Saturday, December 08, 2007

adios, amigo; hello revolution

"Whatever you do may seem insignificant to you, but it is most important that you do it."
~ Mohandas Gandhi

sadly but firmly, we have let El Caballero Negro go. he was a steadfast, loyal, and dependable giant. his high-riding heated posh leather seats cradled us gently cross-country, on countless roadtrips and camping outings, and to three Burning Mans. but the clincher was his commute. fifteen days a month, around 80 miles roundtrip. with all the ways we have been determined to Green our lives and lifestyle ~ buying things secondhand, eliminating plastic, composting foodscraps, and shopping locally, Cab stood out like. . a big gas-guzzling SUV.
it was painful to say goodbye. :-(
we traded him in for a peppy silver Jetta wagon .. . that we're running on biodiesel!! in case you're curious ~ Biofuel Oasis explains, "Biodiesel is oil that has been modified in a chemical process called transesterification in which the glycerine is removed from the oil. The resulting product is thinner than vegetable oil and can power a diesel engine as a fuel with NO modifications or conversion needed. It can also be blended with petroleum diesel in any proportions, right in your tank. If you can't find biodiesel you can still use petroleum diesel."
i can't tell you what a load off my conscience it is to lighten that gargantuan carbon-footprinted burden. there is a biodiesel fueling station (an all-women co-op! ) not more than a mile from our house. when i pulled the Jetta out of the Oasis garage for the first time the other night, it felt almost as thrilling as stepping out of the voting booth (yes, i'm that cheesy) ~ but i might believe in voting with your dollar even more than in the booth! there are a bunch of oil refineries right around where we live in the Bay Area. it makes me sad to see their impact on the landscape, let alone what they do to the Bay. there was a "small" oil tanker spill a few weeks ago when one of their huge ships bumped into the Bay Bridge. thinking about the damage to oceanlife with even a "minor" spill like that (i read recently that a fish's sense of smell ~ and b/c of its sense of smell, its basic ability to school properly ~ is damaged by even the most minute levels of toxins in the water) made me want to clean up my own environmental act all the more.
it's true, as even the Biofuel Oasis ladies say ~ cars still suck. here: [ ] there is an eloquent essay about how the "biodiesel revolution" is just a Green-washed distraction from the real problems at hand ~ that we're addicted to vehicles, we're still damaging habitat and culture worldwide, and funding huge corporations. i think the author makes valid points. we already have too many of our field acres devoted to corn, soybeans, and canola (although it would be much better for us to run cars on them than people!). and Big Agribusiness is no "innocent" compared to Big Oil. but our planet needs all the help she (we) can get ~ now. biodiesel (and veggie-oil-fueled cars in general) might not be the final answer, but it may buy us a little time while we're figuring out the next step.

a fond farewell to trusty El Caballero Negro. may you be driven by someone who loves your luxurious heated seats, and only drives you up and down the driveway to get the mail.
viva la revolution!

and things we can do:

Cab shares some advice with the new guy.
saying goodbye.
our last view of Cab (in a freak snowstorm in Seattle!)
at the biodiesel pump (Biofuel Oasis) ~ i like it that they tell you where the veggie oil came from; the last batch was from a potato chip factory close by!

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