29 - 2008

Closing coal plants, eliminating phone books and green gyms

Last week, I saw this interesting headline in our local business paper:

Xcel takes unusual step to shut down coal power plants

The full article is only available to subscribers, I believe. But the gist of it is that our power company, Xcel, is shutting down two coal power plants, both of which are in residential areas. They will instead use natural gas to create power.

It might be a matter of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This Wired article says that natural gas is cleaner, but …

“People talk about natural gas emitting four times less greenhouse gases than coal, but that’s only when the gas is actually burned for energy,” Glynn said. At present, most greenhouse gas calculations don’t take into account carbon dioxide emissions that occur when natural gas is pumped from the ground for storage and transmissions.

At any rate, hopefully it’s a step in the right direction.

Phooey on phone books

I’ve been busily working to eliminate junk mail, so it’s super frustrating to hear the telltale THUNK of another phone book hitting the porch.

Remember when only the phone company produced the (lone) phone book? And you actually used it to look up numbers? Now I use the phone book for several purposes:

  • As a booster seat for visiting toddlers.
  • As a step for calf-raise exercises.
  • As a weight to hold a damp cloth onto a carpet stain for maximum absorption.

Yeah … not exactly its intended purpose. I’m not even sure if anything is written on the pages. Oh, I forgot, it’s a source of advertising revenue, therefore it must be inflicted on us.

Well, then Wise Bread wrote about a source for opting out of phone book deliveries. I have called individual companies to opt out, but I missed the one that hit me this week. Perhaps the YellowPagesGoneGreen site will help.

Another reason Portland is cool

If my family didn’t almost all live here in Colorado, I’d pack it in for Portland. Yesterday, Focus Organic wrote about a green microgym that’s opening in Portland. It will be powered by the exercisers and solar energy, with a lot of eco-friendly interior finishes. That would indeed be a big improvement on my plastic-filled, energy-sucking gym, sadly.

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