updated: April 11, 2012
by Jan R. Markle
If you’re wondering what you can do to affect climate change and peak oil, there are campaigns online suggesting ways to cut your personal production of carbon as well as carbon footprint calculators (scroll down) that figure out how much carbon you produce.
Can you cut your fossil fuel use? How low can you go?
Two Carbon Reduction Campaigns (from 2009)
1. The No Impact Week, the one-week carbon cleanse, based on the “No Impact Man,” Colin Beavan, (See Beavan on the Colbert Report) who lived with his wife and 2 year-old in NY City for a whole year only buying fresh food, riding bikes, not creating any waste and not using any paper products, including toilet paper! (See NY Times, The Year Without Toilet Paper) And that was on the 9th floor of an apartment building! His conclusion is that changing your habits will not only help the earth but will help you to save money, lose weight, have more time and live healthier and happier.
This campaign has been taken up by the Huffington Post. See No Impact Week at HuffPo and download their No Impact Guide with suggestions for cutting carbon in different areas of your life, one type of change on each day for a week.
The topics for the week are-
Sunday: Consumption– stop buying things
Mon: Trash-stop making trash; reduce, reuse, recycle, [and repair.]
Tues: Transportation– no fossil-fuel-based form of travel. No planes, taxis, cars, elevators. [Carpools, subways, buses and motorbikes might be considered a second tier to attempt to cut. Bicycles and walking is ok.]
Wed: Food-eat only local, seasonal, unpackaged food
Thurs: Energy-unplug, turn it off, power down, go off the grid.
Fri: Water– turn off the faucet, run water gently, soak the dishes, sponge-bathe, flush less, recycle shower water to garden, drink tap water,
Sat: Giving back-volunteer for an environmental organization
Sun: Eco-Sabbath-for one afternoon or one hour, take a break from everything! Don’t buy anything, use any machines, switch on anything electric, answer your phone…don’t use any resources!
2. There is also the UK 10-10 Caampaign begun by Franny Armstrong, the filmmaker who made the Age of Stupid. The Guardian newspaper has taken up the campaign and posts on their website all kinds of information on carbon production with plans for individuals, schools and businesses to cut 10% of their carbon… Check their 10/10 plan below for individuals and download the list for your frig (pdf). [This plan has checkboxes to be “ticked,” or checked off, when the goal has been accomplished.]
The simplest way to tackle your 10% cut is to use the 10:10, 10-point checklist:
Here are some carbon footprint calculators for you to determine your own production of carbon in our one and only world:
Footprint calculator-how many planets does it take to support your lifestyle? (create an avatar then watch your world, and your emissions, build)
CO2 emissions calculator -how much you generate and how many trees needed to offset it.
Ecological footprint -area of land and ocean required to support your footprint.
The Nature Conservancy Carbon Footprint Calculator
Carbon footprint calculator -UK- house, car, flying, bus, lifestyle.
US Dept. of Energy -ways to save energy with vehicles, buildings, homes, industry
Electrical Energy cost calculator -cost to use lights, appliances, laundry.