Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wanting Green Stuff - with Polar Bear Bonus Material

It's that balance. (I think I am blessed to be broke these days.)

I keep finding myself wanting stuff to make my daily steps more eco-friendly. There are bigs and littles.

 [Bigs] Topping the Bigs List - a cargo bike.
I want to do my best to give up (gasoline) driving a car as much as possible. A bike that serves my commuting and hauling needs could go a long way in making that goal attainable. ($1800ish for a Radwagon, maybe better when Mr. Evans announces pricing on the Leap) Kylie the WunderMutt is holding out for a cargo bike too.

[Littles] But I don't really need a cargo bike.
In many cases, the greenest option is the one you already have. I am two tires, a front basket, and some panniers away from a bike that will haul moderate loads, and I have a bike trailer to haul bigger stuff (and Kylie). I could even build everything but the tires. (maybe $40-$150 and four hours of work)

[Bigs] Second on the Bigs List: an Electric Car.
I have finally backed away from wanting a MiEV (mostly) and have been drooling over used Leafs. ($10,000 will buy you a very nice, low-mileage Leaf these days.) It would be linguistically cool to say I drive a Leap and Leaf! Nissan's none-too-pretty but has-a-great-personality electric car could keep me moving in all weather and I could take people with me! But $10K is just not do-able right now, and it would not haul much stuff. As for a more classic approach, I ooh and ah over Citicars but the little doorstop is just not that practical as an eco-friendly people mover.

[Littles] Rain gear and all weather tires for the bike could go a long way toward lessening my "need" for an electric car. And maybe some testosterone supplements to encourage me to aggressively confront the West Texas weather. (It may be time to toughen up, Coffee Cup - it's hard to call oneself "Buttercup".) I may also need some industrial strength deodorant. (What's the going rate for tires and testosterone?)

Find it here.

[Bigs] Go solar.
Yep, it's a big ticket item, but anyone who is obsessed with personal carbon reduction is going to struggle with powering the home with coal and natural gas, and those are currently our only options with Lubbock Power and Light and Water. Just think how clean and green the Leaf would be running on solar power.

More information here.
[Littles] A Home Energy Audit and follow-up repairs.
The next best thing to producing renewable energy is to burn considerably less dirty energy. A lot of energy escapes our house through windows, doors, and the odd hole in the ceiling. There're some less than-energy-efficient appliances lurking in our home too. There're even some bad energy habits that linger. A little focus in this area could reap big energy benefits (and save a little money to boot.)

Yes, I know. It's a stretch. (Find it here.)
[More of Middle] A Greenhouse.
If you have been reading along this week, you've probably already seen the shower door plan and the geodesic dome plan. A greenhouse can be built very inexpensively, but the time involved in building and maintaining and the money spent planting and nurturing - those can be daunting. On the other hand, it's hard to beat this level of locavorism for nutrition and personal carbon reduction.
Hi, Annie!
Yep, I keep struggling with wanting stuff. I guess I better go back and watch the Story of Stuff again.
May the stuff you do (and don't) buy lead us all to a healthier place!