Seven Things You Can Do to Protect Air, Water, and Soil Quality

Seven Things You Can Do to Protect Air, Water, and Soil Quality

These tips are taken from the posts “Thank You Pittsburgh For Banning Marcellus Shale Drilling” and “Drilling for Natural Gas in the Marcellus Shale: What’s It All About and What Can We Do.”  They are specifically about working to protect air, water, and soil quality from the dangers of natural gas fracking. Of course, the last three can apply to anything.

  1. Check out Marcellus Protest
  2. Here are some tips from Pittsburgh organizer Gloria Forouzan
  3. Watch background and analysis of Marcellus Shale industry by the Real News Network
  4. Watch Gasland and share your story
  5. Write letters to the editor
  6. Talk to your neighbors
  7. Educate yourself
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The United States is Now Criss-Crossed by Nearly Four Million Miles of Roadways

The United States is Now Criss-Crossed by Nearly Four Million Miles of Roadways

And what we need more trees, less highways.

Photo by flickr user shawnconna

I found this article the other day when browsing the site of the very excellent organization Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest and thought it was worth sharing. Notice especially the part in italics:

Why Shade Trees? The Unexpected Benefit

Davis, CA (November 1, 2007)- We would all prefer to walk down a tree-lined street to one without trees, but did you know that the street itself prefers to run under trees? This report examines the cost-saving benefits of having shaded streets. All other factors equal, the condition of pavement on tree-shaded streets is better than on unshaded streets. In fact, shaded roads require significantly less maintenance and can save up to 60% of repaving costs over 30 years.

After more than 100 years of road and highway building, the United States is now criss-crossed by nearly four million miles of roadways. Add in all the parking lots, private roads, driveways, and road shoulders, and the total amount of paved land comes to approximately one percent of the total area of the contiguous United States. The cost of maintaining this asphalt can be lowered through urban tree planting.

Photo by flickr user scratch n sniff

Asphalt streets are a combination of filler materials, known as aggregate, and a binder- asphalt cement- on top of one or more layers of gravel and compacted soil. As pavement temperatures rise, the binder evaporates and breaks down and the pavement begins to harden, making it easier for cracks to form. Tree planting along roads provides shade, thereby improving pavement conditions. According to research conducted by this study, 20% shade on a street improves pavement condition by 11%, which is a 60% savings for resurfacing over 30 years. Read Tips for Street Shading Trees

Three Easy Things You Can Do

1. Learn to identify the trees in your neighborhood

2. Become a tree tender at your local urban forestry or tree organization

3. Write to your local legislators to voice support to fund tree planting programs

When Conservation Meant Patriotism in America

When Conservation Meant Patriotism in America

Cutting Consumption is an Urgent Priority

Our mantra has been switched to buy, buy, buy, spend, spend in the past couple of decades and what has it gotten us? A near depression with 30 million Americans underemployed, unemployed or hopeless; an economy bankrupt with no manufacturing base; unending war; and the decimation of American creativity.

During the Second World War, thrift, ingenuity, and sacrifice were considered to be the main indicators of a Good American but those values have been tossed to the past, exported to other countries, and in mocked in popular culture.

We as a country have been living the last decade as though we are not embroiled in at least two full-scale wars / invasions of other countries. With the battlefield positions relegated to such a small percentage of the country, many people don’t even notice that we’re at war — it’s not something that touches the lives of most of us.

But we are at war. Americans are still being converted from sons and fathers to “troops” and from mothers and daughters to “troops”, isolating them from the rest of us, the non-warring public who are unmoved by their sacrifice. To honor them, we don’t need more war, we need to bring them home and start healing communities now.

How can we “Support the Troops” if we don’t try to end the wars to bring them back to their families and communities intact?

Below are some posters from the WWII era extolling frugality, improvisation, and making do.

What can you do to cut back on consumption?

IS Your Trip Really Necessary?
Or riding the bus, riding a bicycle, or walking?
Let’s do this again!

Because commercially canned goods were rationed, the Victory Garden became an indispensable source of food for the home front. The Victory Garden was a household activity during the war and one of the most well received of all home front chores. At its peak, it is estimated that nearly 20,000,000 gardens were grown and about 40 percent of all vegetables produced in the U.S. came from Victory Gardens. By the end of the war the Department of Agriculture estimated total home front production of over one million tons of vegetables valued at 85 million dollars.

