Why Do We Hurt Ourselves and Each Other?

Leave the Leaves by DKG GraphicsWhy?

I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make my neighborhood and world a better place to live.  Sometimes I’m focused on climate change issue – big ticket items like population growth or stopping clear-cutting. But much of the time I think about how to make change happen on the local level. After years of planting trees; talking to neighbors about planting more trees and trying to figure out how to encourage more quiet and dark (less noisy things like amped up motorcycles; leaf blowers; car alarms and better outdoor lighting) – I’m coming up against something that’s confusing me. Knowing that some of our actions are going to harm ourselves and others why do we keep doing them?  Here are a couple examples.

Gas-powered leaf blowers and other gas-powered lawn and garden tools. AGZA

The above graphic from AGZA (American Green Zone Alliance) really spells out the problems and solutions in this area.  Given that we’ve known for years how polluting and noisy gas-powered leaf blowers are (one example) why do we continue to allow their use? And this is often something we do to ourselves. The person using the device is probably facing the most harm. Whether it’s a worker who uses a leaf-blower repeatedly, or someone using one once a year – in either case – that person is putting themselves at a health risk that is unnecessary. Join a group working on this issue.

Here’s an example from the noise department. Using one’s car fob to lock a vehicle – setting off the horn. At first this probably seemed convenient – but I hope that most people agree that it’s actually a nuisance and should never have been allowed to be developed by car companies. Most cars and trucks can be adjusted to stop this from happening. Hearing a car horn go off is usually a warning sound which used to be used by vehicle operators to indicate to others that there is some kind of emergency happening. Though the sound of a car horn going off is a nuisance for people in the vicinity – the person most harmed by the noise is the person closest to the sound. I’ve written about the dangers of losing one’s hearing before, here. If you love hearing music, let’s say – figure out how to dismantle this system for yourself. And, again, the question I posed at the opening – why, if we know that a system is harming our health, do we let it persist?

From the lighting department. The City of Portland is often an early adopter. We chose to switch to LED street lights a few years back but in our excitement chose lights that are too bright and glaring.  These new lamps make everything much too bright and make walking around at night less pleasurable than it used to be. They also make driving more hazardous as the lights also blind drivers. Why, when we know there’s an issue with these lamps didn’t we stop installing them once it became obvious they were too bright? And why do we keep them installed when there are better choices. This is true for residential lighting, as well.  If you walk outside of your house at night and can’t look at the lighting of your house for more than 10 seconds then please consider replacing the bulbs and/or fixtures you have to improve the experience for your neighbors. And, for yourself – because who is likely going to be seeing the lighting on your house most?  You.

Living in a quieter and darker place is good for all living creatures. Keeping all of our tree canopy standing which provides our oxygen would also be something we could do to make our lives better.  I love to think about my neighborhood and how our lives can be improved. I believe by paying attention to the ways we’re hurting ourselves and others and making changes to our behavior we’ll create a healthier and happier environment. Who knows, maybe we’ll be able to see more stars one day.

For a better world, Albert Kaufman, 3.5.19

AGZA

Neighborhood Notes – My Nextdoor Postings

Nextdoor.comMy Nextdoor.com postings

The post above was my first post on Nextdoor.com – a social media site like Facebook that’s organized by neighborhood. I believe Nextdoor.com is the best tool for local organizing that’s ever existed and I do what I can to make my neighborhood a better place.  Here’s the first article I wrote about Nextdoor.com.

  1. Phasing out Gas-powered leaf blowers. Here’s our new website for this effort. and… Link to the original post on Nextdoor.
  2. This post I turned into a blog post on key fob/noise reduction – here.  You will probably only be able to see the original Nextdoor.com post if you’re in my neighborhood of Richmond, Portland, Oregon, USA.Less beeping
  3. Traffic Calming on Hawthorne and Division – Still working on this 🙂
    Traffic Calming in Portland
  4. Do you have fruit/nut trees that you’d like to share the bounty from? – 10.16.18 – Currently, the action in Portland, Oregon is on a Facebook group that is over 1,200 members strong and growing by the day. The Portland Fruit Tree Project is also having harvest parties this Fall. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1405238632898417/   http://portlandfruit.org/

    http://portlandfruit.org/

  5. A Request: Please Drive Slower and More Carefully. This one is an ongoing issue. Luckily, we’re at 20mph on residential streets in Portland, now.
    Slow the Fuck Down

  6. Neighborhood places: Marino Adriatic Cafe on 41st and Division.
    Marino Adriatic Cafe
  7. Stop Receiving Yellow Pages @ https://www.yellowpagesoptout.com – Sadly, I can’t believe in October of 2018 yellow pages are still a thing, but they are. This is a good thread if you live in my neighborhood. It talks about how to get off of various lists – Red Plum; Oregonian Food Day, etc. There is also a FB group for this purpose.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/196729400366257/

  8. Be Idle Freehttps://albertideation.com/be-idle-free
    Be Idle FreeHere’s more proof from the Washington Post – There is No need to idle in cold weather. 
  9. LED street Light improvements. Here’s how to get a shield on your nearby LED street light. Mention “light trespass” which is what is likely happening – light coming from the LED into your house/porch/eyes.  https://www.portlandoregon.gov/Transportation/article/672942 –
    Here’s a source for outdoor friendly lighting: http://darksky.org/fsa/fsa-products/

    Shield Request Process

  10. Where does the dirt go? Dumptrucks on Division – Here’s a dirty idea:
    Where does the dirt go?
  11. Get Rid of Your Lawn – I’ve been posting about this one a lot, of course, given my love of Farm My Yard 🙂
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/08/04/lawns-are-a-soul-crushing-timesuck-and-most-of-us-would-be-better-off-without-them/?tid=sm_fb

  12. Sign up for my monthly newsletter, The Eleven.
  13. Here’s what we can do to keep large trees standing in our neighborhoods – Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees

    http://audubonportland.org/news/reform-portland2019s-tree-code-to-preserve-large-healthy-trees Reform Portland’s Tree Code To Preserve Large Healthy Trees Now is the time to reform City rules to preserve more large healthy trees in every neighborhood! Thanks to the direct action of neighbors and financial donations from the community, the 150-year-old giant sequoias in SE Portland’s Eastmoreland neighborhood were saved from the developer’s chain saws. However, the rules that permitted their removal and the cutting of large healthy trees in neighborhoods across Portland are still in place. From Powellhurst-Gilbert to St. Johns, from SW Hills to Richmond, Cully, and beyond, Portland’s neighborhoods are experiencing extensive tree cutting driven by a highly lucrative real estate development market. (article cont’d here).

    This led to starting a Facebook group to organize on this topic. Join us, here. And our newsletter, here.

  14. Learning permaculture – a possible way for us to transform our urban landscape:

    https://www.geofflawtononline.com/videos/

  15. TURN OFF YOUR CAR HORN – LESS BEEPING = LESS NOISE – This led to the post below (and one other) and a new post on my website: Feel free to share widely! https://albertideation.com/turn-off-car-horn-less-beeping-less-noise

    Stop using your car fob to lock your car and beep

  16. Solutions to Barking Dogs & Other Noise Nuisances – Answer 🙂
    Get your Dog Trained

  17. How to Throw a Great Voting Party in a vote by mail state:
    Voting Party

  18. A neat article on Communities vs. Networks – to which do you belong?
  19. Want to try out a new game; meet some neighbors; move your body?
    Birthday Game
Join My Newsletter
to receive my marketing checklist. Click here to discover what's further downriver (other news) 
Sign Me Up!
Not right now...
close-link