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Bakari
biodieselhau...
Male
Oakland, CA



 
Posted By Bakari

I guess I'm not all that surprised.

 

A video I did for an environmental blog (faircompanies.com) was posted on youtube.

It is up to 100,000 views.

I have been getting people all over the country tracking me down on Facebook and asking to be friends and asking questions after the see it.

 

Since there are probably plenty of people with the same questions who don't go to the trouble to track me down, I'm reposting my answers to some of those questions here:

 

--------

 

I can't believe how popular that video has become.  It was done with no preparation, no script, no practice, really not even a clear focus (they split the interview into 3 parts, but the other two never gained any viewers)

Its funny, I don't really even think of it as a "lifestyle".
I guess maybe because I've been doing it so long.
I bought a camper van right out of high school, which I slept in during the week to avoid having to commute to work. My girlfriend of the time went on a 2000 mile bike ride, and when she came back she suggested we get a full size RV and move in together. Eventually an opportunity arose to join a traveling carnival in the mid-west, so we set out across the country. We ended up spending a year on the east coast before moving back to the SF bay area. We upgraded to the trailer in the youtube video not long before we ended up getting divorced. For the past 4 years I've been in one place, and don't really consider the trailer to be a vehicle.

So I have been in 3 sizes and types of RV, full timed on the road and in trailer parks, and lived in different climates, different size cities, etc.

For the most part, living in an RV is a lot like living in a house. Driving an RV is like driving a car.

You know, I never thought of what I did as "scavenging" until that video was taken. I didn't come up with a script in advance, and was just making stuff up as I went along. I didn't know it was a movement either.

--------------------------------------------------
Find the answers to all of the specific questions I have been asked on my non-charcter limited blog, with MySpace (yeah, that's right, MySpace.  I could start over with a free blogger account.  But I don't feel like transfering everything.  Deal with it!)

http://www.myspace.com/pyrococcus_furiosus/blog/540882390


 
Posted By Bakari

The following was a "letter to the editor" I submitted to a progressive magazine in response to articles on global warming:


In "American Psychosis" you point to the many people who acknowledge global warming, but do not change much, if anything about their destructive lifestyles, and in "Hot Air" talk about the point of view of skeptics and deniers.

I run a certified green hauling business. I modified my delivery truck to get 30mpg (from 15mpg) and run it on 100% biodiesel made from recycled veggie oil. I also work part time supporting people who bicycle to work (at a business which runs at a loss because our main service is free). I live in a 250square foot home and use less than $5 worth of electricity most months.
I also have some background in science, including degrees in earth science and biology, and generally track down sources for claims I read.

Having read arguments on both sides, I am not convinced that humans are significantly contributing to climate change. While I admit I haven't kept up with the latest research, I have yet to see several points addressed:

1 The climate naturally goes through cycles of extremes. The current climate reflects roughly where it is expected to be. Our methods of determining past temperatures are not precise enough to tell us the rate of change over small periods of time in the past, and so it is difficult to determine if what we see today is abnormal.
2 Geologic data suggests that in past periods of climate change, temperature has always changed first, with CO2 levels changing as a result of temperature change, not the other way around. This does not necessarily indicate it is what is happening this time, but it could account for what we are seeing.
3 Climate predictions are only as good as the models they are built on, which in turn are only as good as the computers that run them. We simply do not have computers powerful enough to accurately model something as complex as the earth's climate. Last I heard, in order to reduce complexity to a manageable level, most models omit details such as water vapor (arguably the single most important variable) all together.
4 Human caused climate change is frequently referred to (particularly in liberal media sources) as having "scientific consensus". According to Pew Research center 86% of scientists concur. While 86% is clearly an overwhelming majority in a democracy, in science 14% is too large a minority to simply ignore.

But here's the thing:
It doesn't make one bit of difference if humans are contributing to global warming or not.
Whether we are causing it or not, its happening (that doesn't take predictions, just measurements - its happening)
Therefor we should prepare for it.
Even more important: independent of global warming, our lifestyles are harming the ecology of our planet. Even if an individual feels no moral reason to care about life other than humanity, it is undeniable that we are totally dependent on the environment for our own survival.

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This blog server has a character limit.  The rest can be found here: http://neapolitanblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/global-warming-revisited.html


 
Posted By Bakari

So many people, when the subject of christmas lights come up, they acknowledge they are nice, but go on to add "but they are a waste of energy".

