Grumman Greenhouse by Jordan Griska

Grumman Greenhouse by Jordan Griska

It’s been a fun but long week.  I’m sitting here at my desk feeling a bit like that Grumman Tracker II plane that is on display at Lenfest Plaza in Philadelphia.  The plane itself has been re-purposed into a working greenhouse.  From the outside, it appears to be crumbling into the platform.  The inside is filled with life – plant life.  I relate to this piece more than you can imagine.


I took the photos between classes at Greenbuild 2013 or on my early morning walk for coffee.  This year the host city was Philadelphia and I admit I wasn’t exactly thrilled about that.  I was wrong though and after four days wandering around the city of LOVE I will report – I really enjoyed myself.  I stayed in “Old Town”.  I’ve been told it is rather touristy in that area but I can assure you that at 6:00 AM it isn’t.  That was the only free hour I had  to take in the scenery in that part of town.  I didn’t bring my tripod so my “crack of dawn” walking tour produced few photos.  I would like to go back and really take in the sights when the sun is actually in the sky.

It was around 6:30 AM when this was taken.  The sun was still yawning on the horizon.

It was around 6:30 AM when this was taken. The sun was still yawning on the horizon.

Greenbuild is the conference held by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).  USGBC is a membership based non-profit organization that promotes sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated.  I have LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credentials from this organization and I need to acquire 30 points, which is almost equivalent to classes and hours, to keep my specialty.  For the most part, they are very enjoyable 30 hours about something I’ve grown rather passionate about.

I walked around this market all week.  We were at the Convention Center.

I walked around this market all week. We were at the Convention Center.

Way back in 2009, my company asked its employees to take the test to get LEED accreditation.  It wasn’t an easy test but I was not going to be shamed in front of my peers by failing.  I studied for two months solid and by the end of the two months my walls were plastered with papers noting codes and I had given up showering.  It turns out memorization had adverse effects on my grooming capabilities.  Yes, I am lucky I needed only two months to study.  Any longer and I don’t want to think what else I would have given up!  I passed with flying colors and started showering again that very day.

I hadn’t expected my studies to change my habits but the material made me painfully aware as to the amount of waste I create.  That’s when I started carrying my own mug to the coffee shop and cloth bags to the market.  I didn’t want to add unnecessarily to the growing trash problem.  Did you know that we create about 7 times more trash than our grandparents. I rethink impulse shopping and no longer want to own a lot of “stuff”.

Taken at 6:00 AM this is a cafe on 3rd Street off of Market or somewhere around there.  It was a really quaint cafe.  I know, you can't tell.  Trust me!

Taken at 6:00 AM this is a cafe on 3rd Street off of Market or somewhere around there. It was a really quaint cafe. I know, you can’t tell. Trust me!

In 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I have second or maybe they are third cousins who have been diagnosed with the same but my direct family tree does not hold this type of cancer.  My mother had another that is rare.  I think my environment, food sources and stresses have added to my illness.   It was then I decided to lesson the amount of plastic that touches my food.  Now that I’ve said that, go to the supermarket and try to do the same.  It is nearly impossible.  We have become a country wrapped in plastic.

So, I am working on my carbon footprint and what I ingest.  I will be the first to admit that it is hard.  The photos I love to take are not really good for the environment.  I wrestle with what I know and what I do.  I love cooking with gas and sign petitions against fracking.  The ying and yang of knowing and desiring… it is such a slippery slope.  In the meantime, Greenbuild teaches me what advances are being made and I celebrate the milestones… even the minor ones.

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7 Responses to Philadelphia

  1. John says:

    It’s such a conundrum. I feel very much the same — I try to reduce my carbon footprint where I can: we recycle, try to remember to bring the canvas bags to the grocery store, traded in a low-milage truck that I loved for a small, fuel-efficent Honda Fit. I made the switch from real, honest-to-goodness paper books to ebooks (and, while I love the convenience of the ebook, it’s not quite the same as a physical book). We bring our household chemicals to the roundups, bring unused meds to roundups. You do what you can, and yet, it never seems enough. Everything — mostly — is plastic, or made of something not environmentally friendly, and, the products that are, are still new, and low-demand, so they’re way more money, and, when you’re on a budget….

    Even our beloved devices are not-so-good: cameras, smartphones, tablets, computers.

    I think we’re on the right track … I think we’re slowly getting there. A decade ago, who cared, but some aging hippies, how many plastic bottles we threw away? Now, you don’t have to look far to see people with their own reusable containers. If we can get some sane, science minded people into our government, people who’ll invest in more public transportation — high speed rail, for example, or invest in more alternative energy, we’ll make an even bigger impact. I like to believe we’re getting there … slowly. I guess it is a matter of if we can get there in time.

    I know that had nothing to to with Philadelphia, but, I’ve never been there, so I can just admire your photos. 🙂

    • maesprose says:

      John – Yes, baby steps. We need to be mindful and whenever possible, pay a little more for things that are better for the environment. Also, thanks for admiring my photos! Have a great Sunday!

  2. Terry says:

    I have invested in a lot of Pyrex and cast iron pans. I think our grandparents had that right.

  3. LB says:

    Excellent post, Mae! And good for you for all the baby steps … I’ve employed some for years, yet I have such a long way to go (i feel guilt almost everytime I get into my truck). I love that you are LEED certified!! I promoted this big time when I served on City Council and tried to help folks understand that the cost may be higher initially but the savings, to the budget and the earth, will come later!!
    By the way, your showers (or lack thereof) cracked me up!

    • maesprose says:

      I’m thrilled you liked the post and couldn’t be happier you know what LEED certified is! Most do not. I’m not sure why studying killed my desire to shower. Luckily, that is no longer the case!

  4. elroyjones says:

    Most interesting! I’ve worked with LEED certified architects and builders for a while. It would be a terrific idea if home inspectors were all LEED certified too. Awareness LEEDS to action- I couldn’t resist!

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