Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Finished, finished. I completed my graduate school application to U.Va.'s Department of Urban and Environmental planning. They didn't read my application because it was late and they had a full class. This is great news.
I didn't want to go to graduate school yet. I was frustrated because all of the decent jobs in my field required a masters, but I've realized that isn't a problem. None of the things I want to get accomplished (Helping Friendly Book, Soul Walk, Eco-Industrial Heating Plant, Message) will be at all assisted by having a job in my field. In fact, a job with the city might even be a straightjacket. I'm happy where I am, and I have all the resources I need. Here we go.
I don't think I've mentioned the Soul Walk or the Eco-Industrial Heating Plant here. The Soul Walk is inspired by the Spirit Walk they do every Halloween on the Downtown Mall. The difference is that this takes place in Vinegar Hill and is about that defining time and place in our city's history. It occured to me that if Vinegar Hill hadn't been destroyed, there would be no pressure for the Meadowcreek Parkway. It's amazing how one terrible thing can create opportunities for more terrible things. Destruction supports destruction. On the other hand, wise, humane acts support more of the same.
The Eco-Industrial Heating Plant comes from my studies in sustainability. The U.Va. heating plant burns coal, and is one of the largest polluters in the area. The plant produces steam to heat the University, and as a side effect, it creates acid rain, mercury in our streams, a haze that reduces visibility, and global warming. Which is a shame, because everything that comes out of the coal plant's chimney is a valuable input to other industries. Much of it has to be mined out of the ground and/or created chemically and paid for. So I think there's an opportunity to eliminate a major polluter, cut costs, and create jobs for Charlottesville.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I just finished reading an excellent article by Kurt Vonnegut about the mess we're in. Essentially, he believes, and I agree, that part of what's going on is the end of an intense and destructive national addiction to oil. It's been almost a hundred and fifty years, which is a pretty good run for any addiction, but the good stuff is running out. There's a lot of reason to be worried about that, but I personally find it exciting. Times of transition are challenging and dangerous, but allow for amazing things and historic moments. End oil empire, enter solar economy.