N is for Nature

I’m old enough to have participated in the very first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. For that occasion, I joined some of my fellow students in picking up the trash around my high school. For whatever reason – perhaps because my father was a smoker – I decided to concentrate on one of the smaller, but more annoying pieces of litter, the cigarette butt. I recall picking up 1300 of them before I lost count. And I thought I was really doing something.

Today, I recognize that saving the nature of our earth involves a lot more than picking up litter. Not that I’ve stopped; my daughter plays at the local elementary school playground, and I’ve picked up the trash three days in a row, knowing that the garbage I picked up on the third day was not there on the first.

I’m pretty much an obsessive on recycling. I’ve discovered that, e.g., another unit on my floor will have ordered a large deli plate. In these parts, the base is flat and black, while the top is clear and a hemisphere. Both parts are recyclable, with a 1 or 2 in a triangle. Yet someone has often thrown them in the trash. Well, not IN the trash; they are so large that they’ve been placed NEAR the trash. I pick them up, wash them off and take them home.

I often read newspapers on long trips or even taking the bus to work; instead of trashing that read paper, I’ll bring it back home.

Recently, we’ve acquired some large canvas shopping bags from our local public radio/television station, WMHT; unfortunately, we’ve lost one. However, I was carrying the other one around when shopping at the local CVS pharmacy. The clerk commended me, “I wish more people would do that.” On the same shopping trip, I stopped at the nearby Price Chopper supermarket, and the clerk there gave me three cents off my purchase; all the stuff fit in the same bag, BTW.

At my office in the past three years, we’ve sent out our research on links to PDFs rather than printing and mailing them. Not only have we saved whole forests of trees, we’ve saved a bunch of money on paper and postage. Generally speaking, we have – as most UAlbany e-mails suggest – think before we print.

The state of New York has recently passed a better bottle bill. Starting in about six weeks, it won’t be just cans and bottles of beer and soda that will have a redeemable five cent deposit, it’ll also be on water bottles. Knowing full well that this will be a pain for retailers and distributors, because neighboring states haven’t enacted a similar law, I think it’s on the whole a good thing. However, I expect an uptick in the number of bottle entrepreneurs rummaging through my recyclables bin on trash night looking for the returnables that I never put there but that other neighbors inexplicably do.

But all of this seems like small potatoes. We’ve recently got a better front door and better windows, but should we get a solar paneled roof? Can we AFFORD a solar paneled roof in the short term, even if it pays off the long run?

I get peevish about some neighborhoods’ behavior in limiting environmental consciousness. Some in the United States actually ban people from hanging clothes outside on a clothesline, saying that it will reduce property values, as though the current recession hasn’t already done that. Similar bans exist on the aforementioned solar panels for the same reason.

Here are some links that deal with some of the more substantial issues of Earth Day:
What to Do to Celebrate Earth Day?
How To Teach Your Preschooler to “Go Green”
My college’s current sustainability bulletin -PDF
My college is also participate in the ongoing IBM Smarter Planet University Jam, April 21-23: “Faculty and students from more than 170 academic institutions around the globe will be participating in the Jam. Beginning 12:00 AM EDT on April 21st and continuing for a 72-hour period, they will be coming together for an on-line conversation on
important topics such as the vulnerability of global supply chains for food and medicine, the environmental and geopolitical issues surrounding energy, how to adapt our education system to help students acquire the skills to compete in an interconnected, intelligent and instrumented world, and more.”
Green Tax Incentives in the US

Always have to have some music:

And for a little whimsy, Welcome Back: The longer the winter, the sweeter the spring, and this winter seemed very long indeed. And if spring brings such pleasure to us now, I can only imagine the joy and relief it must have brought to man in ancient times, when winters were not so much endured but survived. (If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, watch it in six months.)

G is for Green

When I give out my name on the phone, I usually spell out R-O-G-E-R and say, “Green, like the color”. As often as not, the reply is, “Is that with an E?” I thought, since my last name is Green (not Greene), that I’d reflect on the color green. Of course, no analysis is more clear than the late Joe Raposo’s meditation, Bein’ green.

It’s not that easy bein’ green

Green is a secondary color, comprised of blue and yellow

Having to spend each day
The color of the leaves

JEOPARDY! clue, 5 Feb 09 in Basic Science: “The name of this green pigment found in plants is partly from the Greek for ‘green’

When I think it could be nicer
Bein’ red or yellow or gold
Or something much more colorful like that

Of course, autumn leaves ARE those colors; they are also dying.

