Rescue Planet Earth

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?

  1. 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 : )
  2. Own no more than one car per household.
  3. 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?

  1. Heating: put on a sweater, turn the heat down 5 degrees
  2. Cooling: put in ceiling fans
  3. Community Action items: close down coal plants; replace with solar energy arrays

How far do our consumer goods travel?

  1. Buy locally made items and locally grown food (locavore)
  2. Buy second hand furniture, clothing and household goods whenever possible
  3. Pool resources: tool co-operatives, shared snowblower, shared lawn mower
  4. Minimize your wardrobe (see Laurie’s excellent article)
  5. Community Action items: Request locally made items. Bring your own bag; ban plastic bags made with petroleum; buy local

My Carbon Footprint

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

European Space Agency satellite photo of Australian fires, the blue smoke along the coastline in the center of the picture.
Rebecca Cuningham

16 thoughts on “Rescue Planet Earth

  1. Thanks for raising this most important of challenges during our lifetime. Words matter. “Global Climate Catastrophe” tell us that we the people of Earth are ALL involved and will ALL be impacted. We need a unified global response, the likes of a world war.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A very good reminder that it is up to all of us that we must ALL participate in meeting the catastrophe of climate change. This is, as President Carter said, “ the moral equivalent of war.. Let’s keep up this good effort by offering more ideas. Let me offer the suggestion to reconsider your next plane trip.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, we need a really great brainstorm to solve this one. Less plane travel helps a lot. If plane travel is unavoidable, people can purchase carbon credits. Does anyone know how that works?


  3. Great post Rebecca and great information and advise. I cannot think of a more important topic…the Earth is our home, it’s not like we have an option to move…
    All the best,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do not do nearly enough. I keep thinking, What else? I keep the heat down and wear layers. I try to consolidate car-dependent errands and bring reusable bags to the market. I drive a hybrid. Often I use soap bars for dish washing and not detergent in plastic. I stopped buying many of the plastic jugs one gets, instead buying powdered detergent in boxes and milk in cardboard cartoons. Most laundry gets washed in cold water. I get ideas online from @plasticfreehackney (Instagram) and @1millionwomen (Twitter). I hope to do much, much more.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. True Rebecca, we need to review and revise our footprint.
    As much as I do, I feel that it is not sufficient.
    Thankfully, we have instilled understanding in our children and they continue to guide us.
    When I hear people say that, there is no climate crisis, I want to scream in frustration at their ignorance and head in the sand behaviour.

    Liked by 1 person

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