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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-27-07, 10:35 PM   #1
Roody
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Carfree embarrassment?

I just read an article by Paige Doughty on CommonDreams.org, called "To Flush or not to Flush? Battling the Social Stigmas of Environmental Action in the City." Paige sometimes feels embarrassed by her earth friendly habits, including bike commuting to work and not flushing the toilet every time she uses it. Here's an excerpt from the beginning or the story:

When I reach the top of the hill my back is slick with sweat and my head is so hot that my cheeks will be red for an hour. I am sweating and freezing at the same time.

In the bathroom of my workplace I strip off my clothes. There are no shower facilities, but I have packed a towel to pat the sweat from my torso. In the mirror I see that my hair is a helmet shaped bowl and that my ear warming head band has left a line across the middle of my forehead.

I laugh at my reflection and wave air under my armpits one last time; this is not exactly how I pictured myself on the first day of work, but at least I made it up that hill alive.

It is a wonderful and trying thing to understand that the actions you take in your daily life make a difference.

"You rode your bike?" A co-worker exclaims when she sees the helmet in my hands. "you're crazy!" I smile and nod, yes, perhaps a little. But as I was passing the lines of cars stuck in traffic on Concord Avenue , I have to admit I smirked.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *



And here is Paige's conclusion:
In the face of global warming, and all the dire predictions that go along with it these actions may seem small. Believe me there are plenty of days when I would like to swallow the "my actions are insignificant, I am only one person" argument. Getting in a car and driving to work would be much easier than loading myself down with cold weather gear, a change of clothes, coffee mug, and everything else I need for the day, but when I stop and ponder the decision for a moment, I k now what choice I will make.

Individual actions are one of the best ways we have to make immediate change. Change at the legislative level takes too much time and even if there is a miracle in Washington, and the government suddenly passes radical legislation on the environment, all the habits of daily life will still be calling us to act in socially acceptable and environmentally destructive ways. So, for a more sustainable future for all: Dare to be different. Don't flush.



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Old 02-27-07, 10:51 PM   #2
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Can't say I am embarassed at all at my cycling, but I have learned to run to the bathroom and flush the toilet when company arrives
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Old 02-27-07, 11:11 PM   #3
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This is kind of encouraging, actually. Sometimes I do feel that my lonely car-free gesture is a futile one, not to mention a freezing cold pain in the a**, and my friends' irritating helpful condescension towards my so-called eccentricity isn't very helpful, either. ("Why don't you just buy a Prius?") It's nice to be reminded that others have made some of the same choices I have.
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Old 02-28-07, 02:04 AM   #4
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I'm not ashamed of my body, but the building manager is a real reactionary.
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Old 02-28-07, 06:28 AM   #5
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She should just leave the helmet attached to the bicycle and buy baby wipes instead of just using nothing for her arm pits. Better yet, bring a speed stick for women.
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Old 02-28-07, 07:13 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
[I]I just read an article by Paige Doughty on CommonDreams.org, called "To Flush or not to Flush? Battling the Social Stigmas of Environmental Action in the City."
Link, please?
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Old 02-28-07, 09:33 AM   #7
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Link, please?
http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0223-28.htm
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Old 02-28-07, 09:52 AM   #8
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Link, please?
Sorry and thanks gwd
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Old 02-28-07, 02:23 PM   #9
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Hooray for Paige. I also believe that change begins with the individual. I live car-light, bike or walk to work, don't flush the toilet after every use, have never owned a clothes dryer, keep thermostat at a minimum... It's encouraging to know that the entire population has not gone mad. In a recent letter to the editor in the Denver Post the writer complained that she didn't know what to do about global warming because the government had not issued any instructions - very, very sad!
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Old 02-28-07, 05:08 PM   #10
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Hooray for Paige. I also believe that change begins with the individual. I live car-light, bike or walk to work, don't flush the toilet after every use, have never owned a clothes dryer, keep thermostat at a minimum... It's encouraging to know that the entire population has not gone mad. In a recent letter to the editor in the Denver Post the writer complained that she didn't know what to do about global warming because the government had not issued any instructions - very, very sad!
The dryer thing is something I noticed when I was in the Netherlands. Not many people have them there. During the colder months it certainly requires some forethought (especially with a habitual jeans wearer), but it can be done. I didn't use a dryer for the 10 days I was there, but washed clothes almost every day. Good example of challenging conventional wisdom. Most people would have no idea what to do (other than drive their SUV to the laundromat) if you took away their dryer.

