Monday, October 24, 2022

I'd ask the protesters, "how does throwing tomato soup at a Van Gogh painting helps people figure out how they can reduce their carbon footprints?"

The Just Stop Oil protesters, who tossed tomato soup at the Van Gogh painting in London, are being praised and criticized in the media. The painting, itself, is behind glass and supposedly wasn't harmed.

If I had a criticism, or at least a question to ask those protesters, I would ask, "how do you think this act will make it easier for people to reduce their carbon footprints?"

Seems like there are lots of reminders that climate change is a problem. Some folks might say, "we already know about this" and then they just go on living their lives.

How can we make it easier to reduce the carbon footprint? That's a puzzle.

Seems like most people, in USA at least, are banking on new technology. Electric cars, solar power, maybe even hydrogen fusion; if we can get that to work.

I think my lifestyle is pretty low footprint; though some folks say I drink enough milk to counteract other parts of my lifestyle. There is even technology to reduce methane from cows, however.

As for other things, I guess my two main things are bicycle transportation and living in a small space. That space being in a shared building which is easy to heat. There's even solar collectors on the roof.

One reason that my life works is living in town. It's easy to get all around town, to my many social engagements and errands, by bicycle. It's even enjoyable.

Not all streets are bicycle friendly, but in town there are plenty of alternatives that are better; plus Bellingham's system of Greenway Trails. Distances are not too far in town.

My lifestyle would be much harder in a rural area where distances are much farther for day to day errands. In some rural areas there's only one road and some of the rural roads, like Highway 9 between Deming and Acme, are very dangerous. Too much traffic and no shoulder in that segment. No bus service either.

Making city living more affordable can help. Long gone are the days when most American's lived on farms and the farm was more self sufficient. Today, people come to Costco, or other places in town, for more variety of food. We are less apt to tolerate just sticking with what can be grown in one climate zone than folks in past centuries. We don't grow coffee in this area, for instance. Yes, I'm guilty too, we don't grow chocolate.

Back in the past, people got to town on locally grown energy; often by horse, but they did have manure problems, not to mention cholera and all that, way back then. There were less people as well.

Denser zoning, tiny homes and so forth. I now live in subsidized housing so I can still afford Bellingham, but there is a long waiting list to get in.

As for living in a studio apartment, it wouldn't be easy with a family. Maybe they do that in third world countries, or in America of many years past, but we expect more today.

I still enjoy living in my studio, but I admittedly do get cabin fever. That's why I often go out up to 3 times per day. I go out for shopping and a very rich social life that's all within easy biking distance from home. The community is my family.

Oh, I forgot to mention that my health is good. If that weren't the case, I'd still prefer the city when relying on transit services.

This might have turned into a rant against rural living, but maybe we could find a way to make that work, carbon free, as well. More space for solar panels. Speaking of methane, there is methane power generation on some farms. Lots of folks who live in the city still rely on their cars and live in large homes. Seems like as population rises, there is more pressure against that; like the cost of parking in downtown Seattle.

There are quite a few alternate routes in Bellingham and if nothing else, at least sidewalks. Good for walking, but I often bike slow and carefully on segments of sidewalk. Some folks might think that's bad, but in America, there is often more pedestrian traffic in the bike lane getting in and out of the driver's side of cars than there is walking down the sidewalk. Fortunately I go slow past parked cars as people can dart out from between the cars suddenly not to mention car doors opening. Going slow makes a big difference.

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