trešdiena, 2011. gada 23. februāris

Trains in Latvia.. wishful thinking?

There was a chat on green carpet today about transport and trains back where I come from- Latvia. Very green and beautiful country with great nature and really bad infrastructure.
The motorways are always in a bad condition due to the climate and mostly due to heavy traffic that overloads the roads there. Everybody has a car. And those who haven't- they coose the bus instead of train or other rail transport? Why so??
Well, I remember rarely but still once in a while finding myselfin a need of using the train. It's bad. It's too hot in summer and cold in winter. Depending on a destination, sometimes there are no trains every 15min, but couple in a day only. They are not comfortable at all- the seats are uncomfy, some of them still quite old. And they are not that fast. And then we started "daydreaming"..
How amazing that would be to have new, high speed trains that would go often and on convenient times that you could get everywhere and they wouldn't be neither half empty nor too crowded? If they had comfy seats, some with a "table" in the middle of seats, so you could have your breakfast, read your newspaper spread out or work on your laptop (which also could be plugged-in)? If you could easily switch trains at the station to get to the part of the city you have to be?
That would be a) much greener way to commute to work instead of a personal car or a bus; b) much more convenient way to commute for busy business people and students, who would like to spend their time on the way more usefully than driving a car in a traffic jam (reading, working etc); c) that would take a lot of traffic off the road so those people who must use a car could get everywhere faster, easier and roads would not be damaged that much.
The question is- how possible this vision is for a country in a recession, for a country that has bad experience in public procurement and for a country, where car is a status?
I'll have to spend some time to find out, how to make this tought presentable to Latvian Railway and Ministry of Transport. And how to make trains attractive to everybody starting from a school kid to a businessman.

svētdiena, 2011. gada 20. februāris

BBC Human Planet

Yesterday it was a TV time on green carpet, I watched 5 episodes of the Human Planet- just couldn't stop.
BBC Human Planet is one of the best shows lately- breath taking, emotional, catching and with a strong ang long impact..
It is truly amazing how many people of the world still live within the nature, with so much respect for nature. And they are so free. Free of schedules, clocks, supermarkets.. No matter where they live- on the ocean (literally, some are born on the boat and almost never get on land), in desert, in jungle, in arctic.. they DON'T WASTE ANYTHING! All water is saved and used and reused again where the resource is scarse. What they hunt- they eat it all, nothing is thrown out. Not like us, people, in the cities- we buy food, we use half of it and let the rest rot, go old and throw it out after. I personally hate throwing food, it was not acceptable where I grew up, so I tend not to do it now. But these people- they are amazing. They take from the nature only as much as they need and not a drop of water, not an animal, not a tree more. And they live better than we do- they are way more happier, they do everything according to the laws of their natural habitat and their traditions that are thousands of years old.
Watching their lives does not only take my breath away and makes me a bit jealous of their freedom and oneness with nature.. It also makes me incredibly sad.. Sad about myself first of all, how far from it all I am now, living in the city and eating dessert after dinner while watching it now.. And believe me, the next bite just won't go down my throat, when I hear a man, living in the desert, who says- catching a fish is like opening door to heaven. Or a Inuits in Arctic, who goes for a dangerous narwhal hunt once a year to feed their families. I hate this consumerism in me, and I can't eat no more. I shouldn't, because I w
as well eaten already.
Another reason I'm so terribly sad is how we, people living in "civilisation", are destroying the living space of these amazing tribes who live with no governments, no passports and no money when they trade if they do at all. That Brazilian operator must fly over jungle and film uncontacted tribes just to prove they are there, so somebody wouldn't go in mining and harvesting timber and pretending that these people were not there. I'm sad because only 2% of our Planet now is covered with rainforests and it's amazing world deep in there that is being killed. That people in far North cities are not safe because polar bears must come into the cities and look for food as their natural habitat is taken over by humans and because global warming has melted the ice and they can't hunt anymore. I could go on and on and on.. but we all know what I'm talking about.. we are the ones responsible for that.. We should be responsible for saving lives and traditions of these people, isn't enough we have destroyed our own? And they are the only ones that can show us - people can live differently. And they can teach us a lot more than any textbook will.
I was thinking about it all when I fell sleep and still when I woke up this morning. How to live my life to get at least few steps closer where they are? And I think the first would be to follow just a few simple steps:
  • don't take (read: buy) what you don't really need! (it is a waste of resources)
  • take good care of what you have so it doesn't break, rot or wear off too soon!
  • fix things instead of throwing out! (unless it is huge energy consumer like very old refrigerator or so)
  • DON'T WASTE anything- use all food, all resource you have with care and respect. 
I can't do it yet for all 100%, but I can try to live this a little more each day. And here on green carpet I swear to do it in front of myself, my children, my Planet.
Today- I  will waste less, use things better, and watch another episode of Human Planet.
And that I also suggest to you, whoever is reading here on green carpet!
BBC Human Planet

ceturtdiena, 2011. gada 17. februāris

Volunteering for Homo Ecos

Volunteering is very important action here on green carpet.
Yesterday I finally did what I wanted to do for quite a while- I volunteered again! :)
Now I am helping NGO "Homo Ecos" in Latvia to organize a conference on Bioplastic and Biodegradable plastic. It is exciting to do what I like, it is a great feeling I can do something green again. At the moment I am looking for all plastic manufacturers, traders, media etc.
Wouldn't that be wonderful, that we could buy more bioplastic items like milk bottles? To buy fruits, cakes, biscuits, yogurts, soured cream etc in biodegradeable bioplastic packaging and containers? That we could put this packaging together with the organic waste in biodegradeable bin bags and later have it moved to compost to provide new "food" for the gardens? I think that would be great.
Otherwise I keep having this nightmarish film on life of a plastic bag in my mind..
Take a look:

Welcome On Green Carpet!

Welcome on green carpet!
I've grown up at the place where you breath fresh air, hear birds singing, smell meadows and forest..where I had nature at your doorstep. and I want to save such places and moments for my children- I believe that we ought to leave this place better than we found it when arrived. Now I live in a busy city and learn more and more how to care for myself, my family, my home, my environment, my planet.. Being green means loving myself and my environment.. Because I am what I eat, I am where I live.. I am one with the nature..
I also learn a lot of old and new things that I can do myself to break down the superfast consumerism may it be cooking all meals at home, promoting recycling, knitting clothes for my child or growing salad in aquaponic system. There are some things that I do already and some things I still dream about.. and all of them can meet here, on green carpet..
Green carpet is this magical place, where you can sit or lie down like in a soft, green grass that smells so fresh and nice.. it is a place where you can do everything- dream, discuss climate change, crochet new scarf, relax, breastfeed the baby or invite some guests for hand picked organic tea cup...that's why I love my green carpet.. it's always there for my greenies.