As someone who feels strongly that American's use of energy and resources is morally unacceptable, I would like to be very clear about this:
Christmas lights are NOT a waste of energy.

That 80% of car trips have only the driver or a driver and one passenger, yet seat from 5-7 people is a waste of energy.  That we live, on average, 20 miles from our jobs is a waste of energy.  Uninsulated attics and unweather stripped doors and windows in houses and power steering and air conditioning in cars, all electric kitchens, and cars that weigh 50% more than they did 20 years ago and have 200% more power are all enormous wastes of energy.
Buying enormous amounts of crap that no one really needs and that get shoved into a closet or thrown out after a few weeks wastes energy in manufacture and transport.

Not one of those things provides any significant increase in quality of life.  None of them make people happy to be alive.  At most they provide a tiny increase in convince.  At worst they do nothing but cost money.  None of them create joy.

In a land where profit is considered the only motivating factor for nearly everything in life, filled with people who don't know their neighbors, where 50% of people can't be bothered to take the effort to use their turn signals, for a few weeks a year people do something with no financial benefit, no increase in comfort or convenience, no direct personal benefit.
You don't even see them from inside the house.  Everyone else passing by sees them.
They turn an ordinary neighborhood into a magical place.
They create joy.
Which makes them one of the few valid uses of energy in this country.
Because ultimately, making it enjoyable is really the only point there is to life. 

So go ahead and enjoy those giant flashy displays and don't for a second feel guilty about it.
Put up your own even.

You can get a strip of LED lights for less than $10 that use less than 5 watts of power, (far less than a single florescent light bulb).
I even found a set for under $5 that runs for days on just (rechargeable) AA batteries.

But LED or no, the lights are worthwhile and good.

A world without christmas lights is not a world worth saving.


 
Posted By Bakari

The Earth has been around about 5 billion years, life about 4 billion.
Half a billion years for animals, 200 billion for mammals.
200,000 years of humans.
For the first 192,000 years or so, the human population was under 10 million people world wide.
Increasing 10 fold took 6000 more years.
We rocketed from 100 million to a billion in just over 2000 years.
The next billion only took 120 years.
And then 30.
And since the 1950s, we have added a billion people every 13 years or so.

We are at around 6.75 billion people now.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b7/Population_curve.svg

Its estimated that it will hit 9 billion in about another 30 years.
That new 2 and a quarter billion people will be our children.

We like to point to the 3rd world, to Asia and Africa, but in the measure that matters, the US is by far the most overpopulated country in the world, as well as one of the fastest growing.

Population is only an issue because of the finite resources the Earth can provide. If we had unlimited resources there wouldn't be any reason not to keep increasing indefinitely.

If everyone used the same amount of water, land, and energy, and caused the same amount of pollution as the average person in the third world, we would all be ok for a long time to come. Due to lack of ability, what we call poverty, people in the third world tend to use less than their share of world resources.
The average person in the first world uses 5 times more than the overall world average.
The average American uses 20 times more. Each of us uses about 20 times more water, 20 times more fuel and electricity, 20 times as much land to produce our food, produces 20 times more waste and pollution.
Which means that in the big picture, each of us counts for 20 people.

So our 305 million population may as well be 6.1 billion, far more than China's 1.3 billion. They would have to increase some combination of actual population and consumption per person by far before we could legitimately point the finger at them.

It also means that each child we have counts as 20 people, turning our fertility rate of 2.1 (already above the replacement rate of 2) into the equivalent of 42 per woman, 6 times higher than the highest rate of any third world country - and almost 17 times higher than the world average.

In the US alone there are 200,000 children waiting to be adopted.


It is one of the most basic and universal desires is to reproduce. How could it be any other way? Because if that drive weren't passed along genetic lines, our ancestors wouldn't have bothered, and we wouldn't be here to think about it.

There has been a widespread assumption that because it is natural and universal that therefor it should be considered a human right.

Our modern world does not resemble the savanna we evolved on. We also have biological instincts to eat whenever food is available in case it isn't tomorrow - and the result is rampant obesity - and a good number of us making the conscious choice to go against instinct and manipulate ourselves in ways that take into consideration the reality of our world. Violence is natural and universal, but we agree as a society that the costs are not acceptable and make the conscious decision to repress it, both as individuals and as communities.
Because, we can do that, we can think, and make choices.

