Saturday, July 18, 2015

How you live

We made it safely through last night's storms and hope you did too. If this month's weather so far is any indication of what the scientists mean by "fewer but more intense storms," we're all in for a bumpy ride. The latest report I saw notes that 132K homes are without power. This time around we dodged that bullet, although water levels are up and many of the local ditches were still full of water this morning. The folks in the picture below were resting by the roadside this morning. Apparently last night's rain, lightening and winds didn't cause them too many problems, and they seem to love the high water that's everywhere today.

roadside Canada geese
roadside Canada geese
Photo by J. Harrington

Yesterday's post about home energy sources and last night's storms put me in mind of the bioregional quiz we worked our way through last Summer. It's called "Where you at?" Since we did that quiz, I've found a similar, but different, one named "How You Live?" Here's the questions it contains. We're going to answer them over the next several weeks.

Chisago City farmers market
Chisago City farmers market
Photo by J. Harrington

  1. On what day is your local farmers market?
  2. What type of energy is used to heat your home? How many days a year is it employed in this capacity?
  3. Where is the closest fast food restaurant to your home?
  4. List three invasive species in your region. What is the most damaging to the ecosystem.
  5. Where does your water go when it goes down the drain?
  6. How many independently owned shops exist in your area?
  7. What facilities in your area accept universal hazardous waste?
  8. Describe in specific detail your governor's environmental policy.
  9. What types of plastic are accepted by your regional recycling center?
  10. To what degree does light pollution obfuscate the night sky in your region? (Extra credit if you answer using the Bortle Dark-Sky Scale)
  11. What is the closest state park to your home?
  12. Trace the electrical energy in your home from source to outlet.
  13. What is the mpg of your vehicle? How many miles per year does it travel?
  14. What type of tax credits are offered by your state and local governments for installation of energy efficient devices (such as solar hot water heaters)?
  15. What is the proper tire pressure for your car tires to maximize efficiency?
  16. What is your current water footprint?
  17. List five game animals that can be hunted in your region and the permissable hunting season of each.
  18. What form of public transportation is closest to you? When does it operate and where does it go?
  19. Who are your senators and how can you contact them?
  20. What is the average temperature and precipitation for your region? How has it changed in the past three decades?
It's clear to me that some of these will be much easier to answer than others. It's also clear that being able to answer, or know where to find the answer, to these questions is fundamental to those of us who accept that we are the connections between the issues we complain about and their resolution. Please join us as we work our way through these questions about how you (we) live.

Wild Geese

Poem: "Wild Geese," by Wendell Berry from Collected Poems 1957-1982 (North Point Press). 
The Wild Geese 
Horseback on Sunday morning,
harvest over, we taste persimmon
and wild grape, sharp sweet
of summer's end. In time's maze
over fall fields, we name names
that went west from here, names
that rest on graves. We open
a persimmon seed to find the tree
that stands in promise,
pale, in the seed's marrow.
Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear,
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye
clear. What we need is here.



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