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The Water BringerA significant amount of time on the ReBus is intentionally and necessarily focused on living sustainably.  I’m so intrigued and satisfied with this mindful lifestyle, I’m going to share what we are learning on this journey.

 

Know Your Water

 

Watch the film, FLOW.  It’s an acronym meaning For Love Of Water, this movie delves into the most important issue we will certainly face in our lifetime, certainly many are facing a lethal water crisis right now.  There are children dying in this world purely because of lack of access to clean water.  Let me repeat that – Children are dying because of unclean water!  If this was a new problem, I might be inclined to think that humanity just working on the problem and the solution is coming soon.  But that’s not the case, is it?  People living in poor places are forced to drink water befouled by animal waste (human and non-human), toxic chemicals, plastics, heavy metals, fuels, bacteria and other toxins that can lead to death.  Governments and corporations knowingly allow this to happen and, to be frank, cause this to happen.  If the global killers would just stop killing (warfare) for one day, and put that killing money toward providing clean water systems for the world, the problem would be solved.  Seriously, watch FLOW if you haven’t yet.

 

Oh yeah, did you know that there is an island of garbage, twice the size of Texas, in the Pacific Ocean?  It’s eighty percent plastic and most of that is thanks to the plastic water bottles people think contain clean, fresh water.  Think again…

 

This evening on the ReBus, I’m writing this on a laptop that uses too much energy when charging – so while using it on it’s dimmest setting, I charge it for 5 minutes and then unplug it until it almost runs out of power and then charge it again.  I’m in the ‘bedroom’ that’s being illuminated by two single LED bulbs and the dim glow of the MacBook screen.  It’s raining, and today I’m appreciating it more than usual.  You see, I just did the evening’s dishes and have been very attentive to the amount of water that gets used by this family of four.  On the bus, the water that goes down the drain collects in a three gallon bucket that I empty when it’s at about 2 2/3 gallons (don’t want to spill any…) so I’m constantly aware of how much water we use.  This mindset also makes me intensely aware of how much water I use when washing dishes.  I won’t bore you with the details, but just know that I’ve put a lot of thought into the best way to conserve water on this bus we call home.

 

That’s the most important thing I think we can all do when it comes to water.  Pay attention to how much we use.  We make a conscious action every time we open a faucet and let the water flow…  And if we all can bring a little consciousness to all we do, we might make some progress toward finding a way to bring healthy, life-giving water to the children of the world.  Sounds good doesn’t it?

 

– Chris

 

FLOW

http://www.flowthefilm.com/

 

Plastic Garbage Island

http://boingboing.net/2007/10/22/floating-toxic-plast.html

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The ReBus in Alchemy's Parking Lot

The ReBus in Alchemy's Parking Lot

Two nights ago we started living in the ReBus again in the parking lot of Alchemy’s Growing Green CoOp! 

After a day of cleaning and organizing the bus, we were so delighted to have The Kelvins’ extended family come and sit on the back deck at the CoOp and enjoy the company of good friends, fine food and drink, and the inevitable jam that followed.  With Gary, The Flute Guy, and Sugati jamming along on zills, it was like Kelvins meet Nada Dum Ka (Nada Dum Kelvins?)

Now we’re finishing up the final touches on the ReBus – Gathering sawdust, organizing all the stowage spaces, putting on cabinet doors, making screens, returning library books and whatever else needs to be done before we head out.  Imani and John are amazing, gracious hosts and this eclectic paradise they’ve created here in Hartford is a wonderful place for us to be in the bus for now.  If you’re in the market for a switch to green cleaners, I’d highly recommend the WowGreen cleaners that they have at Alchemy.  We used them to clean the bus and the transformation was amazing!  Please stop in at Alchemy Juice Bar and see all the amazing stuff going on here.

The Eco Drom journey is about change, similar to the change that Alchemy exhibits – instead of lead into gold, they turn food into wellness.  It is so important that we begin living in such a way that will bring about a positive change for the planet.  As we change our daily routine to one that respects ourselves and all other life on this planet,  we change the way we see ourselves.   We see that we are beautiful and deserve all the love the world has to offer. This is our journey of self-discovery (on a bus), but remember that you can join us wherever you are- we can all make more sustainable choices! 

