One afternoon, I am not exactly sure when, but sometime in mid-2006, I began looking for a way to drive a car that would not require typical, fossil fuel derived gasoline. This led me to BioDiesel and WVO and a group in Minneapolis running a company called SundaysEnergy (though at that time it was still BioDiesel Blue). I ended up attending several workshops on making biodiesel and running a diesel on vegetable oil and was hooked. I thought, why weren’t more people onto/into this?
Part of the answer is that it is a pain in the ass.
Promptly after that I happened to watched three movies in a week long period that changed my view on what I could do from that point forward. The films were Thank you for Smoking, An Inconvenient Truth, and Who killed the Electric Car. By then it was November of 2006, but had not yet found the perfect old Mercedes for my BioDiesel/Vegetable Oil desires. Instead, I immediately started riding my bike around Minneapolis, even though winter was just coming to full-fruition. I could not fathom using my car after seeing those films, I just remember feeling so guilty, foolish, and led astray.
I never did switch over to a biodiesel car. I helped convince some others to do it, and helped a friend with his WVO installation, but I have been 87% Bicycle, walking, and/or Public Transit ever since. By girlfriend and I do still own a car, and now that we live in Baltimore it has been much harder to convince her to ride a bike all the time … But in general, I myself still try to adhere to this.
I always sort of knew this stuff before, there’s always been an inkling in my mind that what we’re doing cultural and societally is foolish, but it really was not until late 2006 that it first sunk in and I started doing anything about it. Now most days I just feel like a hypocrite, asking myself if I am doing enough and shouldn’t I be doing more? can I make enough change myself?
This malaise is brought out frequently working as a graphic designer and seeing the amazing amount of waste that my fellow designers and I produce. We work in a field based on creating waste. Sure every once in a while you get to design a book cover or Album sleeve for something great, and hopefully it gets kept or passed along. But most of the time our work is of a fleeting nature … annual reports, marketing materials, newspaper and magazine spreads, calendars, event listings, etc. Things that serve a temporary purpose, but are quickly replaced with the next piece, or just out of date and useless.
How does one rectify this with the principles of sustainability?
Originally written and published on Better Living Through Sustainability on 2008-05-14 14:32 … This version contains some updates, revisions, and improvements as of late 2012.