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Chelsea Green Blog

Burn Calories, Not Fossil Fuel

A recent article in the local paper profiled an elementary school teacher who had biked across the continent this summer, and was proselytizing about bikes to his students now that school is back in session. His motto is “burn calories, not oil,” which I’ve borrowed for this post. Thanks, teach!

Meanwhile, I’ve learned today that a new website is up and running: The Human-Powered Home. It’s the latest entry into the web-world dedicated to bikes, treadles, and cranks in lieu of motors, a subject I’m personally passionate about. (A couple years back I assembled what was supposed to be a bike-powered generator, but it didn’t work. Then, before I could perfect my muscle-powered rig, I got waylaid into creating new muscles to help in the struggle—my two daughters—and so haven’t found time to get the sucker up and running. Fellow Chelsea Greener Jesse McD is planning on usurping my glory and getting it to work himself. Thanks, Jesse!)

My favorite news tidbit from the HPH? A piezoelectric dance floor in London. That’s right—with every step you take, you create electricity to help light up the disco. Talk about getting the party started right!

This reminds me of a bit of trivia gleaned from Rob Hopkins [in the video here], author of our new Transition Handbook, to whit, that one liter of petroleum contains the same amount of energy as a human expends in about five weeks worth of work. Holy cow! And this stuff only costs $130 a barrel*? We really do live in a fantasy world.

So go get inspired. If you’re going to have a Carbon-Free Home and you also want some of those useful advantages of modern times, like blenders, coffee grinders, washing machines, and so on, consider putting your body to good use.

* Ignoring all the hidden costs, of course, which add up to many tens if not hundreds of dollars in equivalent value; plus many, many values that simply cannot—and ought not—be made in dollar equivalent.


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