Friday, July 17, 2009

Project anxiety and neighborhood pickup therapy.

So, I have an independent study during this summer quarter, for which I chose to examine the economic opportunities of an urban agriculture property run by the university. Thus far, however, I have made little progress. My mind has been muddled with so many thoughts: my current classwork demands, my girlfriend's impending move to Cincinnati, and the fear-based anxiety of doing something I have never done before--not even close.

At this moment, my grumbling stomach is in alliance with the work that is being done at the farm. Both long for a greater availablility of healthy, organic food in area. I ate so well yesterday, until I was tempted by my girlfriend's run to Skyline Chili. I should have gone out to the farm earlier this morning, but waking up early has become more difficult over the past few weeks. Meanwhile, I sit here at my desk, watching the fickle storm clouds volley between sunshine and torrential downpour. Of course I do not want to be caught in middle of the west side in a downpour on my bike.

The weather is interfering with an alternative to my trip out to the farm site: something I have not done in a while is a neighborhood pickup. I remember riding my bike between my former residence and a chain-linked, vacant site at Calhoun and Vine, picking up several bags worth of glass and plastic bottles. Bus riders waiting for the 46 or 78 buses--or late night bar hoppers on the way to or from their cars--would throw their garbage over the fenced property. Setting aside a couple hours in Over-the-Rhine or in what I call The Northern Liberties would be very theraputic. Since I have never done a pickup down there before, I wonder if the neighbors will perceive me as being helpful or looking down on them for letting their neighborhood become so littered.

Emilie is leaving for Rochester tomorrow, but she will be back on the 29th. As much as I hate to say it, I tend to get more work done when she is not around. Even though she has been in Cincinnati for the past month, I attribute my corresponding work ethic to the newness of our experience. Nonetheless, I intend to capitalize on the time between her departure tomorrow and her return at the end of the month.

I will have more to say after my trudge through...and maybe even a bike ride anyway!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Live Green Cincinnati is throwing in the towel

Local Cincinnati green advocates-and-more Live Green Cincinnati are deciding to exit stage right from the virtual world, deciding to move on to other aspirations. It is not clear what those aspirations will be, but LGC was certainly one of our greatest virtual neighbors. Though postings dropped off significantly over the past six months, Live Green Cincinnati acted as a messenger for everyone from local waste and recycling public entities to grassroots efforts. The site also offered a great collection of green resources and events throughout the region. They will be missed.

Live Green Cincinnati will close its doors on July 31st.

A little over two years ago, was started to fill a real need in the area: to connect everyday Cincinnatians with the things, news, events, ideas, and other people needed to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle.

Within that time, local green awareness has grown leaps and bounds. The City has a Green Plan, the local news outlets are keyed in to what people need to know, organizations and groups are evolving to protect and improve our lives, and area businesses are participating and offering ingenious products and services.

The tag line we’ve used, “It can happen here” is no longer applicable. We should now be saying “It is happening here”.

Thanks for the opportunity to learn and grow with you. We will be moving on to other pursuits and will say our goodbyes today. is leaving the web on July 31st. We part with you here, and look forward to a ‘greater, greener Cincinnati’ in the future.

As a last order of business, I’ll take the opportunity to pass on the torch to anyone who wants to help Cincinnati move into a greener future. As this site is taken offline, we have a number of green Cincinnati URLs for sale. If interested in purchasing any of these web addresses, please contact us at before July 31st.

Many thanks for the chance to share your interests and passions.
~ The Live Green Cincinnati Team - Brianne & Suzanne

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Struggle.

My emotions and energy levels have been wishy-washy lately, as they relate to personal responsibility and environmental sustainability. Several days in advance, I cajoled several friends into going to the Esquire Theatre for an opening night screening of Food Inc. I knew what to expect from the film. but I could not have predicted my emotional response to several parts of the feature. Several times my eyes welled with tears. I immediately knew why.

Back to that point in a bit. First--I have high standards for others (and even higher standards for myself), which makes it difficult for some people to stomach my advice or criticism. My judgment is not based upon hatred or disdain but simply wanting people to challenge their limits, ideals, and ability to do more as global citizens. When I first became an environmental activist, I would have never admitted to it. I began to see the value of recycling and personal responsibility, as I became more uncomfortable witnessing a lack of both through off-campus living arrangements.

Upstairs neighbors in a house on Bishop Street had parties regularly. They would throw the countless bottles from their drinking games into the recycling bin, from the front porch, over the railing. Caps, labels, and whatever else would remain littered to the side of the house, between the porch and the driveway until I (or the landlord's parents) decided to pick them up. Even though I was brought up on having a recycling bin, at all but the last house in which I lived with my mother, I did not think so much about the volume of resource consumption or waste until my first independent domicile. Then, it was more an issue of personal responsibility and pride for one's abode.

While the aforementioned still holds true, since last summer, I have grown very sensitive about the conservation of post-consumer material resources. Since I moved into this apartment last September, I have diverged an unspeakable volume of recyclable materials from the garbage can. At the same time, more than ever, I notice the great deficiencies in our urban landscape of the simplest form of green street infrastructure: recycling containers.

Now, the reason for my emotional reaction to Food Inc. Despite all my activism--avoiding certain types of packaging, recycling, individual silent neighborhood and campus academic hall divergence campaigns, my current (yet fruitless, so far) research on urban agriculture at the UC Urban Farm--I feel like a hypocrite and I feel weak. I'm currently drinking a Mountain Dew Voltage, first allured by the beautiful color of the beverage, and next by the delicious taste. Before that was a Red Bull Simply Cola. When I think about my perceived hypocrisy, celebrity and political backlashes come to mind. Those people are vulnerable to the most petty insults, coming from those who are hardly perfect themselves. Now, me? It is what I battle inside my own head everyday--the self-criticism. (Not that I talk to myself but:) "Christian, seriously? A single-serving beverage? Wouldn't filling your Sigg bottle be more economical and sustainable?" Ohh, but sometimes that caffienated, sugary (sugar-like) sweet drink just grabs you by the neck and pulls you in. "Christian, did you really need to buy that 20 oz soda...that fountain Pepsi during break from class?" "Christian, why did you need that magazine? Oh, because it has a feature on urban farming?" Gotcha, self...that time.

One of the reasons why I refocused this blog was that I could be more transparent, struggling "greenie". Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from plastic, I'd like to say. Our habits are so ingrained yet despite my occassional break from my own ideals, I get frustrated with my roommates, when I cannot even count on them to check the plastic they are either throwing away, or placing into the recycling container for the right number. Twenty-four hours per day, I am conflicted about doing the right things--doing the things in which I believe. Consumerism is stilll alive and well though, and it is very hard to transform myself overnight into someone who packs his lunch everyday, phases out disposable towels, refuses every straw at a restaurant.

I nearly cried that night in the theatre for two reasons: I am a hypocrite and I have given in to the inherent customs of modern consumption and service. My tears also symbolized the endless struggle I have continued to assume, encouraging people I appreciate to buy into what I see as selfless desires. As those who know well my history of anxiety and academic struggles, I am a glutton for punishment. I do not desire to reach perfection, but I never see my efforts as being enough. I...we can always do more, but we rarely do. Despite the complaints about life's tribulations, most of us live a life of leisure by our own rules. We are inexplicably linked to the lives of others though, and we have a responsibility. It leads me to end with to self-manufactured adage to posted above the sink, about two months ago.


My mind and nerves are in a constant state of motion and activity.