S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Living "green"

photo credit: Ernest vonRosen,
Canada is a very green country. The maple leaf is at the center of their national flag. Canadians have a reputation for living green. And economic issues always arise when it comes to living green in North America.

Canada and the U.S. have been in a feud over lumber for a very long time. But now it seems something is finally settled. Certainly the main issue was trade policy, but behind it lurks the question of how to sustain supplies of wood without endangering valuable old growth forests. According to CBS News,

It won't provide much relief to the wallets of U.S. home buyers, but an agreement on softwood lumber will resolve a major trade irritant that has roiled relations between the United States and Canada for more than two decades.
The deal was announced by the countries' top trade negotiators late Thursday in Washington after the two sides ironed out some last-minute glitches. President Bush called Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper from Air Force One to congratulate him.
"This agreement shows how NAFTA partners can overcome differences and work together," Bush said in a statement later, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Harper, who took office in February as the Conservative Party returned to power for the first time in 12 years, had made resolving the dispute a top priority in his effort to smooth relations with the United States, which had been strained by a variety of issues, including the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Living green is a very individual decision. A survey of what individuals and families are doing to live in ways that save the environment would yield an enormous range of answers. And it is too big a subject for a single blogpost. So all I can do is survey myself:

  1. How energy efficient is your house? It is neither the worst nor the best. We have a ceiling fan in every room and some are reversible to help with winter heating. This year we plan to install solar screens, at least on the west side of the house. Our thermostat is set at 78 degrees in the summer and 68 degrees in the winter. And in the Spring and Fall we leave the windows open as much as possible. We have an insulation blanket around the water heater in the garage. Our builder is not able to meet the "Energy Star" category but it may happen before long because competition is increasing in this area.
  2. How much water do you use? Research indicates that average water usage is far too high. Here in the Southwest water is a big deal and it is becoming more scarce. And our high water bill shows that we fall into the category moderate water wasters. I was born and raised in a dry Western state, however, so I should know better. We do a few things, however. My roommate showers in the one nearest to the hot water heater. We water the lawn deeply only as needed, not every day. We have drip irrigation lines in our flower beds. We have low flow toilets and shower heads designed to restrict flow also. For drinking we have water filters in the refrigerator and the coffee maker. Clean water is also "green," and we favor filtered over bottled water because it used less packaging resources.
  3. How much gasoline do you use? My car gets 30+ miles per gallon/highway. It is well maintained, including checking the tire inflation to enhance good mileage. My roommate borrows it for running about, because his truck is a 3/4 ton, unfortunately. Both of us make our errand trips count by planning the routes and doing several activities per trip. We are about to travel to the state of my birth, however, so my share of gasoline will become disproportionate and very expensive. A $100 rebate, is a silly idea, BTW.
  4. How much do you know about environmental issues? I am fairly well informed, though you would not know it by the shade of my "green-living." But you see me blogging today about it because, while I was under the weather, I made it the focus of my TV watching and news reading. This emphasis has made me realize that it is fast becoming a huge political issue in my mind, and one I can actually do something about. I would not classify myself as a (Republicans' nemesis Tree-Hugger) but I would have been if I were younger. I grew up in a beautiful mountain region with clean air. I understand the Green Life difference in my bones.
  5. What do you do to encourage the survival of endangered plant and animal species? First of all, I reject the idea that "ecoterrorism" is as big a threat to national security as the current administration claims it is. This Eugene Weekly article is a thought-provoking read on the subject. Second, I watch TV, read and blog on the issues. It is the best I can do at my age. My days of hankering to visit Jane Goodall are past due to my circumstances.

You are invited to comment with replies to the survey questions and any other feedback.
  • Carl Pope, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, has a blog I regularly visit. Taking the Initiative it is called.
  • The title link of this post is a site called The Green Life.

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