Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Carbon Fast for Lent: Day 20

Day 20 - Compost. Put the nutrients from food waste back into the soil – not into a methane-emitting landfill.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City noted in an op-ed piece today that 65% of Americans live in cities. Now I've lived in three Midwestern cities (Toledo, Columbus, and Indianapolis) and two Northeast ones, New York and Bayonne. The population of New York City exceeds the combined populations of all the other cities I've lived in. And I would venture to guess that more than half of all NYC residents have no access to enough open space outside to start even a small compost pile. I could have done it in Toledo, in Indianapolis, and in Bayonne, but not in Columbus, as I lived in apartments or condos my whole time there, without gardens or yards. And of course not in New York either. (I will be able to do it in Vernon.) So I recognize this as a good thing to do, but there needs to be some serious work on how to do it in highly urban environments. The Wikipedia article on composting is Eurocentric and talks about how the EU itself has mandated industrial composting, which helps a lot. But even in the UK, where the Carbon Fast originates, I wonder how many residents can actually do this.

It sounds like I am being less than supportive here. Maybe I am, at least on today's activity. Others may have a different take. But it seems to me that activities devoted to reducing one's carbon footprint should be actually doable by most folks. Maybe there's just far more available open space in the UK than in some of the US urban areas.

I wonder if there are micro-composting ideas available? [Pause while goggling.....] OK, there's this:

If, like the Chinese, you are challenged for space, don't despair. You can compost on a spot as small as a windowsill, and use the finished product on your houseplants. On the following pages you can learn about this and other ways to "micro-compost."

The book referred to is here and is published by the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. It's apt that the BBG has a book that talks about micro-composting in what is, if it were separate, the 4th largest city in the US.

Keep watch over your Church, O Lord, with your unfailing love; and, since it is grounded in human weakness and cannot maintain itself without your aid, protect it from all danger, and keep it in the way of salvation; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


PS - I am getting very frustrated with Blogger's inability to keep line formatting consistent. Can anyone help? Please?


jen x said...

You discovered "micro-composting" and you feel you aren't doing your bit? I think it sounds like quite the find!

I also found a crazy fact: there's a "New York City Composting Project"! (They encourage people to take the post-composted soil to Central Park.) I do believe it involves putting a "worm-composting" thingie in the house. I lived in the city long enough to know I would *not* bring worms into the apartment. But I still thought it was neat that someone is attempting this in an urban area.

RFSJ said...

No worms for me, either - yuch! double-yuch! Yuch squared!

who knows worms are good but not in his apartment