The humble bus seems to be gaining in popularity as a political instrument. Tomorrow, October 31, you’ve got not one but two chances to see how the big, lumbering vehicles are becoming surprisingly nimble as symbols of various issues. Depending who’s driving, of course.
Interesting phenomenon, climate change: Most people agree that it’s happening, but as soon as you get past that basic consensus and start talking about what the hell we should be doing about the problem, people revert to their usual partisan ways.
When we were informed a few months ago that our home county, Nelson, would no longer take glass at its recycling center off Rte. 151, we certainly did not feel like breaking out the bubbly. We generate more glass than any other type of recyclable. So not to have an eco-approved outlet for that stuff has resulted in some major distress.
It’s official: the farmer’s market is no podunk operation. Last weekend, the Charlottesville City Market passed the $1 million sales mark for the season. That’s a lot of carrots.
So, anyone else being totally cheap about turning on the heat? We have vowed, with a certain amount of false bravado, that we won’t fire ours up until Thanksgiving. (Check in with me on Election Day and see how that’s going.)
And, while weâ€™re at it, letâ€™s hear it for Apartment Therapy Re-Nest, one of my favorite green-living blogs. A while ago on Re-Nest I spotted this post, about turning a reclaimed futon frame into a lovely, Japanese-ish front gate for a city house.
Last Friday, the Design Marathon had local design talent racing through pro-bono projects to benefit local nonprofits. Our correspondent Kathryn Faulkner was there…
Why, you ask? Because, A), passive is the new active, and B), it’s free, not to mention C), it won’t last forever, plus D) all the carbon-neutral kids will be there. GreenMatters is the free green-your-home workshop series hosted by the Habitat Store, itself an essential resource for the reuse/recycle set, and it’s been chugging along for well over a year now. Anyone who’s gone to all the workshops since they began in May 2007 is, at this point, pretty well-versed in the basics of making one’s household a less impactful place.
Looky here: Another ranked list of American cities. This one’s all about who’s greenest among our fair nation’s 50 largest towns. It’s published by SustainLane.com, and I spotted it on the New York Times blog Dot Earth. If you want to get a quick taste of how complex a task it actually is to rank major urban areas on their so-called sustainability, read the comments on that post as well as SustainLane’s explanations of their methods. We’re talking some serious visual aids and some serious statistical angst, people.
No, I do not refer to cap-and-trade systems for controlling industrial emissions. I speak of an ad I spotted last week for the eco-fabulous Richmond grocer Ellwood Thompson’s, which is offering customers 25 cents off their bills if they walk, bike or take the bus to the store. It’s called the EnviroCredit, and the company’s website hints at more such initiatives to come.
Know what? If you paint the concrete floor of a bus maintenance garage white, it will encourage workers to keep it clean. And you know what else? If you line the hallways of a school with vertical wood planks interspersed with full-length mirrors, it will make students feel like theyâ€™re walking in the woods.
Now hereâ€™s a truly cool project. A bunch of UVA students (in architecture and engineering) spent last Friday assembling, at the Cobham home of architecture prof John Quale, structures theyâ€™d designed to shelter two sleeping people. The rules were that the structures had to be made from recycled, reclaimed or natural materials; that materials had to be recycled after the project; and that each structure could take no more than two hours to assemble and cost no more than $10.
So far, we havenâ€™t seen any large-scale shift in American energy habits (the closest Iâ€™ve noticed are the stats about many drivers cutting down on their gas usage). But little changes are making news, like these two recent items about renewable energy coming to our area.
Back in the April issue of Abode, I wrote about a house Upstream Construction was building in Crozet for Brian and Joan Day. As I pointed out then, itâ€™s notable not only because itâ€™s a custom house with many green features, but because the Days are both environmental professionals who decided to open their house to the public during and after construction, so people could take a look and learn a thing or two. Well, Upstream recently wrapped up construction and the Days held a final open house event to show off their LEED-worthy dwelling.
Boy, am I excited to be introducing our brand-new blog, Green Scene. I see this as a chance to talk with all of you on a regular basis about things that interest me anyway: everything from figuring out how to set up a rain collection system at my house, to local debates between developers and preservationists.