It’s not easy bein’ green
One of the most popular children’s songs in MY neighborhood was “Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts”; heard THAT a lot.

It seems you blend in
With so many other ordinary things

Of course, kids tease, as they do. the one name I was called the most, which actually didn’t much bother me, is Mr. Green Jeans, the sidekick on the long-running, CBS-TV weekday morning show, Captain Kangaroo. He was played by the late Hugh “Lumpy” Brannum.

And people tend to pass you over
One of the definitions of green is inexperienced, like a greenhorn rookie

‘Cause you’re not standing out
Like flashy sparkles in the water
Or stars in the sky

Though in fact, many animals either are green or can turn green as protection from predators, using it as camouflage.

But green’s the color of spring
(Will spring ever arrive?)

And green can be cool
Green Tambourine – the Lemon Pipers

(and here’s a cover version)

and friendly like
The persistent Sam I Am in Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss’ birthday was Monday)

And green can be big like an ocean
Or important like a mountain

Green means go. And speaking of which, Garrett Augustus Morgan (1877-1963) developed several commercial products, many of which are still in use today. Morgan is probably best known for inventing the gas mask and the traffic light.

Or tall like a tree
I must admit unwarranted joy when the conversation comes around to going green, meaning being environmental.

When green is all there is to be

When i was in college, I’d occasionally hear the punchline to the movie Soylent Green,, starring Charlton Heston, directed at me, long before I got around actually seeing the film; talk about a spoiler!

It could make you wonder why
But why wonder, why wonder?

About the only time I ever read either Green Lantern or Green Arrow comic books is when they appeared together in that Denny O’Neil/Neal Adams series

I am green and it’ll do fine
It’s beautiful and I think it’s what I want to be

The song has been performed by a number of folks including Frank Sinatra, and that guy born on the Emerald Isle, Van Morrison. still the best version starts off like this from the star of Sesame Street and the Muppet Show:

Greetings, Kermit the Frog here
And today I’d like to tell you a little bit
About the color green
Do you know what’s green?
Well I am for one thing
You see frogs are green, and I’m a frog
And that means I’m green, you see

JEOPARDY! question: What is chlorophyll?

Another Busy Weekend

Here are my wife and daughter frolicking at a MidSummer’s gathering this past Saturday. On Sunday, it was on to the Hembeck/Moss residence. More on these in the coming days.
Hey, Fred: NBC is rerunning that Jerry Lewis episode of Law & Order: SVU tonight at 10 pm EDT.
I love those synchronistic stories: Fred Glavine used to tell his son Tom how his favorite pitcher, the great Boston/Milwaukee Braves left-handed pitcher Warren Spahn, would have handled a situation. Warren Spahn, who had 363 wins, finished his career with the New York Mets.
Now Tom Glavine, the great left-handed pitcher, long with the Atlanta Braves, won his 300th game Sunday night, playing for the New York Mets.
I also learned that Spahn, Glavine and Early Wynn are the only three pitchers to win 300 games without having a 20-win season.
I don’t know if you bugged them about it, as I did, but Dead or Alive HAS added Doug Marlette to its list, only a couple weeks after the fact.
I’ll probably be mentioning this at least once a month until February: the 7th Annual Underground Railroad Conference, Friday-Sunday, February 22-24, 2008, primarily at the College of St. Rose in Albany. Save the date.
A couple suggested readings: ADD interviews James Howard Kunstler about the state of the nation, Kunstler’s writing career and other stuff. It’s long, but interesting, and an audio is available as well. A much shorter piece is the Brad Blog piece about the California Secretary of State Debra Bowen requiring paper ballots to be counted, “not invisible electronic bits and bites from computers run by private corporations using secret machines and secret software.”
My sister Leslie flew in from San Diego last night; actually she arrived about 12:30 this morning and is still still asleep. I, on the other hand, am (allegedly) awake.
Finally, a quiz I found on the site of Kelly Brown. FWIW, I think it’s incredibly accurate.

You Should Rule Saturn

Saturn is a mysterious planet that can rarely be seen with the naked eye.

You are perfect to rule Saturn because like its rings, you don’t always follow the rules of nature.
And like Saturn, to really be able to understand you, someone delve beyond your appearance.

You are not an easy person to befriend. However, once you enter a friendship, you’ll be a friend for life.
You think slowly but deeply. You only gain great understanding after a situation has past.


Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial