Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our first snow of the year!

Well it looks like winter is here! We started getting snow yesterday and so far it seems to be sticking around. England overall is getting hit fairly hard with the Gatwick International Airport shutting down due to the snow.

Here in Lewes we only have about an inch but its still enough to make everything all white. I took a walk today down to the store. I was going to bike but decided that bike + snow = bad. I'm happy that I decided to just walk as I got a ton of great pictures of the Lewes area in the snow.

It was really magical walking around in the snow. At one point I was up on a small terrace just watching three squirrels having a blast chasing each other around the tree and sending up plumes of snow as they turned and darted of twittering the whole time. The whole time a bunch of song birds kept fluttering around adding their own voices into the mix. It seemed like all of nature was celebrating the fresh snow.

Human society though seemed a little less happy with the snow. While the kids were screaming with delight at school being canceled the adults were a little bit grumpy with it all. The rail system got heavily delayed and while I was at the store there were signs up on various isles saying that the daily shipment had not made it due to the "adverse weather conditions."

Especially hard hit seemed to be the bread and dairy isles. Both of those were basically picked clean with people scrounging around for anything that was left. Really made me think about how little back up food supplies we actually have any more.

Well overall its been fun seeing the snow. Have to see how the winter goes but so far its apparently much snowier then the UK is used to. Scotland received over a foot of snow from this storm!

*UPDATE: We are getting dumped on tonight! In the last 2 hours we have gotten about 4 inches of snow and could get 10+ inches tonight!

Pictures of Lewes in the snow after the break:

The blog and where it goes from here

Hello all,

One thing that I have learned from this blog is that its really hard to keep a blog updated and on track. Its also hard to figure out exactly what should be written about in each post.

At first this blog was going to be just about our experiences in the United Kingdom and our steps towards living in a more sustainable manner. We changed it soon after to include some political discussions. Now though we are going to be shifting back to just talking about the United Kingdom living in a sustainable manner.

The reason for this is that we want a place where we can just share our experiences with family and friends. For political discussions I'm planning on creating another blog that will just be about politics in general.

That blog will be up down the road. In the mean time I will continue to make political posts on facebook.

Thanks for viewing the blog!



Thursday, November 11, 2010

Well Peak Oil is officially here

In fact peak oil has been with us since 2006 according to the 2010 World Energy Outlook released on November 9th by the International Energy Agency.

To be specific this is a peak in conventional crude oil. Essentially conventional crude oil is the oil that we get from places like Saudi Arabia and that we see gushing out of the ground in movies.

Other forms of liquid fuels are liquid natural gas and unconventional crude oil (tar sands, shale oil, ect...). These have not peaked yet according to the IEA but it should be noted that conventional crude oil makes up the vast majority of our liquid fuels. So what does this mean for us?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Remember remember the 5th of November

I see no reason why the 5th of November should ever be forgot... If you have ever seen V for Vendetta then that line should be familiar to you. In reality though that line is reference to Guy Fawkes Night also known as Bonfire Night.

Monday, November 8, 2010

My Awesome Commuters Bike

I have decided that I never want to have my own car. For me its just not worth it and with Peak Oil around the corner (or already here) its not the sort of investment that I really want to make. So where does that leave me for getting around?

Well of course there is mass transit such as buses, trains, ect... But I still like having my own personal transportation device. So for that I have a bike. But not your traditional bike. My bike is designed to make commuting easy and comfortable.

What makes my new bike so awesome for commuting is that it has small design tweaks and extras that really help out.

Great Britain's electrical sockets are just awesome!

One of the awesome things about living in the UK is how easy it is to make simple changes to ones life in order to live in a more sustainable manner.

This ranges from more walkable communities to the fact that hang drying clothes is the norm here. But one area that I was not expecting was with their electrical sockets.

One of the big energy drains is the fact that all of our appliances tend to stay on standby mode when we are not using them. Essentially just draining power 24/7 and raising our energy rates. In the States people are encouraged to buy serge protectors so its easy to just hit a switch and stop the energy drain.

Great Britain has taken it a step further. All and I do mean all of their electrical sockets have switches built into them. This means that when your done with something you just hit the switch and no energy drain! No needing to buy serge protectors or trying to unplug your appliances when they are not in use.

