On the ever of Al Gore's historic attempt to rescue the planet from republicans, I thought I'd give y'all a midseason update on my two big anti-CO2 projects: my Amish lawnmower and my bicycle commute.
Both have had a huge leg up from the drought. Thanks to all the dry weather, I've been able to ride my bike to work nearly every day since April 1. I've averaged only 3 days per month of driving, biking all the rest. The bottom line: I love it. The morning commute is somewhat Yoga-like – it's both meditative and a workout. I'm lucky to have Seneca and Cherokee parks in between home and office, and the morning commute just couldn't be more pleasant. At first, the afternoon commute was kind of a bummer. Drivers are hungry and crabby and they urgently miss their media downtime between computer and television. There have also been some 90-degree afternoons, which, when combined with fume and dumpster, tends to make the world smell like ass.
But lately, I've come to see one huge benefit of the afternoon ride: it really clears the mind. Thanks to the strenuous workout and slightly slower overall commute time, by the time I get home, I've forgotten about whatever stressy-ass thing was on my mind when I left work.
Mowing has probably been unrealistically easy, thanks to the drought. I'm mowing only every couple of weeks and the grass looks fantastic. My neighbor mows every week and waters his lawn constantly, and ours looks just as good (albeit not as anally trimmed). I have watered the lawn exactly zero times. By not watering and keeping it longer, our lawn is exactly as green as the neighbor's. I also suspect that not giving a shit is a factor. I really don't care if my lawn turns brown. I have a feeling if I desperately needed a lush, green lawn to demonstrate my superiority over nature, the damn thing would be a buggy, dead dirthole. So don't discount not caring. It's the secret of my success in most endeavors.
I still enjoy the Amish mower. It does take two passes to clip the lawn evenly. I don't mind doing it, but I have to also state for the record that I'm not sure how old this might get if we'd had a wet spring and I were mowing every six days or so. At the pace it's going now, I'll never use a gas-powered mower again.
I'm not nerdy enough to really understand the science behind CO2 emissions. Does it really matter that I mow and commute with zero emissions? Or am I just a sucker for the melodic, Herman Munster-like soliloquies of Mr. Al Gore? Likewise, I'm not sure how much money I'm saving. I probably haven't broken even yet after buying the bike. And I can't sell my car because I'll need it during a long chunk of the winter when the bike is impossible. Still, like watching movies with Toni Collette and eating chocolate, it just feels right.
Happy Live Earth, y'all