Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Get Trashed at Green Drinks"

Lovin' the announcements for tonight's talk at Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, OR. Gorge Outdoors published a nice interview in preparation for tonight's slide show on waste management.

See you all, soon!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Leaky Pipes No Longer

Once upon a time, I used to think that a "productive weekend" entailed going for a run, getting laundry done, lining up snacks for the rest of the week, and possibly doing some bike maintenance.

The bar has been reset: this Saturday, we replaced the main water line from the street to the house.

Like most houses built half-a-century ago, the galvanized steel pipes that go into Nancy's house (where we're living) have been slowly been rotting away. Before, when I thought "leaky pipe", I envisioned a pipe with a little hole in it. No no. These things leak. Consistently. The water seeped into the ground and made a corner of the yard constantly damp.

Here's a picture of the pipe(s) that we pulled out of the ground. You see the rust? You see the earth that has adhered to the pipe? It's almost like clay. They needed to be replaced.

First, we rented a mini excavator. This one has "CAT" controls.

Then, after turning off the water and disconnecting some important bits, we dug a trench. Gene did most of the digging with the excavator while I hacked away roots with an axe.

Then we pulled the old pipe out. At the same time, we threaded the new plastic-y pipe in. I could not believe the diameter of the pipe -- that skinny little thing brings water into the whole house? Crazy.

Gene then connected the new pipe to the house and back to the main water line from the city. It was a little touch-and-go when water started spraying all over the basement. I started envisioning a week of bucket baths, but Gene was able to fix it.

Finally, we turned the water back on in time for dinner! We even made it to a pumpkin carving party that evening, though, after carving up the yard all day, I didn't feel like carving any pumpkins.

It is so satisfying to see the dial on the water meter -- which had chronically spun no matter if no one was using water in the house -- stay put.

Yay, efficiency.

Monday, October 26, 2009 International Day of Climate Action

Saturday, October 24, 2009, was the International Day of Climate Action put together by Bill McKibben and the folks at

What's 350? It is the number that "leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change."

Check out, along with their beautiful photographs from around the world.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

There Once Was a Recycler on Nantucket

Edged out by just three other stories (Dementia, Toxic Parents, and Where the Wild Things Are), the New York Times article today on the trend towards Zero Waste communities is the fourth most emailed story.

The island of Nantucket -- once whaling hotspot, now upperclass retreat with three shades of grey -- is leading the charge?! Ahoy.

Photo: Michael Weymouth

Monday, October 19, 2009

Double Your Pleasure: Environmental Homonyms

Whenever I get on the tandem, I start singing the Doublemint Gum theme song from my childhood:

"Double double your refreshment,
Double double your enjoyment.
Oh, no single gum double freshens your mouth
like double fresh, Doublemint, gum."

In honor of this doubling, I present environmental homonyms that have crossed my mind recently:



WHETHERIZATION (yes, I made that up)

Not to mention...

I KNOW TRASH (my domain)

photo: Beth Ross