Posts Tagged 'carbon footprint'

Sustainability Round-Up

Today’s post is a round-up of my recent mini-discoveries on important aspects of sustainability.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our country needs more people working in sustainability. Towards that end, I just learned that Oregon State University offers a sustainability certificate online. (If I didn’t already have an advanced degree, I would seriously consider getting an online certificate in sustainability.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

People often wonder about sustainability assessment tools and the triple bottom line. Well, the triple bottom line is people, planet and profit — the idea is to hold all three important, not only profit (that’s how so many messes get made). Another way it’s often expressed is ecology, economy and equity — the basis for 3E Strategies, a great organization in Central Oregon founded and directed by Cylvia Hayes, a person I deeply respect.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sustainability in the automotive industry: Of my current 71 posts, the most-read by far is Our Next Car: Prius Or Honda Hybrid? It’s not my personal favorite since I believe cars (any cars) are best put on a diet. But in fairness to the many readers who are clearly interested, here is a link to research on sustainability in the automotive industry.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

How to shrink our carbon footprint? This is what the Diamond Cut-Life really comes down to, i.e. crafting a hihh quality of life with a low carbon footprint. Click here to calculate your current footprint and here for a series of posts providing my real-life examples of how to reduce our carbon footprint.

Advertisements

Our Portland CRAG Launches!

Last night five friends of mine, new and old, got together at Colleen and Thad’s house in NE Portland. We had wine, a delicious potluck dinner and animated-to-hilarious planning of our Carbon Action Reduction Group.

Honestly, it would have been fun and funny even without the wine. The four sled dogs milling around our legs added a lot to the happy hubbub. Bottom line: We’re going to do it! We’re responding to global warming by measuring our households’ carbon footprints and working together to control and reduce them. This is the basic spreadsheet each household will use.

Probably because I was the initial instigator, I get to be the group’s ‘accountant’ in the first year. I accepted this role only because Ewan O’Leary, who is starting his own carbon-offset business, is going to help me. (I love teamwork.) We are naturally open to new members: please post a comment at top of this article if you’re interested.

If you are sitting there thinking you are definitely not ready for this CRAG thing yourself, don’t feel alone. Here is what some of my friends said at the prospect. And I am absolutely still friends with them; I’m even going hiking with Micki tonight. I do believe, though, that my frequent-commenter Mick down in Berkeley is thinking about starting a CRAG, himself. Hope he’ll keep us posted. 🙂

Morning Tea and Power to the People

This morning I submerged a jasmine tea bag into the hot water inside my lovely little blue mug that I bought from a local potter years ago. I’ve done this most mornings for years, but today I suddenly thought to put a little saucer across the top of the mug while the tea steeps.

Why? Because I’ve learned that heat is so costly to the earth. Even here in Portland Oregon — the land of mighty rivers and hydropower — more than 40% of our energy comes from coal, the burning of which accelerates global warming. Heating water takes a lot of energy. Covering it once it’s hot is common sense, and shows respect for the price the earth is paying.

Now I’m sipping my jasmine tea, both tea and mug delightfully warmer than when they sit uncovered while steeping. It seems to me that life has dozens of these choice-points each day. Dozens of chances to be in the moment and respect the earth by consuming less energy. We have more power than we walk around imagining we have.

Secret Lover, Secret Watchdog

The casual observer takes me for a mainstream professional in my 40’s. My secret identity as a passionate lover of public transit is revealed below for the first time.

My household’s single car is a well-worn, two-door 1993 Nissan Sentra. Paid for many years ago, our investment fund is now as plump as its floor-mats are thin. It sits humbly unused most days as we gallivant around on TriMet. (Our only burglary happened on a rare weekday I had taken the car on errands. The empty driveway seemed to signal nobody was home. Lesson: our car is most valuable as a watchdog.)

TriMet equals physical vitality for me. When I step off the bus or Max my legs are my locomotion to my final destination, strong and springy under my body. I am fit; I walk miles every week.

TriMet for me equals civic engagement. I brush shoulders with people from all income levels and backgrounds– and observe they pose no threat to me. I’ve logged thousands of miles using transit without incident or accident.

Most significantly, TriMet reduces my carbon footprint in the face of global warming. It lets me be a secret activist as well as a secret lover.