Monday, June 4, 2007

Green Guilt

Now its time for a confession of a broken carbon footprint... I found myself in a situation last Saturday morning and needed to use my car! I was invited to a limited ASLA members only tour of Rancho La Puerto in Tecate Mexico but was not confirmed until Thursday afternoon. I tried to join a carpool as early as possible but no one got back to me until Saturday morning about an hour before I needed to leave which left me no time to take the bus to our meeting spot. Had I been without a car I would have called a cab and paid the $12 to get there. Considering that I do have a car that I am paying for now I figured it was just as much of a carbon blowout either way so I should opt for the more economical option.

I tried to keep my chin up while I was behind the wheel but it wasn't until I was carpooling with 4 other people on the way to Tecate that I felt any better about my green guilt. While in Tecate our transportation was limited to a taxi and another carpool, all rides were jammed full so this also made me feel better. While at the "wellness spa and resort" we were treated to a buffet lunch of all locally grown organic vegetarian food. I think simply knowing that produce is locally grown makes it taste that much better, maybe because I know it has a small carbon footprint or maybe because it was actually harvested at the peak of flavor.

Upon arriving back into town my friend Bruce called and said he wanted to make dinner plans. I sort of felt like I should go home and have an intermission before going out for the evening but I figured since my car was already in the neighborhood I would just stay. If I drove home I would be taking the bus back and this just seemed like a lot of effort. So I went to Bruce and Nate's house for some wine and we went to Bite, which is a new restaurant on University Ave. in Hillcrest. The atmosphere was contemporary and the food was delicious. Later that night I drove myself home and didn't have to go anywhere until today.

This morning I made the usual commute which consisted of the15-bus route to Greg's house and then carpooling to work. My only complaint today was that on the way home I was waiting near Greg's house for my return bus ride and I waited through two scheduled bus arrivals before one showed up. This was kind of stressful because at that point you begin to wonder if a bus is going to show up at all. When it did finally arrive there was barely room for me to squeeze in and hold onto something. In fact at the next stop our bus driver told the people in line to get on the bus that we were at capacity and they would have to wait for the next bus. I was just thankful that I had made it on.

Arrangements were made earlier in the day with Brad, he was going to pick me up after I got home to make a run to Trader Joes. This was very handy and considered carbon conscious as he was going to make the trip anyway.

A couple of progressive steps were made this weekend on my behalf. I signed up for Flex Car and am awaiting my approval. This will add one more transportation option to my list and should make my life a little easier. I was also invited next weekend to go to LA to visit my friend Mark. This was an interesting proposal as it would involve my taking the Amtrak Surfliner on a 2 hour and 45 minute ride up the coast for a Friday - Sunday trip. I have to say I am curious as to how the experience would be and am definitely considering it. I suppose if I am even thinking about not having a car I should know what it is like to travel to nearby cities. I’m hoping I get the chance to make that happen this weekend.

How's your carbon footprint? Do you have green guilt? Leave me a comment and let me know.


Greg said...

Everyone needs to have a taste of something guilty every now and then, and since you had the car you went for it. But that's okay. Similarly, Mike and I had Sun Chips this weekend. Its great to see that you are picking up where you left off.

I recently ramped up my carbon-saving efforts in the home by replacing my light-bulbs with new ones of the compact fluorescent variety. I am of course driving the hybrid to and from work, and taking advantage of the power company's 100% green power. Next I am hoping to tackle recycling and reducing waste.

Bekah said...

Hi Mike! I think what you're doing is really great. I feel guilty about running my air conditioner as much as I have lately. All I can say is Fresno is freakin hot!! I was hoping not to have to turn it on until later in June, but when it's 95 with no breeze and 80 at 10:00 pm....a girl needs some air. All my roomates are gone so i snuck into their rooms and closed their vents and set the thermostat for 75. Luckily the past few days have been significantly cooler and breezy so the air is off and my guilt is subsiding. Other than that I ride my bike a lot and only use my car to go to Trader Joes. I recently discovered a Farmer's Market with is my new favorite place for fresh fruits and veggies. Ok, back to class for me. I love you :)