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.
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.
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”.
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.