Saturday, February 21, 2009

Transportation at Diablo Valley College

During these harsh economic times, it has become pretty difficult to think about how to aid the environment while managing one's wallet. Unfortunately, the fact that many organic grocery store products are more expensive than their cheaper counterparts doesn't help anyone. Not to mention that buying from a fast food chain costs nearly nothing compared to that of a more healthful restaurant. Basically what I'm trying to say is, the environment is truly suffering because of the poor financial situations that have struck our economy.

Nevertheless, it has come to my attention that being environmentally-friendly has not been rejected by all spectrums of America's society. The transportation process to my community college of Diablo Valley College(DVC) has become a lot more earth-conscious these days, yet this result came about not on purpose. Incidentally, the price of gas (which has recently begun to increase again-about $2.19/gallon?!) in addition to the need to save our money the best we can has pushed students to find cheaper means of transportation. Fortunately enough, such means include carpooling, bart, local buses, and even biking.

DVC Nursing Major, Chelsea Thommes, goes as far as to walk to the BART station fom her house, take the BART to Pleasant Hill, then ride the bus to DVC everyday. Her environmental methods are dramatically decreasing her carbon footprint in the long run as well as helping our economy by spending her money on the public transportation.

Chelsea explains that she goes through $35-$40 for a little more than a week on BART PLUS tickets which work for both BART and the local buses. This is quite a save seeing as how DVC student, Erik Granlund, admitted that he pays about $20 per week on his gas alone. This cost doesn't seem much until you add in the $20-$30 per week on car insurance which is another dent in his pocket to spend on transportation. Some great things to think about for those other individuals taking less Earth-conscious ways of traveling to their designated commitments.

For all the information on BART as far as station addresses, arrival & departure times and so on, check out: On the other hand, the topic of buses differ between cities, so try going online to find out the bus schedule in your perspective area. It will not only aid the environment, but allow you to take advantage of the opportunities offered to you by your community.

Perhaps a more suitable way of acknowledging one's daily impact on their environment as far as CO2 emissions go is to calculate your Carbon Footprint. Go to or and take their test. These websites give a great outlook on what you have probably been staying naive to all this time which is how much you are personally affecting the Earth.

Another DVC student, Jordan Zetterbaum (Psychology Major), enlightened me on how he feels the desire to offer rides to other individuals because of the environmental issues that are facing us today. Fortunately, he is willing to pay for his own gas and provide his car to others for nothing more than the simple satisfaction of knowing that he did a good deed for not only his fellow peers, but for the environment as well. Good for you, Jordan! :]

As far as my transportation methods go, I'll either carpool with friends, bike, or drive with the possibility of giving others a ride in the process. All in all, it doesn't take much to help the environment and be financially responsible because there are many opportunities laid before us by our area (BART, local bus routes, bike trails, etc.) that make such a task much easier than it sounds.

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr Green T

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where I'm From

I am from teapots,
from Agha Seebeel and Sadaf.
I am from the sand under the wooden balcony.
(Warm, moist
it smelled so refreshing.)
I am from the fig trees,
the pomegranate seeds
whose ruby color stains my
teeth with its bittersweet taste.

I am from Persian New Year and Big Bear winters,
from Baba Safaie and Mama Atabaki.
I'm from the pride in oneself
and the nonesense jokes of the past.
From always greet with salaam,
and pepper meets a dirty mouth.
I am from the belief in Allah, where scarves
hide women and Ramadan teaches sacrifice.

I'm from Berkeley and Iran,
kabob with rice and Ashe Jo.
From the near-death trigger of my father's life
to the lost Mickey
the broken teapot on my mother's foot.
In my closet hides a treasure box
filled with memories,
a collection of field trips
and old friends to cherish forever.
I am from the corridor walls,
too-familiar paintings & sculptures
that will forever be where I'm from.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Learning from Momo Chang

Rushing into the Berkeley Library last Sunday afternoon in hopes of arriving at the meeting before the guest speaker and Bay Area journalist, Momo Chang, was to begin her presentation, I wasn't expecting to learn anything that I hadn't already known. However, that was a false assumption which I quickly realized once I entered the Library's meeting room, and listened to Momo speak about her experiences in the journalism profession.

Momo Chang shared with us her tips on becoming a better journalist which ranged from interviewing techniques to realizing the best way to overcome writer's block, a serious pain in the butt for most writers. When it comes to Question&Answer(a.k.a. Q&A)-type interviews, Momo advised us to use tape recorders, then transcribe the information onto the computer. However, Momo also suggested that when given the opportunity, a writer should take hand-notes because it grants them the opportunity to filter out the important from the unimportant facts during the interview. As far as handling writer's block goes, Momo explained that deadlines really help her to just push through it which is very understandable as well as demonstrates how hectic the journalism business can be.

