Archive for June, 2010

Americans burn 378 million gallons of gasoline a day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Oil is the lifeblood of the automobile, and there’s no better place to start cutting down your oil usage than that metal box sitting in your driveway.

We’re not saying you have to sell your car. But if you can make your trips to the pump less frequent, it’ll add up. Start by inflating your tires, clearing your trunk (Carting around an extra 100 pounds can reduce your mileage by 2 percent), driving more slowly (or at least not over the speed limit), and biking or walking short trips.

Just how much better is bicycling compared to driving? Mr. Green had fun with some arithmetic by comparing gas usage of a car to that of a bicyclist who eats cornmeal for his or her fuel. Let’s say it takes two gallons of gas to drive 48 miles. A typical cyclist would need about 1.25 pounds of cornmeal for the energy to bike 48 miles. “It takes a gallon or so of fossil fuel to produce 50 pounds of corn, so the amount of fossil-fuel energy needed to grow enough corn for the 48-mile ride is a meager .025 gallons,” says Mr. Green. Imagine every American walking or bicycling short trips. Do you think BP (and other oil companies) would take notice?

Do you want to start bicycling to work and nearby locations and don’t know how to get started? The Crossroads blog has excellent starting tips by Canyon Kyle here, here, and here. Also, check out Commutebybike.com’s Commuting 101


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On April 20, 2010, news broke of an explosion on a deepwater BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, about 52 miles off the Louisiana coast. Eleven workers tragically died. Now we all are left with a giant gash in the ocean floor that is spewing hundreds of thousands of oil a day. It could be one of the biggest environmental disasters of our lifetime

One reason the BP oil disaster makes us sick is the flood of heartbreaking images of dead or dying wildlife and despoiled wetlands coupled with an infuriating sense of helplessness. BP’s “handling” the crisis, so there’s nothing we can do — right?


Oil has infiltrated our daily lives to an astonishing degree, but that doesn’t mean we can’t significantly reduce our use of it. Americans burn nearly 20 million barrels of oil every single day, most of it for personal transportation.
Even for the most committed environmentalist, to go completely oil-free overnight would be next to impossible. But taking the first step toward an oil-free future — by simply reducing our current daily consumption — is actually incredibly easy. It’s also one of the most significant things you can do to wrest control of our energy future back from the Big Oil companies, which have enjoyed cozy political relationships and big government subsidies for far too long.

Each day this week, we’ll highlight a different strategy for getting oil out our lives.

1. We Are What We Eat

If the oil disaster makes you angry and you eat a lot of meat, one powerful solution is sitting right on your plate. The U.S. meat industry is a major consumer of petroleum. In fact, raising one cow in a factory farm requires takes about 35 gallons of oil — just under a barrel (according to The Omnivore’s Dilemma, p. 84). Processed foods and corn syrup also heavily depend on petroleum.

* Cutting meat out of your diet for just one day each week is equivalent to driving 1,000 miles less per year.

* When you do buy meat, consider the source. Grass-fed, sustainably raised livestock are a breath of fresh air compared to the filthy, industrialized feedlots that have taken over the U.S. Click here for a directory of responsibly raised meat.

* Location matters. The label “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean “oil free.” Organic apples from Chile, for instance, use as much oil as non organic domestic apples because of the required transportation. Look for produce that’s grown as close to home as possible first, then consider whether it’s organic or not.

* Farmers rule! The easiest way to get healthy and low-oil-use foods is to take you reusable bags to a local farmers’ market. Most of the market vendors are local, seasonal, and sustainable.

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Nashville’s Barnard-Seyfert Astronomical Society and the Middle Tennessee Space Society


 The Astronomy Channel

(A free Mobile Observatory Program)

 Friday, June 18th

8:30 – 10:30 p.m.

 Bells Bend Outdoor Center

4187 Old Hickory Blvd.
Nashville, TN  37218

 Program will be cancelled in the event of rain, cloudy skies or extremely cold weather.

 A variety of deep-sky objects will be shown throughout, including the: Pleiades Star Cluster, Orion Nebula, Crab Nebula Supernova Remnant in our own Milky Way Galaxy and the Andromeda and Sculptor Galaxies, which is millions of light years away.

 In addition, the mobile observatory will present a series of short videos, which includes a 3D fly-thru animation of the Orion Nebula, brief updates on recent NASA missions and a sky tour of constellations using a powerful laser pointer will also be presented.

 The mobile observatory is designed to aid those who have trouble using telescope eyepieces or have impaired vision.  It is also handicap accessible. If you can watch TV, you can observe the constellations with this powerful telescope!

Come discover the universe!

To register, please call (615) 862-4187

For assistance or accommodation, please contact the Bell Bend Outdoor Center, 615-862-4187

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Check out these bike-ku’s.  There is one about riding in the rain.


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Eco-Journey is the blog of the Environmental Ministries Office of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It will include a wide array of environmental topics

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This is what BP does not want us to see!

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