Pretty sad about the Denver Post writer. I guess the government hasn't provided her instructions on how to google search yet either.
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Old 02-28-07, 05:58 PM   #11
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Why doesn't someone just build a toilet that has two flush handles? A normal flush for when you take a dump, and a light flush that uses much less water for when you take a leak?
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Old 02-28-07, 06:53 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff
Why doesn't someone just build a toilet that has two flush handles? A normal flush for when you take a dump, and a light flush that uses much less water for when you take a leak?
Actually, they had those in the Netherlands too. All "modern" tiolets were designed in this way.
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Old 02-28-07, 07:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
The dryer thing is something I noticed when I was in the Netherlands. Not many people have them there. During the colder months it certainly requires some forethought (especially with a habitual jeans wearer), but it can be done. I didn't use a dryer for the 10 days I was there, but washed clothes almost every day. Good example of challenging conventional wisdom. Most people would have no idea what to do (other than drive their SUV to the laundromat) if you took away their dryer.

Pretty sad about the Denver Post writer. I guess the government hasn't provided her instructions on how to google search yet either.
The "doing without a dryer in the winter idea" with a family of five was a bit challenging as it took literally days to dry clothes that were simply hung up inside. When I acquired the EPA certified woodstove to heat the home all that changed. Clothes are now bone dry in hours when hung up in the far end of the room opposite the stove. Nowadays the dryer sits mostly unused.
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Old 02-28-07, 07:09 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Spaceman Spiff
Why doesn't someone just build a toilet that has two flush handles? A normal flush for when you take a dump, and a light flush that uses much less water for when you take a leak?
I installed a Caroma in my son's bathroom last year. A water efficient toilet that actually works; who would have guessed such an animal existed.

http://www.caroma.com.au/index.html
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Old 02-28-07, 11:01 PM   #15
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I know this is almost off-thread, but are dryers that bad? I use a dryer all the time, and my monthly electric bills are only about $22. I'd like to think that level of energy use entitles me to have dry jeans on demand.
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Old 02-28-07, 11:24 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by bragi
I know this is almost off-thread, but are dryers that bad? I use a dryer all the time, and my monthly electric bills are only about $22. I'd like to think that level of energy use entitles me to have dry jeans on demand.
Here is a list of typical appliance energy usage:
http://www.city.ames.ia.us/ElectricW...appliances.htm

Same range as a refrigerator which is pretty significant, but to each his own.

Good call with the wood stove BTW LL. I might look into that in my new house. Did you buy the caroma in the US? Looked like it was only available in Australia from their website.
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Old 03-01-07, 12:28 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
Actually, they had those in the Netherlands too. All "modern" tiolets were designed in this way.
What if instead the toilet (and faucet) distilled the water and then reused it? You'd probably only need 5-10% of the water you need now (since it's ulikely to retain 100%, although your urine adds some water to the mix). Would you be afraid of showering with that water? Cleaning dishes?
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Old 03-01-07, 01:48 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by deputyjones
Here is a list of typical appliance energy usage:
http://www.city.ames.ia.us/ElectricW...appliances.htm

Same range as a refrigerator which is pretty significant, but to each his own.

Good call with the wood stove BTW LL. I might look into that in my new house. Did you buy the caroma in the US? Looked like it was only available in Australia from their website.
Yes. I can't remember the supplier offhand, but if your serious I could go through my receipts and email you. The toilet is wonderful and uses .75 gallons a flush when you push the small button and 1.5 when you hit the large button. Even more important it gets the job done.
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Old 03-01-07, 01:59 AM   #19
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What if instead the toilet (and faucet) distilled the water and then reused it? You'd probably only need 5-10% of the water you need now (since it's ulikely to retain 100%, although your urine adds some water to the mix). Would you be afraid of showering with that water? Cleaning dishes?
Better yet? Why not just install big pipes underground to take all the water to a central location where it can be distilled and then released back to nature?

