Re: [hreg] Washington State
Wish I had gone on the trip! Sounds like a place to really get inspired...
--- On Mon, 7/20/09, betina wolfowicz <bwolfowicz@...> wrote:
From: betina wolfowicz <bwolfowicz@...>
Subject: [hreg] Washington State
Date: Monday, July 20, 2009, 1:21 PM
Dear hreg, I just returned from vacations in Washington state. It was gorgeous, great, a lot of hiking, fun, etc. But what I wanted to share with you is how impressed I was at the Washington state's lifestyle which to a tourist seemed much greener than Houston's. All the showers are low-flow, and all the toilets are low-volume, high-pressure flush, and, contrary to popular belief, they do dispose of the waste in one-go. All the light bulbs are CFLs. I was surprised to see no exceptions to this, and so I was informed that the government, at least in the city of Seattle, paid for the conversion of the showers and light bulbs, unsure about toilets, so everybody went for it. But the same was true in every other city I visited in the state. Also, every place had at least 3 bins for waste disposal, so the waste is being separated on site by the home or commerce owner. Green is the marketing device here, since EVERY PRODUCT is accompanied by a lengthy explanation of its health and environmental benefits. All the food in restaurants is free-range, organic, pure, has anti-oxidants, vitamins and in one occassion, yerba mate (the traditional drink from Argentina) was even advertised as Kosher! In Victoria, Canada, we stayed in a bed and breakfast, about 20 minutes from downtown. The owner, a young future mom, had a hobby farm, with pigs, goats, and we could see her neighbor's chicken. We asked how was it possible to have farm animals 20 minutes from downtown, she told me it was all small farms around, and it was normal. In Canada they say free run chicken and eggs (instead of free range). Back to Washington state, the take out food comes in paper compostable boxes, and there are composting bins in front of the ice cream parlor. Of course there were many vegetarian options in every restaurant. Plus, they are now selling very expensive clothing, that comes lined with nets to prevent mosquito bites. And compendia could be written on the back-helping properties of shoes!. Despite the hilly terrain, many people ride bikes or just walk. Of course, climate helps. The public transport system in downtown is free. Many of the buses are hybrid. Buses run on schedule, often, and to wherever is necessary in the Seattle area and suburbs. I saw no shopping malls. I think because of zoning they maybe concentrated outside the city. Usually there is just one car per couple. I guess Seattleites are financially more constrained than us, but they also have alternatives to access places without individual transportation. In one of the rainiest areas of the country, I saw posters for solar tours!. Solar panels are sprawling everywhere, for example on boats, parking meters, garbage compactors, etc. Several tall buildings had green roofs. For whatever reason, there were no neon lights in the city, which I find more esthetically pleasing. On the other hand, a lot of new (and empty) tall buildings are everywhere, and they are not attractive, but look like they were built in modules. Most likely energy efficient. I think the green fever is taking over and will eventually reach all of us as well, certainly a much much more diverse culture, without BUTS. On the bright side of the comparison, I am hearing about the government rebate of 30% to replace windows here, and of the compulsory energy inspection for every new building in Austin. Well, enough for now. Cheers, Betina