Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cutting Bush a little slack

Anyone who reads this blog might get the impression we don't like George Bush, and they would be right. However, that does not mean the buffoon has to be wrong 100% of the time. Here is an email that has been making the rounds since early last year and we wanted to share it here because it makes a point near and dear to our hearts.


HOUSE # 1:
A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas.
Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated
by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the
average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for
electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural
gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property
consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home.
This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's
in the South.

HOUSE # 2:
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university,
this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction
can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and
is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central
closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water
through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67
degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The
system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes
25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling
system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000
gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets
goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The
collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers
and shrubs native to the are! a blend the property into the surrounding
rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of
Nashville,Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist
(and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford,
Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private
residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

The reason I wanted to publish this has less to do with patting GW on the the back than with pointing out what a total, two faced hypocrite Al Gore is. Don't get me wrong, Gore is absolutely right on global warming and the solutions to the problem and is doing good work in getting the word out. He just wants those solutions to be everyone else's problem - not his! As environmentalists ourselves, we just have a huge problem with anyone using more than their fair share of the earth's finite resources simply because they can afford it. If we really want to make the world a better place, everyone needs to do their part, and no one needs a 10,000 sq. ft. home. When you get right down to it, it should not take any more than 500 sq. ft. per person to live comfortably and no one needs a personal vehicle that gets less than 35 miles per gallon. That's just my opinion and, I am sure, some might disagree on the numbers.

Of course Gore will tell you he put solar panels on the roof, buys green energy, and drives a Prius. As someone who lived on a 100% photovoltaic system for three years, I can tell you what a pitiful drop in the bucket that amounts to on a 10,000 sq. ft. home but, it makes Al feel better. As for green energy, electrons are electrons and, if they were not feeding his mansion, they would be going into the grid to reduce carbon emissions on a more worthy cause. Drives a Prius .... PLEASE! .... our Beetle TDI gets as good or better mileage.

Lest anyone think we are lecturing Gore without walking the walk ourselves, let me add this. We live in our approximately 400 sq. ft. motorhome and drive a VW Beetle. Between both vehicles, we average about 50 gallons per month in fuel, which is less than most use driving their car back and forth to work. When public transportation is available, we use it. We have some land which we use as our "home base" when in the Austin area and do have a heated and air conditioned work shop there. Other than about 10 gallons per year of propane for cooking, we get all the energy for our living space and work shop from electricity. On the worst triple digit Austin month, we never exceed 800 kwh in use and the year round average is half that. That translates to about a $45 dollar electric bill each month. All of our water, when in Austin, comes from roof collection to a cistern tank. If you think 400 square feet sounds confining, you should check it out for yourself because you will probably be surprised. We lived in a 3,000 sq. ft. home before we knew better but, now find this very comfortable. Plus, I have to say, we get a lot of personal satisfaction from not using more than our share of the earth's resources. We know we could do better and are always looking for ways to conserve.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Wasilla, Alaska City Hall

Here is where the "highly qualified" GOP Vice Presidential pick was a little over 18 months ago - running a laundry mat, apparently.