Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Greening of America

Ever since the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change announced in February that human activity drives global warming, I've paid close attention to the global response. I think the international political response has been generally positive, but inadequate in so many ways.

I've always thought of myself as an amateur environmentalist. I love & appreciate the natural environment, I've made cursory stabs at consistent recycling, and I'm completely anal about turning off lights when you are not using them. I've filled in many, many form letters to senators and large corporations to protest drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, support higher standards for fuel emissions, etc. However, I am fully aware that there is much more that I can do.

Today's email brought a note from Daily Candy, advocating one of the newest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. It's called TerraPass & the basic idea is similar to the idea that allowed this year's Superbowl to be "carbon neutral." From TerraPass' website:

"The first step you can take to fight global warming is to reduce your carbon footprint through conservation. Drive less. Turn down the thermostat. Buy locally produced goods.
Then use TerraPass to reduce your carbon footprint all the way to zero.

When you buy a TerraPass, your money funds renewable energy projects such as wind farms. These projects result in verified reductions in greenhouse gas pollution. And these reductions counterbalance your own emissions."

For $79.95, I can buy a "Road Tripper" driving pass, which offsets up to 20,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide. This is about the amount that my Jeep produces in one year. If that seems a bit steep, $29.95 will offset 2,309 lbs. of CO2, which is about 1.5 road trips to my family's summer home on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Or, just $9.95 will buy a TerraPass designed to offset the 2,386 lbs. of CO2 that my recent round-trip flight to Edinburgh produced. You see where I'm going with this? The possibilities are endless.

For more ideas on how to "green" your travel, your home, and your life, check out the "Green Blogs" heading I've added to the blogroll!


Sarah said...

Adam and I were actually talking about ways we could be more "green" last night. We committed to buying canvas bags and using those for grocery shopping, and reusing glass jars/plastic containers for leftovers. It's tiny steps, I know, but a move in the right direction. Every little bit helps, right?

kate.d. said...

the best thing anyone can do to fight global warming, in my humble opinion, is to get political. send the form letters, sign the petitions, call your congresspeople, pay attention to proposed bills related to climate change and advocate for the good ones (and fight against the bad ones!). for instance, my nonprofit is currently fighting for a comprehensive 4Ps act (four pollutants - sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury and carbon dioxide), which will be critical in forcing power plants, etc to stop pumping these things into the air in astonishing amounts.

because at the end of the day, greening our own lives is nice, but our impact is a drop in the bucket compared to the amount of pollution created and perpetuated by big corporate entities.

hetherjw said...

My favorite part of the TerraPass program is that for $20 less you can offset 77 more lbs of CO2. At least according to your post. What a great and magical program.

My snark aside buying your way to carbon neutral is an okay first step on the way to using less energy and pushing for more sustainable forms of production.

Sarah said...

I don't know if it's just my biased foriegner view, but the UK seems to have a start at 'greening' the country. I just notice at places like the grocery stores, where each one is selling canvas bags to use instead of plastic. Also some charge 1p or for each plastic bag. In any case, it's great to spread the word, and try in any form to make an impact!