Posted on July 11, 2012
The Greenists are on vacation. Please enjoy this recycled post.
Two days ago, rambling with a friend along a rocky ridge way off trail in Grand Teton National Park, I had the opportunity, for the second time, to peer down into the upper reaches of Leigh Canyon, a wild place if ever there was one. Though the mouth of the canyon, which pours out into the air-clear waters of Leigh Lake on the floor of Jackson Hole, is only a few miles from the tourist beehive of Jenny Lake, the upper canyon is a place only glimpsed by marmots, adventurous ravens and, rarely, misguided off-duty park rangers.
The first time I had the opportunity to ponder the wildness of Leigh Canyon was three years ago as I made an end-around solo traverse of the head of the canyon on a two night trip. It was my first experience going off-trail in the park that wasn’t for the expressed purpose of getting to the top of a peak, and I was rewarded with near-absolute solitude, the only incursions being the occasional passing of jetliners overhead. As I made my way down the ridge to the low point between the canyon and the Idaho side of the Teton range, I was startled and then awed to see a black bear with a cub close at her heels crossing into the saddle from the west. I’d seen plenty of bears before and I’ve seen a score of them since, but I think it was the coincidence of our crossing paths that amazed me most at the time. Few people ever tread the route I was taking, and I can’t imagine that the bear spends a whole lot of time in the unforgiving environs of the divide, but there we were, each trying to get somewhere a little more pleasant.
I kept my distance, silently watching the pair as they carefully stepped their way down the steep, loose, rocky slope into Leigh Canyon, probably to see how the forage was down around Mink Lake, knowing there would be no bothersome, picture-snapping humans at that remote locale. I followed their progress until they were too small to pick out among the boulders far below, and then I too continued on my way to finding my own place to eat and lay down for the night.
Tuesday, as I reflected back on the experience from very near the same location, it occurred to me that it may never have happened if not for the commitment of a few visionary people long before the term environmentalist was even coined. Eighty years ago John D. Rockefeller, Jr., Horace Albright and others created this park through sheer will and much political and financial wrangling. If not for their efforts, the unspoiled places in the park like Leigh Canyon could very well have ended up hosting a ski area, a highway or even a strip mine. Instead of watching a couple of bears cross the divide, I could have enjoyed the whine and dust of a swarm of ATVs. Thanks to the idea of conservation, the bear and I both have a place to go to see things as they were, and as they always should be.
Posted on July 3, 2012
The Greenists are on vacation. Please enjoy this recycled post!
I have often boiled down my love of the American west to one sentence: I need a big backyard. Of course, in my case this has nothing to do with any sort of desire for a lavish hot tub-waterfall-swimming pool combo or my own personal putting green. The backyard I refer to are the millions of acres of public lands that make up the western US. Nothing less will do. Read more…
Posted on March 28, 2012
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Karen Ho Fatt.
I admit it. I love to travel. But I know that the farther I travel from home, the more fossil fuels I’m likely consuming to get there. And once I get there, I’ll probably stay in a hotel that expends ridiculous amounts of energy on lighting, heating, and even laundry. In recent years, my guilt over the environmental toll of travel has put a damper on my adventures. I’ve wondered if I should just give up traveling altogether and take up knitting instead.
I did a bit of research and I’ve stumbled on a few solutions that allow me to indulge my wanderer’s itch without trashing the planet and reducing my share of carbon footprints. Eureka! Traveling that doesn’t harm the environment? That’s a win-win for everyone, right? Here are a few of the “green” travel ideas I’ve stumbled upon: Read more…
Posted on February 1, 2012
Are you getting married anytime soon? I’m not, but I’ve been a part of many weddings in the past few years, and from what I’ve seen, the wedding registry is one of the most stressful parts of the planning process. Sure, it’s super fun to walk around the store with that scanner gun thing and point it at everything you want, but surely you have to rein it in at some point, right?
Wedding registries have got to be even more stressful if you’re a Greenist. If you want to purchase things for your home responsibly, there’s a lot to consider. Besides, if you’re engaged, you’ve got a lot of exciting things to think about, and one of them is your honeymoon. Wouldn’t it be great if you could kill two birds with one stone — the registry and your honeymoon planning — in a green way? Read more…
Posted on November 8, 2011
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Ashley.
The appeal of snow sports is getting out in the open and enjoying nature. Think about it: The snow is a natural resource (unless it’s the synthetic stuff) and the mountains that many ski lodges and resorts are nestled into definitely aren’t manmade. You are enjoying nature; that’s why going green shouldn’t be too big of an issue for skiers. Everything from snowboard pants to the board, skies, and even the lodge you stay at can go green. Here are a few examples how. Read more…
Posted on September 20, 2011
I live near the University of Tennessee, and like many college campuses, UT is one that’s very car-centric. Sure, lots of younger students live on campus in the dorms, but many others live a short drive away from school and don’t take advantage of our city’s public transit. It doesn’t help that Knoxville is nestled in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and attempting to bike those hills (and in the Southern heat and humidity, no less) often does not make for a fun outcome.
But like any great college campus, UT is doing its part to change the culture and integrate more green practices into everyday campus life. Currently the university is testing out a first-of-its-kind electric bike sharing program that I think has real potential to catch on. The program is somewhat similar to bike-rental programs in large cities, but instead of just renting a bike, a student uses their college ID to check out an electrically charged battery from an automated system that plugs into the bike. The bike works like a regular bike requiring the rider to pedal, but the electric charge kicks in to power a small motor when pedaling gets more difficult, say when you’re riding one of the massive hills on campus.
Posted on July 28, 2011
Image from Boston Biker
Last week I was walking out of South Station on my way to the temp assignment I’ve been working at for the last few months. Three young men were standing on bikes handing out leaflets for Hubway. I didn’t have time to chat with the young men so I grabbed the flyer and walked away. Read more…
Posted on July 25, 2011
recycling bank in Dingle, Ireland
I think at this point in our personal journeys to become greener, we all know to be conscious of our actions while we travel. We know to consider forgoing fresh sheets and towels every day at our hotels; we look for public transit whenever possible and we consider carbon offsets when we can’t help a large traveling footprint. Something we may not consider, though, is traveling can also be a source of green inspiration. We’ve all grown accustomed to the green practices of our own town or city, but what can we learn from the places we visit that might do things differently and better?
Posted on April 28, 2011
Please welcome today’s guest poster, Jacklyn.
When you drive somewhere, you have to park somewhere — and that’s not always green. Currently, up to 30% of city congestion is attributed to people circling the block in search of parking. Even more alarming, one study found that over the course of just one year in a small Los Angeles business district, cars cruising for parking created the equivalent of 38 trips around the world, burning 47,000 gallons of gasoline and producing 730 tons of carbon dioxide. Read more…
Posted on April 7, 2011
Imagine you’re sitting at your computer in your cheap/swanky NYC apartment one rainy Sunday. You decide you want to get away from the noise and skyscrapers. Pondering where you want to go you google “hostels nh” and find this link. You look at all four. The one in Rumney is the cheapest so you click on the link for D Acres. Their blurb about organic farming and homesteading has you hooked. You book a long weekend in beautiful Dorchester, New Hampshire.
Not having a car in NYC isn’t a big deal. There’s lots of public transportation to get you to and from work and you walk to your local grocer to buy groceries and take a cab to see your grandma. You don’t think much about the lack of car while booking your trip to New Hampshire after all, you can take the train. Right?