Honkin’ huge, part II: a modest 5337 sq. ft. cottage
April 30, 2006, 10:38 pm by bottleman. Filed under: magazine watch, monster houses.

It was a moody lunch. I sat at the table, unshaven and thick-headed. Not even a racy drop of Tabasco could liven up the taste of my tomato soup.

The numbers were pretty strong. It seemed likely that America’s oversized new houses were a near match for America’s bulked-up, overpowered new cars. McMansions were environmental villains just like SUVs.

And yet, most greens really hadn’t caught on to McMansions beyond complaining about their aesthetics. Where was the outrage? Where was the wash of counter-propaganda to compete with the bombast of promotions like the street of dreams?

Photo by Flickr member Oneras - thank you


I love those goofy b*st*rds: MOTHS!!
April 20, 2006, 9:35 pm by bottleman. Filed under: love those goofy b*st*rds, summer.

No matter how conscientious you are, no matter how hard you try to prevent it, it occasionally happens: you eat a moth.

Tiger Moth pic from Wikimedia Commons

It happened to me one summer evening on what, within the protected confines of a planet-destroying automobile, might have been one of the loveliest stretches of time and place in the history of the universe.


Honkin’ huge, part I: homes and Hummers
April 16, 2006, 11:58 pm by bottleman. Filed under: energy, monster houses.

It’s almost too easy to bash SUV’s. Besides guzzling gas, their sheer size and shape gives them a bullying muscularity that, let’s face it, just rankles the sensibilities of tenderfoot liberals. Given two vehicles of equally poor mileage — say a 2006 Nissan Armada and a 1990 Volvo 240 wagon — the Armada is the one that’s going to end up with the activist’s “energy hog” ticket.

Most greens that grok the issue will own up that the Volvo should get a ticket too. But there’s very little brouhaha in the environmental community over that other bulked-up monster lurking around the driveway: the house.

Washington Post photo


Bottleworld: environmentalism after the end of the world
April 16, 2006, 7:54 pm by bottleman. Filed under: bottleworld.

Why start another environmental blog?

Step back to the heady days of 1992, when Lester Brown of the indubitable Worldwatch Institute — who I love for piling on fact after fact about otherwise impenetrably large global issues — wrote an article for New Scientist titled “Ten years to save the world.”

It was an urgent message, and very much the zeitgeist of those heady early-mid-1990s. Luminaries from Helen Caldecott to Neil Young started slipping similar ten-year deadlines into their speeches and album covers. I was roused. I dove into work at a prominent ecological research center with a righteous fury: to discover something, who knows what, that could really help.

I was a kid on my first mission…

Smithsonian bio-dome toy

…then everything went black.

Now it’s 2006 and I feel like I’m waking up in a strange house on a strange couch. Where the hell am I? What have I been doing? Did I eat all these chips and drink all this Wild Turkey? Is this a god forsaken hickie? Did all my flailing around make any difference? And most important, did we save the world, or am I in some interstellar purgatory?