Social, Economic, Enviromental Responsibility

Category: In practice

San Francisco Sewers

San Francisco has pushed for low flow toilets to reduce water usage in the city. The results have been less than desirable. Many will be quick to draw their own conclusions from the report, and all sides will use this as ammunition. That is unfortunately going to distract from the larger problem.

The brushfire argument will center on low-flow toilets not working with the sewer system in place, and therefore should not be used.

The real issue is the sewer system!

San Francisco’s sewer system is over a hundred years old. It’s been operating well beyond its lifespan, and well beyond its capacity, with patch after patch after patch to try and make it work. It’s old, well past its usefulness.

The problem isn’t low flow toilets, or what will be needed to clean the sewers in San Francisco. The whole system needs scrapped and a new one installed.

We’re no longer at a point where temporary measures, fixes, or stop-gaps can be used. Our infrastructure needs to be reinvented.




The Sun delivers roughly a kilowatt of energy to every square meter of the earths surface. Meaning, one meter of land provides enough energy to power ten light bulbs.

If the average rooftop is say 10 meters by 30, that’s 300 meters. Meaning the potential for energy is 300 kilowatts a day.

300 kilowatts, times 365 days a year equals 109,500 kilowatts of energy a year.

The sun doesn’t shine everyday, and this is assuming a perfect conversion rate. Solar panels are only 30% effective, meaning only 30,000 kw of energy is actually produced. Still more than enough energy to power a home, and the two homes next to it.

The sun doesn’t shine every day; a true statement. But it could not shine for 8 months, and there would still be enough power for a home. The average American household uses 11,040 Kwh as of 2008 4 months of sunshine is all that is necessary to cleanly power an American home.

The rub with solar power is not energy production at all, it’s energy storage. The roof of a house has the potential, with current means, to provide all the energy requirements for a home. But there is no effective way to store that energy.

Why then is so much money and effort devoted towards solar panel development? What is needed now, is an efficient way to store and discharge energy. Solar panels work, it’s time to bring batteries up to speed!

Shwood Sunglasses

One part style, one part sustainable (trees grow).

Plans For Today

Today I have 2-3 goals depending on my level of energy and dedication.

Goal 1:

Replace the flex-plate on the BMW.

Goal 2:

Clean the shed.

Goal 3:

Finish the speedometer/gauge assembly for the Death Machine, Black Lightning.

Why are these goals being posted on my (semi)professional blog?

Simply because I can. Seriously though, the BMW is a 528e. One of the most economical vehicles still on the road today. Once I replace the flex-plate, I can start getting 30-35 mpg driving all over town again.

The shed is becoming home to my next venture: taking the Conservance philosophy and style, and applying them to motorcycles and whatever else I damn well feel like. A good cleaning and reorganizing will make my life so much easier. It also will be nice to have a place out of the elements to work on the motorcycle.

Once I finish the gauges, the bike is effectively done. The last major hurdle will be the BMV inspection.

If all goes well: two stylish and efficient vehicles will be ready for the open road. Huzzah!

First Official Communication

I recently started working at a motorcycle shop here in Columbus.

The owner is big into recycling, to be honest our whole shop is about reusing old parts and rebuilding motorcycles.

I just got done compiling our recycling data from 2006 onwards. And I wrote up a quick entry for the company blog.


The gist:

In three years we recycled, just recycled, 33,000 pounds of material. That information on reused items is a bit harder to track, however the majority of our business in the store comes from the purchase of rebuilt or second hand parts.

That’s a lot of weight that didn’t get thrown away.

Death Machine Lives!

And with video too!!!

Death Machine Updates

Took it for a quick spin yesterday. 65mpg of bad ass environmentalism is one step closer to reality!

I’ll have a video up later tonight of the test ride. I don’t want to call it the maiden voyage because that would spoil whatever near death experience I have on the legitimate maiden voyage.

The Last Straw

Hay is grass that is grown as feed for livestock. Straw is a waste product from wheat and other cereal grain productions.

Straw has also been used as a building material for thousands of years.

When it’s baled, straw has excellent thermal properties (roughly 3 times that of traditional wall). Furthermore it’s price point is comparable to traditional stick built homes (yeah, I know a thing or two about construction).

Here’s where it gets interesting:

Straw bale homes are incredibly simple to build.  Install a footer, stack bales, square up the wall, plaster, install header. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Because of the ease of construction, maintenance appears to be fairly simple.

What we end up getting is an easy to build, easy to maintain, well insulated, renewable building material, that’s structurally sound and long lasting (some straw bale homes from the 1800s are still standing and still in use!).


What Do We Want? BEER!

If you’re lucky enough to be 21, then you have had the pleasure of tasting one of God’s little ways of saying ‘I love you.’

I’m talking, of course about beer.

Now, there’s beer, and then there’s Beer. The girls in the photo are drinking the latter, those idiots at the last party you went to last week: they were drinking the former.

New Belgium Brewery makes Beer. And not only that, they make it in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way! As an added bonus, their beer tastes great!

The next time you’re out, ask for a New Belgian Brewed Beer. And enjoy the delightful play of hops and malt across your tongue, and revel in the knowledge that you have done your part to save the planet.

Recycled Clothing Art by Guerra De La Paz

Recycled Clothing Art by Guerra De La Paz.

Most of the time, when you start talking about “recycled art” it ends up looking like a pile of junk with a ridiculous price tag, and an ostentatious explanation:

“this is supposed to represent the struggle that all men must go thr…”

Stop right there, cheese eating surrender monkey!

Being a conservationist, it’s refreshing to see when recycled and art come together to create something that looks beautiful!


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