Tag Archives: sustainability

Winter driving

It’s starting to get cold.  The snow line is creeping down the mountains, making me think of snowboarding.  Temps are hovering between minus and plus 3 at night, and that means my relationship to driving will soon change.

At minus 10 and below, it’s too cold for biodiesel without a fuel tank heater, and the vegetable oil starts to gel.  So, it has to be blended with normal diesel.  Half and half even, in deep winter and going over passes.  Alberta is out of the question.

The other day I put in the first $10 of normal diesel since the summer, and that made me think about my driving habits again.  Driving biodiesel is not totally “clean”- driving at all has an impact, and the more miles you put on means petroleum products galore: oil changes and fluids and tires and maintenance – but it’s better, and for a little while I hardly thought twice about driving when I wanted to.  Putting nasty normal diesel in the tank means assessing the importance of every kilometer again and spending more energy hitchhiking and ridesharing.

Sigh.

It was fun while it lasted.  I swear, that must have been how it felt like 50 years ago, when gas was cheap and the road was fun to drive on, just to fly.  No one goes for Sunday drives anymore.  Gas matters.  It’s expensive and fraught with moral implications and we spend so much time driving because we have to that it’s ceased to be fun.

Accidentally green.

I didn’t set out to “build green”, by any means.  I wouldn’t put that label on it, although I do have an overall ethic of building as healthy and low-impact as I can.  I have an ethic of saving money that supersedes even that.  It’s just turning out that I’m doing better than I expected, kinda by accident.  Cheap and green can be congruent.

So far, the off-gassing, plastic, chemical, clearcut-sourced shit I’ve installed: the polyethylene vapour barrier, the plywood sub-floor (which will probably double as the floor-floor), and the fire retardants in the cellulose.

So far, to my eco-credit:

The insulation.  Roxul is billed as an environmental choice, basically because there are just so many rocks out there.  I suspect that the energy it takes to shred rocks into insulation is tremendous, though, and I’m not sure how it stacks up against fiberglass at the end of the day.  I must do more research.

The pallet floor.  Reused, removed from the garbage cycle, and repurposed as an alternative to concrete.  Compared to pouring a slab of the worst kind of emission-heavy building material out there, my pallets earn me a little carbon-offset halo.  Not to mention ‘crete is an oxygen sink, and sucks to walk on.
Continue reading Accidentally green.

the Great Divesting

Living conscionably has to start right now.  It’s nice to imagine a future life off-grid without flush toilets, and wearing the homespun wool of ethically raised squirrels, but generating mountains of garbage and emissions on the way from here to there is not ok.

CIMG9894

Although I’m still mostly flat, especially since my physio got too ambitious and set me back a week, I’ve been planning, listing, and mapping the next few weeks, aka The Great Divesting.  There’s a could-be-considered-gargantuan amount of sorting to be done, with some areas of the house gnarlier than others (basement!).  I think I’m going to tone down the scariness of it by getting a storage space temporarily.  Then the micro-sorting of stuff like papers and fabrics can be delayed until our time of homelessness.  Who wants to be sifting tax-deductible receipts when there’s a whole house to get thru yet?

Continue reading the Great Divesting

Health

The biggest goal of my life right now is health.  Turns out “health” is a very complex concept.  I want physical, financial, spiritual, mental health for myself, but seeing as I’m one organism in a giant ecosystem, that includes all species, and all beings, and all humans on this planet, then my health is inextricably linked to the health of the whole planet.  Racial violence, and war, and starvation, and habitat destruction, and species extinction- these are monumental tragedies and we are aware of that pain in our subtle bodies whether or not we wallow in news, or recycle, or grow organic gardens.  Try as we might, we are not insulated from any of it.

 

CIMG9710(1)
Can't wait for the pears. This is the first crop on a young tree.

 

I think the pervasive toxins and mega-germs and new strains of pests that get new names and chatted up in the media are a physical manifestation, or symbol, of this fact that we’ve collectively ignored for too long- that we share everything.  Can’t be ignored any more.  Can’t run to the hills, it rains acid there too.  Germs circulate the world, we breathe each others’ air, we ingest each others’ garbage.  An individual cannot hide from the whole.  The “everything” we notice we’re sharing tends to be bad, but joy, ecstasy, and prayer also circle the world and affect everyone, positively.

The question I always ask: “What can you get up tomorrow and do differently, knowing that?” Continue reading Health

Stumbling towards sustainable

I am in an ultra-transitional time.

I’ve just finished a five year project restoring a derelict house to urban desirability, and sold it.  I made some money on the sale; which I am grateful for, which gives me choices.

These are my options for my sale proceeds, the way I see it:
a.  fire proof safe
b.  bank
c.  buy property
Only c seems intelligent.

I was planning my version of a caution-to-the-wind pleasure blitz, while we still have oil-soaked infrastructure fabric (an extensive BC camping/hiking tour, a trip to see Cuban sustainability initiatives, a healing retreat, a slow and thorough cross-Canada scamp on wheels), but I find that when the moment comes, it doesn’t feel right to bank the cash and have a good time.  Continue reading Stumbling towards sustainable