Another helpful tool in becoming a more sought-after journalist is using our own personal perspectives on issues because it brings a different side to a popular story or issue. For example, Momo's use of her Asian-American background to explore that side of the ethnic spectrum has brought many interesting articles for her to publicize with the rest of the Bay Area. This knowledge definitly clicked in the minds of most of the other Green News Editorial Board because environmental perspectives on topics is a rare find in journalists these days, and so opens the opportunity for our voices to not only be heard, but sought-after as well.

Unfortunately, there was something that bothered me about the idea of writing for a newspaper as an environmental columnist. How am I being environmental working in a business that kills so many trees? Because many newspapers are going out of business due to the economic circumstances, the papers that are still running today are thinking little of how to be more green. I plan on trying to get into contact with an editor of a local newspaper to ask them questions on why they don't use recycled paper to produce their work or if they ever plan to. In any case, it was a true honor having Momo Chang take the time from her busy schedule as a free lance writer to speak with us about her profession as she inspired us with not only her amazing work, but with her wisdom of the journalism world.

For a list of Momo Chang's incredible articles, go to:

Peace&Love, Everyone.
Dr. Green T

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Made in the U.S.A., except not really.

As crazy as it sounds, I’d never given much thought to where my clothes were coming from until just recently after I’d taken a shower, and coincidentally scanned the tag on my towel. The words, Made in Israel, caught my eye quite instantly as a thought crossed my mind as to how many different countries my clothes came from. Of course, my new idea had to be taken into action immediately or else it would become a nagging voice in the back of my mind for days to come.

In any case, I began my adventure as I sorted through my supply of clothing with pen and paper in hand, tallying down every country my eager eyes could distinguish. Unfortunately, not all of my clothing had their tags, and so left me with a few items placed under the "Anonymous" category of my list, and therefore skewing my results by a bit. I made sure to separate my data according to "Pants" versus "Shirts" as I jotted down notes stating my observations on each experiment. (Science nerd, much? :P)

Beginning with the "Shirts" section, it turned out that a majority of my tops came from El Salvador, yet I realized that such shirts were the Cotton ones that I had accumulated from high school-related functions like homecoming, track&field, and basketball. These shirts were kept more as memorabilia rather than for the actual purpose of clothing me. After acknowledging that these T-shirts that had traveled so far and produced so much Carbon Dioxide were just sitting in the back of my closet, I jumped on the bandwagon and donated the T-shirts I decided I wouldn't ever find myself wearing nowadays. Gotta love good ol', Goodwill.

What also interested me about the results from the "Shirts" category was that only four of my shirts were made in the U.S.A. In case you were wondering, I own 57 shirts from 20 different countries, and if I did the math right, this means only about 7% of my shirts were made in the United States. (Math nerd, too?) This, of course, brought me back to my Environmental Science class during my senior year of high school('08!!) when my teacher informed us that the leading reason for the environmental issues of the world is poverty.

Now let me clarify where I'm going with this. The T-shirts I own that were made in the U.S.A. were considerably more expensive than the ones that were produced in say, China or India, because in those countries, large, corporate companies pay their workers less than they would have to if those companies had produced the clothing in America seeing as how the minimum wages in those countries differ greatly than they do here. Therefore the companies don't have to make up for the money they spend on workers by boosting up the prices like they would have to in America, and thus resulting in less business because of the high cost. And we can't forget the most important issue with generating goods from far away, they cause more carbon dioxide to be omitted into the air due to the long travel. Hopefully, I made some sense there. It's crazy, right?

Unfortunately, there wasn't anything interesting about the results I came up with in the "Pants" category. Mainly because I covered it all in the "Shirts" department, haha. However, in case you guys were curious, here are how many different countries my 23 pairs of pants came from: 16. Regrettably, only 2 of my pants were developed in the U.S.A. while the majority of my bottoms were imported from El Salvador (Once again!). Oy.

For those wondering, stores like American Apparel thrive on the fact that their clothes are made in America. The only problem is that they're rather expensive which is what links back to the "poverty" issue. I'm not trying to say that you have to be absolutely poor to not give a darn about the environment, but not everyone can throw down $100 for a pair of jeans that were made in America, when they could simply pitch in $30 on ones made in Taiwan. It's why America is the #1 country to sell foreign goods to; because of our mass consumption. Even if it means hurting the environment in the process. With all this in mind, try checking out your local garage sales, second-hand stores, and even swapping clothes with friends as a clever alternative to wasting the pollution and money necessary to purchase something brand, spanking new. It's all just WANT over NEED.

Remember not to go into the whole "Well, if I don't buy it, someone else will anyways" mindset because the way I see it is that if I don't contribute to buying that one pair of $100 jeans that was imported from Bangladesh, then the company that's producing that clothing will have one less pair of jeans to manufacture in order to make up for the one that I would have bought. Get it? Got it? No? Sorry, can't help you there, but if you do understand, then thank you!! Hopefully my article made some of you think before you buy, even if it's in a small way. Maybe to feel personally impacted by what I'm trying to say, go and tally up the different countries that make up your closet and post back!! We'd love to hear your results.

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

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