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

Opening and Closing Doors

How we open and close doors matters

There is a door at my local yoga studio, Yoga Union, which leads to the outside world. People come in and out of the building all day long. Some open the door and then let it slam shut. Others, take a little more time and close the door with a little more care, thus creating less noise. This door also abuts tables where people are often eating. When care is not taken, the sound of the door slamming ricochets through from end to end of a long room – disturbing diners and people who work in the building. It would be nice if the door didn’t make such a noise, but I think it’s also something that people who practice yoga could become more aware of – how you enter or leave a building matters. If you’re not noticing the sound you’re making when you enter or leave a building, perhaps it’s time to take a little more time to pay attention?

This is also true at a dance studio I frequent @ the Sunnyside Community House. While dances are taking place often people come into or leave the room for various reasons and the door continuously slams. What’s going on when we’re not all taking more care about how our actions impact others’ experience? I think this insensitivity or carelessness is a sign of something larger. First, maybe we should all be taking more time when we come and go – holding doors open for one another – making our transitions more flowing rather than abrupt. It’s also a sign to me of taker culture – it says to me “I’m here to come in, take this class, and then leave”. Rather than showing that a person is looking to the whole coming and leaving as part of the experience – that even the opening and closing of doors matters.

So, if you’re reading this – maybe take a little more time when you open and close a door in the future. Heck, maybe take a lot of time with it 🙂 It seems like a zen thing to me 🙂 Care, patience, attention to detail, attention to one’s environment. I know we’re all losing a bit of this because of our shrinking attention spans and constant digital distractions, but it might be a place where we come back into balance.

Closing doors so they don’t slam.. Make sense? What do you think?

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

Pickathon 2017

Pickathon 2017
Pickathon

Here’s my note to Pickathon: (General Questions info@pickathon.com) – regarding the noise levels at this past weekend’s festival – and some commentary from friends on FB. FYI – Trade Up Music in Portland sells a variety of earplugs.

“Hey there, I had some great moments this year at Pickathon. I go to a lot of festivals – and I often write about them. Unfortunately, I am really upset about the sound level for most of the music this weekend.

I had to leave the venue early each evening and seek refuge somewhere else because things just got too loud. As someone who has attended a lot of festivals – I get it – loud music = fun, and freedom. But the incessant level of 11 at Pickathon was not fun for me. I’m 56, I’m getting tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and I’m also a big fan of great, live music. I think you probably had some really good acts this weekend, and I certainly got my fill of some of them at the Woods stage. But once the levels went up there, I was out of luck.

Here’s an article I wrote on the topic a few years back. If I’m to return to Pickathon, I’ll need some reassurance that the head cheeses have thought this through and make an effort to change things.

This was my first time back to Pickathon in 10 years (or so) – I think I was there for the first one at Pendarvis Farm. I really enjoyed so much about the festival – I’ll be writing a review which I will share with you if you’re interested. But the noise level made my appreciation sort of moot, because I couldn’t stay around. Thanks for listening. Please include a question about sound volume level when you ask people about their experience.

Mine – overall was awesome, except for the sound level. (fyi, think of the children – the levels they’re being exposed to is not safe…)

 Comments

Jaci LaVon Roe My mama has some hearing loss. She just went to some live music she was looking forward to and it was blasted too loud. She couldn’t even make out the words of the singer. It does not need to be so loud and for me it’s not fun and free when it’s like that, it hurts the senses. People need to give feedback about this because it’s a common complaint.

Albert Kaufman Thank you. It’s like they take a delicious ice cream cone and pour dirt on it.

Jaci LaVon Roe Yep. I’ve had that experience too, but certainly for people who already have some damage or loss, they/we still deserve to actually Hear and Enjoy the artists performance, especially paying good money for it. Mutual support needed.

Kristi Hart Excellent point, Albert. I notice this every time I go to a movie theater… as soon as it starts, I wish I’d rented a movie at home instead. Thanks for speaking up! I will join you in adding my comments on this topic to event feedback.

Albert Kaufman sadly, I think Eclipse will be more of the same and I think I’m going to sell my ticket.

Kristi Hart Albert Kaufman  you’re probably right. Maybe worth mentioning to the organizers/Symbiosis, to ask if they’ve considered volume levels in their planning?

James Hanley I have to wear earplugs at shows these days.

Eileen Snow Not to oversimplify the issue or problem….. What about using some earplugs that take the sound level to a level that works for you? I see a ton of live music, and various friends use them and tell me they come in all configurations to make one comfortable and able to fully enjoy. Highly recommend keeping a pair that works for you tucked I to your pocket! It’s a good way to be sure you don’t have to leave if things get too loud….

Albert Kaufman Yes. for me – great solution. For the slew of kids/teenagers/people with no clue… it’s not a great solution. And, we’d just all do a lot better to actually hear the music with the right volume.

Eileen Snow I hear you (figuratively)— but also want to impress that sometimes, I want to feel the power in really loud acoustics. Maybe the solution is some sort of warning about the dcb level to be expected at certain shows (fair warning), so that we can all be informed and choose to participate or not (or use earplugs or not)? Not sure that would take care of the younger set who think their hearing is invincible…..

