Portland Needs CRAGs, not Craigslist

Don’t get me wrong; I think Craigslist is cool. But I’ve recently learned from the Business of Green blog about CRAGs, which I think are even cooler.

CRAGs are Carbon Rationing Action Groups, active mostly in the United Kingdom, so far. People join to become mutually supportive and accountable about lightening their carbon footprint.

Why do I find this so relevant? All my experience tells me that it’s only when you watch and measure a thing that you reduce it. (A household’s financial spending is one good example.) And the average carbon footprint in the U.S. , roughly 18,000 tons, is about twice that in the U.K., and four times that which CRAG folks generally set as their goal.

Thor’s and my electricity bill shows us our electricity consumption is 53% of the norm in our area. But we don’t have any measuring stick for our transportation emissions, nor any idea of what our green friends’ overall carbon footprints are in relation to ours. Friendly competition can be a fun and healthy thing.

Here are my next steps: I’m going to talk about starting a CRAG with folks at the Alice B. Toeclips bicycling awards event tonight, and my Green Girls dinner group next weekend, and with my new ski-trip friends when we next get together. And I’ll report back within early April about how the CRAG idea is coming along.

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4 Responses to “Portland Needs CRAGs, not Craigslist”


  1. 1 Colleen March 26, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    CRAGs, how cool. Even the name sounds cool. In the spirit of friendly competition — if you don’t mind sharing — how much electricity use is 53 percent of average in Portland? I’d love to know, compare it to ours, and see if we can match it …

  2. 2 Sue March 30, 2008 at 4:07 am

    Sounds as cool as carbon offsets but just as hard to understand. Will look forward to hearing more from you this weekend!


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