30 April 2010

spride share--where car owners rent out their cars

Spride Share is a new carsharing network where car owners can rent out their cars zipcar-style. It's a new start-up company being launched by transportation & tech heavy hitters. Hoping to take advantage of the tremendous interest in carsharing--up 100+ % in the last 2 years and expected to reach 4 million+ in the U.S. and Europe w/in 5 years--the idea is to create a network of car owners who will rent out their cars for financial (and carbon) profits. Spride Share backers believe that car owners could make up to $7,200 per year.

So what's the catch? Not exactly a catch but a big roadblock (!) is car insurance. The insurance industry and laws relating to it would have to significantly change before this new carsharing network could launch.

What do I think?

i love the idea and hate the name!

So what do you think? As a car owner, would you consider renting out your car for profit? As a non-car owner what are the advantages of Spride Share over Zipcar?

For more info, click here.

29 April 2010

copenhagen, electricity-generating exercise bikes & free meals

If you'll be in Copenhagen in the next year, stop by the Crowne Plaza Copenhagen Towers, and hop on one of their electricity-generating exercise bikes. If you ride long enough to generate 10+ watt hours you can get a free meal.

So how long does one have to ride to generate 10 watt hours? Not long. If one guest cycles about 30 kmphr (about 19 miles), they will produce about 100 watt hours of electricity. Or 10 watt hours in 6 minutes.

And what can 100 watt hours power? A single 100 watt lightbulb for about an hour. Not much. But if there are dozens of hotel guests doing that daily that can add up. And it's a fabulous learning tool. What a powerful (!) idea that we can personally and collectively generate electricity.

How does it work? A guest simply gets on the bike and starts pedaling and the attached iphone shows how much power is being produced and delivered to the hotel's mains supply.

I have seen an electricity-generating bike in action. At Artscape, Baltimore's annual arts festival, a vendor was powering a food processor to make and sell smoothies by riding a bike. Of course, I had to try. I loved it! I've also gone electric @greenfestivaldc.

Have you seen or done this yourself?

crowne plaza copenhagen towers from cleantechnica
bike w/ iphone from the guardian
bike & blender from instructables

23 April 2010

tiffini jones, atlanta-based sustainability consultant

I met Tiffini Jones, founder of Ecolovely, a sustainability consulting and green lifestyle coaching business, @UNCF's Building Green Learning Institute in Atlanta. Tiffini provides a range of services to corporate & non-profit clients, including green audits. Tiffini, a LEED Green Associate, can be reached at http://www.sustainabilityconsulting.com/greenaudit and ecolovely@hotmail.com.

Listen to her talk about why she started Ecolovely:

chocolate & arugula tiffini jones interview 16 april 2010 by maryamcquirter

21 April 2010

what are you planning 2 do on earth day?

I am thinking about participating in Compassion Over Killing's food sharing @ Dupont Circle metro (20th & Q) from 1pm-2pm.

What are you going to do?

20 April 2010

greening world history

Gettysburg College, in Pennsylvania, hosts an annual World History Institute. This year the theme is The Environment in World History. The Institute takes place 11-16 July 2010. The Institute is open to university researchers and secondary teachers.

For more information, click here.

photo is fair use and can be found here.

19 April 2010

cfp: race & the food system

The journal, Race/Ethnicity: Multidisciplinary Global Contexts, has an upcoming issue titled, "Race & the Food System." The editor seeks articles on US and international food systems, "from the ground to the grocer." The rationale for the issue is that these systems "rest on a racial construct that has historically had, and continues to have, severe adverse impacts on producers, consumer, and workers of color. Structural racism shapes the development of the food system in the new century, not unlike it has in the past, and demands new, creative, and strategic thinking and action in response."

Papers must be received by 15 November 2010 to be considered for publication.

For more information, click here.

15 April 2010

nausea @ the dupont circle farmers market

Per usual, I went to the Dupont Circle Farmers Market (in DC) this past Sunday. I always go directly to Heinz, my favorite farmer, who is vegan. I've bought from him for over 10 years. My life would be qualitatively different if I couldn't buy callaloo spinach, kale, mesclun mix, leeks, ginger, onions, sweet potatoes, garlic, collards, mustard greens, tomatoes, vitamin greens, watermelon, carrots & arugula (!) from him.

On the way to Heinz's stand, I was horrified to see and smell a dead animal, perhaps a chicken, being roasted over fire. I looked away and held my nose so that I would not imbibe the stench of that awful spectacle.

These were my thoughts:

1. Walking away completely from the farmers market so as not to implicitly support the use of animals as food. (Although, every Sunday there are farmers selling animal parts from their coolers.)

2. Screaming to everyone what a travesty this was.

3. Knocking everything over in protest.

But I did none of the above.

I also thought about Orlando Patterson's haunting essay, "Feasts of Blood: 'Race', Religion & Human Sacrifice in the Postbellum South," in which he explores the ritualistic and sacrificial nature of lynchings of black men and women by white men grounded in Christianity and their anger over losing the Civil War.

In the introduction to Rituals of Blood he writes, "That essay was not easy to write. It will be even less easy to read, especially for Southerners and practicing Christians. On several occasions, analyzing the materials for it literally made me sick. I still get queasy on the rare occasions that I attempt to eat roasted meat.

When I first read this, I was both surprised and ecstatic. In these 4 simple sentences, Patterson has linked the historical, ritualized practice of lynching/burning a human body with his contemporary eating of parts of a roasted animal's body. He has opened up a huge ethical & intellectual space for more work on race, animality, history & culture.

So you can see why I'm still hating on the Dupont Circle Farmers Market and still thinking about what I will do the next time it happens.

W(hat) W(ould) Y(ou) D(o)? And what do you think of Patterson's queasiness?

farmers market photo by Kevin L.

12 April 2010

and the winner of the transpositional pun contest is...

Kelly Quinn, based in Ohio! Her clever wordplay entry is:

"I have a dream today. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their compost."

i love it!

The quote is from, of course, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on 28 August 1963.

Why do I love it?

I love the play on the hard "c' sound of the replaced 'character' with 'compost'. And I love the way that character and compost complement each other. Compost does have character and the content of one's compost can say quite a bit about one's character, one's values, how one moves in the world. And composting is one of the highest forms of environmental flattery, that should be imitated (remixed) again & again. Just like King's speech is constantly replayed!

As winner, Kelly gets to choose either Black Nature or Rooted in the Earth as her prize. Click here for more details about these books.

For those who didn't win, don't fret, this is the first of many contests.

06 April 2010

transpositional pun contest--one more day!

You have 36 hours left to submit your transpositional pun or clever word/visual play to win a new book on blacks and the environment:

Camille Dungy's Black Nature

or Dianne Glave's Rooted in the Earth (due out in August).

operators are standing by....

03 April 2010

dc's best tree sculpture

This tree sculpture is one block up from the house I grew up in. It's right at the corner of Rock Creek Church Road & Shepherd Street, NW.

photo: feel free to use & credit