Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Madison’s Top Tens

This has been a big week and it’s only Tuesday. Last weekend, I packed up as much of my house as possible, loaded it up in as few suitcases as possible, packed it into my sister’s car and headed to Minneapolis. I’m spending the week here before flying up to Anchorage on Friday. Then Sam will wrap up work and come with the car in about a month ūüė¶

I am truly excited about moving up there, but I have been pretty sad about leaving Madison, all our wonderful friends, and our new house.¬†My sister recently asked me to tell her things I’ll miss about Madison, so I thought I would take the time to make a nice little top 10 list. This is way more than she bargained for. But it’s handy… for posterity. And for whenever I come back. And for you.

(Of course, as I wrote this, I decided I needed a whole separate category for food.)

Activities

IMG_0118

Sunset at the terraace

1. Biking on a warm summer evening to the terrace to drink beer and eat popcorn

2. Having friends over to eat dinner on our deck

DSCN2104

Climbing one of the 10,000,000 hills of the Hilly

3. The Horribly Hilly and the Dairyland Dare: one day “challenge rides.” You’ll hate your life until you reach the finish line and can hardly wait to sign up for next year

4. “Working” meetings at the Echo Tap

5. “Kayaking” (also what some would call floating aimlessly) on Lake Monona with Abby

6. Mountain biking, skiing, road biking, or hiking at Blue Mounds State Park and stopping to eat at the Grumpy Troll on the way home

IMG_06237. Devil’s Lake State Park: huffing it up the bluff and then sitting on a rock and taking in the view

8. Paoli bike rides and stopping at the top of observatory hill to enjoy the view and catch your breath

9. Thrift shopping at ReThreads on State Street (tons of cuteness under $10)

10. Walking over to Kate’s house in my jammies on Saturday mornings for coffee

Food

1. Cheese curds and old fashionds at the Old Fashioned

IMG_0205

Willaby’s Cafe, Willy Street, Madison

2. The Fair Oaks Skillet at Willaby’s Cafe

3. Vanilla swirls at Batches Bakehouse

4. Anything and everything at Greenbush Bakery. Pick one and then ask the doughnut dealer for his or her favorite.

5. Playing flip cup with cheap pitchers of beer at State Street Brats

6. Panang curry, chicken eggrolls, and mango and sticky rice at Ha Long Bay

7. Walnut burger at The Harmony

8. Crusier-bike riding to Mickey’s Dairy Bar for scramblers and cinnamon rolls

9. Commuter bike riding to Mickey’s bar to get drinks on their back patio on warm summer nights

10. Buying an entire loaf of warm, spicy cheesy bread at the Farmer’s Market and eating most of it while walking around the square

Rest of Wisconsin/UP

IMG_0636

ABR Ski Cabin

1. Renting ski-in cabins at ABR Ski Trails (Ironwood, MI)

2. 4th of July fireworks on Boom Lake (Rhinelander)

3. Biking up to Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains and then trying to hit 40 MPH on the way back down. I’ve never done it. Yet! (Ontonagon, MI)

4. Canoeing the Kickapoo. Just as good: driving through the driftless to explore its various parks and fishing the streams on the way there (Ontario)

5. Pewitt’s Nest -bring your swimsuit! (Baraboo)

IMG_0319

Levi’s Trow

6. This is for Sam: Wisconsin/UP’s own IMBA “epic” mountain bike trails: Levi’s Trow (Near Black River Falls) and Copper Harbor, MI

7. The Trails at Nine Mile and Rib Mountain  can hold an honorary spot too (Wausau)

8. A summer day on any lake in Northern Wisconsin, on a boat, with beer, and country music. Heavenly.

Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks

9. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore  Рeasily the best vacation of my life (Grand Marais, MI)

10. …I’m leaving this open to represent the large amounts of awesomeness yet to be explored in Wisconsin

What else would you add to the list??

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , ,

Why I’m optimistic about Earth Day- Part 1

Well, right now I’m not. But I promise I will be. (That’s why this is Part 1)

This semester, I work at the state’s largest environmental advocacy group, Clean Wisconsin, and I have really enjoyed it. One of my main “projects” has been helping out with anything related to the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which is in game time mode this week at the capitol.

If you don’t know about it, just know that it’s a piece of legislation years and years in the making that calls for increased renewable energy standards in Wisconsin and forces the state to start making new energy technology, create jobs, and stop wasting money importing foreign oil and coal. It used to have a lot of other really neat stuff like Low-Carbon Fuel Standards and Energy Efficient Community Standards… but that all got cut. Hey, it’s still a step in the right direction.

I can’t speak for the Clean Wisconsin guys, but I may have let myself get a little overly excited about the potential for such progressive energy policy to finally be enacted… with me having a [small] hand in it. So, anyway, Clean Wisconsin has been working really hard to get it passed. But then it looked like what actually needed to be done was convincing legislators to even vote on it (it’s an election year, after all). And NOW, the session ends tomorrow and it still needs to pass TWO rounds of voting. Not good.