 

by Sugati

Interior Wall by Sugati

We have made the decision to stay through the New Year.  As it turns out, we have family coming to Connecticut for the holidays and it makes the most sense to stay and connect with everyone here all together!

The bus is pretty much ready to go.  We have a few more connections to make for the auxiliary veggie oil system and some ongoing detail work to do.  The solar system is doing well even under these cold conditions and very little sunlight.  Our last modifications seem to have done the trick.

It is COLD on the bus!  We never designed the bus to operate in temperatures below freezing.  This weather impacts us many levels.  It is uncomfortably cold sleeping on the bus whenever it gets below 25 degrees – Laura and Dave’s spare bedroom was a welcome relief on Monday night.  The storage batteries do not perform at their best in this weather, nor does the veggie oil fuel system.  We’ll deal with each day as it comes while we’re still here and just look forward to getting to warmer, sunnier parts of the country…

Still, if you want to stop by and check out the bus, have a cup of tea, or play with any of us, we’d love to see you.  We plan on being in the area through the first weekend in January.  While you’re here, leave a comment – we love the comments!  Drop us a line at radicalarts@ecoisp.com and we’ll see you on the road, friends.  Check out some of our new photos on flickr, too!  http://www.flickr.com/photos/18521667@N04/

 

Too Cold for the Bus!

Too Cold for the Bus!

 

 

What's wrong with this picture?  Yup, Tevas with socks...

What is wrong with this picture? Tevas with socks!

Well, Connecticut just won’t let us go.  More complications have arisen since our last blog; parts to order, parts that have to be made, etc…

In this area of breathing room we’d just like to thank all the people who have helped us along the way through their labor, their know-how, and their well wishes. 

In particular we’d like to thank (in no particular order)-

Dave Rozza, Laura Rozza, Fran Maltz, Allen Maltz, Iya Tucker, Simone Tucker, Rob Miller, Billy Phillips, Margaret Phillips, Dope Dave, Laura Yopp, Deric Shannon, Premjit Talwar, Bill Durso, Charlie Castrovinci, and Gary Jacobs

Tim and Pat of Four Winds Solar Store in New Milford, CT http://fourwindssolarstore.com/

Daryl and Shelly of Evergreen Motors in Greenfield, MA http://www.greasewrench.com/

China Pan in Farmington, CT http://www.happycow.net/reviews.php?id=7527

Campion’s Pizza in South Windsor, CT http://www.campionspizza.com/

ArtSpace Hartford, CT http://www.artspacect.com/hartford/

Fred of Fleet Pride in Hartford, CT http://www.fleetpride.com/

John & Imani of Alchemy Juice Bar & Café in Hartford http://www.alchemyjuicebar.com/

Thank you all so much!  Without the help of so many, we could never have made such an amazing home on wheels!


 

Snuggled up in bed...

Snuggled up in bed...

 

There are a few exciting things to report since our last blog post, so we’ll dive right in!

       Sugati’s book is done and we’ll have some at ArtSpace on Saturday for open Studio Weekend (November 8 from 11 to 5.)  Come on by and check it out, it’s been a long journey from idea to book and we couldn’t be happier!

       We’re planning on leaving CT somewhere between Wednesday and Friday this coming week.  We hope we can see some of you before we leave, come on over for tea on the bus, some drumming or dancing, or just a tour…

       The bus is coming along, we finally have all the proper components for the solar system, our new inverter will be able to deliver just the right amount of electricity we need.  The floor is almost done and most all the other parts of the interior are ready to go.  It’s such a warm and cozy place!

We’re hoping to go from Hartford to Ithaca, to Ohio, to Milwaukee, over to Madison, down to Missouri and Land in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving.  Phew!

We’re adding more photos to our flickr page, leave a comment – we love the comments!  Drop us a line at radicalarts@ecoisp.com and we’ll see you on the road, friends.

