Thursday, October 8, 2015

Personal Carbon Reduction: Becoming the Coolest Carbon Reductionist Around

I read the news recently with great excitement - Shell is pulling out of the Arctic. Whether they truly figured out it's not worth it for them or because a whole lot of people were protesting to tell them what a phenomenally bad idea it is really does not matter. The bottom line is that a lot of carbon will remain buried deep in the earth and the potential for environmental disaster up there is drastically lower. Thank you, Shell. Thank you, protesters. Thank You, Lord.

I don't have a good label for myself in this whole eco obsession. I strongly believe that climate change is real, is man-made, and is primarily caused by releasing carbon into our atmosphere. I guess I'm a non-carbonist. Maybe I'm a carbon reductionist. It's probably easier to say I'm an environmnentalist. I've never met a non-carbonist. Of course, I don't meet many environmentalists around here either. I also don't run across many local people who are working at Personal Carbon Reduction. It's why I get excited when I see any electric vehicle running around town.
So,where do I focus my non-carbonist efforts? Broad focus is pretty easy. The biggest areas of carbon release are transportation and energy production. So the broad answers are easier too. Adopt carbon-neutral transportation and adopt carbon-neutral energy production. Ride a bike and get some solar panels. Done.
It all sounds good until I decide to snack on a South American apple. Now it all goes out the window. My apple flew in from South America. Or it rode in on a boat. Then it hopped on a train or a big diesel truck. By purchasing that apple, I tell the world that I support that plane flight, boat/train/truck ride provided that I get a tasty apple in the off season. Screw you, world! I have an apple.
The coolest guy in my neighborhood is a 91-year-old man who spends a great deal of time volunteering for a hospice organization and tending the sixteen or so fruit trees in his yard. He is very happy to share the fruits and always shows interest in the people who live near him. He walks slowly but he is phenomenally quick to forgive and accept. Did I mention that he is always happy to share the fruit?
Fruit can be canned, preserved, frozen, dried. etc. What this means is that fruit grown a few houses away can be ready to eat all year long, and that fruit doesn't require any carbon-fueled transportation beyond human endeavor.
I keep asking questions lately about becoming better a carbon reductionist. I flip-flop between high-tech green solutions (like solar panels and electric cars) and low-tech green (like gardening, canning, and bicycling) when I should be focusing on green integration to fit the needs we have regardless of high-tech or low-tech. I also need to look at eliminating the non-green practices we have in our home. I think the best place to start might be an apprenticeship with a 91-year-old man who walks by my house often. Maybe some day I can be the coolest guy in the neighborhood.
May your accomplishments be selfless, positive, powerful, and inspiring.
As always, I thank you for taking time to read this blog!