December 16, 2009

Carbon footprint

As it's the season for atonement of lifestyle sins, especially the climate changing ones, you can find out how much you need to do to reduce your carbon footprint in the Ecological Footprint Quiz.
I would need 2.08 earths to allow everybody in the world to live my lifestyle. Clearly unsustainable but then I'm much better than my country's average.
So what did they recommend I do more?

Reduce your Carbon Footprint
Use cleaner transport

* Walk, bike, or take public transit whenever possible.
* Avoid allowing your car to idle. If you'll be waiting for more than 30 seconds, turn off the engine (except in traffic). And don't take the drive-through-park the car and walk inside instead.
* Have your vehicle serviced regularly to keep the emission control systems operating at peak efficiency. Check your car's air filter monthly, and keep the tires adequately inflated to maximize gas mileage.
* Avoid short airplane trips-take a bus or train instead.

The traffic questions were a bit too rudimentary. I always take public transport except in some circumstances when there is none available (and you know Auckland's PT system is dire). I don't have a driver's licence. I only fly when it's impractical to go by any other means, living in an isolated archipelago does that to you

Add energy-saving features to your home

* Install compact fluorescent bulbs in all your home light fixtures-but remember, compact fluorescents contain mercury, so look for low-mercury models and be sure to dispose of old bulbs safely through your local hazardous waste program.
* Weatherproof your home. Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated, and consider double-pane windows. Eliminate drafts with caulking, weather strips, and storm windows and doors.
* Insulate your water heater. Even better, switch to a tank less water heater, so your water will be heated only as you use it.
* Choose energy efficient appliances.

Those new light bulbs are hideous, I hate them and the light they give off. I'd rather go to bed than try to read by them.

Adopt energy-saving habits

* Keep thermostat relatively low in winter and ease up on the air conditioning in summer. Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended to keep the A/C operating at peak efficiency.
* Unplug your electronics when not in use. To make it easier, use a power strip. Even when turned off, items like your television, computer, and cellphone charger still sip power.
* Dry your clothes outside whenever possible.
* Make minimal use of power equipment when landscaping.
* Defrost your refrigerator and freezer regularly.
* Choose green electricity. Many utilities give you the option to purchase electricity generated by wind and solar power for a small rate surcharge.
* Purchase carbon offsets to make up for the energy use you can't eliminate.

We do all that already. Our power bill is minimal, which makes installing solar power still too expensive.

Reduce your Food Footprint

* Eat more local, organic, in-season foods.
* Plant a garden-it doesn't get more local than that.
* Shop at your local farmer's market or natural foods store. Look for local, in-season foods that haven't traveled long distances to reach you.
* Choose foods with less packaging to reduce waste.
* Eat lower on the food chain-going meatless for just one meal a week can make a difference. Globally, it has been estimated that 18% of all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with meat consumption.

I haven't eaten farmed animals since 1976. We have a vegetable and herb garden. We compost and recycle.

Reduce your Housing Footprint

* Choose sustainable building materials, furnishings, and cleaning products.
* Explore green design features for your building, like passive solar heating, a rainwater catchment or grey water recycling system, and recycled materials.
* Choose efficient appliances, including low flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets.
* Choose furnishings that are second-hand, recycled, or sustainably produced.
* Plant drought tolerant plants in your garden and yard.
* Use biodegradable, non-toxic cleaning products.

All check mostly. We have no water reticulation. All water is collected from our roof and all waste water is recycled in the garden. We like it when it rains.

Adopt water-saving habits

* Take shorter, less frequent showers-this not only saves water, but the energy necessary to heat it.
* Don't use the garbage disposal. Compost instead.
* Run the dishwasher and the laundry machine only when full.
* Wash cars rarely, or better yet, take them to a car wash. Commercial car washes use less water per wash than home washers, and they are also required to drain used water into the sewage system, rather than storm drains, which protects aquatic life.
* Avoid hosing down or power-washing your deck, walkways, or driveway.
* Regularly look for and fix leaks.

Our car is dirty most of the time. We haven't got the water spare to waste it on things like gardens, decks or sprinklers. I always take military showers (shame there are no other troops available to share them with)

Reduce your Goods and Services Footprint

* Buy less! Replace items only when you really need to.
* Recycle all your paper, glass, aluminum, and plastic. Don't forget electronics!
* Compost food waste for the garden. Garbage that is not contaminated with degradable (biological) waste can be more easily recycled and sorted, and doesn't produce methane gases (a significant greenhouse gas contributor) when stored in a landfill.
* Buy recycled products, particularly those labeled "post-consumer waste."

It's hard to do the recycling and waste minimalisation when your Council actively sabotages community projects and well-working systems by awarding contracts to the most polluting, least efficient, least recycling and thus most inexpensive (for the Council) waste contractor.

But the most efficient carbon footprint reducing option didn't get a mention: don't breed.


Paul said...

What's a "military shower"?

Uroskin said...

60 secs to get wet, turn off, soap up, another 60secs to rinse

Charles said...

wow - mine is 4.78 worlds yikes

but really the carbon footprint measurement seems a bit odd because every action of life creates some amount to co2 - Apparently I eat too much? LOL

so are we regulating how much living people are engaged in?

yes I totally agree that most of us rich people can use less and that is better for everyone but cap and trade obviously isn't going to work with china and usa attitudes to verification and the third worlds demand to allow them to develop to our western standard.

How is Waiheke these days, is it a good time to move back? Waiheke still so behind it is ahead?

Uroskin said...

They should give carbon credits to people who don't have children.

Waiheke is gearing up for the annual Summer onslaught: corporate partying like it's 2009; plus all the dirty weekenders and holidaymakers.
So life is still good here!
It's always a good time move back, Charles, we're missing you.

Oh, I was going to send this to you (from:
The new book "Packaging Boyhood: Saving Our Sons From Superheroes, Slackers, and Other Media Stereotypes" offers an analysis of what boys soak in from TV shows, video games, toys, and other facets of boy-directed pop culture. The news isn't good here, either. According to the book, boys are being taught they have to be tough and cool, athletic and stoic. This starts early with toddler T-shirts emblazoned with "Future All-Star" or "Little Champion." Even once-benign toys like Legos and Nerf have assumed a more hostile profile with Lego Exo-Force Assault Tigers and the Nerf N-Strike Raider Rapid Fire CS-35 Dart Blaster. "That kind of surprised us," says one of the book's three authors, Lyn Mikel Brown, a professor of education and human development at Colby College. "What happened to Nerf? What happened to Lego?"

Will they now blame teh gays for subverting Lego to cater for boys, I wonder.

Paul said...

Sorry, I'm still intrigued by the military shower. Do you time the 60 seconds? Surely when you turn the water on the second time it takes just as long (and as much water) to fiddle about getting it to the right temperature as it would to leave it running?
Or perhaps you just use cold water ...

Uroskin said...

The water temperature of rinsing is the same as the first wetting, as it doesn't cool that rapidly during the time of soaping up.
If you're ever in the neighbourhood I can show you for real how it's done.