 

Open bus at Alchemy Juice Bar

Open bus at Alchemy Juice Bar

We had a great time at Alchemy last Saturday.  We parked on the street in front of the juice bar and opened up our bus to visitors.  It was a real pleasure having so many wonderful conversations about sustainability with so many friends and other passers-by.  On a grassroots level, this is the primary mission of the Eco Drom project – introducing new possibilities into the conversations we have along the way. 

 

Bus Updates

What’s in a name?  You might have noticed the heading for this blog had changed to Eco Drom.  It’s a name that speaks to our journey of sustainability.  The bus’ name will change along our path.

We’ve been convinced to stay until the end of the month by Dave and Laura.  This is our favorite time of year in New England, and we’ll be enjoying the change of seasons!

The bus is waiting on four more large deep-cycle batteries for the solar system.  Once we get them, we’ll be all set for electricity – unless we need to switch out our inverter, but we won’t know until we get the extra battery storage.

We made some pretty sweet curtains for the bus and it’s getting really cozy in there.  If you’re local and didn’t get a chance to see it at the OpenBus, drop us a line, we’d love to have you over for tea on the ReBus!

 

Sugati Dreadless

Sugati Dreadless

I feel like we’re in uncharted territory.  Always anchored to our home we are embarking upon seeing life from a distinctively different view.  While moving out of ArtSpace I chose to cut off all my dreadlocks.  Severing old ties in order to create new ones.  One thing that always bothered me about wearing dreads is never being able to really see beneath what grew- to grow and grow without full reflection.  Experience has accumulated within its length, but what was underneath all that hair?  Was it important to have full knowledge?  Lately I have made a choice to know, even at the risk of letting go- to be supple enough to chop away the old and let in the new.

 

 

Likewise, when people ask me where we’ve moved to or even where we’re going, each time I answer with a genuinely unique reply.  Is it flakiness?  No.  It’s the quality of life we have been searching for; the ability to be flexible- to not be stirred by circumstances beyond our control, while still keeping our goal in tact- sustainability (sustaining love, togetherness, freedom from the stuff that was stagnating us, and sustaining our ideals- ecological and otherwise).  In these very uncertain times we have chosen to lift our anchor as we do our fists, by reaching beyond the prescribed american dream and gain perspective on our place within this country.  At a time when most americans are trying to choose between the two popular political presidential candidates, we choose ourselves as navigators.  We choose to be the ones that we have been waiting for and flow with the unpredictable nature of our times.  Not by keeping up with the nation’s changeable rhythm, but creating our own.  Romantic and idealistic- definitely!  Someone has to be.

 

Sprawl Mart at Environmental Expo?

Sprawl Mart at Environmental Expo?

This is the rhetoric of Connecticut’s One Thing advertising campaign initiated by Governor Jodi Rell:
From the onethingct.com website:  “We all know we need to do something about rising energy costs and environmental issues. And we all know we better start now. But many of us get intimidated, overwhelmed or just plain confused by challenges that seem beyond our control.  How can I change the world?

Well, you don’t have to. That’s the whole point of OneThing. You don’t have to do everything. Imagine if you felt you had to incorporate energy-efficient behavior into every minute of your life.  I bought an ENERGY STAR fridge but I need my gas-guzzling SUV to pick it up. What do I do?”

Sugati’s comments about the OneThing Expo:

The MANY Things That Were Wrong With the OneThing Expo:

1.  Vendors that had nothing to do with promoting eco-sustainability.  Just because you say your corporation has “one thing” that has an “eco-friendly” slant does not make it good for the environment.  Where was it made?  How many miles did each component have to travel to first be made and then be sold?  Big polluting corporations like Home Depot, Walmart, etc.. should not have been allowed to have a booth.  As well as pushers for vinyl siding, unsustainable household products, cruise give- aways, shopping spree contests, the Hartford Courant, New York Times, and many others. 

2.  The public had to pay to get into the expo.  Also the price to exhibit was beyond the financial limits of many local eco-vendors.  How is the public supposed to be educated if some can’t afford to come in?  How can creative vendors have access to educating the public if they can’t afford to be there?

3.  The thematic carpeting that linked all the booths off-gassed.  Dangerous and NOT environmental!

4.  The food was the most backward choice one could have made for an expo on how to be more environmental.  The expo should have showcased local, vegan whole-foods- not junk food warmed under a lamp 

5.  The expo did nothing to engage the public in conversation concerning the environment.  The main “theme” was how to BUY our way out of the crisis we’re in- it is the antithesis of what we need as a community. 

– The Stepping Stones exhibit,  Circus for a Fragile Planet, PACE, Green Vibration Coop, and a couple of other booths exploring real sustainable change were the only reasons worth going. 

Change your focus or you look like our just talking lip-service about a crucial issue!

 

Chris’s comments about the OneThing Expo:

I was very disheartened by the OneThing event this past weekend.  First off, Charging $8 for an event that clearly was well funded and was full of vendors that all paid for space seemed outrageous.  Basically this continues the hypocritical aspect of the pseudo-environmental movement.  People can only help the planet if the can afford to pay for it.  How are you going to get across a message to this state’s poorest residents if the price of admission means they’ll go hungry that day.

Speaking of food.  At this expo, there was nothing healthy to eat.  All the food available was overpriced, unappetizing and served with non-renewable utensils. 

I was very disturbed to see Wal Mart prominently positioned at this event.  They do nothing positive for the environment.  Even the bags they were giving away were made by exploited workers in China.

Other vendors were also grossly out of place and downright offensive – Carnival Cruise giveaways, corporate radio stations and vinyl siding salespeople are not even remotely connected with environmental practices.

One thing indeed.  If there aren’t some drastic changes with next years expo, my one thing will be not going

 

The solar panels are up and running, providing delicious renewable electricity for us.  We’ll do an update on the details of the system and how well it works on the road in another blog or better yet, in a podcast – stay tuned!

So the dreaded change-of-season cold has hit us all, first it got Sky, then Sugati, Sirena fell victim next and finally Chris got it the worst.  Just once, it would be nice for a cold to not attack all four of us, but alas, it seems inevitable.

We are still parked in the same place, with our gracious hosts Milo, Laura and Dave.  We are sleeping on the bus full-time and are happy to say that our humanure (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanure) composting toilet is fully functional.  Transitioning to life on the bus has been mostly smooth, with a couple chilly nights (pre-heater) and some uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

We have some great pictures up on our flickr bus page, check them out there!  http://www.flickr.com/photos/18521667@N04/sets/72157604726015436/

We’ll be giving a Mobile Sustainability workshop at Alchemy Juice Bar in Hartford next Saturday, October 4th.  We’ll send out an official announcement as soon as we work out the details.

We’re so happy to have heard from The Phillips Clan in Ohio!  They are looking forward to a visit from us in the bus and have offered to help us in the search for waste veggie oil in their area (the main thing we’ll be needing to move our trip along).  While there, we’ll do a workshop for Carly’s class on using veggie oil as fuel.  Cool!

Enjoy the photos, leave a comment, drop us a line at radicalarts@ecoisp.com and we’ll see you on the road, friends

The Bus at Chateau Maltz

The Bus at Chateau Maltz

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Well, ArtSpace is behind us, the feelings are mixed.  It’s always hard to leave a place that has been the nexus of so many memories.  The bonds of friendship that were born and strengthened at ArtSpace will never be forgotten.  On the other hand, we’re very excited to set off on the next chapter of our lives.  

Dave, Laura & Milo have been so generous as to let us park the bus here at Chateau Maltz while we finish up the rest of the work to make the bus road-ready.  We almost ready to get the solar PV system up and running, the beds will go in this weekend and we should get the water system in next week.

We’re posting some photos of our recent adventures.  We’ll be working on a podcast in the next couple weeks, once we get on the road and video should be soon after.  We have hours and hours of video to go through, so that will come a little later.

May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back…