The Victory Gardens of WWII remain a vivid memory for many Americans who experienced them. Across the nation, home canning and preserving of farm produce flourished so that more supplies would be made available for our troops. The idea was simple in conception and inexpensive for the individual American at home to carry out.

Before agriculture was dominated by Monsanto and other giants, individuals and families had their own farms!
Use wisely, please!

As FDR said: “Books are weapons” so brandish yours today and take control of your flow of information. It’s time to get informed and not all information is available on the internet. Join a library and check out a book today. “No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny”. Read one today!

And, as En Vogue said sometime in the 90s, “Free Your Mind and the Rest Will Follow”.

Which Way to Go? Planning Walking and Biking Routes

Which Way to Go? Planning Walking and Biking Routes

What is important to you when you plan a bicycle or walking route?

For me it’s easy:

I just prefer

1. Shady trails or tree-lined streets

2. Car-free or car-light

I like to reduce my potential for interacting with automobiles.

Two of my bicycle riding co-workers were recently surprised when I said that a shady route was one of my main considerations — they’d never thought of it; and I was surprised they never noticed. There is a massive Pleasure Differential between riding under a tree-lined street or path and riding under the relentless sun.

What would make you walk or ride your bicycle more?

Are You Ready to Move Beyond Petroleum?

Are You Ready to Move Beyond Petroleum?

Thanks to Greenpeace for this creative action.

From the Guardian:

The protests, coinciding with the replacement of BP chief Tony Hayward by Bob Dudley, was meant to encouraged the public to help speed-up the end of the oil age.

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said: “The moment has come for BP to move beyond oil. Under Tony Hayward the company went backwards, squeezing the last drops of oil from places like the Gulf of Mexico, the tar sands of Canada and even the fragile Arctic wilderness … They’re desperate for us to believe they’re going ‘beyond petroleum’. Well now’s the time to prove it.”

What do you think?

Today is My Birthday! Thanks Everyone, for Everything

Today is My Birthday! Thanks Everyone, for Everything

Thank you to everyone who has been in my life.

Thanks, too, for the lovely wishes.

And to everyone who has been reading and commenting.

I’m 31 now!

My life keeps getting more fun and more wonderful and more exciting every day.

I’m incredibly lucky

… To have a fun, thoughtful, supportive, smart, excitable family that is prone to dancing.

And a gaggle of friends who constantly inspire me and make me laugh loud enough to wake zombies.

And a gentleman caller who is smart, creative, easy on the eyes, quick to smile, looks great in glasses, knows how to make a million things, teaches me how to use power tools, likes to experiment with food, is a great dancer, and likes my quirks.

And a new job advocating for bicycles that excites my brain and makes me giddy to go to work. Also thrilled to have some sharp, creative, and charming co-workers.

And to be surrounded by all sorts of people that I can’t wait to meet.

Thank you!

Hi! from the fall on this sweltering day!

PS: Birthday wish: I want David Byrne to come to Pittsburgh and do a bike event with me, so if you know him, point him in my direction. Thanks World!

I love you!

Kickstarter: Community Funded Creativity

Kickstarter: Community Funded Creativity

(This is an update to my first post on Kickstarter.)

Everyone has a great idea. Kickstarter is a place “to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors.” You can submit your own projects or just help others.

The site is founded on the premise that

  • A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.
  • A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.
This is another project I wanted to tell you about.
It’s by my friend, the fancy bike writer, organizer, promoter, speaker, and mover, Elly Blue. Elly’s writing a bike zine and going on tour with Microcosm Publishing this summer. In keeping with the small scale nature of zines, Elly is looking for just $350. She raised $250 in the three days since launching the project.
See You Tomorrow, Hopefully is a performance tours that needs just $1100 more to meet their target and receive funding. Why don’t you help them out?

The Letterpress House: Met Goal

The Community Apiary: Met Goal

How You Can Help

It is so easy to contribute — you can fund a project with just $5. Even though times are tight, skip that next latte or beer, maybe an unnecessary restaurant trip, or an outfit and you can change someone’s life.

Pass it on.