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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: University Science Professor Moves into Shuttle Bus to Live Carbon Neutral

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I'm Jeanine. I am a lecturer at San Jose State University. I am an ethno-ecologist.

This is Lousã. She's a min-pin. We live in The Champion.

I was living in Northern California. I was renting these beautiful places out in the mountains at

reasonable rates. I thought I need to switch this up. I remember this instant

where I was driving behind a shuttle bus and the shuttle bus was making a left

turn in front of me and I said, "that bus is good-looking. It's shiny. It's white. It

has these huge windows all around it. If it's a bus it must have its own air

conditioning heating system", and I had a bunch of leftover pension funds some of

the tiny little ones that weren't going to do anything because at that time the

stock market wasn't doing so great. Then I found a bus for exactly what my two

pension funds put together. I bought the bus and I drove to

Sacramento got a father-son team to put the floor in. I drove back to the place

I was renting at the time. I moved everything out in one week. I basically

took my studio bedroom and configured it to fit in the bus. As an ecologist I teach

environmental science. I teach climate change. I teach living

responsibly, living sustainably. I believe that I can't be an honest authentic

ethical teacher if I am not living exactly what I teach. Every year I've set

a new goal for myself to live more sustainably. The next logical step was to

live tiny, to live small. The thing with a lot of tiny homes is people build from

new, build from scratch. I wanted to recycle and the best way to recycle was to get a bus.

This is a Champion Challenger with an e450 engine. It's a Ford engine with a

shuttle bus chassis that would have fit I think 16 to 20 people and now it's

just me and a dog. This is a 45 watt panel connected to one battery which is

the house battery that came with the bus. It has a ton of windows which is what I

wanted it in my home. I wanted a lot of light. I installed screening all on one side of the bus.

All of this furniture used to be in my bedroom studio. This bed

which has been sawed to be half of its height. This screen allows me to keep all

of my windows open and only partially curtained. I want to wake up with light

and with being able to see all the trees that are around me, but I also want

privacy. Much of the artwork is made by different artisans from tribes and

tribal communities here in California. This is also from palmer lady who does

some amazing designs. This palm is special to me. It's Areca catechu which is a

betel nut palm and that's native to Southeast Asia and a third of my life is

spent in Southeast Asia which is why I have an adopted family of the tato a

clan of about 3,000 people. My dog Luca has her bed right down there and I also

have a walk-in closet which most women want.

This is my privy and it can also serve as a shower.

This is the minibar. It's a ladies traveling case and it has about 40

different liquors in it. This pantry is full of food. Most of my cooking is done

on an induction cooktop but when I don't have access to grid power I cook on a

bio light stove that is filled with little tiny chips of Redwood. I built

into my systems here there's Plan A and Plan B and sometimes there's even a Plan

C so if I'm hooked into the grid I can use my two electric lights. I can run my

electric heater and my induction stovetop. If I'm off-grid then I either use

my battery-powered lights or use the solar panel and I use wood fuel to cook

on. I made a decision to go with absolutely no propane because in

becoming carbon neutral I wanted to maximize how I could generate my own

electricity through solar. I didn't want to be reliant on natural gas or on

propane and also it's dangerous. I felt really nervous about having propane

around whether it was on the back of my bus or inside my bus. I have another

pantry and the Yeti cooler. You would think that you'd want to use this for

cooling but for me it's better to store food in it because I would otherwise

always have to be getting dry ice and this keeps my food more temperature

stabilized. And for those of us who rely on chocolate in the middle of the summer

either you have your chocolate in the refrigerator or you have your chocolate

in the Yeti so I have two. One Yeti here and one Yeti cooler there and

then I have a tiny little igloo fridge that is low enough wattage.

This cloth here is handcrafted by the weavers in the Manggarai region in

Indonesia where my adopted family lives and this is the harp that I am learning

to play. That little white canister; that is the amount of trash I generate in a

month to two months. The blue canister is dog food and the red canister are the

little red wood chips that power my Biolite camp stove.

This ficus tree is 17 years old. The mint is new. Every person should have aloe

to have aloe available for any sort of stovetop burns or if overexposure to Sun.

The first thing people said to me was, "where you going to park it?" and I was

this clueless save who said, "oh, that'll be no problem. I know some campgrounds

down along the coast where you can camp for 500 bucks a month, 600 bucks a month".

During the off-season...pretty much after March April it goes right back up. But

then when I realized as a professor I need to have a routine every fall

semester, every spring semester, in the summer session, I needed an anchor. It

took me a year to find a campground consortium where I can stay in these

campgrounds for free based on a membership for three weeks at a time and

then a girlfriend calls it renewing my visa but if I want to stay in the same

campground I need to go out for a week and then come back in again.

So then the challenge became okay where do I go for that week and because of the

place where I am there are always Fairgrounds there are state park

campgrounds within say about 20 mile radius of five or six different places

where I can be or I can simply put The Champion in storage and go stay with

some friends. Once I got over that initial hump of where can I be

geographically so that I can be geographically stable and do my

professional work, everything became so much easier. Every semester my students

do group projects that make a difference in the world and this semester my

students are helping me to become carbon neutral. We have set it up so that the

students came to my tiny home to my bus they audited my entire life they came up

with a range of figures of how many tons of carbon I am personally contributing

to the atmosphere which is always embarrassing but as human beings we are

going to contribute carbon. Once we crunched the numbers and figured out

literally how many tea trees how many certain palm plants how much bamboo how

much grass needs to be planted I will then get on the phone with my

tato family and say, "okay, here you go", and I will send the money over. I really like

the idea that becoming carbon neutral I am now absolutely practicing what I

preach. If I'm going to teach about climate change and how we humans are

effecting climate change then I sure better be carbon neutral and I get to

support my extended family in planting trees that will help build their homes

that will provide bamboo for their baskets.

Because of my background of having an adopted tribe as a family in Indonesia

one of the phrases these folks have taught me is the phrase 'All Our

Relations'. Initially I thought they meant everyone we're related to as our family

or perhaps being relating to all humans, but now I understand that it means all

living beings and so that phrase 'All Our Relations', which is something that you

say as part of a ceremony or ritual or prayer means that you are understanding

that we have a relationship with all living beings on the planet whether it

is microscopic sulfur breathing bacteria at the bottom of the ocean or it is a

Jaguar or a coyote or the forest or the waterway or the mountains. These are all

our relations and so that is my family that's who I care about.

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