Fossil Fuel

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Petroleum, Coal, Natural Gas, Crude Oil, Gasoline, Oil Shale, Tar Sands, etc.

Eco Resolutions and Results

Times Square New Year's Eve Ball

Like many folks, I made a New Year's Resolution last January. "That's my plan for 2010, make one dozen changes to burn less fossil fuel and eat more locally." According to Psychology Today, "setting specific goals, sharing our resolutions with others, and focusing on the benefits of achieving the resolution" are simple strategies towards sticking to resolutions. I hoped my goal was ambitious yet achievable and I shared it with EcoDaddyo readers. Now let's see how well I kept my resolutions.

2010 Resolution Results

Everything Old is New Again

New Canyon Road Hydropower Turbine installation

Asking one simple question can lead, eventually, to big changes. In 2007 Dale Lyons, a Water Resources Coordinator for the City of Santa Fe Water Department, looked at the decommissioned Canyon Road Hydropower Plant and asked if a hydro-power plant was still feasible in Santa Fe. Dale made a few basic calculations that were promising enough to warrant a full engineering study. That study started a process which has culminated in a brand new hydro-power plant inspired by the original power plant in the Santa Fe Canyon Road Hydro Park.

Winds of Change in the Four Corners?

North Wind blowing

The Four Corners region where Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico meet can be pretty windy. On a particularly breezy day between the Grand Canyon and Four Corners Monument I saw roadside vendors having a 'Wind Sale'. Unfortunately, no one was buying. The question of the day: 'Is the wind blowing away from dirty coal and toward renewable energy?' Or are we caught in a dust storm with no idea of which way is up?

Your Car is making you Fat, Angry and Broke (and what you can do about it)

bike vs car stencil

I've discovered some bad news. Your car is making you fat, angry and broke. But, I've also found out what you can do about it. You may be wondering who I am and what do I have against cars. Believe it or not, I'm a gearhead and I do love cars. As a kid my favorite t-shirt had a silk-screened '57 Chevy. I read car books and magazines from cover to cover. I think cars can be useful, fun, beautiful and exciting. Unfortunately, it turns out that our cars don't love us.

Behold, the Majestic Plastic Bag

A little Monday humor, especially if you've watched a few too many nature documentaries like I have.

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Kill Your (old) Refrigerator

Energy Star Rebate Check

A few weeks ago I wrote about an appliance rebate program in New Mexico. The NM Energy Conservation and Management Division offered $200 rebates for upgrading either a refrigerator, clothes washer or furnace (lots of $ still available for furnace upgrades). Well, we jumped on it and bought a new Energy Star refrigerator and replaced an early '90's vintage fridge. Thanks to my handy-dandy Kill-A-Watt EZ* I discovered how much money we are actually saving with the new fridge.

Stewart Brand's Little Green Book

Stewart Brand

Stewart Brand, editor of The Whole Earth Catalog, author of How Buildings Learn and founder of The Long Now Foundation has written Whole Earth Discipline: An EcoPragmatist Manifesto. I'm generally leery of manifestoes, but given Mr. Brand's resumé I decided to chance reading it. I'm still considering Whole Earth Discipline (and have incurred the wrath of my local library by keeping it overdue). Brand makes three statements in his book - Cities are Green, Genetic Engineering is Green, and Nukes are Green. Is he radical, practical or both?

Clearing the Air, or not, on the Navajo Reservation

Navajo Generating Station - Page, AZ

1) The people of the Navajo Nation need jobs and electricity.
2) The Navajo Nation has great wind and solar resources.
3) The Navajo Reservation has highly polluted air due to existing coal-fired power plants.
4) A key air pollution permit for the proposed Desert Rock coal power plant has been remanded.
5) ?
6) The Navajo Nation's Diné Power Authority and Sithe Global Power are committed to moving forward with the Desert Rock Coal Power Plant.

Moving Images Part 1- Gobs of Fun!

Madrid, NM - Aerial view of Gob Piles

I sometimes envy landscape architects – they have some pretty clear problems to solve, and everyone likes plants. But one of the benefits of working at a large multidisciplinary design firm is that I can wander around the office and see what my colleagues are up to. Since we all speak the language of design we can usually talk pretty coherently across disciplines. I get to live the life of a landscape architect vicariously, but still escape at a moment’s notice when the going gets rough.

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