To make wine or beer, you start with grape juice or grains and add microorganisms.
For them it is an incredible feast!

Character limited blog server; read the rest here: http://neapolitanblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/wine-barrel-population-and-parenthood.html


 
Posted By Bakari

I had been looking forward to buying a tankless instant water heater before I had even moved out of mom's place.

Unfortunately, each place I lived had a perfectly good water heater already.
Besides, my 6 gallon tank was no where near as wasteful as the 80 gallon monstrosities in regular homes.

Then, last week, the tank began to leak.
I had my excuse.

I discovered that there is only one company which makes instant water heaters specifically for RVs. Having no competition, they price it around 5 times higher than others.
I decided to go with a small house/cabin unit instead.
I found the least expensive one online; it arrived quickly. It spent a week in the box as I didn't have the time to install it. When I finally did, turned out I hadn't considered the vent when I measured, and it wouldn't fit. Damn.

I sent an email asking about exchanging it for a smaller unit.
Within 15 minutes they called me by phone. They said they couldn't accept a return since I had already begun installing it.
I was ready to just sell it on craiglist and buy the smaller one, accepting that it was my own stupidity to begin installation without measuring, plus the website did clearly say the original box was needed for returns, which I had already recycled.
And then, without being asked, the guy offers me a 15% discount on the new smaller one I was going to have to purchase. He emailed a custom order form, with a price even slightly lower than what he had just offered over the phone.

Wow. Beyond expectations.
The only business I know with customer service like that is, well... my own!

If you ever need a water heater, seriously, this is the place to buy:
http://shop.ebay.com/gas_water_heaters/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_from=&_ipg=25
And no, I don't get anything for recommending them. Come on. You know me better than that, don't you?

So, now it'll be a few days before I get the smaller unit and I can install it properly.
In the meantime, I was sick of being without hot water so I jerry-rigged the one I have into place. Between some parts from my old water heater, a flexible metal pipe I found on the street, a piece of wood 2x4, and a generous amount of tape, I have hooked up the water heater. It leaks a little where its attached to random-found-pipe, so I have to put a bowl under it while the water's running.

But as far as the heater itself goes...
you turn on the faucet, and within a second, the fire is blazing. You turn it off, poof, like that, its out.

It is much hotter than my old one ever was.
The total flow rate is higher too - its like taking a shower in a real house!!

I had gotten used to low flow showers. I had forgotten how pleasant being drenched with warm water while naked can be.
And it NEVER RUNS OUT!!!!
Well, I guess once my propane tanks ran out. In a few months.

As I was taking my 30 min long shower, I thought about how I am actually saving energy overall, compared to before. While before I was limited in the length of a shower when the hot ran out, the tank also kept the water hot 24hours a day, while I was a sleep, while I was at work, always.

The biggest unit they sell should be enough for a one bath house. For a really big house, if everyone wants to shower at once, you can double the capacity by linking two of them in series.
Or using with an existing tank heater, you could leave the tank at its minimum and have the output of the tank go into the instant, which would then raise the temp the rest of the way only when you turn on the hot faucet.
Way more energy efficient, endless hot water.
While an 80-gallon tank heater is anywhere from $600 to over $1000, a 4GPM tankless is only $325.
Why tank heaters even still exist, I really don't get.
Akin to American's rejection of the metric system and Dvorak I suppose.
Well, at least you know


 
Posted By Bakari

A few days ago, coming home from work after dark, a neighbor came over to ask for a jump.
I took the alternator out of my truck, but the charger I use in its place has a quick charge / jump start option, so I brought that over.
While we waited for it another neighbor, someone new I had waved to but never met, came over to see if we needed any help.
Somehow we got onto the topics of being "green" and the recession.

The neighbor with the dead battery is involved with a local semi-official flea market. They are conscious of the fact that, along with being a way to make money, selling things second hand is also environmentally responsible. They are actively looking for ways to be more so, for example sourcing "plastic" bags made of plant materials. She had never heard of plastic island, but understood how it happened and the significance as soon as I described it.
The new neighbor talked about the house of cards credit schemes that led to our economic situation, about concentration of wealth, government and banks and stock markets roles.
While I had plenty of my own to add, I found myself agreeing with nearly everything both of them said.

This in contrast to interactions with neighbors over the past couple years: the neighbor in the 10ft long trailer who blamed all the countries problems on "the liberals", the neighbor who couldn't see any possible reason to run bio-diesel instead of petrol when it costs more - even when I pointed out that even if he doesn't live long enough to see environmental harm affect his life his kids might, not to mention the narrowly avoided fist fight and the 3 year old who buried his dads meth needle.

Like I have written, its funny that global warming is the thing that finally got peoples attention - even though there isn't hard scientific evidence that human activity will change it in a significantly more dramatic way than the natural climate cycles already do - when we have known for many decades that our use of resources is totally unsustainable.
But whatever. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is better than not doing the right thing at all.

Now combined with economic changes, ideas I have been thinking about all my life are becoming more and more popular. What will life be like after the credit based economy has its debts called in, and we no longer have the capacity to exploit natural resources at an unsustainable level, (as is absolutely vital for the American way of life as we know it)?
Of course there were always others who imagined it coming someday, with varying levels of serious - movies like Six-String Samurai on the one end, cults and militias on the other.
But now I am finding it everywhere.
The Gubbins Experiment, a blog I read about a guy who has given up not only driving, but also accepting rides in any motor vehicle for a year, wrote his most pessimistic post ever. My boss, a small business owner with a contract with BART to run the BikeStation seemed to imply that the end of civilization as we know will happen within the next 20 years, and that it will hit dramatic and fast when it does. I met my most recent friend in part via (literal) dreams of a post-apocalyptic future.
And now, even here in the trailer park, people are thinking in global terms about sustainability and economics.

Contrast it also to discussions I have had recently with some single issue activists, who I found by and large narrowly focused on not just one issue, but one side of one issue, unable or unwilling to consider other points of view, ignoring historical and current contexts that don't support a pre-determined conclusion, and offering more criticism than real solutions.

Maybe I had it wrong all along.

Maybe it is the general public, the random ordinary everyday people in whom our potential salvation rests.
That is the most encouraging possibility I have come across in many years.


 
Posted By Bakari

Its been just about 2 months since I planted my rain water fed home-made scrap-wood self-watering planter-box garden
(http://apps.biodieselhauling.org/Blog/?e=28851&d=05/12/2009&s=The%20Garden)



The neighborhood cats think the garden is an excellent toilet, but by a fortunate coincidence I happened to get a motion activated sprinkler head in one of my hauling jobs recently, and that has completely solved that problem.

The first thing I planted was a potato. It was originally meant for eating, but it went bad, so I threw it in the compost. Later I noticed stems pushing their way around the plastic cover, and lo and behold the 'bad' potato was sprouting. So maybe now I will get a good potato out of it.
My neighbor who gardens had told me even before I built the planter that she had a tomato plant for me. She also gave me a tomato stake; which, incidentally, I had given her about a year ago, having gotten it in a dump run and having no use for it at the time. Apparently she took a couple more than she really needed back then.
She also shared some lettuce seeds and a bean plant.

Later I discovered something else sprouting in my compost pile. I have no idea what it is, but I figure if it was there it was probably something I was eating, so I planted it. Up until this point I had spent nothing on my garden (except for the materials for the rain collection), but it was getting late in the season and I finally purchased a few plants from the farmer's market (I got a discount because I work at the market myself).
I got strawberries, and an onion. I also planted a few tiny carrots a neighbor gave me. She intended them to be eaten, but they still had the tops on, so I wanted to know if they might get any bigger. After a few days the tops had wilted and I forgot about them under the mulch. A couple weeks after that they had popped back up bigger than ever!
Most recently I planted the seeds of some grapes I bought at the market, but have yet to see if they will sprout.

The lettuce is growing in faster than I can harvest it;
the beans are ready to be picked;
and the strawberry (the most recent thing I planted) is already blossoming.
The tomato plant is gigantic, and I found the first 3 little green tomatoes.


Everything is growing much faster than expected, but they all seem to be sharing the space with each other very politely.



Yesterday I did some harvesting and actually cooked a meal with food I grew myself.
Of course this is a normal part of life for a lot of people, but for someone who has lived in big cities his whole life, it feels pretty amazing.



Around the same time I began the garden I was also working on increasing the efficiency of my truck, and my friend and fellow bikestation mechanic convinced me to enter my truck mods into instructable.com's efficiency contest.
I ended up winning runner-up in that contest.

