Friday, July 30, 2010


If I lived here, how would I tell you how to find my house?

"It's the brown house with the trees in front. You can't miss it!" THEY'RE ALL BROWN!!! What was I thinking???

This is typical suburbia in Lincoln, California. And, most likely many other places around the country. All the houses look the same. The yards are slightly different but not much. As I drive around each day and I'm pondering thoughts, I wonder...where are all the solar collectors?

These homes sit down in the valley in sheer sunshine. They have newly planted trees (you can tell by the small size of them here.) Why, with all the vast information that has been out there for years, have the architects and developers not thought ahead and placed solar collectors on each and every roof-top? The sun will be there for a long time most likely. The oil: limited resource. And, in light of the oil spill so prominently in the forefront of our minds right now, not such a good investment when it comes to human lives. Not a good trade-off in my opinion.

And the yards? Are we not aware that water is in short demand around the world? Green lawns? No fruit or nut trees? What about turning the lawns into vegetable gardens instead of ornamental plantings? At least the water that was used to keep the vegetables alive and growing would be put to good advantage: we could EAT the vegetables. Lawn: useless!

Is it only me or do other people think about the waste that we, as human beings, are perpetuating just to look good to others? B and I watched a movie titled "HOME" that was narrated by Glenn Close. I thought that it was going to be a hopeful movie but the farther we got into it the more apparent it became that we are doomed. We were SO depressed after watching it. I recommend it to anyone that wants to see our sheer stupidity as human beings. The movie was so profound and so well photographed. But, be prepared to come away thinking and feeling that there most likely will be nothing we can do to reverse the damage we have created just by being greedy.

It really makes me think about the impact that I have on this world. The small things we do here to recycle, grow our own vegetables, conserve electricity, etc., might only be a drop in a bucket. I'm hoping that the earth can repair itself but in my estimation it will only happen after all the humans are long gone. It feels like it will be too little, too late.

What are YOU doing to conserve? Are there enough of us that care? How many of you drive daily to work and then again on weekends? I, admittedly, drive more than I wish I had to. There is no alternative for me up here. But, in the cities there are mass transit systems available for people to use daily in their commute to and from work. I see way too many cars on the freeways with single occupants. Again...not well thought out. Can't we think outside the box? Can't we plan for a future we might not be able to imagine at the present time?

These homes, sitting in the middle of a vast hot and dry valley in Lincoln, California, were not there in the 1970's. When I was going to work in those days, I worked in that hot, dry valley. And at the time I used to say to myself: who in their right mind would want to live HERE? Well, thousands upon thousands of people now DO. We couldn't have even imagined it then. But 30 short years have passed and it is packed with people, sitting in their brown houses with their SUV's, driving to the market to purchase expensive purses, jewelry, VEGETABLES to serve to their families that night for dinner. How easy would it be to not do any of these things or better yet: plant a garden, join a car pool, ride a bike to work or walk, take rapid transit or a bus, and purchase solar collectors?

I suppose companies like PG&E would have to lay off employees if they had to buy back energy from all these homes. After all: they are a business and businesses are in it to make money. Bottom line. The thing that I find odd about PG&E specifically (Pacific Gas and Electric Co. for those of you who live in different parts of the country) is that they currently do not offer to buy back any excess power produced by solar collectors. We looked into to purchasing a solar unit for our roof and were told we had too many trees to make it worthwhile. And that there was no buy-back in place. Perhaps this will change in the near future as energy becomes more and more scarce and expensive. Perhaps they will see the benefit in it and offer huge incentives to people to set up solar collectors. We can only hope that they can think to the future. That they can think outside the box. And that they stop thinking about their profit and about what's good for the earth. Watch "HOME" and then tell me what you think! Until then, ride your bike to work. Take a bus. Pick up two or three other passengers that are going the same place that you are and make the trip worthwhile. It might only be a drop in the vast bucket we have looming ahead of us to fill but, how many drops does it take to fill a bucket?


  1. Our plots are getting smaller in what we call 'estates' here. Front gardens are being mulched with bark and leaves and native grasses planted. Vegie patches (almost postage stamp size) out back with what's left of the block. I am dreading downsizing and living cheek-to-cheek with neighbours after enjoying life on acres! But the message is definitely that the days of green lawns back and front are in the days of yesteryear, with the shortage of water.

  2. one drop at a time...and each drop matters...

  3. You are so right Brian! We each have to continue to do our part. But, I guess what I am trying to say is that we each have to DO our part. My daughter works over an hour away from where she lives. She grows a garden out back, she gets up early and meets with a van pool each day and the van is filled with people. How easy would it be for her just to sleep in a bit later and drive her own car to work each day? Lots of people do. Still! I have a friend in the Bay Area who only owns one car. She doesn't need one...her husband does. She rides BART each day to work in SF and walks to and from BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit)instead of driving a car. You are so right: each drop matters!

    Alaine--sometimes that downsizing sounds so good to me. Not lots of yard work, easy to walk to coffee shops, markets, out to a theater or something. Where we live we have to drive everywhere so B and I really try and make each trip count. We write lists and load up the car with the ice chest, do our shopping and other assorted chores all in one day. And, we tend to stay home on weekends instead of going places. I think that choice is a combination of wanting to enjoy our place here (the privacy and quiet), trying to conserve gas, not wishing to be so busy on weekends, or a combination of all of the above. It is a conscious choice though. We tend to stay home more on weekends than others do. But, why search for something outside of what we already have? I have been seeing many articles lately of people turning their front yards into gardens. And they look st fantastic! I think that grasses are certainly one way to go but I also see the possibility of living off the land too, not just decorating it. I haven't done this myself yet. We have a garden plot in the back but it doesn't seem to be doing so well this year. We had such cold weather so late in the season.

  4. A different country, same problems, Teri. I try hard to do my bit, try to make up for the fact that I have to drive my car so often to get anywhere. But I'm happiest when the car and I never leave the farm.
    Thanks for a great, thought provoking post.

  5. Teri, we do the same thing; the big Eski in the back of the wagon and fill it up with goodies when down 'over the mountain'. Sometimes we put the dog in the kennel and stay over in a motel with a restaurant, as a treat! We'd love to stay but we have 6 acres of grass to keep down and I worry about doing that in old age. It would cost a small fortune to get somebody in to do it.

  6. You have to be the change you wish to see in the world to paraphrase Ghandi. When we were in the suburbs we put in a vegie garden and got chickens by the time we left 5 other people in our street had done the same.

  7. You think like I do, but sadly, most people do not. I don't think i can watch that movie because I already feel that the earth will not be healed until we are gone. But I need to cling to some hope that maybe we'll come around; perhaps this oil spill will push us in the right direction?


Blog Archive