The Clean Hippie

Seeking the sustainable life in New York City

What can YOU do to Help the Gulf? June 23, 2010

Filed under: activism,bicycle,green angst,Lifestyle,sustainability,Tips — Alden @ 4:43 pm
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Are you pissed? Of course you are! When something like this happens, our first inclinations is to just boycott the offending company. Sounds easy right? Just don’t fill your tank at BP. Punish the bastards for their lax safety standards, their laughable contingency plan, their outrageous hubris, their lies about the extent of the oil spill, and even now, their bullying of reporters who have been trying to cover the damn thing.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds to vote with your dollar, not when it comes to BP. As this WSJ article points out, BP’s profit from their stations is just a sliver of their overall billions. Who you really hurt when you boycott their station, are the independent dealers who have long term contracts with the company. And even when you bypass a BP and pull into a Chevron. Guess what? You still might be buying BP oil. It’s all mixed up together and delivered wherever. So much for consumer power.

So what can you actually do to stand up for the pelicans, your grandparents down in Florida, and a better future? Stop buying oil!

Whoa, whoa. Stop buying oil? My goodness that’s impossible!

OK, yes, in the next fifty years, it is impossible to completely get away from gas. But you can try to reduce your consumption. If the average American drove 4.2 miles less a day, we wouldn’t even need offshore drilling. How about that? Only 4.2 miles less a day. You know what that is?

It’s renting a bike at the beach this summer, instead of driving back and forth from your house to the waves. (Bikes make me happy!)

It’s designating one day a week as errand day, and planning accordingly, instead of making lots of little trips. (So much nicer!)

It’s vacationing at the beach that is two hours away, instead of all the way down South. (Screw road trips. Give me the beach NOW.)

It’s skipping the taxi and taking the subway, or better yet, commuting by bike. (Taxis are annoying anyway. Stop honking already!)

It’s picking up your friend(s) on the way to a party and leaving together. (It’s what the popular people do, don’t you know?)

It’s using Netflix instead of going out for a movie. (That sh** is overpriced anyway.)

It’s cooking your own meal at home, with lit candles, instead of eating out. (Now THAT is romantic.)

It’s going out on a sailboat instead of a motor boat or jet skis.

Such little things! Yet they could make a difference. And guess where all these little things are taking you? More time with friends and family, and less time alone in your sad deathbox. Oops, I meant SUV.

You can also use less plastic. Buy glass containers instead of plastic, and buy in bulk. I just love the look of a pretty pantry full of jars, instead of torn boxes and bags. I, for one, wash and reuse my cutlery and work everyday. It’s the little things, y’all.

In the long term, this obviously won’t be enough. We need the infrastructure as a country to support biking, walking, and taking the train, for healthy, fun neighborhoods. But until then, why don’t you get a little exercise in? That bike path is looking pretty good, eh?


Terribly Beautiful June 21, 2010

Filed under: green angst — Alden @ 8:53 pm
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[via The Guardian]


Dispatch from the Gulf May 27, 2010

Filed under: shoutout — Alden @ 6:13 pm
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Did you know I have family down in the gulf? My Nana grew up in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She spent her youth pulling raw oysters right out of the water from her family’s boat, dabbing on some tartar sauce, and popping them in her mouth.

When she told me this, a few years back, she added, “You can’t really do that anymore. It’s too polluted.”

Obviously things are about to get worse. I asked my great aunt Carol, who still lives right near by in Ocean Springs, to fill me in on whats going on down there.

While much of my Mississippi coast is still trying to recover from the horrendous effects that Katrina unleashed on us in ’05, anxiety levels have spiraled upward once again. There are so many uncertainties regarding the BP Oil Spill. The Deepwater Horizon explosion’s long-term effects are unknown at this time. There have been several days when the smell of crude oil permeated my home in Gautier and also where I work in Ocean Springs. At the moment, there is no oil on the beaches here and we are told that seafood is still safe to eat. But, should the oil move more to the east, all that is subject to change. Prices in the seafood markets and restaurants have already seen increases. Smaller seafood suppliers have had to shut their doors due to the closing of the gulf waters. Thus far, no oil has come ashore here in Jackson County and no tar balls have been seen as in other places. Fishing from the MS River to the FL Panhandle has been closed in federal waters. As the oil continues to spread, our coastal marshes will suffer greatly and the breeding grounds for our blue crabs, shrimp, oysters and many species of fish will be destroyed. All wildlife that live and breed in our coastal marshes will be killed by the toxins. So sad on so many levels. I shutter [sic] at the thought that so many species will be affected by this as well as the beauty of our marshlands. There has never been a catastrophe of this magnitude in our gulf waters and marshes. It seems to me that the government and BP are both unsure about methods to treat the situation. I’m of the opinion that BP has done too little too late in being prepared for such situations. They should be held to the fire and accountable for all costs now and in the future and, believe me, recovery is going to be years in the making. It hurts to see so many people being affected by this disaster. So, once again due to a coastal disaster, my heart is heavy just thinking about all the scenarios that are yet to surface due to this oil spill.

At this point, I have trouble believing ANYTHING that BP has to say. They have been deceptive all along and had not taken precautions that they should have with their equipment. They should be held accountable for all the damage that their negligence has created. It will be years before the full extent of the oil spill damage is known while in the meantime our gulf waters and marshlands are going to be ruined from the toxins. Not to mention that thousands of people’s lives are being changed….some will lose their seafood business, some will have to close their businesses. and the list goes on. I hate the thought of what this is doing to my Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Note: My Aunt is a self-described Republican. A disaster on this scale has the ability to transcend political lines… hopefully.


BP’s Motto:DRIPPING with Sarcasm May 25, 2010

Beyond Petroleum. Indeed.

I fancy myself a fairly good writer, but I’m not sure I can express my feelings about the Oil Spill. In fact, “spill” seems not really worthy of this event. Let’s try some wordplay shall we?




Oiltorious BIG…. maybe not.

The wordplay about the huge snowstorm this winter was amusing, but in the end, the snow just melted away. It’s gone, and with the heat wave outside in New York City, it almost seems like it never happened.

Not so with this disaster. It will stay and stay and stay. Even after 21 years, the effects of the Exxon Valdez disaster still lingers, even establishing a new area called the Death Marsh. Well, New Death Marsh is on its way. Why do I hear no one talk about this? Why is there not outrage except on some blogs that I follow? I see talk on TV, but it just hasn’t quite sunk in yet…

Maybe it’s because we still don’t know what will happen. How can we scream bloody murder while we are holding our breath? How much oil? When will it stop? Can it be stopped? How many animals will die? Will we ever have shrimp from the gulf again?

Like I said, I’m just not sure how to process this yet. But I do know I want to do something. I’m going to start by getting one of the t-shirts above, proceeds of which go to the Gulf Restoration Network. You can do the same, or just make a donation  here. Please do!