Its a great simple way to save power and I really wish the States would adopt this system.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Moving forward on Climate Legislation after the Mid-Terms

So today is election day. Overall the day is over in terms of the election results. Sure we still have races that are being counted but we know that the House of Representatives will be controlled by the Republican Party. We know that the Senate will "technically" be controlled by the Democrats. We know that the Republicans will control the majority of the governorships and finally the best news of the night is California voted to stop Texas Oil and keep alive AB32, California's landmark climate bill.

Moving forward we have some tough choices ahead of us. Tuesdays will be a day for me to write about Climate Change and Peak Oil. I did not plan to start this series on election day but it worked out that way.

Unfortunately this means that my first post on Climate Change will be in a negative atmosphere nationwide and really we have a very tough future ahead of us.

The American people voted tonight on economic concerns. In the long run I fear this may cause major problems not just for our country but also for the world.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Welcome to Lewes

Looking down a side road from High Street
I discovered while working on this blog post that I need more pictures of Lewes. Lewes is an fantastic town that really feel like a small old European town.

As you walk down the main street of town called High Street you see small shop after small shop with restaurants and flats mixed in.

High Street is the main road for traffic through Lewes and yet for the part through the middle its only has one lane and uses traffic lights to keep everything moving smoothly.

One day while walking down High Street I noticed something that surprised me a little. There was a little plaque on the wall of one of the buildings called the "Bull House" and it stated that this was the home of Thomas Paine.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

What a long and strange trip it has been

We have a internet connection at last! For a while there it really did seem like we were never going to get it.

It took almost a month for the broadband company to get everything setup and turned on.

But now we can finally start re-engaging with all of you!

So what have we been doing over the past month and a half since the last blog post?

I will be talking about all of that and more after the break.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Six items or less - Moving forward

So as I mentioned in my last post I have just finished a month of the six items or less challenge. Now what? Well first off the great thing about doing challenges like this is that it proves to yourself that you can do it and that its really not that bad.

When trying to live a more sustainable way of life it is incredibly easy to get to overwhelmed and give up before even starting. Secondly, a lot of the arguments against living more sustainable is that somehow our quality of life will be lessened by doing it.

What tends to happen when people take challenges like the six items or less is that they realize that its really not that hard and in many cases people report feeling like their quality of life had improved.

For myself I did not notice much of a change one way or another. Really this was due to the fact that the challenge was only one month and that I had already committed myself to consuming less in general. But by choosing to do the challenge and completing it I was able to prove to myself that six items or less was something I could do long term.

Plus one big quality of life improvement that came out of all this is that my closet has a lot less items in it. To me this is just awesome! More after the break.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Six items or less... Its over!

So its now August 31st and that means the end of the six items or less challenge for me! Its been a fun and wild ride but really not as hard as I expected.

I had written out a whole long break down on how this went for me but then my internet connection messed up and I lost all of it. I will be writing a more extensive post later on but for now enjoy the following video about six items or less:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There and back again... on a bike!

I just had to make a reference to The Hobbit aka There and Back Again by J.R.R Tolkien. I still have not read The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings trilogy but I did just add them all to my Kindle and my goal is to read all four books while Michaela and I are in the UK. Should be awesome reading these books in the country where they were written!

But anyways, onto the point of this post. I just hit a couple days ago the one month mark at my job as Volunteer Coordinator for the Campaign to Re-Elect Bonnie Mager! During this time I have managed to put a little over 400 miles on my bike.

Not sure if there is enough time left but I really want to try to hit the big 1k mark on my bike before Michaela and I head off to the UK.

With gas prices averaging around $3 a gallon and the average US car getting 20ish miles per gallon I have saved $60! Of course that is not taking into account the cost of car insurance. Plus this is only for one month.

Basically biking is awesome and I encourage you all to bike at least some of the time!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Six clothes for one month

So today was the first of August and that means I get to start my Six Items or Less challenge. I am actually looking forward to this challenge. Not only is it a great way to help break my own addiction to consumerism but it is also means less laundry! I really hate folding clothes so this will be great for me. But back to seriousness after the break.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Six items or less

Michaela recently showed me this awesome site Starting on June 21st according to the site:
... "a group of people from California to Dubai are going to take part in a little experiment: each participant gets to choose six (and only six) items of clothing and pledge to wear only these six items of clothing for a month."
What is really awesome about this is that everyone who is taking part is encouraged to share their experiences over the course of the month on the Six Items or Less blog.

