I recently interviewed people in Helena, MT and Colville, WA to see what they thought about global warming. I decided to do the same experiment in Seattle. I stood outside a Safeway supermarket in the northern end of Seattle to see and interviewed people as they walked out of the store. Take a look below. Thanks to Bill Aston for doing the filming.
Archive for the ‘video’ Category
Leaving Sandpoint, Idaho, Bill and I crossed the final bit of the Idaho panhandle and entered Washington, our 13th state.
We decided to follow a northern route across the state, which, as we quickly learned, is also the most mountainous part of Washington. The photo on the right shows an elevation profile of this route â€“ over 14,000 feet of climbing across the state.
We have given over 35 presentations across the country, and appeared in local media a few dozen times. But, for this stretch of road, we found ourselves entering no large towns, and, for the first time since central Pennsylvania, we biked for a week straight without a scheduled presentation or media appearance, enjoying the cycling.
Along the route, we stopped by a workshop for building straw bale houses. (Bill saw an article about it in the paper, and it happened to be just off a road we were biking). Straw-bale houses use straw bale as insulation in the walls, making for highly insulated and efficient houses. (We also met some people at the workshop who let us stay at their cabin).
While I am not saying that we should all go out and make our houses out of straw (if you can, great!), it did remind me how inefficient most houses are. If you get a home energy audit (ask your utility â€“ sometimes they are free), you will usually find that your house is wasting energyâ€“ either through not enough insulation, cracks which let air escape, or inefficient lighting. And if you are building a new house, you should also demand it is built in such a way that uses energy efficiently. Our homes can use far less energy then they currently do, often with improvements in the quality of living. We should be demanding more efficient homes.
A couple we met at the straw bale clinic had a nice video camera and made this great video of us. Watch below. (Thanks to Christy and Bill.)
Christy and Bill also made a video of me talking about Ride for Climate in Spanish…which is a bit funny. You can watch that one here.
Our ride finished by crossing the North Cascades and riding into Seattle, where we will be for a little over a week.
What does the average person on the street think about global warming?
In Colville, Washington, I stopped in front of the Safeway supermarket and interviewed people. I first asked them their opinion of their governor (Christine Gregoire), then George Bush, and then global warming, followed by some more details on global warming. If I was on a roll, I asked if they supported a tax on gasoline if the money went to renewable energy.
This is a very unscientific survey of five people, but I would say these responses are fairly typical of any random 5 people we would have met across the U.S. It highlights the belief Bill and I have, that there needs to be a major national education campaign around global warming.
And of course, much thanks to these people for agreeing to be interviewed – they were all friendly and approachable, just like most people we have met across the U.S.
In Bozeman, while biking down Main Street, I saw a Smart car dealership. Smart cars are tiny cars no longer than most cars are wide, yet drive like a normal car and get 60 miles to the gallon. Extremely curious, I went inside, and the owner, Ron, gave me a test drive in the car. It was really fun. (Ron’s website: ecoautoinc.com)
I made a video of the experience here, which mostly consists of Ron talking about the safety of the car (which he says is really good) or itâ€™s handling in snow (excellent, he says). When most of our car trips are to work or into town, why not use a small efficient car most of the time? Or, if you are a two-car family and you need a larger car, would it make sense to have one larger car and one smaller commuting car?
Ron also sells electric cars, which are another story. Electric engines are far more efficient than gas engines â€“ the one he drove me around in gets an equivalent of 240 miles to the gallon. His car had a range of 40 miles, which is plenty for most work and grocery-getting.
And for people who think that electric cars are wimpy, check out this new electric sports car (Ron didnâ€™t have this one to show off), which has a range of 200 miles. Costs $100 grand, but hopefully, in a few years, the price will come downâ€¦.
Here is a short montage we put together combining the best videos and pictures from South Dakota and Wyoming. Thanks to the Resophonics for letting us use their music in the background.
We became very familiar with South Dakotaâ€™s wind energy potential. Every day the wind would howl at us from a different direction. We were a bit lucky as well â€“ we ended up have slightly more tailwinds than headwinds.
The map shown on the right shows the potential wind energy from different states around the region (I took this photo next to a wind farm in South Dakota). One of the problems with wind is that it is most windy in the Great Plains, where few people live. Also, it isnâ€™t windy all the time (so you can’t create electricity all of the time). But, usually it is windy somewhere, so if we have a large electric grid, we can distribute the electricity. We also donâ€™t currently have the distribution network to carry the electricity away from the Great Plains â€“ why not build it? According to the map shown on the right, and comparing with U.S. energy statistics, the combined wind energy potential of Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota is roughly equal to the current U.S. yearly electricity generation from all sources (coal, natural gas, nuclear, etc.).
Yes, there are concerns with wind energy, and I am not sure we should cover all of the Great Plains in wind turbines. I encourage you to read this link to learn more (especially issues concerning bird and bat mortality). The bottom line is that the wind turbines are far better than the alternative of global warming.
The 30 second video below, though, sums up how I feel about wind power:
We made a video celebrating the bikeways in Madison, Wisconsin (and you should take a look at it â€“ it is one of our favorites). We recently arrived in Minneapolis, and discovered that that city also has excellent bikeways. Here is a video tribute:
Another few hours in front of imovie has produced the following montage of biking across Wisconsin. The music in the background is provided by Peter Mulvey, a musician who biked with us out of Milwaukee.
In addition to scenery of us biking and camping across Wisconsin, we share one fact about global warming: over 20% of all known species of plants and animals may be at risk to extinction due to global warming (source: the IPCCâ€™s recent report). This would radically transform the natural world, and it would be a major tragedy. Think about it – one out of every five species of birds, plants, animals, gone. Why should we accept this?
We end the film with a practical suggestion from one person we stayed with in La Crosse, WI â€“ change a lightbulb to a more efficient bulb. It saves you money, and will result in power plants putting less carbon dioxide into the atmopshere. It will lessen global warming.
And of course, there is bonus material at the end of our film. Watch below.
Madison Wisconsin has some of the best bikeways I have ever seen. The biking here is excellent, and a incredible number of people bike to work or use the bicycle as transportation. It is great to see, and it makes me ask, why not do this in more communities? Doesn’t it feel great when you are able to bike to work? You are healthier, you save money, and, of course, you don’t add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Why not demand better bikeways?
The video below (really a ‘music video’) says it better. Click and watch.
(The music in the background is provided by the Motor Primitives)
Mayor Dave (he goes by his first name) met us on our first day in Madison, Wisconsin, and went for a short bike ride. The mayor is doing excellent work to reduce Madison’s greenhouse gas emissions. Click on the video below to watch!