Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

And up through the ground came a bubblin crude. Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea. -Beverly Hillbillies Theme, the Ballad of Jed Clampett

I have a small ecological footprint. For those who know me, wipe the smile off your face. I’m not referring to my tiny feet, though they are an aspect of my environmentally-friendly living.

In October 2005, light sweet crude oil was selling at an all-time high - $65 a barrel. I remember the widespread angst when a gallon of gas crept over $3.

Without the bubbling crude, the world as we know it would come to a screeching halt.

It powers every form of transportation, generates energy and electricity, and is a vital component in all aspects of the food we consume.

With black gold now over $133 a barrel, we all feel sticker shock when we pull up to the gas pump, check out at the grocery store, and for those of you still dining out, when you receive your dinner check.

I can’t help but wonder what I could do to further lessen my impact on nature’s planet. I discovered short of not eating and taking a shower, there were very few options left.

I drive an average of 50 miles a month, mostly to purchase organic vegetarian food with little or no packaging, and biodegradable products. The items are placed in cloth bags or my oversized handbag. Once home, I recycle nearly everything; even the rinse water is used to water the plants.

Back to my feet: walking is my preferred mode of transportation. The time spent walking versus driving and parking is generally comparable, and so much more enjoyable.

I greet neighbors and friends, give directions to tourists, and observe the life of our city.

Is the price of a gallon of gas making you rethink your daily activities? Is it time to seriously revisit the Downtown shuttle? And perhaps consider turning some of the empty parking lots into community gardens? How long will the gas last?

I wonder…Does the price of oil make you boil?

We all feel shock and amazement as the gas continues its rapid ascent. We silently scheme on what we can do to avoid pouring money into the gas pump void, but how often do we actually do something to make a change for ourselves? I ask my neighbors.

Peter Pavone (Park Terrace) recently moved from the suburbs and finds living Downtown affords him the ability to walk most places. When he does drive, he consolidates errands and drives slower.

It’s not a matter of money, but the principle, says Lee Morris (City Walk). To avoid using unnecessary gas, he now enjoys our community and its wonderful weather by riding his bike.

Matt Potter (Marina) just doesn’t drive anymore. He does most everything virtually.

We are a city of grand visions. We should for once focus our imagination and look upon our natural resources - the sun, sea breeze, and ocean waves - as the future. A future filled with “green” gold. -June 2008

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