Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Price of Gas and Public Transit

I just read a post on The Sustainable Backyard about $4.00 Gas. I commented and got a little verbose so I decided to post here since this is something I have been thinking about too as I am sure many of you are as well. It hurts when you go to the pump these days!

My hubby and I have started carpooling to work. Fortunately his work is right on the way to mine. I drive 20 miles each way and his work is about 12 each way. It helps to carpool! We have started noticing how many vehicles large and small that have only one driver in the morning commute. Carpooling is a good alternative to $4.00 gas - but I still feel ripped off by the Oil companies!

It has also made me very aware that our public transportation in Kansas City is way behind. I tried to map out a bus route to my job and found it would take 2.5 hours and 3 - 4 bus changes compared to a 25 minute drive by car. I would have to take a bus north just short of downtown and then take a couple of buses back south, then west to my workplace.

My husband found an article stating that last year the buses were hurting for funds, but today they can’t keep up with the demand with many bus runs packed and standing room only. There is a need for more routes as well. If we could just get some routes going East and West in addition to the routes already going North and South taking people to downtown and back. There is a need on the south business corridor for some bus routes that run East and West and connect to the Metro in KCMO across the state line.

Maybe $4 or $5 gas will create some opportunities for public transit that will outlast the expensive gas. I do believe we will not always pay so much for gas (maybe I am just a hopeless optimist!) and the challenge then will be whether people will still be responsible with petroleum usage when it doesn’t hurt the pocket book so much.


My comments above were limited to transportation alone. Anajz from The Sustainable Backyard furthers the discussion to the reality of the impact of the cost of gas on the rest of life in her post Making Choices with some very realistic observations of how the cost of gas is hurting the average person just trying to get to work, feed their family and pay their mortgage or rent - hard choices for how to split shrinking dollars between the growing costs of everyday life.


Additional Comments:

The cost of petroleum rolls out to everything we must purchase from "nuts to bolts" as they say, and most importantly to the cost of production, delivery and finally purchase of our food.

When I first heard of the food crisis and how expensive food would be getting I had the human survival urge to "hoard" food but I quickly came to the realization that most of us, and my family in particular will not go hungry...we will pay more for food and make serious life-style adjustments.

The less fortunate in our country and in the broader world will pay a much more significant price as costs rise and will have to make impossible choices about daily survival.

Food kitchens in the USA are seeing a growing population of the poor coming for aid at a time when their donations are dropping. In the hungry third world people are literally starving because the cost of food doubling and tripling actually takes food out of already starving mouths. Costs of petroleum on transportation of aid rations along with bio-fuels driving up the costs of food and literally "eating up" the surplus is devastating. Organizations like the World Food Programme, Oxfam, Heifer International and The American Red Cross all need donations to help meet the crisis of the shrinking dollar and rising food costs to help keep the people they serve alive.

As costs rise and dollars shrink, charity needs to abound. Innovations and invention will eventually help us all, but in the short term most of us will suffer the pain of this crisis, some will suffer, some will not survive. (And then some who have profiteered their way to obscene wealth in the economy boom we have experienced since the 1950's with all the excesses that have helped to create this crisis, may actually become even more wealthy. That is probably best left for another post.)

- Joy

Buzz it up

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New York Says Thank You: Greensburg, Kansas

"An American Barn-Raising in Greensburg, Kansas on the 9/11 Anniversary 2008" Would you like to work "shoulder-to-shoulder" with New York City firefighters to help rebuild Greensburg, Kansas? Visit New York Says Thank You to learn of several ways that you can be there in person or through your generous giving. September 4 - 7, 2008, America's largest barn-raising will take place in Greensburg, Kansas as the FDNY, Ground Zero construction workers, 9/11 family members, New York City school children, and scores of other New Yorkers directly impacted by September 11th will come to say "thank you" for all the support they have received since 9/11/2001 by helping others who have suffered a catastrophic event. Ways you can help:
  • $250,000 worth of building supplies donations, contact: Jeff Parness
  • $50,000 cash donations to sponsor the NYC volunteer group, Donate Online
  • If you live near Greensburg, be one of hundreds of volunteers

Read more

....................................................................................... Greensburg, Kansas on Discovery Planet Green TV Sunday 8 PM Kansas Time (central time zone)

Check the GreenTV website for alternate air times.

Read more: Greensburg, a green phoenix rising.

Watch an exclusive online episode

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Best Alternative Fuel: Y.O.U.

"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not." -Robert F. Kennedy

Oil will go bust. There is no question about it. We will finally develop the alternative energy sources that we should have been working on 50 years ago or maybe we should have been working on them as soon as Henry Ford started the first mass production assembly line of cars. Steam engines were one of the first used. It’s just too bad we didn’t continue looking for alternatives, but now we will do so forced by the rising price of oil. We will hit a ceiling that even the American consumers will refuse to pay.

Alternative fuels and public transit are the wave of our future. Welcome it, embrace it. Become the alternative fuel.

I propose this expansion on the 3 R's: Rethink, Reinvent, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

First of all we must rethink. This is the time for a renaissance of invention. We have the resources, we have the impetus, we have the mission. We must not keep doing things the same old way. Change is good. Being responsible with our natural resources and to our world-wide community does not mean we have to return to the stone age. I believe we are on the precipice of an explosion of invention. Remember: Necessity is the Mother of Invention.

We have to simply turn our approach upside down. Many people start with recycling. Flip that thought...and THINK. Rethink. Find new ways of doing things that don't waste resources. INVENT and re-Invent. Come up with new processes. Then reduce, reuse, recycle. It starts with each and everyone of us.

We must develop the belief and incorporate into our every thought that there are many great ideas and solutions waiting to be found. Believe it can be done. Believe in yourself. Believe in a higher power. Have faith. We have each been given a resource of unbelievable power - it sits on our shoulders enshrined in our skulls and covered (some more than others) with locks of hair. I hear that those bald heads are actually burning hotter and smarter and are a sign of genius maybe because they are unlocked. :-)

Worry and doubt are useless tools for finding solutions. Unleash your mind to begin working on solutions. The mind is a fascinating thing. From what I have read, the mind always thinks in the positive. If you say "I must not forget to go to the store," you are more likely to forget than if you say "I must remember to go to the store." This is why a "mantra" may actually work.

A saying from the Vedas claims that "Speech is the essence of humanity." All of what humanity thinks and ultimately becomes is determined by the expression of ideas and actions through speech and its derivative, writing. Everything, the Vedas maintain, comes into being through speech. Ideas remain unactualized until they are created through the power of speech. Similarly, The New Testament, Gospel of John, starts "In the beginning was The Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God..." (Sansritmantra.com)

So to summarize: Think it, Speak it, Invent it, Be it. YOU are the solution to our world energy challenges. Yes WE CAN. We can make a difference.

As a very wise and productive man once said, "See a snake, kill a snake." Sorry PETA, this is only a metaphor. It means if you see something that needs to be done, DO IT. YOU ARE THE ANSWER. BE THE ANSWER.

Buzz it up

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