Honestly, I don't understand why people try to conserve water. It can be purified easily enough and, unlike air, it doesn't sneak its way into your lungs involuntarily.
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Old 03-01-07, 03:22 AM   #20
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Water efficient toilets are the norm around here. Earlier I seem to remember some people filled a 1,5l soda bottle with water and put it in the flush tank. And it's becoming increasingly typical to install automatic faucets in commercial establishments (faucets turn on and off automatically, manufacturers claim a 50% reduction in water consumption). The idea being that conserving water is more efficient than purification.

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Old 03-01-07, 04:55 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by makeinu
Better yet? Why not just install big pipes underground to take all the water to a central location where it can be distilled and then released back to nature?

Honestly, I don't understand why people try to conserve water. It can be purified easily enough and, unlike air, it doesn't sneak its way into your lungs involuntarily.
Several reasons...it costs money to process water and uses harmful chemicals. Another is water that is in process (in pipes, treatment tanks, or water towers, etc) is water that is not available in the environment. Take a look at the Colorado River basin issues. The deserts of Egypt used to be a fertile green valley until they over used the water in it. (other issues involved but that was a main one)

I used to have a house with a gray water system in it. Waste water from the shower, washer and sinks was used to flush toilets and water the gardens, it was outlawed and I was made to disassemble it. We currently use under the minimum on our water bill every month. I bought the most water miserly washing machine I could find, we normally only take showers. Wash dishes by hand (that one is debatable) and don't water the grass. My gardens are square foot gardens which require minimal watering compared to a normal row garden.

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Old 03-01-07, 07:07 AM   #22
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I use a dryer all the time, and my monthly electric bills are only about $22.
Honestly, my first thought was that you have a natural-gas dryer. But maybe not.
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Old 03-01-07, 07:17 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bragi
I know this is almost off-thread, but are dryers that bad? I use a dryer all the time, and my monthly electric bills are only about $22. I'd like to think that level of energy use entitles me to have dry jeans on demand.
I regularly hang up my clothes to dry. In winter, this provides some extra humidity in the house so I don't need to buy a humidifier. In summer, the jeans will dry almost as quickly outdoors as in the dryer. Only problem is when a squirrel deposits a payload, but this is a fairly rare event.
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Old 03-01-07, 07:36 AM   #24
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Several reasons...it costs money to process water and uses harmful chemicals. Another is water that is in process (in pipes, treatment tanks, or water towers, etc) is water that is not available in the environment. Take a look at the Colorado River basin issues. The deserts of Egypt used to be a fertile green valley until they over used the water in it. (other issues involved but that was a main one)
If the water can't be processed to satisfaction at treatment facilities then how could it possibly be processed to satisfaction at home using green methods? On the other hand, if the water can be processed for recycling using green methods at home, then why not implement the same techniques at the plants?

If it's good enough for me to shower and wash dishes then it's good enough for nature. After all, apart from romanticism, the only reason to care about clean water in nature is because that water may eventually find its way into personal usage (directly or indirectly).

Also, what's so bad about deserts? I find Arizona to be quite nice.

I am concerned about keeping very toxic chemicals out of the world's rivers/oceans/etc. I am not concerned about biological wastes returning to nature.
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Old 03-01-07, 08:04 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by LandLuger
Yes. I can't remember the supplier offhand, but if your serious I could go through my receipts and email you. The toilet is wonderful and uses .75 gallons a flush when you push the small button and 1.5 when you hit the large button. Even more important it gets the job done.
Yeah, no rush, but whenever you get a chance I would appreciate it. I am interested and know some other folks who would be as well. I have 2 brothers-in-law from the Netherlands who would probably consider buying one.

Thanks.
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