We’re wading into the topic slowly, first calling it global warming, then calling it climate change. But are those terms really urgent enough? Delayed action won’t prevent ice caps from melting, oceans rising, and Australia burning. The phrase we use must convey the dire consequences of doing nothing and the fundamental baseline shift required of us.
How about framing the problem as our Global Climate Catastrophe? That sounds like a crisis we need to do something about immediately. Or, we could call it Self-Imposed Armageddon. Floods, famine, fatality, it fits. As Dr. King would say, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” (person/they/they)
Every person on earth must review their use of natural resources, especially those of U.S. who consume the most of them. How can we reverse the course of our Global Climate Catastrophe? Let’s examine our daily fossil fuel use in transportation, housing, and consumer goods, also known as our carbon footprint. Redefining our consumption hits the population of the United States right where it lives, our admiration for an excess of material things.
How do you commute?
- For us to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, we need to replace our single occupant gas consuming vehicles with one of the following: feet, bicycle, bus, train, electric car, carpool (or a boat if you live in Venice : )
- Own no more than one car per household.
- Community action items: press for better public transportation in your city, walk any trip up to six blocks, digital meetings to avoid plane travel
How much energy does your household use?
- Heating: put on a sweater, turn the heat down 5 degrees
- Cooling: put in ceiling fans
- Community Action items: close down coal plants; replace with solar energy arrays
How far do our consumer goods travel?
- Buy locally made items and locally grown food (locavore)
- Buy second hand furniture, clothing and household goods whenever possible
- Pool resources: tool co-operatives, shared snowblower, shared lawn mower
- Minimize your wardrobe (see Laurie’s excellent article)
- Community Action items: Request locally made items. Bring your own bag; ban plastic bags made with petroleum; buy local
My Carbon Footprint
- Here in Madison our household owns one car, an electric hybrid (Chevy Volt) charged with energy from renewable resources (an option from our utility). We use exclusively electric energy for our daily city driving unless it’s below 32 F/0 C, then the car is heated using gas. Eagle and I bicycle for transportation several days a week during temperate weather. I often walk or cycle to the grocery store. I’d like to rally support for light rail in Madison.
- We keep our house heated to 64 F/18 C in the winter. We use many fans during the summer and one air conditioning unit for days over 80 F/27 C. However, we have a gas dryer, water heater and stove; perhaps electric would be a better choice? We could better insulate our home to reduce our energy use.
- We keep canvas grocery bags in our car and I keep a collapsible bag in my purse. Our food purchases revolve around our neighborhood grocery co-operative which is dedicated to selling local produce. In the summer, we go maxi-local and grow vegetables, raspberries and strawberries in our garden. I adore thrift shopping for clothes, furniture, books, and kitchen items. Although I buy from our local stores, my downfall consumer choice carbon-wise is online shopping. I like the easy price comparisons and the array of options that aren’t available in our small town.
Which steps have you taken to reduce your carbon footprint?
What are your ideas for how we can lessen our impact on the earth?
Gracias for reading Fake Flamenco! ¡Olé! –Rebecca