Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Shadow on the Environment

We had a service come to wash the solar cells, Hubby didn't want me climbing on the roof to do it myself. The workers took pictures to show they didn't harm the roof. The hose cast an interesting early morning shadow across the shingles.
I know that many do not believe that human activity is responsible for climate change, the proof is not 100% and until it is they believe it is better to do nothing.

I take a different approach. If there is credible evidence that human activity may be contributing to the devastating floods and droughts that seem to be more common every year, I feel I have a responsibility to make at least a few changes that will reduce my impact on the environment. The solar cells are one way we try to make a difference.

Our solar cells produced as much power as we used in their first year, reducing our carbon footprint by 9200lbs since September of last year.
Now that the weather is cooler, I try to do some of my errands on my bike. If I just need a few things at the market there is no reason I can't ride the six mile round trip. If I can't bike, I bundle errands whenever possible. I schedule no drive days every week.
Jug handle on the right allows golf carts to cross to shopping center across the street,
asphalt drive on right allows safe entry and egress to another shopping center

Not everyone can bike, though. Our town is involved in an NEV pilot project. An NEV looks like an electric golf cart but is a little bigger and can go a bit faster. It can travel on any street where the speed limit is 35 mph or less. Lincoln has added joint bike/NEV lanes on most streets that have a faster speed limit. This enables one to get almost anywhere in town.

Sun City is a golf cart community. Golf carts are not normally allowed on city streets but Lincoln has several approved routes where they are allowed. From Sun City you can get to two markets, several restaurants, a home improvement store, the library and many doctors and dentists. People here use their golf carts and NEVs and ours is not the only house with solar cells.

I realize that not everyone is in a position to make these changes, but everyone can find some way to reduce their use of energy and other resources. Everyone can contact their elected representative about their concern.

Maybe our use of carbon is not the cause of climate change but why take the chance? Humans as a species are very adaptable it's true, but adaptation takes time and at the cost of many lives and much suffering.

What are you doing to remove this shadow from the earth's future?

To see more shadows, go to Hey Harriet.


Barb said...

Hi Martha, I'm with you on no car days! My husband and I try to bike or walk everywhere we can when doing errands or going to a restaurant. We bought a canvas "cart" on wheels to go for groceries. (Yes - I guess I'm one of those old ladies who uses a cart now!)In the city, this is easier for us than it is in the Mts. It's also good to combine errands - saves time, money,and energy.

Gaelyn said...

Love the shadows and the fact that you are doing your part. I try to use less of everything, and buy second hand.

Sylvia K said...

Hi Martha, I do try not to drive my car more than one day a week and that's for the grocery shopping. I can walk to my doctor/dentist appointments when I have them. But we do live too far away from grocery stores and shopping centers of any kind, the streets are not in good condition and traffic is a serious problem. We had all the windows replaced last year and keep the temps low. So, bit by bit we all do what we can, in whatever way that we can
or at least I like to think that many of us do.

Love your shadow shots for the day!

Enjoy your weekend!


Rosebud Collection said...

Great shadows..Hose is really neat looking. Like the bike shot..very nice.
Nice to be close to town..
Happy SSS.

Tom Hilton said...

Great shadows, and good for you for reducing your carbon footprint!

I'm fortunate enough to live in San Francisco, where we can commute on public transit and do a lot of errands on foot.

Diane AZ said...

I like the hose and bike shadows. Good for you for your conservation efforts! We use furnace/ac as little as possible, buy less stuff, rarely travel, and bunch up errands when we do need to drive.

Ralph said...

Since I use a power wheelchair, I use my big Ford E-150 van to go places. Agreed it uses lots of gasoline, and since local paratransit here is not seven days a week, the van allows me to work and enjoy a sense of independence I might not enjoy. I am working on a new modified minivan, which is still a big vehicle, perhaps 1000 lbs. lighter, and uses a V-6 instead of my V-8. So better (not great) use of fuel will result. But a rigid frame 'chair can only work in one of these. So I think about things like carbon, but don't seem able to address that in my case. Can I make a difference in my case that will not compromise my independence? It's hard to say, but I create a bigger carbon footprint than most - but I do think about these issues...

At least we have purchased and installed a 90% efficiency furnace in the attic. With the new venting installed, I expect to use maybe 1/3 - 1/2 less natural gas this winter. Perhaps a start!

Sweet Repose said...

Good for you girl, we all must do our part and soon...are they crazy to think man isn't the problem...think of how pristine this planet once was, clean air, clean waters, abundant life everywhere...then the industrial revolution started the killing process...

...just hung a load of laundry on the vintage clothes dryer in my kitchen, the house can use the humidity and I'll hang them outside in the wind tomorrow to fluff.

Ahh...the sweet smell of laundry off the old fashioned clothesline!!!
KUDOS...wonderful post!!!

katney said...

We do recycle, and wear sweaters and throw on another quilt instead of heating up the whole house.

The car thing is a problem, though. I do walk, but it's a long way to town, and not practical for walking. Serious thorny weeds on our roadsides make biking impractical, too. Does it count that my car gets good mileage--even though it has 18 years old and has 340,000 miles on it.

Anonymous said...

Over here in Athens, seeing a bike is a very rare thing indeed, as there are way too many cars, either making it impossible to find space to ride, or simply putting the people upon two wheels in danger. Public transport however is a cheap alternative to the car.
With much sun during most of the year it is a solar heater we mostly use to get hot water.
A wonderful weekend for you.

Quilt Works said...

Love the photo with the bike - tells you a whole story :-)

Thank you for your comments on my moonlight over lighthouse photo. To answer your question I probably took over a hundred photos of the lighthouse in that session over about an hour that the moon was in the right position. I always take a lot of pictures, and keep only about 10 percent of them that I consider "good enough".

Patti said...

Our new efficient furnace is a start, as my hubby (Ralph) said. Some days I don't use the car at all.

It's little things that can add up, I suppose.

Deb said...

Great post, using the theme to discuss big topics.

allhorsestuff said...

Too bad I have to drive the car...otherwise..I would JUST ALWAYS ride my horse~!!!
Nice curvy shadows on that hose!

PERBS said...

Every day is no car day for me. I never learned how to drive! BUT I do love to walk and for errands I need to carry things back home, I take the bus.

Nice essay!

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Sam said...

Lovely shadowy Shots here.

I actually choose not to have a car for environmental reasons and for my figure - I walk everywhere! However, I live very close to my work and the city and public transport so I'm lucky in that respect.

Joops said...

Great shadow shots especially the second one..

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Icy BC said...

Beautiful shadow shots, and I agree that we should do whatever we can to reduce energy usage!

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Good for you. Here in Tulsa there are lots of bike paths but they are for recreation. They don't go by markets or anywhere else people would need to go.
Solar panels are getting more affordable and efficient all the time.
Lots and lots of windmills going up all the time.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! Thanks for sharing.

Linda Reeder said...

Great post. I agree we need to make an effort to reduce carbon output and to conserve natural resources.
Here in Seattle our power comes largely from hydroelectric power, a renewable resource, up to a point. Water will become a treasured commodity in the future.
We just insatlled a new heating/coolong system with a heat pump, hoping to reduce energy usage.

BLOGitse said...

GREAT SSS posting!
Here in Egypt the situation is...terrible!
But in Finland we recycle and cycle a lot.
Interesting to see what happens in Copenhagen...

Have a nice week!