Friday, April 11, 2014

Apr 11 (Day 101) - Getting ready for Texas, a challenge for readers

There was a very strong south wind today. This prevented me from riding the 117 miles from where I was staying in Lake Charles, LA south to Sabin Pass, TX where I will spend the next 6 days. The wind is going to be from the south again tomorrow, but not as strong as today. I did move 35 miles around Lake Charles and over the Calcasieu (Kalk-a-shoo, I think) River in the afternoon. This will cut my ride tomorrow down to 82 miles which should be more manageable that a windy 117. My ride today was a bit circuitous since I could not cross the river on the Interstate (organ lines); I had to loop way north to find a suitable bridge.

Just 35 miles (to cut down my ride tomorrow)

I had an interesting thought for the blog today. I think I have generated a lot of content in the now 100+ days that I have been writing this blog. I think most of it resonates with my readers or they wouldn't read as loyally as I know they do. I want to try an exercise - I want you to generate some of today's content, and here's how.

I want everyone to think really hard for 30 seconds about what good YOU are going to do for birds, insects, trees, or any other aspect of the natural world this upcoming weekend. Maybe you go and pick up some trash in your local park. Maybe you think about your consumption of bottled water (which is an INCREDIBLE waste of resources - more on this at some point). Maybe you talk to your church group about what you can do to help the environment. Maybe you carry a soda can home to recycle it versus throwing it out at the mall. Maybe you decline to use straws in your beverages this weekend. Maybe you bike or walk to get groceries.  Maybe you forgo watering your garden. Maybe you switch to cloth diapers instead of disposable. Maybe you stop buying individually wrapped cheese slices. The point is that every one of us, you and I, need to do much more to minimize the amounts of everything that we use. In a society and an economy that preaches "consume, waste, and throw away" we must start to stem this tide by consciously choosing sustainability. What will you do this weekend, and hopefully beyond?


  1. The best thing we can do for birds, insects and trees is too leave them alone. Ha! How would you like somebody stalking YOU and observing you constantly through their binoculars?!

    What I do is help my fellow species, homo sapien, by consuming, wasting and throwing away because that creates jobs. And jobs is what it takes to keep us talking (and writing) apes going another day. :-)

    I enjoy your blog, Dorian. Keeping riding hard.

    -Unknown Birder

  2. Well that's easy: volunteer. After I finish this comment, I'm headed to the beach, where I'll be getting training for USF&W program, where my fellow volunteers + I will be monitoring the nests of Piping Plovers this summer. (Also Least Terns + American Oystercatchers, while we're at it.) We'll also be providing info to beachgoers about how they can help preserve the scarce nesting space of these species.

    "Did you know so-called 'volunteers' don't even get paid?" -H. Simpson


  3. As for Nick's comment on straws, I have another thought. I drink a lot of iced-coffee, iced-tea and ice water during the day work while I work, and I love using a straw and have for years. I use the flexible, plastic kind which is not considered environmentally correct, but on the plus side, you can use a single plastic straw over and over for a very long time with just a quick two-second rinse. Seriously, a single straw is so tough and non-biodegradable it will last for a couple of months with no ill effect for the user. (We Americans are so obsessed with cleanliness and fear of contamination from every little bit of dirt, germs and bacteria that we insulate our selves from the ability to develop naturally occurring defenses and antibodies, but that's a subject for a different discourse.)

    The point is, Dorian is absolutely right. There untold little ways all of us can take daily action to conserve more, waste less, and fight back against the excesses of our consumer driven culture, whether it's to choose to walk ten or twelve blocks instead of driving, re-using lightly used dishes, drinking glasses, and silverware a second time without sending them through the dishwasher, saving leftovers for another meal, or sun drying your laundry.

    I love your blog, and hugely admire your thoughtfulness, intellectual openess and courage in undertaking this exciting and unique effort. My family of four has been reading your blog since its inception.

    ~richie hall
    Boston MA

  4. Yesterday I ordered 3 Butterfly Weed plants (native milkweed) from a local nature center, to start a garden for the monarchs. And I'm planning a veggie garden :-)

    upstate New York

  5. My husband and I recycle all of our paper, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic milk jugs. Each week, we take a full car load to our town's recycling dumpsters. I'm amazed how much recycling is generated by just the 2 of us. Imagine if everyone did the same.
    I love your blog, Dorian, and wish you excellent birding in Texas! Can't wait to see photos. :)
    Ava in La Place, Louisiana

  6. Another thing we can do for ourselves and the good of the environment is to eat more organically grown food. As a society we need to stop buying into the lies being "fed" to us by the major food companies that our food is nutritious and perfectly fine to be genetically modified. Please don't be fooled by labeling such as "all natural" as it is a rouse. We need to stop the Monsanto machine! Dorian, as you ride around the rural areas passing countless farms, think about how many chemicals are being sprayed on the food we get to eat. Thank you for spurring thoughtful conversation and, more importantly, actual action.

  7. I will wear my clothes with holes in them until they really get worn out, then I will buy new ones to replace them. As long as the clothes still function as intended a hole or two won't make them nonfunctional. Sure they can look a little ratty, but by not replacing them when the holes appear I am buying less thus contributing less to the landfills. -- the holy lurker