Olympia Ecovillage gets a nod in the shower

The Seattle Times has an article today about the Phinney ecovillage and Sustainable Ballard that gives an essentially anonymous nod to the Olympia ecovillage, as well as the Port Townsend ecovillage:

About 28 groups from Bremerton to Mercer Island are developing along the lines of Sustainable Ballard, and the EcoVillage concept has spread to Port Townsend and Olympia.

That’s all the article says about Olympia and Port Townsend. They don’t even link to them in the online article. What’s up with that?

Anyhow, I linked to them, for what ever that might be worth.

I was intrigued by the mention of the Phinney pledge. It’s on the Phinney ecovillage site, downloadable in PDF format.

Seems to me that could be the basis for a large-scale community awareness campaign, to form a kind of virtual ecovillage within a city. What if some Olympia group used something like this flyer to get people in the community to pledge some slice of the ecovillage lifestyle and tracked that information, like many non-profits track their donations, and made that available as a community health indicator?

One of the items on this list is to install a low-flow shower head. However, I remember there was a buzz going around a few weeks ago for “navy showers” which save even more. A “navy shower” is simply to shut off the water while soaping up, instead of letting the water run the whole time. The Wikipedia entry on “navy shower” points out, along with step-by-step instructions for the perplexed, that the opposite, lavish kind of shower is called a “Hollywood shower” as a bit of interesting trivia.

So, what if there were first and second steps to each pledge item, like first low flow and second navy showers?

But, wait. Whatever happened to Uncle Bucky’s fog-gun shower device? [also, also, also]

Also, if one were to use something like a pledge to help develop community interest in and tracking of ecovilliage-like values, there should be pledge items about being in community and that encourage social connection and sharing. Then again, maybe there should be a pledge for each indicator of community health, so that there would be a climate change pledge and also a pedge about being in community? One could go through the process of developing one’s own set of indicators, or start with those developed by the Cascadia Scorecard project at Sightline and create a pledge for each indicator.

Welcome to a taste of post-abundance

The PSE outage line reports 700,000 estimated without power in their service area, and days if not a week to restore power to everyone.

… but, you know, at least that power generator you bought for Y2K is useful now … as long as your gas supply holds out. Get your syphon ready to pull gas out of your car’s tank!

Funny things:

  • I can’t go to the bathroom without a candle. Stupid design!
  • It took me 1/2 hour to get candles and search my old equipment for a phone that actually works without power.
  • My nifty camp stove that burns twigs, but requires a 9v battery seems a little oxymoronic to me now.
  • I have way more candles in this house than I realized.

And, best of all, the 3-4 hour battery life of this laptop I use … while awesome that it’s got a battery so I can use it at all … is really short when there’s no power main to plug into. Which is just insane that my computer is my main priority … you know, at least, until I get hungry and realize I can’t cook anything … Wait. What?

“Hello, I must be going!” – Marx, Patron Saint of Consultants

Via Communication Nation, “Beware of experts, wizards and consultants“:

“Experts usually mean well, but they often don’t dwell in the world of reality.”

And the expert doesn’t usually have a long term relationship with the entity they are “helping” with advice. That means that they are likely ill-equiped to handle long-term, systemic issues such as delayed consequences.

But, that’s the consultant game, more so with the less reputable consultants. A consultant is less likely to want to create a sustainable situation because that means the consultant can’t come back in a few weeks or months for another hit. But even when this isn’t intentionally done by the consultant, the chances are that an organization will become over-reliant on consulting, on the outsider.

Sustainability should be a big part of the conversation between any organization and consultants they hire.

The trials of the Hundred Mile Diet.

Via Cascadia Scorecard Weblog, “Survive Locally“:

Of a vegetarian diet comprised of foods only found within 100 miles:

“It turns out it’s both difficult and expensive. Local grains don’t exist, except for a few heritage grains. Yes, there are local free-range cows and chickens, but the animals are raised on non-local feed. In summer, BC’s abundant farmer’s markets serve them well, but many of the supermarkets still sell much shipped produce, except for, say, local organic salad mix at $17.99 a pound. Summer, of course, only lasts so long.

And here’s the kicker: Vegetarianism doesn’t work well because soy isn’t grown locally. So they’re forced to ask this question: ‘Does vegetarianism fit into a local, sustainable diet?’ And the answer isn’t clear at all.”

Soy isn’t really a show-stopper, but it’s a big part of the protein intake of most vegetarians these days. Other alternatives are plentiful, but are they plentiful within 100 miles of one’s residence?