/ Individual footprints, How do you help to reduce your carbon?

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Gaffalynch - on 14 Nov 2012
Hmmm, we all waste food, drive to much and make little thing worse by not looking after are carbon footprint. what do you do to reduce your output?

This is a few of the things I am doing...

Unplug all chargers when charged (Mobile, Laptop ect)
Reduce my rubbish by 10% by recycling.
Car share
Remove all the kit from my car boot
Eat less fast food
Reduce my weekly car travel by biking, walking.
tlm - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:
> Hmmm, we all waste food, drive to much and make little thing worse by not looking after are carbon footprint. what do you do to reduce your output?

I had no children, which will drive mine down to zero once I die...
tlm - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

What do you do with the money that you save by doing these things?
Daithi O Murchu - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:
> Hmmm, we all waste food, drive to much and make little thing worse by not looking after are carbon footprint. what do you do to reduce your output?
>
> This is a few of the things I am doing...
>
> Unplug all chargers when charged (Mobile, Laptop ect)
> Reduce my rubbish by 10% by recycling.
> Car share
> Remove all the kit from my car boot
> Eat less fast food
> Reduce my weekly car travel by biking, walking.

Ido some of the things that you do and some others ( i cant car share - but take train to work each day)

but will it make any difference other than easing the cost of your life

what 60odd million do in the UK is meaningless compared to the activities of industry in India, China, Indonesia, Brasil
Ramblin dave - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Daithi O Murchu:
> (In reply to Plan Airborne)
> [...]

> what 60odd million do in the UK is meaningless compared to the activities of industry in India, China, Indonesia, Brasil

But on the flipside, where are India, China, Indonesia and Brazil going to get any political will to change if they can see the people who've already got rich off screwing up the environment swanning around like there's no problem?

This kind of attitude really depresses me, to be honest...
Daithi O Murchu - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> (In reply to Daithi O Murchu)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> But on the flipside, where are India, China, Indonesia and Brazil going to get any political will to change if they can see the people who've already got rich off screwing up the environment swanning around like there's no problem?
>
> This kind of attitude really depresses me, to be honest...

yeah me too,

sorry to point it out but our output of carbon globally is juts going to go up and up, and folk no matter where they are are , especially in developing countries, will be looking out for themselves because the examples they get from their political leaders is just that,


AJM - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Ramblin dave:

It always strikes me as a tragedy of the commons scenario really, it's probably in everyone's best interest to curb things but individually for most people it's not in their interest if other people don't. With no effective power to enforce compliance on other countries it's difficult to see how we will manage to unite on a solution unless we somehow develop the ability to work together as a species rather than as tribal bands, which we have spectacularly failed at so far in our history.
mutt - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

ignoring all the pessimistic miseries above ....

1. Installed 3.4 kwp photovoltaic cells on the roof,
2. Use all the powerful domestic appliances only during the day when I don't draw from the national grid.
3. Work from home 3 days a week
4. Share lifts to work on 1 day a week
5. cycle to work 1 day a week.
6. became vegetarian
7. limit what I buy, preferring to enjoy the money I earn on services rather than materials

things I don't do that would make a difference.

1. Get rid of my car - actually I bought a big engined diesel with reasonable emissions.
2. Stop flying, although I usually on fly short haul once a year.

things that I don't do that would make the situation worse

1. use the fact that other peoples actions aren't as environmentally friendly as they could be to excuse myself of the responsibility to live sustainably
2. read one blog/newspaper article and shout off about how environmental scientists are all fooling themselves/corrupt/stupid

Tall Clare - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

Things I do do:
work from home
Haven't flown this year (in reality this is because I'm broke, not noble)
Am on a 'don't buy any clothes for a year' thing (see above)
Turn lights off in the house
Keep turning the thermostat down when my partner turns it up
Try to avoid using my car where possible (see parentheses above)
Don't eat fast food (cos it's mostly grim)
Recycle

Things I don't do:
Avoid supermarkets
Get rid of my car - it feels like a lifeline at the moment and I live in a reasonably sticks-ish place

Can I introduce the term 'eco-slobbery' to the thread - where you do the ecologically sound thing because it's the easiest thing to do? That's me.
Daithi O Murchu - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to mutt:
> (In reply to Plan Airborne)
>

>
> 1. use the fact that other peoples actions aren't as environmentally friendly as they could be to excuse myself of the responsibility to live sustainably

oh go f**k yourself!


Sustainably of course
mutt - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Daithi O Murchu:
> (In reply to mutt)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> oh go f**k yourself!
>
>
> Sustainably of course

:) likes

yorkshireman - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Daithi O Murchu:

I spent 15 years living in London, with no car, cycling/running to work etc. I think it was a more efficient 'per capita' way to live. Since last year, we've moved to the country and have bought a car, and live in a much much bigger house so in some ways our footprint has gone up but is balanced out in other ways.

Pros:
1. I work from home. Conference calls/video conferencing.
2. Only use the car a couple of times per week
3. Wood pellet boiler for central heating
4. We grow our own veg, and compost a lot. Cook a lot with local produce from markets.
5. No children
6. I live in France, so most of my electricity is nuclear.

