Thursday, May 22, 2008

carbon footprints

As I watch CNN in the evenings it seems that the only topic they talk about, besides the campaign, it the cost of everything. Even if W is your boy, it seems that just about everyone I talk to is not happy with the direction things are going. Price of fuel fuels the price of every thing else. The 3" x 12" ziplock bags that we use for incense has tripled in the past 5-6 years. Why? Plastic is petroleum related. And everywhere there is advice on how to ease the crunch, or how to help soften the global warming threat. As I sit here on the Texas gulf coast today it would be awfully hard to convince me that the world isn't warming up. It sure-dang-nab-it is hot here!

So it got me to thinking. The price of everything is hitting most of us. Even if you have more expendable income than I do, you're still paying the same price for gas and groceries as I am. For the past 20 years I have lived amongst a sub-culture we call 'rennies'. We are artists and performers who travel from show to show to provide you - those we call the masses, aka "patrons" - whom work 9-5 jobs and careers - with a place to escape your world and enjoy yourselves. A place to forget that you have car payments, mortgages and electric bills to pay. We live on the road most of the year. Some of us live in nice 5th-wheel trailers pulled by Dodge cummins diesels (some drive Fords), or we travel in a Ford Econoline and pull a box trailer of our stuff. We set up incredibly creative camp sites (including Dave Love and his famous yurt - I'll have to do a chapter on him some day). We use propane for cooking and heating, plug in when we can for lights and water, use the local shower house for showers and dishes. Tons of us are online with wireless laptops. So I wonder what our carbon footprint is? We don't pay as much for electric and water as most brick home owners do. We pay a lot more for fuel to do our traveling than most office bound workers do. But here is where I think we do good. We travel with the seasons, like the native americans did. When it's cold in Minnesota, we aren't there. We're in Florida or Arizona. In the summer, we aren't in Texas.....we're in Michigan, New York or Minnesota. While we may drive a 1000+ miles to get to work once every 8-10 weeks, we like summer where it's cool and winters where its warm. Larry and I are packing up this week to head to the Colorado Rockies for the summer. It's humid and 90something here in Texas from now until fall, and this time next week we will be whiffing our first breaths of that mountain air where it will be 70something during the days and 30something at nights until Labor Day. Then it will get cold and like last year we will wake up some September morning and find our water frozen again and look at each other and say "yep, it's time to head back south".

And as for carbon footprints, during the summer since we live in the mountains, we don't use AC. We use some propane for heat, we haul our water from town once a week and run on generators for our computer and TV. Which means we don't run the generator 24/7. So we are doing what we can to keep it simple. It's it strange that simple really is the solution to all this global warming yet I can't imagine life without the internet (and I'm old enough to have grown up before the internet - I graduated in '78 and Larry in...well....longer ago). To really live simply, take an example from the Afghanistan tribes. We say 'primitive' but they live simply. And India and China - we use to revere their simple philosophy but kept edging them on to not be so "backward" and "primitive". And this is what we get. They DO want to be like us, and now we are all paying the price for global US-like consumption.

But with all this, take heart to what Carlos Mencia said "Don't worry about it until the mexicans DON'T want to come here"

*"Fear is temporary, regret is permanent"*