June 25-July 1, 2007
We did the kids' summer album camp today, where kids brought their photos to make albums. I decided to take advantage of my captive audience of young, impressionable minds to raise awareness based on pippa brighton's mission idea. The kids & I built solar cookers from junk we had lying around over the weekend and when kids came in the morning, we had them put their afternoon snack on the cookers while they worked-- that way, when it was time to be done, they had a yummy, hot snack! We did hot dogs, s'mores and then later in the week we did watermelon and cantalope after walking to the local fruit stand.
Life has been interesting this week-- and I've started to feel so lucky that despite living in the cush pocket of suburbia that the steps we've been taking towards earth-friendliness have been paying off!
1. While much of the nation has been experiencing black-outs-- especially here on the west coast, the City of Santa Clara, which ALREADY got around 50% of it's energy from renewable resources before the oil shock has not had as much of a problem. Add to that the fact that we have been spending an extra $20/month to ensure that OUR energy comes from renewable resources (an option made available to us last year) and despite some very bleak perspectives, I'm not feeling like this is so bad. It is still recommended that we reduce consumption wherever possible-- and I think the news & buzz about the oil shock has been helping, but people seem to be self-regulating fairly well. There was the one black-out last week, during which our freezer gave out & we had a BBQ to consume the meat. It turns out that in response to the oil shock, the city decided to divert the majority of it's holdings to renewable resources of power. During that time of transition, the power went down. The question now is if there are enough producers of renewable energy to support the state's power needs... Not yet...
2. Just as we did during the energy crisis in California a few years ago, we've established peak hours, during which we try not to use more power than necessary & most companies in Silicon Valley have been operating in a "low-power" mode. The tricky part is climate control for all of those little microprocessors & computers. And then of course, the economy is reeling from the rest of the country/world drifting into oil shock and the economy is faltering.
3. In general-- I'm seeing more families riding bikes & walking since Earth Day and there seems to be a kind of Enviro-revolution going on in 2007 where people really are modifying their habits & thinking about the impact THEY, personally, have on the planet. Maybe it's just because my son's teacher Andrea spent so much of last year showing them the particulars of recycling, composting- talking about helpful insects & how we can save the Earth-- little things like how she would bike to school each day... I think it raised the awareness in the households of all of the kids from last year.
Really- this type of energy deficit in California is nothing new and the rise in gas prices is nothing for us. The real effect comes from other attitudes and responses to shipping rates & so on. I worry about the really HOT places in the country as the weather heats up.
Planet Organics, our grocery delivery service that supplies us with weekly local organic produce has been a bit lean on some things, but I think everyone's being patient. We're finally seeing yield from our garden and the fruit stand around the corner has settled down a bit with the local growers as people calm down & start thinking about alternative solutions for their individual challenges. Maybe we'll even start selling the fruit stand (or our neighbors) some of our watermelons & strawberries once they're all ready!
YES we need to change... YES we needed to change YESTERDAY (or 20 years ago...), but many of the systems are in place-- not to the extent that we need, but if we all do our part & practice patience, I'm confident that it will work out in the end.
The human spirit is remarkably resilient- It has triumphed through 9-11, Katrina, the holocaust... and while change might not happen in time for ONE, specific person or town or country or time, it will change. Anne Frank, herself, was lost, but her spirit lives on and the atrocities of WW2 have served as a powerful lesson for the rest of us. Many people have been lost and myself or my family may not make it through whatever happens next-- be it a meteor crashing into the earth, a car accident or some wierd anomaly having to do with this nutty oil shock... but overall-- I truly believe that we- as a people will do just fine when we work together, do our best and practice patience & understanding.