Thursday, March 15

Carbon Diet

Another way to think of what I'm doing... the carbon diet.

Had the U.S. signed the Kyoto Protocol, it would have required us to cut CO2 emissions by about 3100 pounds per person annually. That's about a tenth as much as many climate scientists say is necessary to limit global warming, but I am going to use it as my personal goal for 2007 and see how fast I can reach it.
I'm not sure who the author is on that, but it's on The Green Guide.

3100 pounds to meet Kyoto. I'm not sure what my emissions were when Kyoto was drafted, but I think it's a more than reasonable goal to remove 3100 lbs, or a ton and a half, from my life.

Some ways I can think of to do this:

  • Drive less. 1000 miles = .45 tons in my car.
  • Change incandescent lights to fluorescent lights (According to my account at One Billion Bulbs I've already cut 1000 lbs of carbon this year.)
  • Conserve electricity at home -- according to this government report every kWh I use at home produces 2 lbs of carbon dioxide. In Feb. we used 892 kWhs of electricity, for 1784 lbs, or .89 tons. That's 10 tons a year right there. But then again, that's winter use. Ideas on saving electricity here.
But the scary number in that quote is the one that says we have to do ten times that to halt global warming. I can't even fathom what changes would have to happen in my life to reduce my carbon impact by 15 tons. Every carbon calculator I use says my current carbon footprint is about 7.5 tons... the US average.

Cutting my emissions by 15 tons means there are things that have to fundamentally change about my life ... I imagine recycling drives and owning one car per family and the carpool to work has four people in it... like Dagwood Bumstead's. I imagine riding my bike to the store and harvesting vegetables out of my victory garden, and learning to sew pockets on my karate gi's so I can use them for work clothes. In fact, I imagine the US on war footing in WWII, when we went all out to beat an enemy that was out to take away our freedom.

I think of those things and wonder why we are fighting a war against an ideology that has a problem with our lifestyle, instead of fighting the war against Global Warming, which will impact not just our lifestyle, not just our economic freedom, but our access to food and shelter.

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NotSoBigLiving is the story of a woman inspired by Sarah Susanka, Bill McKibben, Airstreams, Tumbleweed houses, Mennonites, Jimmy Carter, hippies, survivalists, Anasazi, Pema Chodron and Joko Beck, Scott Peck, Buckminster Fuller, and Al Gore to see what she can do to reduce her carbon footprint in her mid-80's suburban townhome. Strategies include roommates, alternative travel, organic eating, planting a victory garden, mindfulness, and a belly full of laughter.