Green Thread Central


In honor of all sorts of things.....

....the glorious buffet of topics now laid out on the discussions page....

....the news section going gonzo with items about the environment.... inability to decide between *this* Earth Day thread or *that* earthday thread....

....the two-year anniversary of the "WonderK Sustainability Revelation"....

....I present to you Green Thread Central.

Proper thanks goes to abra - without him, this might be a foreign concept to you all. But Thread Central is still going strong and I think it would be great to have a place to return to for all things eco-, enviro-, and earthy, and how it relates to our profession.

Also I think that some forum-goers don't necessarily check the news pages, even though there is a whole lot of environmental discussion going on there.

So...bring it here! Why not.

Apr 25, 07 1:10 pm

I will kick it off (no better way to hit 3000).....

I would first like to point out Javier's news item about disappearing honey bees.

Also, on this "earthday" thread, I brought up the Citizenre company and it led to a very healthy discussion about what is or isn't ethical in the business of green. This led me to find a pod cast that had a special report on Citizenre.

Also notable:
+q's news item on The Big Green Apple.


Marlin's news item on Green's Ten Best.


Apr 25, 07 1:11 pm

thanks wonder k, this one should be good.

Apr 25, 07 1:12 pm

No +q, thank you! I see you and treekiller and the others always come up with great observations and announcements about sustainability in various places throughout the site, so I kind of thought it would be nice to have a running discussion that we could all come back to....


Apr 25, 07 1:15 pm

Wow you made it GREEN! Thanks big green floating head. Ha!

Apr 25, 07 1:16 pm

also, brought up by n_ and kind of overwhelmed by other stuff was Design Can Change.

I also encourage everyone to go calculate your ecological footprint! Hint: it's much more accurate if you enter your zipcode.

Apr 25, 07 1:19 pm

yeah, the green-ness is pretty cool

Apr 25, 07 1:19 pm
yeay!!!! Wk, you're my hero! I like being green- but as kermit said 'it's hard to be green'.

i just noticed the trend to use 'k' or 'q' in the usernames of us greenies- wonder why?

Apr 25, 07 1:27 pm

koolness faqtor

Apr 25, 07 1:28 pm

hey thanks wk. i look forward to learn from the green thread and bring in some views when thay are available to me..

Apr 25, 07 1:30 pm

on green caps and their trade:

Apr 25, 07 1:30 pm

Hooray for WonderK! It's always so nice to find like-minded people out there.....I look forward to the discussions!

Apr 25, 07 1:31 pm

awesome thread wonderk!

disappearing bees. a sign of things to come? perhaps. i mean, all life on this planet is connected in some way, right?

i proposed creating a sustainable landscape in a patch of dirt behind my house, but my uncle (and landlord) beat me to it and planted some thirsty-looking plants. oh well. i guess i'll have to try it out somewhere else.

and i scored a 20 on the footprint. damn! still, not as bad as the rest of the country (average is 24), but still... gotta start biking to work.

which reminds me, if anyone lives/works in pasadena check this out. you can get a 500 dollar rebate on the purchase of an electric bicycle (only two choices, kind of weak. i want a folding one, dammit!) if you ride the gold line (certain stops), and if you ride the bike @ least two times a week.

Apr 25, 07 1:32 pm

some green stuff I like:

wonder wall (text in Dutch, but many interesting images)

vertical garden (Patrick Blanc)

green couch

green roof

TU Delft library by Mecanoo

Apr 25, 07 1:38 pm

$500 rebate on an electric bike? why not a rebate on a regular, non-polluting bike? i guess it's one step at a time.

anyway, great thread wonderk. hopefully it will match the popularity of the classic TC.

on a kind-of green note. i just discovered ride-arc the other day. looks pretty cool. we should try to put together some bike/architecture tour/community awareness type events with like-minded archinectors.

Apr 25, 07 1:39 pm

yeah, paul, i wondered the same thing. i guess a step in the right direction is a step in the right direction.

ride arc does look pretty cool. yeah, sounds like a good idea paul.

Apr 25, 07 1:43 pm

TK & ms. TK
food = 4.2 acres
mobility = 2 acres
shelter = 6.9 acres
goods/services = 5.9 acres (there were no questions beyond what I ate regarding my shopping habit- how dare they think that I'm average!)
total=19 acres

changing my answers to: living in a green residence, eating local foods (sorry trader joes), and not including my wifes' commute dropped my total to 12 acres!

damn I need to build my own house with a really big garden and become a vegan!

average person in mpls uses 24 acres

I wish the quiz allowed more details, like do you recycle, do you compost, what temperature do you have your thermostats at, do you use an air conditioner, how old is your house, and stuff like that.

