I've been sort of promising myself that I'd do a series of posts on saving energy and the like. It's difficult, because when I'm stressed I find it very hard to deal with comments from climate change deniers.
I'm not sure if there are any reading my journal these days, but if you are, just consider this a series of posts on how to save money. Almost anything that helps reduce carbon emissions has good chances of saving money as well.
It's the Paris conference now. Whatever governments decide is unlikely to be enough to save us from a 2C rise in temperature by the end of the century. It may/may not be enough to save us from a 4C rise.
I have a granddaughter. This is the world she will inherit.
Governments alone cannot do it, but if we all act as individuals, then it becomes possible.
When did you last look at your carbon footprint?
There's a calculator here.
According to the calculator, I need 1.72 planets to maintain my lifestyle. However, there are some assumptions in the model that probably mean I'm a bit lower than that. In particular, our household uses very little hot water (there was no question of how often you bath/shower/etc). We also have solar panels (which don't generate masses but help a bit) and get all our electricity from renewable sources. (About 5% of our gas is renewable and Ecotricity hope to increase that over time)
I've just realised that I didn't factor in food grown on the allotment, so that will be a small gain as well.
I doubt I can ever get down to one planet, but I'm ahead of most of my friends.
The main reason is very simple, I haven't been on a plane since 2002.
I looked at the environmental cost and I quit. (I used to go to SF conventions in America, and I still miss the friends I made there)
Just one flight across the Atlantic emits as much CO2 per person as a typical year's driving.
I know many people (especially those with family overseas, for whom it's a particularly hard choice) who live very green lifestyles, but who continue flying. It's the environmental cost people try to overlook, and there's enormous social pressure to overlook it.
I have one friend who did attempt to give it up, and was pushed back into it by social pressure from friends.
Because the hard fact is that your friends will feel you're trying to guilt-trip them and they only way they can prevent that is by telling you that you're silly, that the plane will fly anyway, that you can offset the emissions, etc.
The truth is that the plane will use less fuel if you aren't on it (or won't fly at all if enough people decide not to go) and that carbon offsetting is often deeply flawed (I'll explain why if you want me to) and in any case does not remove the CO2 that you have emitted for that flight.
This is why I hate to post on environmental issues. My friends get unhappy. If I post about how to save energy with a new boiler, then no problem, but when it comes to flying, the vast majority of my friends fly, and those who have also chosen not to tend to keep quiet for exactly the same reasons that I do.
But, I have Oswin to think of. And millions of other little Oswins with friends and family who love them. I want them to have a future. I don't want them to inherit a world with droughts, erratic water supplies, ruined soils, pollution, extreme weather, vanished wildlife.
I'm not an environmentalist because I hate people.
I'm an environmentalist because I love people.