Monday, May 12, 2008

Today the Clear Spring students are off, giving the teachers a chance to rest and catch up following the spring camping trip. It is an intense experience for all, but extremely rewarding.

I finally gave up and ordered a new computer, and paid $9.00 to dispose of the old one. Removal and proper recycling of the CRT takes the most hazardous part of the old thing out of the waste stream. It is a great reminder that every new thing has its price on both ends. When you buy it and when you dispose of it. I've been thinking of a way to illustrate some of this graphically. For instance, when you see a new car, what if you saw it in context to the amount of fuel required to keep it rolling through an average life. A car (like my Subaru), placed in a container takes up 280 cubic feet (5 feet wide x average of 4 ft. high x 14 ft. long of space. The gas required to run that car at 25 mpg for 150,000 miles would be 6000 gallons. There are 7.48 gallons per cubic foot. 6000 gallons fills a space 802 cubic feet or 2.86 times the volume of the car. In other words, a container made to hold both the car and fuel would be almost 4 times the size of the car alone.

It would be interesting and maybe shocking to see all things in such light. The new computer will come in a box several times its size, and if surrounded also by the fuel used to transport it to my home, and the coal or fuel used to keep it powered up, I would think more than twice about it. And if we are to make real changes in our relationships to the planet and each other, the choices will become increasingly difficult, but bringing abstract things into hands-on analysis may at least help our choices become clear.

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