Apr 25, 07 1:44 pm

just found a more detailed foot print calculator (this link opens an excel spreadsheet) for those green geeks like me .

Apr 25, 07 1:47 pm

in tune with the bike theme - ride a bike and track your progress on not only does it summarize the health benefits of your route, but it also summarizes the pollution you would have caused by driving instead. it's usually very surprising.

Apr 25, 07 1:48 pm

Thanks Paul. ride-arc sounds awesome! I will be all over that in LA. Have to get a new bike first :o/

Apr 25, 07 1:51 pm

great! thanks paul! i've been wading through the bicycles thread, and looks like there are a lot of bike people here! awesome!

myself, i haven't ridden a bike since i was like 12, maybe! but i want to get into it, for various reasons (ie. health/green).

i want to start biking to work, but i'm afraid! where i live in the san gabriel valley, i'm about 400 feet above sea level. where i work, in pasadena near the rose bowl, it's about 1300 feet above sea level. it'd be a climb of 900 feet!

Apr 25, 07 1:56 pm

cris- but it also is a downhill ride in one direction! look into taking your bike on the bus for part of the commute- most mta busses have bike racks in front.

Apr 25, 07 1:57 pm

yeah, treekiller, that's one way to look @ it! @ least on the way home i'd be able to cruise. and yeah, i could easily take the gold line a few stops down and bike the rest of the way.

Apr 25, 07 1:58 pm

this would be my commute:

Apr 25, 07 2:00 pm

cool wonderk. are you coming to LA? vacation or move?

i think we can put together a ride-arc type Archinect bike tour schedule with locations all over the place... not just LA. maybe we can motivate people to get out and ride by giving away free archinect t-shirts at the rides ;) we have a lot of extra Mayne jerseys that need to be sweat in. or maybe we should make a special Archinect bike club jersey.

cris - i try to ride my bike to work everyday (Archinect hq is in downtown LA and my house is in silverlake). the traffic is really sketchy and the car exhaust is suffocating sometimes, but it's totally worth it. relieves stress, gets the heart going, it's morally satisfying, and it's really fun!

Apr 25, 07 2:00 pm

I never rode a bike as a kid. I had one for one year during college, but stopped riding after my wheel got stolen, and I moved further away from school. I'm planning to bike every day when I go back to grad school (giving up the car completely!). I don't get scared by hills, but I do get a bit scared by traffic.

Apr 25, 07 2:02 pm

thanks for the encouragment guys! i feel the need to start doing something (enough idle talk, more action!), not only for myself, but in a way, for everyone. (corny sounding, yes, i know) =P

so, another question, should i ease myself into riding? should i just jump right into it and bike to work?

and paul, i think the archinect bike club is a great idea. once i start riding, i'm down!

Apr 25, 07 2:04 pm

cris - i would suggest getting comfortable on mellow trails/streets before starting the commute. traffic is real, and drivers in socal are blind to bikes.

Apr 25, 07 2:06 pm

I would also suggest riding to work and back on a saturday or other non-rush-hour time to get comfortable with the route and the amount of time it'll take you.

Apr 25, 07 2:07 pm

maybe someone here could clear this up- what are those electric bikes all about? Are they bikes, or are they scooters? Or are they bikes that will give you a little boost on the hills? Or bikes that are powered by both your legs and electricity so that you can go super-fast? Do you still get a workout at all? Don't laugh at me, but I don't really understand the concept.

Apr 25, 07 2:09 pm

In recent years many bicycle builders have started a company here in the Netherlands, and a lot of new interesting developments are happening at the moment, especially in Amsterdam.
At the moment the 'bakfiets' is very hot.
pictures tagged with bakfiets on flickr.

Apr 25, 07 2:12 pm

well, they are bikes that have a rechargable battery powered electric motor in them. the idea is that you pedal regularly, and if you face hilly terrain, you switch on the motor. you can let it ride for you, but it's best if you keep pedaling and thus double your pedaling power.

Apr 25, 07 2:13 pm

ah, ok. Thanks. Yeah, it does sound a bit lazy, or at least like there's a lot of potential for laziness there.

Apr 25, 07 2:16 pm

in NL the electric bike is around for a decade or more, it is very good for elderly people who don't always have the power ,and when they are out of breath can switch on the engine. More like a backup safety. At first I also thought it was a stupid idea but now I have seen that for many people it is this backup system that makes them choose to ride their bicycle instead of a car.