The same website now has a garden contest!  So of course I entered it as well with my  planter (which cost me a total of zero dollars, being built entirely of random materials I kept from hauling/dump runs) and my rain-water-collection system.

Voting begins Today.
http://www.instructables.com/id/Large-Self-Watering-Planter-made-from-recycled-mat/


 
Posted By Bakari

My friend/co-worker, upon hearing about my truck project, encouraged me (repeatedly) to do a write up for the do-it-yourself website Instructables.com
As it happened, I was working on consolidating my blog posts on the topic for the hypermiling websites from which I had originally gotten most of the ideas I've been implementing.
So I followed the link he sent, signed up, and reformatted the posts to be appropriate for the popular how-to site.

The site was new to me, so it took basically all day figuring out the features and making changes to the content and pictures and tweaking various things.  Comments started coming in, and I responded to the comments, and then a site administrator must have seen it and liked it because before the first day was over I was promoted to a "featured" item, which meant my post was put on the site's homepage.

And the views took off.  By day two there had been over 4000 views, and it was moved to the "popular" section of the homepage.
Right now (3 and half days since I published) its up to 6415 views and over 50 comments.
One of which was: "I think I might play the aero game on my car now!"

That's the best compliment I could get. If I encourage just one person to drive a little slower, or even do some mods, writing all this up will have all been worth the effort.

It's one thing writing on my own blog, or on a hypermiling website, but introducing these ideas to the general population, that is gratifying.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Vehicle-efficiency-upgrades/


 
Posted By Bakari

I was inspired partly by a book lent to me by the first person I ever went out on a date with
(almost a year ago already!)
and partly by the container gardening class I was brought to on Valentine's day by a more recent date.

Yet another person I dated recently is thinking of doing a similar project, and so I have some information and materials to offer her.

When I first jumped into this new experience of dating I wasn't sure what to expect - but rainwater collection was surely no where in my mind as even the remotest possibility.
We actually don't pay for water in the trailer park, (its included in the rent) and RVs use very little water anyway by their nature.

On the other hand, CA is in a drought (again), one never knows when the next earthquake (or revolution perhaps?) might cut off the municipal supply, and I have every intention of starting to (attempt to) grow food as my next project.

Since the trailer doesn't really have gutters, I started by applying a thick bead of silicone around the perimeter of the roof, except above the slide and the awning, so that the water will flow to the low areas.  More silicone on one side of the slide, and the awning has always drained to one spot anyway.

I built the spouts primarily from layers of aluminum tape so I could shape it precisely the way I needed.



The tape feeds into a funnel (mesh covered to keep out the crap), which goes into the pipe.



On the slide side its basically just a long piece of straight pipe,



cut around 2/3s down and rejoined with a flexible connector so that it can bend around my bedroom window. 



The awning side was more of a challenge as it has to go around a number of various corners and through narrow spaces to get to the storage barrel on the other side of the house.



Instead of trying to measure and cut and join a whole bunch of short plastic pieces, I used flexible aluminum dryer vent. 



(Due to the character limit on this free blog space which piggybacks on my business website, you will have to read the rest on my original blog, on MySpace.  The best pictures are yet to come!)


 
Posted By Bakari

I was reading some recently about drug trade.

Tons of cocaine produced in South America, shipped to West Africa, sold in Europe, supporting war lords, organized crime, and government corruption in all of its stops.  Investigation or opposition leads to murder.
In Guinea-Bissau the police are virtually powerless because the military itself smuggles drugs.

It got me thinking - there should be someone to certify fair-trade cocaine.
It would be organic.  The farmers who grew the coca would make a decent living.  And no one would be allowed to murder journalists and retain the fair-trade label.

But as I formulated this idea, I ran into some problems.

Then I realized, there is a much simpler solution, and one which is even more sustainable.
Meth!

Meth can be produced locally.  Since coca doesn't grow in this climate, it has to be shipped across continents, which, just like with non-local produce, has enormous externalized costs.  They make meth right here in Pinole and El Sobrante, even closer to home than the fruit at the Farmer's Market.

So there you are.  Smoke meth.  Do it for social justice.  Do it for the planet.


 
Posted By Bakari

I've been driving more conscientiously ever since I read the article on hypermiling, which I posted about in November of last year ("Some more stuff other people wrote")

I didn't quite take it to the extent of the guy profiles in the original article (he drives on the edge of the road to avoid the extra friction from the tire grooves, and knows exactly how far from home to coast to a stop exactly in his driveway without touching the brakes) but I did slow down, accelerate gently, shut the engine at long stop lights and coast down hills.  There is even a 2.3 mile stretch of highway 13 (which I take on the way back from Bike Patrols) where I can put it in neutral, shut the engine, coast down one hill, up the next, back down, off the off ramp, around a tight curve, through a yield sign, back on to the freeway entrance for 580, off at the next exit, and down to MacArthur before starting it back up again.

In the past, on the motorcycle I have generally accelerated fast, just because its so easy, and so much fun, and because as hard as I drive on it, I've never gotten less than 50mpg.  I stopped zipping about at 100mph+ after a couple accidents and a whole bunch of tickets, but I still would top 75 at times.
Since reading the article I kept the speed down between 50 and 55 on the highway, and stayed ducked down behind my big aftermarket windshield, out of the wind.  It took a long time to find out the results, because it went so much farther on a full tank.
Where I used to average around 55mpg, on the most recent tank I got 70.2mpg, an increase of 28%.

In the truck I wasn't expecting to find a big difference.  I can't as easily coast around since it uses loses both power brakes and power steering without the engine running.  I was already driving at 55mph as it was, so reducing my speed to 50 didn't seem likely to have much effect.  I already kept the windows up on the highway to reduce drag, and it doesn't have an AC to shut off. 
Even so, from my usual 15-16mpg, it went up to 19.7 on the most recent tank, an increase of 25%.
Its hard to say how much its related to driving habits, because some days I am moving 3 tons of dirt, other days there may be a queen size boxspring sticking straight up into the wind, and others I am just moving a single 2-person love seat, but after almost a month and over 300 miles its likely to have balanced out.

So there you have it.  In both the smallest most efficient vehicle you can find or a big old work truck that can haul several tons, you can save 25-30% on fuel by just making small changes to driving habits.  If this gets out, it could just spell the death of the hybrid.


 
Posted By Bakari

I'll write something of my own soon, promise.
Until then, here are two articles, with some steps you can take in your own daily life which will ultimately benefit everyone (not to mention your wallet and health!)
_____________________________________

Because every time you buy gas, the terrorists win:
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2007/01/king_of_the_hypermilers.html

"Wayne's driving obsession began after 9/11. Before then, he drove "75 miles per hour in the left-hand lane," but in the wake of the attacks he vowed to minimize his personal consumption of Mideast oil. As he sees it, Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda received their operating funds from all the U.S. consumers who bought Saudi oil... There was a direct relationship between our addiction to oil and the World Trade Center coming down."

Less consumption of Mideast oil would also make our economy less susceptible to spikes in the price of opec oil, which have triggered U.S. recessions. More than half the gas we pour into our vehicles in America is imported, and we send more than $4 billion a week abroad to buy oil. If we all got a 25 percent improvement in fuel economy (far less than the 50 percent improvement that Wayne and his hypermilers routinely get), we could reduce by half the oil we import from the Mideast for our cars. And then there's global warming. "I'm not just doing this for myself," Wayne told me before we met. "I'm doing this for my country and the world."

...

"guys in Priuses were bragging about 44 mpg, and I was doing better in a Corolla."

... As he drove, he began to see how little things—slight movements of his foot, accelerations up hills, even a cold day—influenced his fuel efficiency. He learned to wring as many as 638 miles from a single 19-gallon tank in the [Acura] mdx [SUV]; he rarely gets less than 30 mpg when he drives it. "Most people get 18 in them," he says."

(Summary: You don't need a hybrid. Just slow down.)

_________________________________________
But wait, there's more:

Our collective diet uses as much energy as our driving. Eating vegetarian, local, and organic, isn't just about health or the poor little animals. Its also about our environment and energy independence. Eating low on the food chain needs to be a priority for everyone.
Excerpted from: http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2008/11/diet-for-a-warm-planet.html:

"Since America is responsible for 22 percent of annual emissions, I suggest we set a target of shrinking our personal carbon footprint by 22 percent, or 9,606 pounds...

So what would a 22 percent diet look like? Step Two is all about losing weight.

