Sep 06 2008

Archaeology meets Switzerland

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This article is about how melting Swiss glaciers in the Alps are yielding new archaeological treasure troves.  So I guess that’s one kind of good thing about climate change.  Thank you, Miriam, my archaeological advisor, for bringing this to my attention.

Seth adds: Miriam, come do a dig in the Alps. It looks fun!

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Aug 16 2008

Seth will be happy

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Because his newfound manual driving skills might come in handy after all!  Turns out, Lausanne not only has a bike-sharing program (Seth has already covered this topic), but it also has a car sharing program, a la Zipcar in the US.  A little pricey, but seems like it will probably be worth it.   Now we can get stuff back from Ikea without having to shlep it onto a bus or train!

Where did we find this out?  Yesterday, we met with an American-Swiss-Jewish family who are family of friends of my great aunt (uh huh, that’s right) who happened to be visiting this week from Switzerland, where they live.  They are super nice, and gave us all sorts of great tips on living in Switzerland and will help us out with lots of stuff.   For example, it seems we will be staying in their vacation chalet in the mountains until we can sign a lease for an apartment.  My anxiety level, while still high, has fallen a few points.  Seth is not the only one around here who is happy now!

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Jul 23 2008

Bike Sharing in Lausanne

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Looks pretty sweet…

If you are in Lausanne and you need a bike, you can ask to Lausanne Roule. 3 stations are available, in Lausanne (under the Grand Pont), Renens (Railway Station) and Vevey (Railway Station). Bikes are given for free (a deposit of 20 CHF or 20 EUR is asked) for the first day (from 7.30 AM to 9.30 PM), then a fare of 1 CHF per hour is demanded. Bikes can be taken in one station and returned in another, but if this transfer involves Vevey station, an additional 10 CHF are required.

Bikes can be taken on Lausanne buses and metro and CFF trains. An additional ticket is required.

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Jul 22 2008

It’s official!

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We bought our tickets! Non-stop from a New York airport that’s actually in New Jersey (Newark) to the Geneva Cointrin International Airport—which is partly in France.

New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty) to Geneva, Switzerland (GVA)

Depart: 5:55 p.m. Fri., Aug. 22, 2008 New York/Newark, NJ (EWR – Liberty)
Arrive: 7:45 a.m. +1 Day Sat., Aug. 23, 2008 Geneva, Switzerland (GVA)
Aircraft: Boeing 767-400ER
Travel Time:7 hr 50 mn

After confirming the purchase, Continental helpfully suggested we buy some carbon offsets. They partner with Sustainable Travel International, which calculated that the two of us will contribute 1.1624 metric tons on our 3868 mile trip (that’s one way). I’ve heard a bit of the arguments for and against carbon offsets, including the hilarious Cheat Neutral. Obviously, conservation is ideal, but that’s not an option in this case (though we are flying non-stop…does that help?)

In any case, there’s other ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Two awesome ones I’ve come across recently are the PB&J Campaign, which makes the case for planty meals over meaty ones:

Every time you eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or other plant-based meal instead of one that features red meat, such as a hamburger, you save the equivalent of almost 3.5 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Eating a strictly plant-based meal compared to the average American lunch still saves 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. That’s about 40 percent of the carbon you would save by driving a hybrid vehicle for the day instead of a standard sedan.

And then there’s Paradise Unpaved, in which a committed individual turns her paved driveway in Toronto into a green driveway and flower/herb garden. It’s all detailed with nice illustrations.

But I’m already a vegetarian (though the PB&J Campaign questions my pesco-ovo-lacto habits) and I don’t have a driveway to dig up.

So if you want to help, here’s the pitch. 1.1624 metric tons of carbon is 2,563 pounds. At 2.5 pounds per plant-based meal that’s 1026 meals—or just one person becoming a vegetarian for a year (assuming you eat carbony foods 3 times a day). So that’s the story. Either I buy the offsets or someone reading this decides to become a vegetarian. For just one year. You can have the ~$30 that carbon offsets cost, if you want.

P.S. Don’t book your tickets by calling Continental because they levy outrageous surchages. But if you do need to call them or any other large corporation with an automated prompt (say, to request planty carbon-lite meals) use GetHuman. The preferred method for Continental? Keep hitting 00 until it gives up and connects you to a person.

P.P.S. So much for entering the 2,000 watt society. Maybe in 2009?

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