Readers Forum :: Going Carbon Neutral
|Photo by Rob Hill/ISP|
The Spring 2008 issue of YES! investigates what it takes to keep greenhouse gas levels low enough to prevent the worst-case scenarios.
Our readers helped us think about this issue, sharing what carbon-reducing steps they have taken that give them the most pleasure…
And which next steps they plan to take.
We'd love to hear your comments too. Please email us.
Mmmh, it feels so good to be cool
What carbon-reducing step have you taken that gives you the most pleasure?
Eating local, seasonal, food.
Switching to a whole, local, and low meat diet.
Doing all the laundry with cold water. Everything looks great and my electric bill was significantly lower.
Last winter I installed an on-demand water heater and insulated the floor under my house. Now I'm looking at radiant heating to replace my aging furnace and rotting ducts. I wear sweaters and turtlenecks in winter so I can keep the thermostat down. Having seen what oil extraction is doing to Nigerians in the Niger Delta, first hand, I ride my bike and walk and use my car as little as possible.
I've purchased, on eBay, a Chinese-made motor scooter. How's that for a mixed-up environmentally-impacting choice? It's twenty degrees here, now, and too cold and treacherous to consider using it. But you asked what carbon-reducing step gives me the most pleasure. I'm living in my own fantasy future, here and now. I expect to enjoy riding the thing, for its own sake, and to enjoy the sense that it uses about 1/3 as much fuel as my car. I will, however, be under no illusions that my riding it is an environmentally 'good' or 'sustainable' thing to do. I will know that it's a marginally 'less irresponsible' way to run errands and consult with clients.
My 70 x 80 foot garden keeps me busy with positive action toward providing for part of our food needs.
I bought a hybrid car, since the electrical ones are not in production.
Toss up between investing in Green Mutual Funds (Calvert has a new Alternative Energy Fund and eco-people friendly funds) and hosting a local eco-awareness fest that 1300 people came to, which got me hour long meetings with local reps of both US Senators in my state on the subject of global warming mitigation.
Going vegetarian has given me lots of pleasure.
Making rich complex dirt with the help red worms. Using Densepack cellulose insulation in my attic and floor.
Eating locally grown as much as possible and reducing the need to recycle through less packaging of purchased goods.
Best carbon reducing steps I have taken is buy a hybrid and stop traveling by air. Instead I use video conferencing equipment.
The carbon-reducing step I have taken that gives me the most pleasure is using my bicycle trailer to pick up compost from local restaurants/markets/dumpsters)
I am thrilled to be able to reply.
I have gone solar... and turned my luxurious car in for a Prius!
Putting solar panels on my roof.
I no longer drive at all. And I try to use less of everything.
Ruth Claire Weintraub
I stopped buying any new clothes, or driving and turned the temp down to 60 degrees F in winter, and no ac even in 100 degrees F. The only pleasurable part was the no driving… that I love!
Where do you want to go next?
What's the next carbon-reducing step you plan to take?
I dream of a large windmill to produce at least some of our electricity.
I have the frames to put up a 30 x 50 foot cool green house this spring, which should extend the growing season to at least 10 months. I hope to grow most of our food and be able to spread some around to friends and needy members of the community.
Take cooking classes through PCC Cooks. This will add to my eating pleasures by making food acquisition and preparation a pleasure as well. How and what we eat as well as how and what we do to obtain and prepare it has a huge, I mean HUGE effect on us as well as on our environment.
Living on a sailboat for a while, hopefully with solar panels generating the energy needed, and traveling around the globe promoting peaceful coexistence among all nations.
Raise/grow my own foods and buy locally for the items I don't raise or grow.
Next, add a battery back up system to my solar panels to make the grid optional and get an electric car to plug into my solar panels. Good-bye oil.
1. Lobby to support Amtrack as a branch of the National Parks Service (fund it rationally for improvements to its rolling stock, upgrades to its service, thus turning into leisure class travel attractive to tourists). Put the same amount Dubya threw away on the airlines after 9/11—$12 billion!—towards R&D for high speed rail. Advocate for development of a local transit system that is economically efficient—and for rural areas of the country, as well. This would begin to create a real economy AND help to begin a decrease in the carbon footprint of this country.
2. Support community composting and encourage a commitment to local recycling. Support development and use of sustainable alternatives to oil such as solar, wind, and methane power.
Ruth Claire Weintraub
The Readers Comments above were made in response to our December 2007 email newsletter
Read the newsletter: Liberate Your Space: Why Wait?
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