Seriously. Body fat. My personal flab is not just a private matter between me and my coronary arteries. Nineteen percent of US energy usage—about as much as is used to fuel our cars—is spent growing and delivering food to the average American who consumes 2,200 pounds of food a year. That's a whopping 3,747 calories a day—or 1,200 to 1,700 more than needed for personal or planetary health. The skinny truth is that as much as 7.6 percent of total energy in the United States today is used to grow human fat, fat that translates to 3,300 pounds of carbon per person.

For starters, half of our food energy use comes from producing and delivering meat and dairy. If we gave up just meat, we could maintain that hefty 3,747-calorie intake but consume 33 percent less in fossil fuels doing it."

(Entire Blog at MySpace)


 
Posted By Bakari

Disclosure:
MyFarm is one of my clients, and I potentially benefit from them signing up new customers

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You have no doubt heard of the increasingly common services where a company regularly delivers a box full of fresh, usually organic, produce from CA farms, right to your doorstep.

MyFarm takes this concept a step further.
They don't buy from farmers, nor do they have land of their own.

When they say "local", they really mean it!

The space they use to grow organic vegetables in is literally right in your own back yard.

(And not the way people have been using the word "literally" to imply exclamation; I mean "literally" literally.)

They come in, assess the soil, assess the site (shade/sun, etc), discuss with you what you like to eat, and figure out what can be grown in your yard.
They build a garden, from scratch if need be (including bringing in organic soil if the existing soil is contaminated), install drip irrigation (the lowest water use type), and come back regularly to maintain it.

The customer can help with this process as much or as little as they like.

Essentially you are hiring landscapers - plus you end up with fresh, delicious, organic fruits and vegetables, from the most local source possible.

If you have a big enough yard, they may harvest more than you can eat, in which case some gets distributed to other clients in the neighborhood, and you get charged less.
You also may get some things from elsewhere in your neighborhood to allow for greater variety.

http://myfarmsf.com/

This is one of the most brilliant ideas I have heard in a long time (since NetFlix - oh if only I had had investment money back when I first heard about that idea - back when their advertising consisted solely of spam emails)

They contacted me about moving soil.
By sheer coincidence, the very next day I saw a segment on them on the show "Your Green Life".
I am looking forward to working with them.

I am making business contacts!
Every day this thing which I originally intended to be a way to make a little cash in between real jobs almost 2 years ago, becomes more and more like an actual business.
Its going to take a long time to get used to this.


 
Posted By Bakari

I never set out, intended, nor expected to become a representative of the environmental movement, an activist, or really anyone special at all.
As I mentioned in blogs past, I believe the most significant and positive thing we can do to be responsible citizens is to truly live each of our own individual lives as close to our own principals as we can. I believe this makes more real difference than all of the shouting, the signs, the email letters to representatives. If everyone just did their own little part, there would cease to even be a need for the grand gestures.
And yet, as it turns out, apparently living by my modest principals has propelled me into this role without my having to try.

In just the past couple weeks:

-I have been offered the position of vice-president of the board of a (not yet in existence) children's library, collectionlibrary.org/ (I am the only member of the board with neither an advanced degree nor related education and/or non-profit experience)
-I was interview for a grad student's thesis (ok, granted, those first two are somewhat related)
-I was filmed by faircompanies.com and have 3 short video interviews which touch on my home, my vehicles, and my business
Home
Transportation
Business
-I presented the awards (and gifts) to the team in Alameda county which logged the most commute miles during bike-to-work month last May (when I also volunteered, packing gift bags as well as at one of the energizer stations) at the Dublin city council meeting (the winner's were all employees of the City of Dublin)
-I had the domain I originally wanted for my website biodieselhauling.com/ donated to me by the previous owner - despite my specifically requesting to pay for it, on the grounds of his liking what I am doing with it
-Soon I will be running yet another free bicycle parking station at a local event artandsouloakland.com/ yet another thing which I am not quite sure how I ended up doing.
-And with any luck, I'll end up a member of the Oakland Bike Patrol btceb.org/bikepatrol.php which is mostly an excuse to get me to ride my mountain bike more, but is also because, believe it or not, I kind of miss my old job as a private security guard sometimes - I actually got to help a lot of people.

You know what I always say: "Volunteering is for suckers. Did you know so called volunteers don't even get paid?" (Homer Simpson)

[entire blog at MySpace]


 
Posted By Bakari