8. Give up 2 degrees
  9. Give up dry cleaning

Sometimes committing to these actions for a short period of time can result in long term changes to our consumption habits.  So go ahead, give up the wine or chocolate, but also give up a few habits that waste energy.  You will improve your own wellbeing, the struggling economy and the health of the planet.  If you could share a few rides, that would ne nice too.

Creative Commons License photo credit: jezobeljones

Friday, January 30th, 2009 | Author: admin

There were two stories in Time Magazine that caught my attention last week.  One is about living longer and the other is about dying, but they have one key thing in common: reducing our air pollution.

In the first story, “Want to Live Longer? Cut the Pollution”, they cite a recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine.  The study details increased life spans for people who live in areas where pollution has been curbed.  Now this should not come as a surprise to anyone, but it is reassuring to see statistics to back it up.

Color on Dead TreesIn the second story, “Study: U.S. Trees Dying at Alarming Rate”, they look at the findings of a thirty-year study published in the journal Science.  The study finds that the death rate of trees in the western U.S. has more than doubled in the last few decades.  These are trees of all sizes and types in healthy, well-established forests.

We have already lost millions of tress to beetle infestations, but these are apparently healthy trees without evidence of infestation that have been weakened by global warming.  The real irony is that trees soak up large quantities of carbon dioxide and are critically important in slowing climate change.  So these trees will not be around to help clean the air and their dying actually releases carbon dioxide back into the air as a kind of global warming double whammy.

As temperatures slowly rise, this problem will worsen since the summer season will be longer which causes trees to be stressed and vulnerable to drought conditions.  More trees dying will have a direct effect on our air quality and ultimately our own longevity.

Aggressively reducing our auto emissions is a huge step in slowing the current rate of climate change.  Pay4Rides would help trees live longer, which improves the health of the planet and the air we breathe.  Now aren’t those a couple of great reasons to share rides?

Creative Commons License photo credit: *PaysImaginaire*

Monday, January 26th, 2009 | Author: admin

Today President Obama endorsed efforts to allow states adopt rules for stricter emission standards.  In a USA Today story, Obama pushing stronger fuel-efficiency standard, they detail many of the reasons behind this initiative.It's the economy, stupid!

This may seem like bad news for the automakers, but they know these changes are necessary.  We need to focus on lessening our dependence on foreign oil for our own national security.  In a Wall Street Journal story, they make some excellent points:

President Obama again linked his energy agenda to the economy, the environment, and national security. Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on foreign oil helps finance terrorism, subjects Americans to volatile gasoline prices, and courts the “irreversible catastrophe” of climate change. “These are the facts,” he said.

This won’t happen over night, but it is a very good first step.  We need to aggressively curb our greenhouse gas emissions and slow global warming.  California has been ahead of the curve on this issue and it is about time the rest of the country caught up.

Higher gas mileage and lower emissions, sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it?

Creative Commons License photo credit: net_efekt

Monday, January 12th, 2009 | Author: admin

Even with all the benefits of Passenger Energy, it is still a tough sell to convince people to begin an organized program of paid ride sharing.  What other incentives could be offered?

The associations behind both wind and solar energy are making push for refundable tax credits.  These credits are like a rebate since any payments can then be applied towards taxes that are due.  They can actually reduce tax liability below zero, so the government would send out a check for any additional earned credits.

purple moon + wind power

There is also an interesting story by Josie Garthwaite entitled “Why Refundable Tax Credits Are Important for Clean Power”.  This story makes a strong case for how refundable tax credits could boost production of renewable energy.  Additional reimbursements will help drive increased investing in clean solar and wind technology.

This is an interesting concept that I think could also be applied to Passenger Energy.  Instead of just focusing on new energy production, why not reward increased conservation?  We could track commuting habits to allow individuals to earn credits for either providing or accepting rides.

I think we are so focused on keeping up with our current excessive energy demands that we are missing a bigger opportunity to just reduce our consumption.  We should still aggressively pursue alternative energy sources, but we should also offer compensation for all who consume less.  Don’t you agree that it is better to attack a problem this large from both sides?

Creative Commons License photo credit: Torley