Steaming hot Iceland

Iceland’s ‘walking’ pylons
I want us to follow Iceland’s ‘walking’ pylons. We don’t have to wait until 2030 for clean electricity; it’s here, right now. Let’s go for it whilst there’s still time.                  [Photo by the FreeDictionary]
USING CarbonFootprint.Com to calculate my footprint made me realize that eating in or eating out, buying second-hand clothing instead of new, or buying food that isn’t packaged (or has very little packaging), makes a real difference to my impact on the environment. No other carbon calculator that I know of takes these factors into account.

The other thing I really like about this tool is that the first thing it asks is which country I live in. This is very relevant, particularly when it comes to calculating my impact from electricity usage.

If you live in a country like Iceland, where they generate 100% of their electricity with renewables (75% from large hydro, and 25% from geothermal) your carbon footprint from electricity consumption is zero.

By contrast, if you live in a country like Poland or China, where a high percentage of electricity is generated from burning coal, your carbon footprint from your usage of electricity will probably be huge.

What can you do about it?

We’re cooking ourselves

 

WHY worry? Somebody asked me this morning why I’m so concerned about climate change. I surprised them by saying I’m not worried about climate change, I’m worried about global warming. And it’s with good reason.

The year 2015 was the hottest since records began, and that makes it the hottest year, not only since records began, but since the last inter-glacial period 11,300 years ago. And some scientists say you have to go back even further, to the Paleocene Thermal Maximum, 56 million years ago, to find temperatures that equal what we are in the process of creating.

So, yes, we have had hot periods and we’ve had cold periods and, according to NASA, these changes are attributable to tiny variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives. And, there’s nothing we can do about it, right?

Altruism by fax

Delivery vans emit CO₂ and carcinogens

 

SOMETIMES, the choices I make seem huge. For example,  choosing whether to give my carbon emissions a boost by flying back to Boston for my next courses, or do them online without flying anywhere –– it’s a tough one. I like Boston.

Fortunately, most decisions I have to make are really rather small, but they add up to make a significant part of my carbon footprint over time.

Today is an example. The bank in Singapore wants me to fill in a form applying for a new security device. They know I don’t have a fax machine and that it costs me $US3 per page to fax them from the local print shop. So they offer to collect the form by courier. It’s up to me.

How can this choice affect my carbon footprint?

Continue reading

Going cold turkey on my fridge

my footprint is too big

CRIPES, it’s a new year! I’ve got to do something about my carbon footprint. Depending on which calculator I use, it’s been between three tonnes and seven tonnes CO₂ for a couple of years now, and that’s not good enough.

So I’ve decided to try and take refrigeration out of the picture. That would be difficult enough even if I was living in the cold climes of the Northern hemisphere, but it’s not so easy if you’re living in Thailand where the temperature never drops below boiling!

At the moment my fridge is full of my usual stuff – tofu, vegetables, pots of custard, cooked chickpeas, water, fruit, garlic etc. – and I’m worried that much of it will spoil if I just switch the power off and start living without refrigeration.

But I’m going to give it a shot, starting tomorrow!