As citizens of the world, we are directly involved in the residential and transportation sectors of energy use (and associated emissions) through purchase and use of electricity, natural gas, heating oil, and gasoline,in the U.S., about half of all that is produced. Indirectly, we are involved in the commercial and industrial half through our consumption of everything else – alas, the bedrock of our economy. So it is kind of about us.
Living consciously and making these connections in our daily lives can be challenging, no doubt about it. But sometimes altering seemingly insignificant patterns/habits can result in money saved, smaller carbon footprints, and even less stress.
Driving (one of the stressful parts) – it takes 2 gallons of oil to make a gallon of gas. Every mile driven is about a pound of CO2 emitted, besides all that went into making and getting that
gallon of gas! So certainly using less is the ticket.
+ Spend less time trying to find a close parking spot.
+ Change routes to avoid intersections where you often need to wait to turn left. (UPS has saved 3 million gallons of gas in year and delivered things quicker by systematically doing this.)
+ Release your foot from the gas when you see a red light or stop sign ahead.
+ Drive 5 or 10 mph more slowly on the freeway. Driving 60 instead of 70mph uses about 17% less fuel.
+ If you know that an event will cause some parking stress, consider carpooling or public transit, if walking or biking is not an option.
+ One could be radical and choose days without driving at all.
At home, besides only using lights when needed, the same could be applied to equipment – computers, and associated devices like speakers and printers; also tv, video, and stereo equipment.
Even when off, phantom loads are drawing current all of the time. Having these things plugged into power strips that you turn off could cut electricity use by at least 6%, some say more than 10%.
Flying – non-stop flights are far better than multi-legged ones, if a choice is possible/affordable.
Buying carbon offsets help with the rest. And hey, they may be guilt easers, but who can have a problem with funding renewable energy and planting trees?!
^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~
Barbara Hirsch, recording engineer, eco-nut, of sorts
“Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get
better. It’s not.”
– The Lorax, Children’s book by Dr. Seuss