Apr 25, 07 2:21 pm

ha ha, i agree! it sounded kind of weird @ first, and i was picturing fat lazy commuters on these electric scooters zipping around town.

thanks guys, for all your suggestions! (and sorry wonderk, that this is becoming a bike thread! but all things green, no?)

ok, since we're still talking about bikes, i've been looking through the bicycle thread but there's so much to look through!

i was wondering what bike i should get?

i really like these dahons particularly the urban utlity and performance bikes.

Apr 25, 07 2:23 pm

Yes Paul I think this is a great idea, and thanks to DubK for starting this up! Awesome.

Im a biker (have loved bikes and really felt a connection with the whole Lance Armstrong thing). I ride often, but not enough. I may give it a go soon though, as I may be changing jobs and will be closer to work ( so I can use the metro + ride). We'll see. I've even considered scootering (which is less pollution than a car, right?)

Im down for the biking gathering Paul, so count me in. Right now I am possibly planning on doing the 200 mile trek from LA to Santa Barbara, a mini-AIDS ride of sorts which a friend told me about.

Apr 25, 07 2:26 pm

oh and rationalist, Cris got it spot on!

That's what they do.

Apr 25, 07 2:27 pm

Those are cool Cris, but you have to ask yourself if they are : adaquate for you, and good for the commute (yours sounds kinda far) so.....

Additionally, will you get the performance you want from it. Sorry, I love bikes and can really get into certain stuff! (performance wise of course)

Apr 25, 07 2:29 pm

squirrelly, that's exaclty why i'm asking! because i know there are people like you out there who know more about this than i do.

maybe i'll just go to the bike shop and ask them there what they would recommend. i like a folding bike, since i'd probably take the train a bit.

Apr 25, 07 2:31 pm

So back to the green info is this:

(from the carbon footprint website):

food 5.2 acres
mobility 2.2 acres
shelter 5.7 acres
good and services 5.4 acres

total is 18
Better than I thought.....

Apr 25, 07 2:32 pm

Some more about the Dutch bicycle culture, in every train you can take a bike with you for just a few euro. The folding ones (like dahons) are for free. So many commuters ride their bike to the station, then take the train to let's say Amsterdam and from there cycle to their work. It is not strange for offices to have a shower for the cyclists, allowing people to refresh and change clothing, so they don't have a sweat smelling suit : )

Apr 25, 07 2:34 pm

Maybe it's just a silly southern california thing, but I've always liked the old beach cruisers. I'll probably just get something used when I start school, and if later on I find I'm getting particular about some things like serious riders seem to, can always upgrade.

I feel kind of stupid not having known about electric bikes, and it still seems wierd to me. Oh well. I guess I can buy the old people arguement though.

Apr 25, 07 2:35 pm

Yeah totally. But I must agree with your decision Cris, you do have to go "try it on" just like any shopping that you might do. Cause at the end of the day it's about your comfort level. + they way I look at it, you can even utilize it later if you choose to go biking with friends (the more conventional bike).

Hey what about beach cruisers? Those look fun and comfortable as well as being very functional - but you do have your HILL!?!

Apr 25, 07 2:35 pm

Dont feel bad rationalist, at least you know that they do exist, some people don't even know - they think a bike is a bike, is a bike.

rutger, that's fascinating about the Dutch. I found it fantastic when I was visiting Holland, and sad to hear that the "yellow" bicycle thing had gone away - where you would ride your yellow one to the market, leave it outside and someone could possibly grab it on the way out, and you would just grab another yellow to get home (after your shopping).

Apr 25, 07 2:38 pm

my footprint:
FOOD 5.9

Apr 25, 07 2:40 pm

that was just a silly sixties plan, never became reality. They have it in Copenhagen though at the moment, don't now if it really works.

Apr 25, 07 2:40 pm

oh my mistake then....but I did see and enjoyed seeing all the wonderful people (young and old) riding around, to the market, etc.

Apr 25, 07 2:42 pm

Do the cruisers not work on hills? Shows how much I know about it!

The biggest pain in the ass about bikes to me is security. Used to be a chain lock was enough, then a U-lock, and now you're supposed to use BOTH?! Jesus, what a pain.

Apr 25, 07 2:42 pm

Not that they don't work rationalist, just that they are 1 gear and 1 gear only, so unless you have some strong legs, that hill might be very hard on you.

I would say if you can get a bike with a quick release on one of the wheels, then you can chain up both wheels and frame and be good....

Apr 25, 07 2:44 pm

Hey rationalist, ck your email.......I have a question

Apr 25, 07 2:45 pm

either my email's being retarded or you sent your question to the wrong person...

Apr 25, 07 2:48 pm

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