Tuesday, September 23, 2008

chicago's "greenest" person

So, there was a contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune to find the "greenest person in Chicago."

Ken Dunn, 65, of Hyde Park, is so green that he beat out 11 other finalists, identified with the help of local sustainability groups, to be named the greenest person in Chicago by the Tribune. He beat:
  • the Chicagoan who commuted 16 miles a day by bike... year round!
  • the Chicagoan who composts his own urine and excrement

From the article:

Dunn produces only 3,800 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, as compared with the 44,000 pounds produced by the average American.

Stated another way, Dunn is already living at roughly the level of carbon emissions that scientists at the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change say the average human must achieve by 2100 if we are to avoid dangerous effects of global warming.

But check out this second-place finisher, Sayre Vickers, 32!

Dunn could share his home heating bill—and split the associated carbon emissions—with three people who live beneath him. However, Vickers lives alone in Garfield Park. Vickers grows tomatoes, basil, wild spinach, kale and peppers in front of the sunny windows of his apartment and makes his own furniture from discarded wood. With no running water, he hauls his 3 gallons a day from the bathroom one floor below.

The toilet is a bucket, with a 30-gallon garbage can nearby for storing human waste layered with sawdust. Vickers has a friend in the suburbs who allows him to park the cans when they fill up. The contents decompose, forming compost.

In keeping with the claims of the Humanure movement, which promotes composting as an alternative to waste-generating flush toilets, the smell is undetectable from even a foot away.

UPDATE: As of 2009, another Chicago resident is trying to help composting toilets catch on in Chicago.

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