Saturday, June 19, 2010

Trimming the hedge

We have a lovely boxwood hedge outside our front door - a pleasing curve of textured greenery about 6 metres long, leading around flowers toward the drive. It's been doing well this Spring, and so needed a trim.

As usual, I used the old-style (and old but still very functional) manual hedge shears. As my Dad used to say, I did it "handraulically". (We don't own a powered trimmer.)

Time taken: about an hour
Electricity, gas, oil and nuclear energy used: zero
Satisfaction in a job greenly done: priceless

So why doesn't everyone do it this way? Are we so busy? Or do we just not think? Too easy to flip a switch and tap into that good clean electrical energy source, right?

Except it's not clean. It's not even an energy source - electricity is merely a way to get energy from one place to another.

Ontario likes to say that lots of its electricity is from "renewable" hydro i.e. dammed rivers. That means most of our energy comes at the expense of major industrial activity (road- and dam-building, transmission tower corridors, etc) and flooded habitat. Once the damage is done, I suppose it's pretty clean. Except for the metals that leach into the water from the rotting trees. Oh, and the methane released. And the occasional flash flood when a dam gives way, like in BC this week, but that is pretty rare, right?

The rest of our electricity comes from nuclear, coal and oil, with some natural gas and a tiny bit of wind (Source - undated)

Truth is, everything we use electricity for - heat, charging batteries, light, cooking, you name it - isn't electrically powered, it's nuclear-powered, or oil-powered, or gas-powered, or coal-powered (yes, still), or powered by millions of drowned trees. I sometimes refer to electric cars as nuclear-powered. Suppose I should do the same with my cell phone and computer...

So pick up those hedge shears and do the work yourself. Burn calories, not Uranium!