Erin Townsend The problem there is that when you’re up the hill camping above Woods Stage, it’s still too loud at your campground, or when you’re eating at the wonderful food court, it’s still too loud there from Main Stage. No escape. You can’t just choose not to attend the show.

Erin Townsend Great suggestion, nonetheless, it just may not apply in this case.

Albert Kaufman Erin: General Questions info@pickathon.com When emailing “info” please be patient with a reply. We’re a small staff and we receive a high volume of email every day.

Mike Meyer Cranking up old time music in the wilderness makes no sense to me. Alot of other Pickathon things don’t resonate with me either. I find way better acts, more of a community ethos, all for less $ at other events throughout the summer…

Albert Kaufman wow, if you’re saying that then … I’m really worried. And, add me to your newsletter, please.

Albert Kaufman And, any ideas on how to get these festival organizers to listen on this issue would be appreciated. I wish they’d all travel to the Vancouver Folk Music Festival to see how it can be done.

Marian Spadone Thanks, Albert. This is important and it’s kind of stunning to me how sound pollution and subsequent hearing loss aren’t more of a topic of awareness. I use earplugs at the movies these days almost all the time, and haven’t been to a concert in a while, partly because of this. (though I do use earplugs when hearing music too…) Even concerts billed as ‘acoustic’ are amplified. weird…

Megan Ruby Richards I was just researching a good pair of acoustic ear plugs to bring to symbiosis eclipse 
currently hear ringing in my ears, I can’t remember when that started! 

Albert Kaufman oh, I’m so sorry. I’m 56! I know it’s probably not age dependent, but tinnitus so far sucks sucks sucks. take care of those ears, dear. Sanderson Safety Supply Co is a good place to go for ear protection.

Mike Oxborrow Albert Kaufman Music stores stock them!

Aaron Overstreet I bring Isolator brand earplugs with me everywhere. They retain the quality of the music and don’t make it muddy like foam plugs.

Albert Kaufman cool. Thank you. I suspect I need to get some of these quick.

Matthew Mathis “Thanks for listening”! 
Anne Jones Sorry pickathon sounds like a yawn o Rama to me. 
Albert Kaufman It could have been a lot better (for me, at least) if the sound had been less oppressive. And, there’s lots of variety out here…

Dandelion Mae I agree with you Albert! I have hearing loss and struggle with the same issues. It’s just not enjoyable. The thing that gets me about it though is that even if you don’t have hearing issues, noise at that volume isn’t good for your ears; it’s just not.

Carolyn Stuart let’s include ALL amplified music events!!( if you need the vibration just ask someone to shake you?)
Hank Payne I’m sharing this because it is something that is affecting many of us. Its not just the “super bass car audio” any more. Audio intrusions and pollution comes from everywhere these days.

Howard Patterson My theory is that the music is so loud because the sound engineers have been turning it up to eleven for so long that they are significantly hearing impaired, and don’t understand how loud it actually is.

Albert Kaufman you’re onto something. that’s why I love me a live marching band!

Eric Fair-Layman I think it’s peer pressure

Lisa Wittenberg Hillyard Sound meters are now available for free on our phones. The decibel number of 85 is the level where professional conversations can happen about turning down the volume.

Noise cancelling headphones are available now. I am waiting for noise cancelling ear buds.

Albert Kaufman yeah – all well and good for the informed, but kids, teens, and most adults aren’t going to know what to do about this issue – at least I’m not seeing a huge awareness around it…

Albert Kaufman hello festival producers!!!

Albert Kaufman General Questions info@pickathon.com When emailing “info” please be patient with a reply. We’re a small staff and we receive a high volume of email every day.

Diyo McIlhatton A friend saw Ed Sheeran at Moda center the other night. He said it was very loud too.

Jack Baikoff I got myself a pair of special earplugs that are designed to not distort the music. They are somewhat pricey but are well worth it.

Eric Fair-Layman What kind?

Eric Fair-Layman I agree Albert although I am so used to it I didn’t think about it. Thanks for bringing this up. I also agree that it is a great festival otherwise.

Erin Townsend Thank you, Albert– i didnt go this year after volunteering the last 6. last year i left in a terrible mood Sunday night from anxiety caused by over stumilation that afternoon. There is now nowhere to get away to for a moment and escape the noise. when Ty Segall played mainstage last year on Sunday afternoon it was so loud i could still hear it from the Galaxy Barn beer garden. i could hear both bands at once and couldn’t focus on anything. people kept looking at me like i was crazy but it was TOO LOUD.

Albert Kaufman Agreed. General Questions info@pickathon.com When emailing “info” please be patient with a reply. We’re a small staff and we receive a high volume of email every day.

 

8.24.17 – I’ve shared my concerns with Pickathon and they seem to have heard me. I’ve also picked up some ear protection at Trade Up Music which I brought to the Beloved Festival and that seemed to make a difference.
8.23.19 – I learned about Hearrings – example below and they have a lot of kinds.
Hearrings

 

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