Monday, July 19, 2010

For the love of stuff (part 3)

Well its been a while since my last post. It seems like the hardest part of blogging is not coming up with ideas but simply the posting of those ideas. But oh well I'm posting now.

For the love of stuff I decided to buy some more stuff. I wonder if one day that may be a commonly used curse... anyways I know I am supposed to be getting rid of stuff but there was a good reason.

My two recent purchases are a lovely new metal lunch-pail and a Amazon Kindle. Though the Kindle was actually a gift from my lovely and beautiful wife Michaela. Thank you my love!

The lunch-pail shown in the picture here will actually help me decrease the amount of stuff I have and purchase. In the past I would use plastic bags or paper bags for my lunch. Now that I have this metal lunch-pail I can stop buying and throwing away all those bags. In addition this lunch-pail is a lot more durable and will last longer then the re-usable plastic containers I used in the past.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to all!

I know its a day early but Michaela and I are heading out to go camping today. Should be a lot of fun and I will have more posts up when we get back. Enjoy the weekend and again happy Fourth of July!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

For the love of stuff (part 2)

I had meant to write this blog post a couple days ago but three flat tires and work took priority. Life has a way for throwing twists and turns into your path in even while doing the simplest things.

In my last “for the love of stuff” post I talked about how I was going to get rid of my extra stuff. I even made a pledge to get rid of 66% or two thirds of my stuff. I realized that I did not really go into why I wanted to do this. I am not crazy really I'm not!

A while back I learned a little bit about the ideas of voluntary simplicity and the transition movement. Both ideas have their differences but essentially they gravitate around the idea that we can live a life style that may have a lower traditional standard of living (in terms of gdp per capita) but will be higher in quality of life. This goes against our traditional ways of looking at the world but here goes.

Monday, June 28, 2010

One, two, three flat tires

Image Copyrighted by UL-Lafayette Computing Support ServicesWell today I thought I was going to be writing a follow up to my post about the blob. But life decided to take a different path today so that post will have to wait.

As you might as guessed from the title and the image my bike got a flat tire today. What is really upsetting about this is that this was the third time my back tire got a flat in the last couple weeks.

The first was my own fault I had let the air pressure in the back tire get low which allowed the tire to go flat when I tried to jump over a curb.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

For the love of stuff

Today I gave away my blob. Now for those wondering what the heck a blob is... well essentially its a bean bag chair that also opens up into a bed. I bought it a couple years ago to serve as both a bed and a couch while I was living in the KA House.

I will really miss that blob. Its strange how attached you can get to objects like the blob. Its big and heavy, hard to move and I would have no use for it for at least a couple years and most likely not even then.

Giving away the blob was just one of many things or stuff that I am either recycling, donating/giving away or throwing away. Part of this has to do with Michaela and I going to the UK but another part is that we are both trying to break our addiction to a consumer way of life.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Biking to work

(Pics at the bottom) Friday was my first day biking to work and my first day on the new job. I started working as the Campaign Volunteer Coordinator for the campaign to reelect Bonnie Mager. Since Michaela needs the car for her job and I have been wanting to break away from the use of cars I decided that I would bike to work each day instead of driving or taking the bus... that is if its not raining too hard.

The ride to work is really enjoyable. A new north south freeway is being built and it is actually being built correctly. That is they are building a bike/pedestrian path that follows the freeway. Its not completed but it still allows me to get into Spokane from Mead.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chronicles of a wild ride

Welcome to Michaela and Daron's Wild Ride!

For those of you seeing this on facebook we setup our blog so that all posts made by me (Daron) are also posted on my facebook wall and all posts made by Michaela will be posted on her wall. Make sure to click the link and check out our blog!

As some of you know Michaela and I are heading off to Great Britain in September. Michaela applied for and received the Fulbright Scholarship to start her masters studies at the University of Sussex. This blog is our way to help keep in contact with our family and friends in the states and to share our wild ride through life.