Archive for the ‘New Jersey’ Category

Into My Hometown

May 7th, 2007 by Bill

David stayed behind in NYC to do two television interviews for Spanish news stations. I headed off via train from Manhattan over to Somerville, NJ, and then biked two days to my hometown of of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.

Entering Pennsylvania

Biking slowly to allow David to catch up, I took the time to snap more photos. I stopped alongside a maze of electrical transformers and took a few photos that I thought might be useful in presentations.

Electrical Wires - the police pulled Bill over for taking this picture

Apparently someone considered this suspicious because a few minutes later two police cars pulled me over. The police couldn’t quite understand what I was doing and didn’t like my answer of “nowhere really” when they asked where I lived. I certainly understood their concern in this post 9-11 world, but this also brings up the issue of energy security. Are there new ways to supply energy that will not contribute to global warming and will also provide less of a target to terrorists? Could less centralized systems of wind, solar and other forms of energy also offer other important benefits?

David caught up by the time we reached Valley Forge National Park and we pedaled the last 20 miles into Chester Springs. (The house below is where I grew up. I learned to ride a bicycle in that very driveway.)

Bill, in front of the house he grew up in, in Chester Springs, PA

Some roads became noticeably less comfortable to ride as cars passed by at high speeds with little concern for bicyclists and many roads and intersections simply had no thought of bicyclists or pedestrians in their design. The rolling farmland that I knew growing up has been largely replaced by massive houses on large lots.

Large Houses in Suburban Pennsylvania

This makes it difficult for people who want to be more energy efficient since they often have no options for public transportation and large houses also require more energy to heat and cool. On the other hand, there are big savings to be made by even small steps such as weather stripping doors and windows, changing to energy efficient light bulbs and insulating the hot water heater.

We stayed with some of my family in Chester Springs.

Bill's brother, Jon, tracks us down because we left this sandwich at his house.

It was great to see them, but also good to hear their perspective on global warming. We have very different views on some things but find a lot of common ground on the need to address global warming. On Saturday we biked to a nearby festival that was coordinated by a Green Valleys Association, a local organization. There were booths with people talking about locally grown produce, more fuel efficient vehicles, and energy efficient products for building homes.

The Envirofest in Chester Springs - we gave a talk here

We gave a short talk there and another that evening to a large group that my friends had gathered around a dinner at their house. On Sunday we gave a talk to local 6th grade students. My sister-in-law coordinated the event (and did a great job!) and we spoke with about 20 kids as well as some parents.

A talk for a 6th graders in Chester Springs