Friday, March 07, 2008


There's a grid?

At some point, it is my dream to go off the grid, or at least stop paying the electric company for power and maybe even get them to pay me for my excess energy. Solar panels, maybe a wind turbine, maybe even a hydrogen generator and then fuel my house and cars with hydrogen. I don't know. It's a large initial investment but after that, your bills are almost non-existent except for that damn phone bill.

Taking a page from the Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss opus, we're taking baby steps to be as close to 100% sustainable as possible. It starts with recycling at home, then recycling at work. At the very least that saves a large chunk of trash from making it to the landfills. We're renting, so household changes are mostly out but we did buy a washer and dryer that are both EnergyStar and use less water and heat than older washers and dryers. I wish the owners would install double paned windows and maybe save us some heating and cooling money but I don't see that happening before we move out. The hot water hose should probably be insulated and assuming I can figure out which one is the hot water pipe, it shouldn't be too big of a deal, or too expensive, to get some insulation from a hardware store.

The next step, baby of course, we're looking at taking is eco-friendly clothing. We watch "Big Ideas for a Small Planet" on the Sundance Channel. One episode revolved around the clothing industry since they put clothes on roughly 6 billion people. Seaweed fibers, corn fibers, bamboo fibers, all sustainable and all relatively straightforward to make, although I don't like the idea of using food to make clothes, let's leave corn on dinner plates and maybe give the rest to starving people here and abroad. I especially like the idea of bamboo. We have some bamboo in our backyard and it has really inspired me to come up with different ways to use it. So far I don't have many but others do.

I found a shoe company that uses old tires as the sole and sustainable materials for the upper section. Of course I didn't bookmark it so I'll have to find it again, but the NYTimes did mention the eco-clothing company Nau to me in an email. I haven't flipped through the website yet but the front page looks cool. I also want to mention Patagonia. They take old soda bottles, melt them down and then pull that into a fiber and make clothing out of it. It's their Capilene line and they actually will recycle your old Capilene into new clothes.

Don't try and save the planet in one go. Take a few baby steps and see how they feel. I bet you won't even notice, but I know Mother Nature will.



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