Sunday, August 30, 2009

New to Oakland

The Bay Area - Mainly in Oakland So I am now located in Oakland, CA, still browsing around the area. I am often asked how I like Oakland so far, but I find it impossible to respond to it. As one Oakland local puts it, "Everyday, you find something you didn't know about." That's Oakland. One thing, though, is that I have never met this many artists in one community. I don't know how many art supply stores reside in this area as I find a lot more stores than I possibly need, and all raw materials and skilled handymen/artisans are here in the area. In every way I find Oakland a place of progressive thinking and progressive people. And of course it has a side effect of being so. The city is known for its high crime rate and corruption. But it is never boring here. Oakland is just one bridge away from San Francisco, and other exciting cities like Emeryville and Berkeley are a few minutes away from me. Working as an artist in Oakland is a total convenience. Coming from Miami, where things are far behind in terms of green technology, I do have some adjustments to make. For instance, I see SFC certified products being sold and used by people here. But since I was in Miami too long, I had never seen it until I moved up here. Those SFC endorsed product are two to three times more expensive than conventional products. In other words, having an awareness about nature and environment is not enough to actually practice "green." It costs more to be green. So I have a mixed feeling about this issue. To me, using less material is a doable "green" thing to do, for the time being. However, I can sense that time will come when I need to use those "high-end" materials because I am beginning to feel that the more high-end it goes, the greener it gets mainly because in green business, as much as other businesses, money talks louder. Oh, I forgot to mention that I am talking about lumber products here. And being in Oakland, I learned "Home Depot" is a taboo word in green businesses.