Saturday, June 28, 2008
Well, my 14+ hours of video footage and I made it safely back to San Diego. Before I get to a summary of the last few days I want to say thanks to everyone who has been commenting on my posts. One of my favorite responses is from my Uncle, who pointedly asked, "...are you sure this is scholarly research?" And while I know his comment comes with a 'wink', he has a good point, and the way my blog entries have been written so far is definitely not geared toward the academic scholarly approach. No worries though! I plan on carefully going through all my footage and posting entries for each location of the Tour with a bit more detail into my geographical/academic observations...even though the official trip is 'over' the work for me has just begun!
Back to the Tour...
I had a wonderful time in Eugene. Not only did I get the chance to catch up with a great friend (thanks Allison!), but I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the bike-friendly, outdoorsy city. I interviewed someone who works at 'Green Store'- a new store in Eugene geared toward helping people explore energy-saving retail options. They offer a variety of products and services-anything from cleaning supplies to light bulbs to installing solar panels. I've seen several 'green stores' on the trip, but this was the first one where someone agreed to speak to me on camera. I really lucked up too because the man I spoke with was a long-time Eugene resident and had been involved with solar energy technology since the 70s. He was incredibly knowledgeable about the area and the path solar energy has taken over the past few decades. Something else Eugene's 'Green Store' offers, that fits right along with all the other places I've been to, is free workshops and classes to help educate people on 'green' options that fit with their individual lifestyle and income. Education is key!
Salem, the capital of Oregon, was an interesting stop for the Tour. I have to say, it was probably the least visually 'green' place I've seen; 'green' sinage has been overwhelming in most of the places I've been, but I really had to search for it in Salem among the endless chain stores and fast food...I think the only sign I finally found downtown was for a 'green oil change' (whatever that means!)
Anyway, the main reason I went to Salem was to visit Pringle Creek Community- recently heralded as one of the most sustainable neighborhoods in the nation. It was a really cool development, and even though it's still early in the building stages, they have SO many neat plans that emphasize low-energy use, community, sharing (space, gardens, etc.), habitat restoration and protection, education and outreach with the city, and more...I'll add more on Pringle Creek later.
After Salem, I made my way back into California picking up David (my boyfriend) in San Jose so I could have come company for the last stretch. We enjoyed a leisurely drive back (purposefully stopping in Santa Barbara for dinner before hitting LA in order to avoid some traffic-it worked).
So, 3,300 miles later, I think it's safe to say that I've seen a few pieces of America's new green spaces!