In this video a high school science teacher takes a Pascal’s Wager approach to climate change. The protagonist artfully applies 17th century French Philosophy and rational thinking to an otherwise mixed scientific/emotional decision analysis. It’s a fun, philosophical, “monologue-debate” on the world’s hottest topic. Check it out.
Oregon had nearly tricked us into thinking it was spring, but then it dropped a winter storm on us like a top-turnbuckle flying elbow from pro wrestler Supa Fly Jimmy Snuka. This past weekend we were blessed with another 15-ish inches of fresh pow. People raced to the mountain like kids to the tree on Christmas day. This weekend was another example of how this winter has been epic by all counts. However, in its “epicness” Mother Nature has also brought some near and not so near misses. This powerful film, A Dozen More Turns, portrays a very real example of the avie dangers that exist in the mountains. It depicts a group of friends in the backcountry, but it is worth the reminder because slides can happen at the resort too.
Imagine a building that is built to operate as elegantly and efficiently as a flower. Imagine a building that is informed by the eco-region’s characteristics and that generates all of its own energy with renewable resources; one that captures and treats all of its water on site, using resources efficiently and for maximum beauty.
The Cascadia Region Green Building Council (Cascadia) is issuing a challenge to all building owners, architects, engineers and design professionals to build in a way that will provide us, and our children, with a sustainable future.
I learned about the Living Building Challenge from a Cascadia member at a recent party. During our conversation, she remarked that 50 projects are already competing to become the first “living building.” Through this chance meeting, I discovered an organization truly committed to pushing the envelope of sustainability.
Read more about it HERE.
My mom taught me the slightly neurotic behavior of going outside and watching the power meter spin. At first I thought she was nuts, but when I bought my own house, lo and behold, I found myself doing it in an effort to see how slowly I could get it to spin. My mom’s initial motivation wasn’t out of any great concern for the environment, but to see how cheap she could make her electric bill.
Summer is the only time of the year that I excitedly open my utility bills. Watching the utility bill bar graphs plummet as July and August round the corner brings great joy to my eyes and wallet. One great factor that has helped me beat the meter race has been line drying. It’s a bit more effort, but nothing beats freshly, and freely dried clothes.
I am a bike slob. I never clean it, tune it, or really touch it except for riding. The last time I went into the shop the owner begged me to clean it before he had to see it again. The bike is set up according to factory settings despite six distinct adjustment points on the suspension system. I have lubed the chain on occasion, but generally only when it’s bone dry. I could spend more time caring for my rig, but I’d rather spend the time riding or doing something else.
I picked this particular bike up in November of last year. I am normally not an advocate of new equipment making a person a better athlete (see the Sizzlin’ post). However, in the case of mountain bikes, I think technology has done a lot for pedal pushers. Before this bike I had a hard tail and rode it on endless cross-country rides. When I hopped in the saddle on this sucker I began riding trails that were previously unimaginable. For the first time I’ve had both wheels simultaneously, and intentionally, off the ground, I’ve ridden skinnies across riverbeds, and I’ve blown through rock fields that I previously had to walk. A full-suspension has opened new doors in riding and has expanded my definition of mountain biking. It has given me the confidence to try new rides outside of the pure XC realm. You wouldn’t be able to tell from my care and maintenance record, but I love this bike.
A long-time friend recently returned from Asia and moved into our house. Prior to his departure he hocked many of his worldly goods, including his car. Upon returning, he needed some wheels and was eager to reduce his oil dependency. Listening to me spray about the new 44 mpg TDi, he was destined to one-up me. After pouring over craigslist he found a veggie oil-converted, 1981 rabbit. Then, having inquired at local restaurants, he found a golf course snack shop that will give him 14 gallons of grease a week as long as he picks it up. So, for as good as I was feeling about running biodiesel and getting 44 mpg, my buddy has up’d the ante and will be driving for free.
The best wave kiter I know happens to ride the oldest gear on the water. Joe “Sizzling Al” Turkiewicz bought a set of original 2001 Wipika Airblast kites and has been riding them ever since. In the meantime, the kiteboarding industry — and more specifically kites — have evolved significantly by introducing safety features, higher performing designs and new materials. Despite all of the new whiz-bang features on kites, it remains that on the windiest days in the Gorge you might see only Joe out terrorizing waves on his original kites and strapless surfboard. Hoards of new gear have emerged, but they still haven’t made someone smoother or more aggressive on the “nuclear” days than Joe.
Photo courtesy Jim Semlor
Until recently I had always put my mountain bike on the car, driven my car, then gone riding. It occurred to me that it was a bit strange to place one mode of transportation on top of another in order to then use the first mode of transportation. Why didn’t I ever just ride to ride instead of driving to ride? In response, I’ve made a pseudo-pledge this summer to try to “ride to ride.” So far, I’ve done it three times, and although it takes more time and effort, it’s been rewarding.
The best instance occurred yesterday, when I rode with a friend up to a local trail called the “Whoopdee Ride”. Getting to the ride involved a 45-minute intense hill climb on a super-steep road. As we were climbing and I was cursing my friend, the hill, and everything else, another rider came down the hill. Evidently, he had also climbed from town to ride the Whoopdee. As he blew by he shouted, “Hey, good for you, another Super-Whoopdee rider.” This one passing comment made the entire climbing agony worth it for me. I’d never heard of a “Super Whoopdee” rider, but at that moment it felt good to be one.
I first met Jonathan Maus during a SEE(D) Change event hosted at a Nau store. He was the keynote speaker and he excitedly shuffled through pages of notes while detailing the method and the madness behind his blog bikeportland.org. During his talk he cited the famous Technorati quote, “71 million blogs….Some of them have to be good.” And as a member of Technorati’s top 6000 blogs, his has finally arrived as “good.”
As proof in the pudding for this somewhat nebulous statistic, Jonathan and his blog — along with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — was a driving force in reclaiming Portland’s bike master plan. Somehow, Mayor Tom Potter omitted the $100,000 bike master plan from the City’s $3 billion dollar budget. Upon hearing this, Jonathan helped rally the second most emails and letters the mayor has received in over 18 months in order to overturn Potter’s decision. Hooray!
As a guy equally glued to his computer and Co-motion road bike, anyone who comes across Maus can tell he is dedicated to pushing things forward, two wheels at a time.
Click here for a fuller version of the story from the Oregonian.
Our friends at Treehugger posted a link highlighting a Spinal Tap reunion for The Goracle’s Live Earth concert in London on July 7th. One of the best aspects of the post is the new 15-minute “where are they now?” mockumentary sequel of This Is Spinal Tap. For a good laugh check out the video (click the link in the 5th paragraph), which updates the lives of legendary rockers Nigel Tufnel, David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls.