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  1. #1
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    An Environmental Irony

    As some of you on this forum, I commute by bike partially for environmental reasons. I believe climate change is happening, and while I don't pretend that my bike commuting by itself is doing much, I do it because I believe it is appropriate for me.

    Sure enough, we have had a warmer than average winter so far here in Maine. Several times recently I have gotten comments at work from people to who know I bike all winter such as "You must be liking this weather, huh?" Truth be told, I do appreciate not having to bundle up quite so much or struggle with snow and ice, but it still doesn't seem right. Intellectually, I'd rather have the normal climate. But it struck me tonight how ironic it is that here I am pedalling for environmental reasons while my motoring co-workers figure I'm happier with the changing climate because it interferes less with my riding!
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  2. #2
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
    But it struck me tonight how ironic it is that here I am pedalling for environmental reasons while my motoring co-workers figure I'm happier with the changing climate because it interferes less with my riding!
    I had exactly the same conversation and thoughts today, prompting the updated user title under my avatar.

  3. #3
    Year-round cyclist
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    This late December and early January have been nice so far, but October and the first 3 weeks of November were much more wet than usual. There were at least 4 weeks in those months that 8/10 commutes were under rain, and the other weeks weren't far behind. And September was also rather humid. We typically have only 1 or 2 weeks of rain – total – in the Fall.

    So I'd rather get -10 – -15°C and snow.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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    GATC
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    I suppose you could look at it as getting in shape for biking in the coming warmer conditions. Despite whatever they say about 'every little bit counts', I think that's probably a sounder rationale than taking your car off the road to stave off the melting of the polar ice cap. You could take the reductionist view on oil prices too, 'just beating the rush to stop paying top dollar to exxon'

  5. #5
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I too believe climate change is occuring, but don't think these larger short term changes in the NE are evidence or the result of longer term gradual changes.
    Al

  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Actually we've had a string of mild winters. The higher low temps at night are the real concern, since they indicate that the earth is not radiating off as much heat.

    Bird migration times have changed; so have frog breeding seasons and the geographic range of many plant and animal species. The atmospheric scientists say it's too soon to tell if warmer temps are a longterm climate trend or just a random anomaly. But I think the plants and animals know.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    The atmospheric scientists say it's too soon to tell if warmer temps are a longterm climate trend or just a random anomaly. But I think the plants and animals know.
    They don't, actually. If the weather fools them into breeding at the wrong time or place, the progeny die, and there is no selection to favor breeding at that (apparently wrong) time. If the parents die after breeding, producing no offspring, there is selection against breeding at that time.

  8. #8
    Prefers Cicero cooker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    But I think the plants and animals know.
    What confuses things further is that there are recent large-scale cyclical trends we don't fully understand. We had mini-global warming around 1000 AD when the Icelanders were able to establish a farming community in Greenland, and a mini-ice age from the 16th to 19th century when Greenland was not accessible from Iceland and archeologic records later showed the European residents who had thrived there for 450 years died off in an agonizing generation or two of starvation and skraeling attacks.

    It's not known what initiated it- maybe volcanic activity - and its not known if human activity helped end it, as the beginning of global warming.

  9. #9
    Senior Member swwhite's Avatar
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    I have lived in Minnesota for 56 years and I can see that winters are milder, snow comes later, we have less snow, we have fewer periods of severe cold and those we do have are shorter. I figure that a multi-decade trend signifies something, and if the change takes place within one human lifetime it probably isn't normal. Therefore, I believe we are causing it. That's one reason I ride. We got into this by millions of people making the decision to drive, so the only way out is for millions to make a reverse decision, either by choice or by being forced into it when we run out of gas anyway.
    Riding in search of the simple life.

  10. #10
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking
    But it struck me tonight how ironic it is that here I am pedalling for environmental reasons while my motoring co-workers figure I'm happier with the changing climate because it interferes less with my riding!
    I've lived 12 years in Iowa and every winter seems to be warmer than the last. We went through December and now early January with almost no frost. It's made biking easy, but I'm less struck by the irony of it, than I am just plain spooked by it. I expect the trees to start prematurely budding any day now.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Thor29's Avatar
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    Speaking of global warming, have you guys heard about "global dimming"? There was a recent program on PBS about it, I think it was on Nova. There are also articles on the web. Look it up. The short version is this - pollution and jet contrails are causing less sunlight to reach the ground. What this means is that there is a countervailing man-made force that is keeping global warming from being even worse than it is. It's sort of a Catch-22 - if you reduce air pollution you may inadvertently increase the effects of global warming. On the other hand, global dimming is being pointed to as a direct cause of a shift in the monsoon patterns in Africa which have resulted in massive famines.

    it's interesting, albeit depressing stuff.

  12. #12
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Well, we can't predict with any certainty what's going to happen with the climate. But we know beyond a doubt that we've turned the air we breathe into a giant chemistry experiment, and there will be consequences...soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg
    They don't, actually. If the weather fools them into breeding at the wrong time or place, the progeny die, and there is no selection to favor breeding at that (apparently wrong) time. If the parents die after breeding, producing no offspring, there is selection against breeding at that time.
    Nevertheless, the breeding times of frogs, moths and other animals has changed. Sometimes we use the word "knowledge" in an antropocentric manner. Plants and animals obviously "know" things in different ways, without regard to human-style consciousness or self-awareness. One thing they "know" is that you shouldn't turn your environment into a chemistry experiment.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    For those who are interested, the UK Guardian newspaper has a very good series on global warming, including stuff on greener transportation. This issue is much hotter in Europe than in the US. (pun intended )


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    Life is short Ride hard
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    I know enviromental changes are occurring I just dont know from where. I like to ride my bike because cars are stinky they depend on some one else to maintain and fuel them and they cost through the nose for registration licensce and parking of them when I was driving this winter I felt like I had a ball and chain I am never going to drive for that long again.
    The Ferrari ('05 Bianchi Forza) had a flat (Stupid Glass) the Japanese wagon ('77 Nishiki with Arkel Utility Basket) was in the body shop (On my bench being repainted...repent ye rust)
    so I took the SUV ( Cannondale V2000 Active 100SL)

  15. #15
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    This issue is much hotter in Europe than in the US. (pun intended )
    Roody, You would have to admit, though, that many more people are talking about it in the US these days. Don't know whether it was the Al Gore movie or the NBC tv special, but many folks at my office are aware of it. Problem is, they aren't willing to DO anything about it...yet.

    I think they are waiting for the government to step in or for Toyota to develop a new vehicle. And, beyond transportation, I have even read that those energy-saving light bulbs (you know.. the curly ones...) haven't really taken off in the US. Most folks can't get their heads around the strange shape! What are they waiting for??

  16. #16
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv
    I have even read that those energy-saving light bulbs (you know.. the curly ones...) haven't really taken off in the US. Most folks can't get their heads around the strange shape! What are they waiting for??
    I can't get my head around the fact that they're like $7 each... when I'm at the store, counting dimes to afford food, and remember that I need a light bulb, there they are... right next to the regular bulbs priced at 4 for a buck.

    Guess which one gets thrown in the cart?
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  17. #17
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
    I can't get my head around the fact that they're like $7 each... when I'm at the store, counting dimes to afford food, and remember that I need a light bulb, there they are... right next to the regular bulbs priced at 4 for a buck.

    Guess which one gets thrown in the cart?
    Those bulbs are much cheaper nowadays. I bought them recently at about $10 for box of 5. I think it was at Lowe's. Even at a higher price considering that they use 25% of the electricity, they are a steal. I can notice that it helped decrease my electricity bill.

    When I first started using them, I was buying them just for their longevity. I was sick of replacing those round, cheap bulbs every month or so; the curly ones last more than a year (I put one of them as an outdoor more than 2 years ago... it's going strong.)

    When you consider all the pluses, you owe it to yourself... they are actually much cheaper than the 4-for-$1 bulbs. [Now... isn't that ironical?]

  18. #18
    Senior Member wheel's Avatar
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    Yea no cross country skiing
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  19. #19
    Crankenstein bmclaughlin807's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv
    Those bulbs are much cheaper nowadays. I bought them recently at about $10 for box of 5. I think it was at Lowe's. Even at a higher price considering that they use 25% of the electricity, they are a steal. I can notice that it helped decrease my electricity bill.

    When I first started using them, I was buying them just for their longevity. I was sick of replacing those round, cheap bulbs every month or so; the curly ones last more than a year (I put one of them as an outdoor more than 2 years ago... it's going strong.)

    When you consider all the pluses, you owe it to yourself... they are actually much cheaper than the 4-for-$1 bulbs. [Now... isn't that ironical?]
    I'll take a look next time I'm at Lowe's and Home Depot... for that price it would be worth it. I live in an apartment, and I only have maybe 9 bulbs that I can replace with those. I seriously doubt if I'd notice the savings on my electric bill, though.
    "There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson

  20. #20
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv
    I have even read that those energy-saving light bulbs (you know.. the curly ones...) haven't really taken off in the US. Most folks can't get their heads around the strange shape! What are they waiting for??
    Maybe this. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/business/02bulb.html
    Of course those with a WalMart phobia may find themselves with moral dilemma.

    Or they might find the local energy company giving rebates on such bulbs. Last week I bought the 60 watt equivalent bulbs for 99 cents each at the local lighting supply house

  21. #21
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmclaughlin807
    I seriously doubt if I'd notice the savings on my electric bill, though.
    This quote from http://www.solarenergy.org/resources/energyfacts.html

    "Replacing one incandescent lightbulb with an energy-saving compact fluorescent bulb means 1,000 pounds less carbon dioxide is emitted to the atmosphere and $67 dollars is saved on energy costs over the bulb's lifetime."

    Then think about all the energy saved by all the light bulbs in your house * all the houses in the world. It adds up pretty quickly.


    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Maybe this. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/business/02bulb.html
    Of course those with a WalMart phobia may find themselves with moral dilemma.

    Or they might find the local energy company giving rebates on such bulbs. Last week I bought the 60 watt equivalent bulbs for 99 cents each at the local lighting supply house
    I read that article earlier this week and was confused about what it meant. I'm guessing they would move the energy star bulbs up to more prominent shelf space. I'd go for that as long as the bulbs were of the same quality as the ones I buy at Lowe's.

  22. #22
    not a role model JeffS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
    Maybe this. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/business/02bulb.html
    Of course those with a WalMart phobia may find themselves with moral dilemma.
    Moral dilemma? Nope... quotes like this, resulting from WalMarts sudden insistence on instant supply, make me realize they're still a bunch of suits trying to pretend they're something else.

    Philips, despite protests from packaging designers, agreed to change the name of its compact fluorescent bulbs from “Marathon” to “energy saver.” To keep up with swelling orders from the chain, Osram Sylvania took to flying entire planeloads of compact fluorescent bulbs from Asia to the United States.
    I'm sure that jet fuel from Asia wasn't polluting anything.

    “We start with the premise,” Mr. Ruben, “that customers make good choices.”
    This one's hilareous too. I think he meant "customers buy what we want them to".

    Regarding the pricing, from what I've seen, the price of one bulb is excessive, but the larger packs get cheaper and cheaper. For some reason though, the home improvement stores like scattering them all over the store, on endcaps and floor displays so you have to look around for them.
    Last edited by JeffS; 01-06-07 at 10:31 AM.

  23. #23
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    Moral dilemma? Nope... quotes like this, resulting from WalMarts sudden insistence on instant supply, make me realize they're still a bunch of suits trying to pretend they're something else.


    I'm sure that jet fuel from Asia wasn't polluting anything.
    I suppose you use only light bulbs organically grown and brought to market by the local farmers, eh? Your electricity come from the same garden too?

  24. #24
    Has opinion, will express
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffS
    This one's hilareous too. I think he meant "customers buy what we want them to".
    So customers are being forced at gunpoint to buy things they don't need or want? <sarcasm>Only in America and third world countries, I suppose.<off>

    Walmart is successful for one reason only -- customers buy their merchandise. There are other megastore operators who have gone bust because... customers didn't buy their merchandise. Last time I looked, America and Canada were still free countries (in the retail sense) where you had a choice on where you spent your cash.

    Do *you* do *any* shopping at Walmart, by the way?
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  25. #25
    Avatar out of order. MarkS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv
    Those bulbs are much cheaper nowadays. I bought them recently at about $10 for box of 5. I think it was at Lowe's. Even at a higher price considering that they use 25% of the electricity, they are a steal. I can notice that it helped decrease my electricity bill.

    When I first started using them, I was buying them just for their longevity. I was sick of replacing those round, cheap bulbs every month or so; the curly ones last more than a year (I put one of them as an outdoor more than 2 years ago... it's going strong.)

    When you consider all the pluses, you owe it to yourself... they are actually much cheaper than the 4-for-$1 bulbs. [Now... isn't that ironical?]
    I was using these light bulbs almost as soon at they broke the $10 price barrier. But I may stop. Its got to take a lot more energy to produce them. And it definitely takes more energy to ship them since they're only made overseas. And they pose a greater environmental problem for disposable. All this would be fine if they lasted 8 years like all the hype indicates. But my experience has been very mixed. Some of them last a reasonable time, but a high percentage seem to "burn" (or whatever it is they do) after only a few weeks. I wonder if there's been any independent testing of the longevity claims?
    Cars kill 45,000 Americans every year.
    This is like losing a war every year, except without the parades.

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