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May 03, 2010


Carol Clevenger

It's been a long time since I commented on Green Granny's blog because I have been struggling with my lifestyle. I moved from New England where, in the eighties and nineties I learned a lot about living in my existing home with a smaller inpact. Now I live in a rural area and expected even more dramatic reductions. This has been a challenge. First, there is a different attitude toward low impact living and I'm constantly fighting to take even minimal steps. I do have a tiny house (no media room, no granite countertops or restaurant stove) but as a senior living alone, if everyone lived like me, it would require five Earths to do it. I've had to swallow the fact that I may have just about maxed out the savings to my enviromental impact. I've even tamed the trash problem. I limit myself to one 30 gallon bag of trash per week ($12.00 per month) rather than renting the required dumpster for $50. I can't recycle glass and I prefer to buy in glass containers, but I found a private recycler who will take it so my one 30-gallon bag per week limit is more than adequate. I have a worm bin in my dining area! And I am happy and so are my worms! My plants don't mind it either. Green Granny has inspired me to get out my bicycle again. She reminded me that while it may not be practical to ride everywhere in the rural mountains, I own a car that will accommodate my bike with back seat folded and I can look into combining the bike and the car. I can drive to town and then bike in town. Its good exercise and good for the gas and emissons too! Thanks. I needed some encouragement that what I do helps even a little. The initial changes I made in the mid-eighties were the biggest ones. Now I'm its time for fine tuning.


Carol, I am so glad to hear from you and know you are taking things to a new level, such as the worm bin. I'm also pleased that you found inspiration from Greengranny. Let's keep on encouraging each other, for "going green" does bring satisfaction and peace of mind. As we both have found, it also brings new ways to have fun.

Carol Clevenger

I know this does not relate to the above topic, but I need to sound off! I just watched an ad from a major chain store on TV urging us to replace those old appliances with EnergyStar rated ones. ( I believe they won an award for this) I also notice that stimulus money is available in my state as a reward for trading in those old appliances. Now I have repaced both my furnace and my washer with energy star appliances-- I did so because in the "natural" circle of life my old ones died and I couldn't find anyone willing or able to repair them. In other words I was forced to replace them and the oldies were sent for scrap. I don't notice any signifigant energy savings such as were promised (unless you assume that the new ones could have used more energy than the old). I don't see the point of filling up the landfills with old appliances that are still in working order or can be repaired just so you can show the neighbors that you have an over-sized stainless washer in your basement or a restaurant stove in the kitchen-- especially if you don't cook. I really want to scream from the mountaintops (boy would that be noise pollution!) that this kind of green is astroturf at its worst. The only green involved is dollars to the vendors!


Carol, kudos to you for understanding the situation is complex. It would be nice if we could trust the Energy Star rating. It would be nice if new appliances were made durable and repairable as well as energy efficient (if indeed they are). It would be nice if people bought the smallest simplest appliance that would do the job they needed, instead of the luxury model overbuilt for their needs (and therefore wasteful of resources).

I have had good luck with replacements thus far--the new windows having made the biggest change--and the tax break really helped.

Terry Oliver

Dear Joyce,
I've only just discovered GreenGranny and have been reading back items on your website. As a 74 year old green activist on Salt Spring Island, BC, in Canada, I'm interested to read how seniors can play a meaningful role in helping to deal with our present day dilemma of the twin dangers of climate change and peak oil.
This island is a very active community of aware concerned citizens and has already formed many,many groups following a great variety of issues, both local, national and international.
I'm part of the steering group which is forming a Transition Initiative to link with the worldwide grassroots movement that is trying to raise awareness about these twin risks to the future of us and our grandkids. I write a monthly blog on my website where I attempt to comment on how we, as seniors, can act as role models for our peers and our kids.
It's a slow business, this awareness-raising and often frustrating when you continually encounter blank stares at the mention of peak oil. At least with climate change the message is slowly getting through although there's not much evidence of a willingness to make anything other than token changes - myself included.
I hope through my website, 3rdageworld.com, to link to and reach out to other seniors who feel equally frustrated at the lack of action and share ideas as to how we can bring out some meaningful change instead of watching helplessly as we circle the drain.
As an author, I've written two novels about older people struggling to make sense of our situation and am currently working on the third book in the trilogy.
I applaud what you're doing and admire your tenacity - you're the kind of role model I've been looking for. If I can help in any way, just let me know.
Best wishes,
Terry Oliver

Joyce Emery

Dear Terry,

I can't begin to tell you how pleased and heartened I am to learn about you and the level of activism on Salt Spring Island. You are the kind of role model that www.greenseniors.org and www.greengranny.org thrives on, and you give strength to all the rest of us.

I have not kept up with my blog activism as I should, so your finding GreenGranny now and reading back items is a terrific lift for me. I am a role model only to a modest, relative degree. I do accept your label of tenacity, however, because working almost full time (albeit from home) to pay expenses of family in need, tending a small vegetable garden, pedaling a bicycle for most errands, and spending quality time with six grandchildren (one or two at a time) leaves little time for anything else. Thank goodness my husband does the cooking--"slow food"--so I eat well. I am 66.

I look forward to reading your website and blog! As for helping, what I'd like most is for the senior activists featured on Green Seniors to have a wider audience (and a blogger who keeps up with their new accomplishments--but that is for me to fix).

Thank you very much for commenting. I will visit your site and please re-visit our two sites when new material is posted.

Terry Oliver

Thanks for your encouragement, Joyce. As you say, it gives a great lift to the spirits to know others are reading - and commenting - on our websites and blogs. I will be posting my monthly blog on July 1st and plan to write about my discovery of Green Seniors and GreenGranny and providing a link to your website.
I look forward to reading your future blogs.
Regards, Terry
PS - are you interested in occasional reviews of books relevant to seniors on peak oil and climate change? There are some excellent recent ones I'd love to pass on.

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