Green Year in Review

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And, so, we end a year with an opportunity to look back.

I am grateful to the Newport Beach Indy for dedicating space to Green Stories, the only newspaper I know of to consistently do so.  I hope that this column has allowed you to enjoy your cup of coffee and get you inspired about the special place we live.  You can see all Green Stories on line at

Like a fine wine, my green thinking has been refined and also tempered.  I do not share climate change information.  In speaking with many of you, the stories that resonate best are the realistic examples, real world stories that inspire, shape reasonable thinking and recognize that we have all been behaving green for generations, accelerated in times of necessity like the Depression, a World War or our new normal, the Great Recession.  An old-school model shared by our parents is the best model of all.

My favorite green gift is a picture.  It can be given at any time.  You do not hear about the CVS picture printer causing climate change.  A picture is low cost, even if you decide to frame it.  It is often special, capturing the moment, a gift from you to them.  When done right, this gift will never hit the landfill.  It will be shared for generations.

A close second, I got a bike.  Not just any bike, I had it custom built.  All black, with massive 26 -nch fat tires and neon green rims.  Rack in front and back, full-on headlight, comfy seat, and three gears allows me to take this anywhere.  This bike is legit.  This week I will remove my youngest child’s training wheels.  I can’t wait to bike as a family and to see how the Bicycle Safety Task Force implements solutions to facilitate greater bikeability.

I came to accept that in Green Thinking, it is OK to focus on the you.  It is not an act of selfishness, but necessity.  A sustainable you, healthy and happy, allows one to champion a cause, transfer knowledge, or enjoy open space.

Personally, I enjoyed stretching my green definition to celebrate the life of John Wooden by recognizing his sustainable attributes.  And for the 4th of July, I enjoyed sharing my favorite Founding Father’s old-school thinking – the ways of Ben Franklin.  And there was JFK’s political handshake.

Hope is not a strategy, but I tried to inspire myself, if no other, to be a “Late Bloomer” with the notion that it is not to late to get out there and make something special happen.  The notion of the “Genius of the And” has engulfed my thinking with the notion to seek something that performs two functions.  Low cost and quality.  Storage of water and an architectural landscape feature.

How about planning for end of use?  Too often, we build something, like oil rigs off our coast.  Then 40 years later, we hold a conference to decide what we should do when they are decommissioned.  What if we started to think about what the thing would become in a design phase?  What will this widget become at the end of its useful life?

When Tesla autos came to town, rather than report the fact, I tried to weave the story of Nicola Tesla.  Tesla beat Edison at the 1893 World’s Fair to light up the International Exposition with electricity.  And now, we use AC, not Edison’s DC, to transmit electricity over distance.  I love that piece of knowledge, and the story behind it.

My true passion is water.  I am reminded of the need for water, in all aspects of our life.  I am fascinated by its ability to cut, to be used as a universal solvent, that it changes form, that it brings life and creates damage.  I can fish it, drink it, flush it.  Feels like a future column to me.

My favorite story was finding a Corona del Mar student to write my column.  After a long search, this great kid from our community shared his green story.  It was so simple.  “I surf, the beach was trashy, so I got my friends to help clean it.”  It has inspired Jason Crane to do more and I hope to do more of those stories in 2011.

What Green Stories do you think we should focus on in 2011?  Who would you like to see write a Green Stories Column? Let me know.

Happy New Year  [email protected]

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