I started writing this post last night and then all of a sudden felt like I was whacked in the head… sniffles, sneezing, stuffed up nose… and couldn’t sit upright anymore. So I slept for a few hours and now I’m trying again because I have a lot I want to write about before I go back to sleep.
It’s been a really busy week, and I’m excited to talk about a few things. Last night, I had just gotten back from a heated community hearing addressing a proposed Safeway expansion in our neighborhood. Oh, did I say expansion? I meant domination. Look at the hugeness of the Monstropolis they want to construct on the entire block of College Ave between Claremont and Alcatraz:
As you probably know, I’m no lover of Safeway. I’ve written about the problems of shopping there and my letters to the CEO about plastic bags. But what those of you who don’t live here may not understand is the threat to the unique quality of this neighborhood that a Safeway expansion represents. Safeway is one of the very few chain stores here, and it’s currently a manageable 23,000 square feet with a small parking lot. Across the street are an independent produce market, flower shop, meat market, pharmacy, bakery, cafe, and other small businesses. Oh, yeah. There is a Noah’s Bagels, but it’s the original one.
So when the Safeway rep told us we needed the store to expand to 59,000 square feet so that they could bring us the departments that were missing from our current store: bakery, florist, meat counter, pharmacy, etc. we were livid. We have those things. They are right across the street. And they are owned by local people, not a multinational corporation.
And not only do they want to expand the Safeway to 59,000 square feet, but they also want to add 16,000 square feet of retail space for smaller stores along Alcatraz. Anyone envision a Cold Stone Creamery here? Starbucks? World Wraps? People are attracted to this little shopping area because it looks different from every street in the U.S. and because it’s pedestrian-friendly. Safeway intends to destroy that uniqueness, and the residents are intent on stopping them. Sure, Safeway could remodel their existing store to make it more energy efficient. But we don’t need it to be bigger.
Here’s Safeway’s web site explaining what they want to do here, including drawings and plans. If you are a local resident, please leave a comment. Right now, the positive comments on the site do not reflect the level of opposition I witnessed at that meeting last night. You can also sign up for the mailing list to get updates on public hearings by sending an email to email@example.com.
Moving on down the list of Busy Beth Business, check out the cool interviews with me and three other “garbloggers,” as we are apparently called, on Karen Cannard’s Rubbish Diet web site. The Rubbish Diet is a project of a U.K. woman to reduce her garbage to zero. This week, she interviewed several bloggers from outside the U.K. and intends to begin a regular Carnival of Trash to be hosted on various blogs just as Carnival of the Green is currently. I’m certainly looking forward to that.
This past Tuesday, I had the privilege of being interviewed by Deborah Lindsay on her radio show “Tomorrow Matters” on Monterey radio station KRXA. “Tomorrow Matters” is a show focusing on environmental issues. The interview was great fun, and you can listen to the whole hour-long show here. Please keep in mind that the show is completely live and unedited, so all of my “ums” and “uhs” are preserved for the world to enjoy.
If the player doesn’t work, you can download the audio file here.
There are more things I was going to write about, like the fact that I started the Low Carbon Diet program with Terry and Chris, a couple of guys from my Green Sangha Group, to find more ways to reduce our carbon footprint. But all of a sudden I feel like I’m going to fall out of my chair again, my head is so heavy so I’m just gonna leave it there. Yes, it’s been a busy week, and I have to go out later today and set up a Brita filter collection bin at the Berkeley Ecology Center for the Take Back The Filter campaign, so no rest for the sniffles, right?
I’ll be back again on Sunday for the Year 2, Week 1 plastic tally. Have fun this weekend!