Monday, October 15, 2007

Green Blogging Day!

It's been nearly a month! So sorry. I return today enthusiastically, however. I sit in the Lincoln Square neighborhood in the lovely (and sunny!) city of Chicago. I am here for my vacation, spending time with my s.o. without spending lots of money. Due to lack of money and lack of planning, she is working. So while she works, I have been enjoying my time here on the patio of a lovely cafe called Cafeneo, reading "The Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein.

All of this has seemingly little to do with the blog action day I refer to in the title of this post. Today is apparently a day to make an environmentally related post to your blog. Boing Boing referenced it, and since I have the time, I am moved to post about one particular green topic. The Chicago setting is relevant because I have enjoyed much of my time in transit on the seat of my bicycle. The city's streets feature bike lanes! And people use them. I have been very pleased to see so many people moving under human power on their two wheeled machines. I can ride from my s.o.'s apartment here to the cafe with the outdoor patio and have the best latte I have ever tasted with hardly any effort and in a matter of minutes.

To bring the issue home, think of the amount of energy wasted every time a car is used. Usually the purpose is to get one person from one place to another. Let's say that person is 160 pounds, like myself. Now in order to get all 160 of the person to point B, an entire automobile is moved. In my case, that would be the 2674 pounds of my Nissan Sentra, plus 50 pounds or so for all the camping stuff in the trunk (note to self: get camping stuff out of the trunk). On the other hand, my bike weighs about 25 pounds, I'd guess. In many ways, the energy used to moved that 2674 pounds is wasted. The gasoline and road and carbon emissions and steel and plasic that make up the car all represent inefficiencies. Every time I drive from point A to point B by myself, 95 percent of the energy is used to move something that is not me. I would contend that this represents an unacceptable level of waste.

My car doesn't need to go to work, I need to go to work. My car doesn't in any way enhance my enjoyment of the air at Cafeneo. It curbs it. Pollution and noise are not improving my patio experience. I imagine one day in the future when we will all look back with ridicule at the way we now let hassles of car payments, traffic, parking lots, and carbon emissions to so rule our lives.