Sleeping bunks on the Bio Bus, on a freezing, cold Spring night on my mountain.
Last Friday afternoon, I got a surprise from some readers: they were on their way from Boston to Ohio and then, off to San Francisco and wanted to drop in for dinner! So I got together a big pot of vegetables, some Irish soda bread, grapes and some cookies and just before sunset, the Bio Bus pulled in at the bottom of our mountain.
That evening, we were at the very worst of Mud Season. Before any trees flower or put out leaves, we first have to have all the snow melt and then, the ground has to thaw out. This is tricky. As the surface melts, the water stored in the ice can’t sink into the dirt. It sits on top and turns into mushy mud. Very slowly, the ice below melts but this only makes the mud deeper. For the earth freezes down to three feet or more. This is a lot of earth to thaw out and so we get this slippery mess tilted at a 45 degree angle and even walking on this is very dangerous. If you don’t have 4WD, you can go sailing downhill as fast as a giant slalom.
I was on my tractor, cleaning up the very deep ruts in the road from a winter’s worth of driving on shifting layers of mud when the Bio Bus came to the bottom of the road. Luckily, they noticed the road wasn’t very passable and stopped below and waited for me to come down to direct traffic.
We decided to park the bus across the entrance to the driveway so they could leave easily in the dark and not worry about turning around. We then climbed the mountain and walking in the mud was difficult since we slide backwards at awkward moments. Finally, we got to the top and had a very wonderful visit. Below is the Bio Bus’s official web page. It hasn’t been updated in the last three weeks, very much, due to being very busy and traveling many miles, crisscrossing the entire nation including, the side trip to our little mountain.
BioTour On The Campaign Trail is an educational non-profit of 13 young people that traverses the country on two awesome school buses that we’ve converted to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO) and solar paneled electrical power. We go to colleges, high schools, and local community events giving presentations to people young and old, working towards building a national movement in Sustainability – through both smart policies and realistic practices in renewable energy.
More so, BioTour is a collective journey – one that aims to enliven the Sustainability Movement while exploring the depths of America — the people, the land, and our diverse cultures. We aim to address the vital issues of climate change, environmental degradation, and peak oil while presenting pathways toward sustainability in renewable energy, the potential in green jobs, and perhaps most importantly, advocating for a more active and participatory democracy; a truly educated electorate.
The Bio Bus is a diesel engine school bus. It is very long and has lots and lots of room for technological stuff as well as people. On the roof, we can see the solar energy panel that runs the electronics inside or charges the batteries. We used this same sort of system for many years while living in a tent. On the roof is a bicycle.
When I was still a college student, housing was very hard to get due to the baby boomers suddenly going to college and the only way to avoid Vietnam was to go to college so all the schools were packed like sardines. At one point, I lived in first, a bus, then a ’55 Chevy truck. Seeing the Bio Bus brought back many merry memories of the late 1960’s.
During school breaks and other times, I would roam the US in my home/truck set up. Just like the Bio Bus people. When they were visiting me, there were only four of them. Ethan and Ken are the organizers and are most consistently with the Bio Bus.
They told me, wherever they went, people would see the signs on the side and posters in the windows and come over to find out more. And the Bio Bus was a good learning tool. I knew this to be true because when we used to caravan across the US in our Freak Days, we attracted crowds who wanted to see ‘a real hippie!’ One thing is certain: if you are going to be a nomad and go from campus to campus, passing out information and organizing people, a bus like this one is a great tool. I told everyone, ‘I hope you come back in the summer and can drive it up the mountain so we can sit on the roof and look at the stars!’
My truck and bus both had a rooftop like their bus. We loved hanging out up there. This was great for rock concerts, too.
The Bio Bus runs on vegetable oil. They use diesel to warm up the engine and then, it heats up the radiator fluid which then runs to the vegetable oil tank and heats it up and then it can be used for combustion.
Along the sides of the inside of the bus runs a lot of photographs. These chronicle the adventures of the Bio Bus people. I was amused to see the American flag, too. I remember when we first began flying the flag a lot: the government had taken to killing students. I said, ‘Why let the right wing steal OUR flag? It is the flag of one of the earliest revolutions! It is our flag! Let’s wave it back and dare them to take it from us!’
And this is still true. Patriotism can be coupled with a desire to change things. I hope Obama realizes, he can change things ONLY if he leads and inspires people like the young people of the Bio Bus tour group.
They gave me a most wonderful book, ‘Oxford University Press: The Origins of Value: William N. Goetzmann
From the invention of interest in Mesopotamia and the origin of paper money in China, to the creation of mutual funds, inflation-indexed bonds, and global financial securities, here is a sweeping survey of financial innovations that have changed the world.
Written by a distinguished group of experts–including Robert Shiller, Niall Ferguson, Valerie Hansen, and many others–and wonderfully illustrated with over one hundred color photographs of landmark financial documents (including the first paper money),The Origins of Value traces the evolution of finance through 4,000 years of history. Readers see how and why many of our most important financial tools and institutions–loans, interest rates, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, the corporation, and the New York Stock Exchange, to name a few–came into being. We see, for instance, how ancient Rome developed an early form of equity finance that resembles the modern corporation and read about the first modern corporation–the Dutch East India Company–and its innovative means of financing the exploration and expansion of European business ventures around the globe.
We also meet remarkable financial innovators, such as the 13th century Italian Fibonacci of Pisa, whose mathematics of money became the foundation for later developments in the technology of Western European finance (and may explain why the West surpassed the East in financial sophistication). And we even discover a still-surviving “perpetuity” dating from the Dutch Age of Reason–an instrument that has been paying interest since the mid-17th century.
Placing our current age of financial revolution in fascinating historical perspective,The Origins of Value tells a remarkable story of invention, illuminating many key episodes in the course of financial history.
I am going to review this book once I finish it. Ken and I had a long discussion, by the way, about carbon trading. I warned him that it was already not only hijacked but was becoming rapidly less and less useful because it became a part of the Derivatives Beast. He hoped it would be an easy way to get money for poor nations to spend on energy systems and improving land use. But I told him, it mostly encouraged corruption in both the third world rulers and the first world bankers and money manipulators.
This is why it was so very easy to sell the concept: it was useless and it opened another door onto Infinite Money Making While Doing Nothing Useful At All. One thing I must say in praise of the Bio Bus people: they are open to all ideas and easy to talk to, they like to discuss pros and cons and are not knocked out of shape when someone argues their case. I admire this a lot and it is another reason why I hope they visit again and I hope we have more warning of this so I can call in more people to share this visit! How about it? Sometime, when the summer is here and it is warm and my road is dry and hard, not muddy.
P.O. BOX 483
BERLIN, NY 12022
Make checks out to ‘Elaine Supkis’