Want to reduce your greenhouse gas footprint a bit? The Union of Concerned Scientists has a ten step program for you. No admission that you're powerless over your addiction to carbon required -- in fact, the program recognizes that your CO2 output is under your control, and you can choose to reduce it.
The "Ten Personal Solutions" are almost all easy, inexpensive, and extremely common-sense. Drive a high-mileage car, buy clean power when available, use Energy Star appliances, plant a tree -- that sort of thing. Taking all ten of these steps will reduce a household's greenhouse emissions by a little or a lot, depending on how non-green they were beforehand. Hybrid-driving, compact-fluorescent-using, walking-when-possible worldchanging types won't see a huge difference -- but that's okay, being an example that taking these steps won't hurt can be useful, too.
That's a good list, especially for people who are just starting to think about these issues.
Unfortunately, 4 of the 10 items are out of the question for people who rent. Maybe it's time to force landlords to operate green businesses?
I was surprised to see my brother, Dr. Jon Foley, and his daughter Hannah in the photo about light bulbs.
Adding to the list:
- Recycle all you can.
- Compost organics. Add organic matter to soil. This sequesters more carbon than tree planting, and is just as good a thing to do.
- Use contraception. Gentlemen: get vasectomies after, at most, 2 kids.
What additional items can people think of?
Jet hit on a point I have been pondering for a few months as my landlord recently replaced my water heater and refrigerator with with low efficiency rating models. Has anyone heard of a program for encouraging efficiency among landlords? The incentives for landlords and renters are all messed up when it comes to appliances.
Here's two easy steps:
1) Move to a temperate climate which requires little or no energy to keep you domicile at a comfortable temperature; alternative is to move to a region with a high proportion of cheap, mature hydro power (if reducing climate impact is the goal).
2) Live in a place which doesn't require anything but walking to fulfill all your daily needs.
Here's some additional options:
3) Eat fresh, raw food daily, purchased from a local grocer, or harvested from your own or nearby land - no need for an oven, refrigerator, or freezer.
4) Sleep and wake as much as possible in sync with the sunrise and sunset.
5) Eschew clothing and become a nudist who lives in a micro-yurt or reclaimed wood hut with skylights.
6) Don't go anywhere beyond walking distance, don't order anything through the mail or shipping, and don't use any devices which require electricity or other energy inputs.
7) Don't pay taxes.
That should pretty much reduce your material impact on the planet by about 99%. It's also somewhat tongue-in-cheek.