Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!


As triathletes, we tend to appreciate the outdoors.

We bitch and moan when we are relegated inside (for whatever reason) on our trainers, treadmills, and gym pools.

Given the opportunity..

We run through snow, rain, wind, and sunshine. We run on roads, sidewalks, trails, and through parks, neighborhoods, cities. We run when it's hot and when it's cold. We embrace all weather conditions.

We observe the scenery while on the bike. We ride up and down mountains. We fight headwinds and love tailwinds. We see wildlife on the side of the road.

What we also tend to see is garbage all over the side of the road. Oversized vehicles that practically run us OFF the road.

What do I want everyone to do on Earth Day? Pick up litter! Plant a tree! (Is this 5th grade?) Ask yourself, "can I walk to my destination?" Drink tap water instead of buying bottled water.

Conservation isn't a joke. It's something that everyone needs to participate in! It's not so difficult to contribute in small ways. Can you drive a car or a small crossover SUV instead of a giant truck/SUV? Can you walk to the post office instead of driving 0.5 miles to get there? Can you carpool to destinations (such as races)? Can you stick your gel wrapper in your pocket instead of throwing it on the ground? Can you buy a Nalgene bottle to fill with water rather than using disposable cups? Or a travel mug for your coffee rather than a cup from Starbucks every day?

Ridiculous things happen when people continue to look to non-renewable resources (natural gas, coal) to obtain energy. Instead of looking at ways that we can reduce fuel use and implement the use of renewable energies (solar power, wind), we discover new ways to simultaneously destroy the world and obtain more oil and gas because we fail to acknowledge the consequences. We burn the rainforest, oblivious to the millions of animals that die. We refuse to embrace wind turbines because they are "ugly." We "frack" even though it contaminates the watershed.

This fracking spill (see a more informative article here) happened in the county in Pennsylvania where I grew up. Our county sits on the (very large) Marcellus Shale which is a giant deposit of basically untappable gas because the rock is not porous enough. Enter hydraulic fracturing - a horizontal drilling process that allows access to the trapped natural gas. Unfortunately, this process is controversial because there are many steps that can lead to errors, spills, contamination, etc. It wasn't around for very long before it was implemented. Regardless of the consequences, tons of people are leasing their land to the gas companies so they can make a buck. Because it's a big dairy farming area, people where from where I grew up own hundreds of acres and can make thousands and thousands of dollars off of this drilling. They see the dollar signs and ignore the dangers. I am from a very rural, conservative area in Pennsylvania. In places like Syracuse - where it is more liberal and there is more money - people are fighting the fracking and refusing to lease their land. Demographics play such a big role in whether or not drilling is going to take over a town. Everyone in my hometown refers to these gas drillers as "gasholes" because they have overrun the area. Their water trucks are destroying the roads and traffic is ridiculous. This is a small town so the impact is HUGE. My view? I see no benefits to this situation.

Instead of battling the raising gas prices with smaller cars, better public transportation, and general awareness, we continue to exploit natural resources as an "easy way out."

I know, I am a hippie. And I know everyone knows this stuff. And this is probably not the audience that even NEEDS this lecture. But it's Earth Day.. so, I'm doing it anyways. :) Thanks for listening!


  1. Happy Earth Day!
    -from a fellow "hippie" :)

    To help the environment, I walked to work today - all 20 steps from bedroom to office.

  2. I am completely with you - unfortunately this ironman / marathon lifestyle is about the worst thing we can do - all the trash and gear and travel and consumption.

    I'm not a hater - I do all of those things too. I try to make a difference but my carbon footprint is through the roof because of these choices. I just ran Boston and the amount of stuff that was produced and consumed was outrageous! Not even including the amount of people who travelled by plane …

    I planted a garden and several trees this year and I always recycle and try to reuse and reduce.

  3. Great post Alexa!

    Fellow Tree Hugger (Ari)

  4. Tri-James: I never actually thought about it that way. in this area we have a bunch of eco-friendly races (i.e. they give out race shirts made from bamboo or recycled cotton and they ask you to off-set your carbon footprint for travel to and from the race) and I'm sure that helps a little bit at least. but regardless, I totally get it. all of the crap that is in packets, all of the gear and packaged nutrition that we buy, the travel to races, etc. it's definitely pretty outrageous.


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