Ok there’s the background.

So I woke up this morning to this:

So that was, well, really disheartening.

But then, I went to the Earth Day at 40 conference and listened to some really incredible speakers and was inspired by all the accomplished and motivated individuals coming together to celebrate in the place earth day began. So that was cool. Then, I went to the office, and, being the optimistic (well if not optimistic, at least persistent) environmentalists they are, here was the mood there: (you can click on the image to go to the page if it’s too small)

Quite the headline, huh?

So that was uplifting, a little.

But now, some more strongly-worded news came out that is NOT uplifting:

Even though it’s looking pretty grim, the reason I’m sharing all this is because it has taught me a lot.

I have been really discouraged by the misinformation campaign lead by coal and oil lobbyists that were somehow MORE convincing than all these smart people I work with. (huh?)

I couldn’t (and still don’t) really understand why people are so quick to reject new policies and accept the status quo, but I can also recognize that I have been surrounded by nothing but supporters of this bill all semester. Having my first longer-term taste of the political process showed me just how dedicated, persistent, and knowledgeable you have to be to accomplish policy change, and how difficult it is to get people to think long-term in the name of environmental improvement. This was something I vastly underestimated before.

Aside from the political aspect, I have also learned how much work there is to be done, particularly in just convincing others that this “environment stuff” not only matters, but is in the best interest for them. I would like to focus on re-framing environmentalism into a universal goal for bettering the earth, in whatever sector is most important to YOU. (And also do a little work on combating all those negative stereotypes that currently exist out there). One other thing I learned was exactly how riled up I get about all this stuff! (One too many “I-have-to-go-to-bed-at-9-because-I’m-depressed-about-the-environment” days have occurred lately. Time to snap out of it.)

All that said, I am excited for earth day this year because it is a really fun part of being “green.” Getting outside on a spring day, volunteering, sharing information (read: free food), and having community events is not only fun, it represents the crux of this movement.

I am excited to see others who are also passionate about making the world a better place, and I’m even more excited to kick ass in the name of making up for what Wisconsin lost by not passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act.

RIP CEJA,

Jenny

P.S. Looking for some Earth Day reading? These are awesome:

“As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day the most serious environmental problem that we face is not global warming or the pollution of our air, water, land and food. It is whether or not our country moves forward in developing public policy based on science or whether we make decisions based on politics and fear mongering.” –Let’s Set The Record Straight, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Grist)

And, I’m really motivated by this approach. Very good perspective (except the leaving the lights on thing):

“…Ask why the business is still using incandescent bulbs when there are $1 compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs at Ace Hardware down the street. Ask why the faucet in the restroom pours water out faster than Niagra Falls when low-flow aerators cost about $5. Ask why coffee comes in styrofoam cups when paper cups are used at every Starbucks and Caribou. Ask why the air conditioning is set at 55 when the door is left hanging open. And ask if you can turn the temperature back to 70. Pay attention, and speak up. Write letters, write comments, write letters to the editor, ask to see the manager, and threaten to take your business elsewhere ‚ÄĒ somewhere that you like the way things are being run.” –For Earth Day, A Plea for You to be a Pain in the Ass, Jenn Henry

Tagged , , , ,

CALLING ALL WISCONSINITES!

Wisconsin needs your help.
The Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA) is coming down to the wire. This very important piece of legislation, if passed, would have important implications for Wisconsin’s economy, the well-being of farmers, environment, and leadership on renewable energy policy (25% renewable by 2025!!!).

Individuals, organizations, clubs, campus student groups… anyone… can get involved to make sure a strong bill gets passed that includes a significant renewable and efficiency resource standards.

After discussing with Sam Weis (communications) and Ryan Schryver (grassroots organizer) at Clean Wisconsin, we determined the most important role we as can have is:

a. Call/email legislators! Area representatives can be found here:
http://www.legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx

b. Write letters to the editor, guest columns, and op-eds to any WI paper. Be it in Madison, your hometown, or just a place that published a negative article, any press supporting CEJA is helpful.

It would be awesome if people around the state could organize some sort of “CEJA day” to write a few letters and make some calls and emails, or start a campaign urging friends/coworkers/etc to do so as well (Also, I’d be more than happy to help out with this… email me!).

Second, it’s just as important that we make sure to collaborate with other friends and groups around the state to make sure that it’s not just the Dane County voice that’s vocal about CEJA.

Specific areas to target are: *Eau Claire, Green Bay and Milwaukee*. SO if you have any contacts at those schools or an idea of how to collaborate, that would be awesome. If you don’t have time to contact them, could you hook me up?

I’ll organize a list of talking points (both with benefits and disputing criticisms) soon, and will happily make that available to anyone who is interested.
Please let me know if I can be of any assistance in organizing or if you have any questions.

Thanks and I’m excited to see what we can do with this exciting and important opportunity.
-Jenny

Tagged ,