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Open Source

John Willoner's Eco-House at Findhorn. Turf ro...
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Many of the things I write about detail sustainability and sustainable living.  I’d like to take this post to discuss sustainability on a technological level.  Previous posts have described my frustration with computers and the next new thing.  Clearly, constantly eliminating technology in replace of newer hardware where the old hardware is simply thrown out isn’t sustainable.  But, what would an alternative be?  Open Source software that works with hardware of many ages is one such option.  Open Source software also speaks to a philosophy of shared knowledge, which in many circles is an underlying aspect to sustainability. Continue reading Open Source

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How to get Free Mulch in the Portland Metro Area

Yesterday, I received an email from “Ben”.  Unfortunately, my reply bounced back.  Regardless, I said that when asked a question, I would post it here.  Ben was interested in more concrete places to get free mulch, and this is what I’ve set to tell him:

We got our free mulch from Asplundh, who I believe were contracted by P.G.E.  They trimmed our neighborhood’s trees when I wrote that post a few months ago.  They simply had a sign that read, “Free Wood Chips.”

I believe tree trimmers and arborists have to pay a fee to dump mulch, so they’d much rather give it away.  I’ve heard that some tree services have a long list of names, so it may just take some inquiring to find out.

As for a place to start…  I would contact these companies or agencies in addition to Asplundh:

  • International Society of Arborists, Pacific Northwest Chapter:  http://www.pnwisa.org/ – they may have further direction.
  • James Kinder, Green Options Tree Care, 5755 Willow Lane, Lake Oswego, OR 97035, Phone: 503-744-0914, Email: info@gotreecare.com, Website: www.GOTreeCare.com
    ** Update 16-Mar-2010: They take their tree removals and recycle them at the “goat farm”.  Sorry, no chips. Great eco-company regardless.
  • Mark Bourgeois, Arbor Pro Tree Experts, Phone:  503-473-TREE (8733), Website: www.arborpronw.com – this man specifically told me to call his company and they would maintain a list, and if in my neighborhood may be able to donate mulch.
    ** Update 17-Feb-2013: They no longer do free mulch. Friendly group, so give ’em a call if you need an arborist!

Lastly, I’d call the Oregon City Hall to find out if they use a specific tree service and get that company’s name to call directly.

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The Triple Bottom Line

One aspect of sustainability is something called the Triple Bottom Line. It’s gone by different names such as the three-legged stool concept and the 3 Es. The idea is that you factor the economy, the environment, and social issues on the same or a level playing field, each getting equal weight when being considered for a decision. So, if something doesn’t consider the economic impacts of say an environmentally sound project, it wouldn’t balance by the Triple Bottom Line assessment. The questions we should be asking ourselves, according to this idea, would be: “How does this policy/plan/product impact the environment/people/economy?” If we’re considering outsourcing jobs, for instance, who is being displaced then by lack of a job? How would that benefit those who are losing there jobs? Is there another plan we could use that could balance the economic side while not exploiting the people who get the job done?

A Last Push to Deregulate itemizes some of the recent rules President Bush plans on putting through as his term nears an end.  How does relaxing drinking water standards, for example, impact people and the environment?  Is it a good decision for either?  Would it balance under the Triple Bottom Line assessment?  Does it take into account a longer impact such as health impacts from drinking potentially contaminated water?

No, rules like this do not take a Triple Bottom Line assessment into account. How long will we go before we realize that this type of planning will only serve to harm us? Perhaps the November 4th election will proffer hope or change no matter which party rules this new administration. Perhaps we can see a more complete form of planning for the next 4 to 8 years.

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