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March 11, 2007


Eileen Peck

I have just made my first visit to the Greengranny website and it has not made me feel good! I find that one of the problems with our environmental crisis is that it is very easy to get judgmental about how other people live their lives. Doing just what they like without taking heed of the impact their behaviour has on the planet. I really don't like to have such judgmental attitudes and feelings. Such negativity does me no good I know! So it was with a heavy heart that I read about the green seniors who travel around the US in their trailers to get the best of seasonal weather. Why do they do it? Why say - "What those trips may do to our overall carbon footprint, and whether we should be making those trips at all, is a story for another day." I believe the situation is very very urgent and whether to take such trips at all is something which we should be considering TODAY.
When looking at ways of minimising our carbon footprint its all too easy to spend a little time sorting for recycling and giving up those things which we are not particularly attached to. The real test comes when we should be giving up something we really enjoy. I don't like to be judgmental but I just can't get my mind away from the fact that people are already dying across the world because others are choosing to travel in their trailers to chase the sun and avoid the cold.

Joyce Emery


My comment you quoted did not mean moving the TRAVEL TRAILER, only our trips by auto. Our trailer remains parked and we don't even own a vehicle capable of moving it. I would not call it "green" to drive motorhomes a great deal or tow trailers about the country month after month. I quite agree with you on that!

I also agree with you on not being judgmental of individuals. My posts on Greengranny are intended to help other seniors become aware of the impact of what they are doing and to figure out for themselves what to do about it. I am not any perfect example, and I reveal my struggle to go green openly in this blog in order to encourage others that they can do as well or better.

I especially encourage my readers to take action outside their own personal lives and to speak out for changes that need to be made by government and industry and agriculture. Changing one life, one household at a time calls attention to what is possible, but doing only that will not save us. System-wide change is necessary, and every single person should speak out for it.

Eileen Peck

Thanks for your reply Green Granny and for putting me right on your use of the trailer. I guess although we both speak English there is always room for misunderstanding because of different usage of words. In England what you call a 'trailer' we would call a 'caravan' or 'mobile home' - which by the way is often a 'static mobile home' which doesn't move around much! I think language can be a problem - if there can be a misunderstanding between us how much more difficult it is for people of completely different languages to communicate effectively.
While I'm talking to you I'd like to tell you about the latest 'bee in my bonnet' (is that an expression used in the US, it means something which is bugging me).
Why are decisions continually being made by governments both national and local which mean that people have to get in their cars more and more when we are being told all the time that we must minimise the use of our cars? There are lots of examples every day -
Only yesterday our government announced new health centres which would be big and would cater for more people than our ordinary small local surgeries. So, further to travel.
In recent years people have been given much more choice over which school their child goes to. Good in principle but we now find more and more children travelling longer distances to school.
Business are also given planning permission to provide services which encourage more car journeys. Odeon has multi-screen cinemas centrally located while there would be less need for car travel if cinemas were built in smaller localities. This means more profit for Odeon (multi-screen is more cost effective) but the price is paid by more cars on the road.
My idea is that every planning application for a new building and every government decision should have a traffic-generation assessment and the change should not be made if it will mean more C02 being burned off! Some of these ideas seem quite simple to me and I wonder just what is preventing them from becoming law? We can no longer go along with the idea that the common good is achieved by each individual/institution looking after itself. I've never believed that to be the case.
Best wishes in your work.

Joyce Emery


How true that two English-speaking nations can differ in the use of words and in the complexities of culture! And how wonderful that the Internet lets two people like you and me understand each other a little better!

The things you describe in the UK--larger but more distant medical clinics, movie theaters, grocery stores--children traveling to distant schools--are happening here too. It all rests on artifically cheap energy (cheap because the cost of environmental damage is passed on to future generations).

I agree that the energy-consumption aspects of every law and government permit should be considered. It is starting, but not yet uniform practice. However, it is amazing to see how $4-plus per gallon gasoline in the USA has brought dramatic change by individuals on a scale that persuasion and education were not able to achieve. We know from the 1970s that the good changes can be reversed if the price drops again. When I think of all the progress with solar energy that was being made back then, that just disappeared when gasoline became abundant once more...

For the time being, I see lots more people on bicycles in my town (everyone had one stored in the back of their garage, it seems). It is heartwarming to see all the kids and young adults using their bicycles now that the weather is finally pleasant, and lots more of my generation on bikes as well. Neighborhoods come alive, people see each other face to face and smile.

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