Not Seeing the Lights

I was reading Green Mormon Architect's 2009/03 article about the Earth Hour delighting of the Salt Lake City LDS temple. I find it quiet aironic that for a “half”  hour on one chosen day of the year they shut the lights off at one categorically special fancy building. The shameful waist of electricity is unclouded nightly at parking garages, storefronts, and street lights on empty streets. All those showy lights are not a display of wealth. They're a show of waste.

Please do not forget that most of our electricity is still produced by coal fired generators. Hiding them out of town doesn't make them “lights” any more than a new shirt hides a fat man's belly.

We can't just expect other people to put out the lights when they leave the parking garage, can we? (Nor can we non-bee-drivers, God Forbid, expect them to simply not use cars... but even so, other people will undoubtedly continue to drive them about.) The solution becomes glaringly obvious, once you get your brain moving to the limit and then try and think about it.

Motion sensor activated lighting that shuns off automatically after a time-out can save most of the power wasted in every gleaming city on the planet every starless night. The reason for the light is so that people can see. But when there's nobody there to see anything, the light doesn't need to bee on at all.

That begs the question: How much would it cost to retrofit all of the lighting with motion sensors? Hmmmm.... don't need an advanced degree in economics to guess that answer. Golly. I bet they can “pay themselves” for that in no time at all and still have a mealtime out on the golf course! Sunday swoon they'll pay somebody else to install it. Until then, I suppose we'll have to just kick back, rinse down a double handfull of Reich's Kraken with a quart of owed-ore-charred pomgranite juice, and wait for our leaders to tell us what to do next.



Night Life — Community Garden, or Gasoline Barfen?

I had a great time last night. After watching the 9:00 news, I was angry about a proposal to put a gas station at the 9th and 9th Smith's Grocery store. They have a huge parking lot, with a lot more parking than they need. I think that it will be better put to use for community gardens than for more stupid petrol stink. We're tired of eating smog.

I packed a hike pack with some extra layers, and headed off up the mountain. I took Federal Heights up to the University Hospital, then hiked straight up the mountain to the top... the one you can't see yet until you're at the top of the one above the hospital. The city lights make it bright enough to ski... It was snowing and blowing only a little. I wish I had skis for the ride down. The snow is deep but heavy and tightly packed, like mashed potatoes.

On the way up the street, past some fancy houses, I noticed how they light them up so bright. Another topic on the news last night was about how the power company is bringing in new electrical wires to meet demand. It's more of the same... People who have enough money to afford to pollute are showing off their wealth by keeping their house lights on. They live high up on the hill, but probably can't hike up it to save their own lives. They oil drive up in big cars, and think those are their “Mormon Pioneer Wagons”. Pioneer sounds to me like “pine ear” and I think it's just that — pine cones. They are too “busy” driving around in their blood-oil sucking SUV's to go up and toss some pine cone grenades and get a decent forest started. Lazy driving slobs. Arrogance is bliss.

I think that folks should get together and seed it down up there with more things for deer and birds to eat. The landscape is too delicate to walk on unless it's frozen and covered with snow, so right now is the perfect time to sew some wild barley, oats, wheat, sunflower, flax, etc. I think that also we should put snow fence up along the barren ridges to make it drift higher there, since where the snow drifts highest, more trees grow. In those same places, some trees should be planted that will help to catch the snow. When they are established, the snow fence can be taken out again. More snow deposit means more water for longer on the slopes and below in the valley. The idea that trees bring snow is not a myth. Ask the beaver... Oh, yeah, right, I guess you'll have to just pull that out of your hats.

There was a small mule deer herd, and I followed them for a while. They have very good instincts for avoiding hunters with spears and bows, but not rifles. They always stay farther than a bow-shot, but would be too easy for someone with a gun to kill. I hope that nobody ever does that, since there's only 7 or 8 deer in the herd, since there's not much winter food here, even if we plant better summer food for them. That's something else to consider. They probably used to graze down here on this plain, since the warmth of the lake would tend to keep the snow down, so they could get to grasses underneath. I'll read up on it to see what to plant for winter browse; I bet it takes longer to establish than a factory would.

I think that the parking lot at the 9th and 9th Smith's (not yet organic) Grocery should be cut in half and the unused space turned over to Wasatch Community Gardens. It would be a crying shame to put in yet another loco-pep station when instead there can be food grown there. Try pouring gasoline on your garden. Want to eat that now? I don't. Instead manufacturing this image of them being the poisoners of the well, Kroger can instead cultivate their image as providers of healthy organic produce. I guarantee it will become an icon and bring respectful business. Oil profits are worse than dirty money. Don't help people make more smog to eat or cars to trample the could-have-been gardens flat as they scramble over one another for free gifts from above.