Cons:
1. I work from home - so I have to travel to other countries by train, air and car every couple of weeks
2. When I do use the car, its for longer journies than usual (50km round trip to supermarket, 320km round trip to airport)
3. House insulation isnt so great - we're working on it.
4. We eat meat, fairly wasteful use of resources on a global scale.
5. We have a dog and three cats - their food consumes a lot protein which is resource intensive to raise.
6. I live in France, so most of my electricity is nuclear.
Tall Clare - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

Ah - I can add two cats to my carbon footprint (one of whom emits a lot of methane), and whilst I don't have children of my own, I've acquired two exceptionally resource-intensive ones on a part-time basis.
yorkshireman - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

The water we use for our veg plot is mountain meltw*ter diverted into our village fountain and then availble (via 150m of hoseipe) for my sprinkler - so that saves a lot of energy.

Also, our wood pellets come from the sawmill in the village, which sources trees from our local (sustainably managed) forest.

Oh, and a lot of my beer comes from our village microbrewery (well every little helps!)
tom_in_edinburgh - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:
>
> This is a few of the things I am doing...
> Eat less fast food

Why is there an assumption that eating less fast food will reduce your carbon footprint and/or food waste? Fast food may be less healthy but that is a separate issue.

My observations are that my family throws out far more food waste when we buy fresh food than when we buy packaged meals. A packaged meal goes in the fridge and is an exact one person portion eaten completely before its sell by date. Fresh vegetables are bought and half the time chucked out because nobody has the time/inclination to prepare them after a days work and they go off before they are used, it is also harder to manage portion sizes and quite often too many are prepared leading to waste.

It's also not clear to me that it costs more carbon to ship fresh vegetables to consumers to prepare themselves in their own kitchen than shipping them to an factory near the point of production and then shipping the finished food to the consumer. A packaged meal weighs less than the raw ingredients to create it so will cost less energy to distribute packaged food than fresh food. A factory will probably be more energy efficient and have more scope for efficient use of ingredients and recycling waste than a domestic kitchen.

Tall Clare - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

What if you grow your own vegetables in your garden?
yorkshireman - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Its not just the food - ready meals and fast food have a huge amount of artificial preservatives, flavours and vitamins etc added. If you've ever been to a Chinese vitamin C factory you would appreciate the environmental impact this stuff has.

You don't need all that crap in freshly cooked food of course.
Daithi O Murchu - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to mutt:
> (In reply to Daithi O Murchu)
> [...]
>
> :) likes

yeah, good, hey you pushed my buttons earlier,

apologies for the snap,

i do do my bit but still think were on a downward spiral

enjoy your quorn :)
hokkyokusei - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

Good things:
I don't own a car (borrow/hire when I need one).
Run/cycle/train to work.
Work at work so I don't have to heat my house through the day (in fact I hardly ever heat the house - I prefer to put a jumper on).
Never waste food.
Eating less meat (recently spent a month eating veggie & costing just 96p/day).
Get my electricity from LoCO2 Energy.
Recycle glass and plastic.

Bad things:
Don't recycle cardboard and metals.
Occasional international travel.
tom_in_edinburgh - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> What if you grow your own vegetables in your garden?

If you apply that solution to everyone, so everyone has a house with a garden big enough to grow their own food, then people couldn't live in high density cities. The result would be more energy use per person and less productive work per person because skilled people would need to devote some of their time to the growing food rather than work which used their specialist skills.
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Tall Clare - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

Fact still remains that dingding food is grimmer than fresh food :-)
Timmd on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to tom_in_edinburgh)
>
> Fact still remains that dingding food is grimmer than fresh food :-)

Aye, it does. You can grow tomatos and things without having a garden too, I think you can grow quite a lot of veg in pots and tubs, afaik from half listening to Gardener's Question Time. With balconies and roof gardens people can grow some of thier own food.
jkarran - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to AJM:

> It always strikes me as a tragedy of the commons scenario really, it's probably in everyone's best interest to curb things but individually for most people it's not in their interest if other people don't. With no effective power to enforce compliance on other countries it's difficult to see how we will manage to unite on a solution unless we somehow develop the ability to work together as a species rather than as tribal bands, which we have spectacularly failed at so far in our history.

Surely that's the point of the (so far rather faltering) schemes to create markets in 'carbon credits' and the like. If there are fortunes to be made in doing what's good for everyone then even the most cynical and exploitative will turn their attentions to it. Of course the problem is they will initially go for the low hanging fruit by exploiting the loopholes and otherwise continuing as before.

We'll not reduce our polluting until it becomes personally unaffordable not to do so by which point it'll be too little too late. Sadly I can't help thing tlm has the right idea :(
jk
Timmd on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

As if by magic, google appears*. (:-))

http://www.google.co.uk/#hl=en&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&q=growing+vegetables+in+pots...

*Typed with Mister Ben in mind and 'As if by magic, a shop keeper appears'...
tlm - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

I just don't get how half of these things actually have a real green effect?

For example, you might carshare. That means that you use less petrol. Which saves you money. So what happens to that saved money? Do you throw it away? Do you use it to plant a tree? Usually, people just spend the money that they save on some other none green stuff instead....

I think there are some things which do make a difference, for example, getting electricity from a greener supplier, or making sure that products are biodegradable. Things that don't particularly free up any money to spend on other stuff...
MeMeMe - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Plan Airborne)
>
> I just don't get how half of these things actually have a real green effect?
>
> For example, you might carshare. That means that you use less petrol. Which saves you money. So what happens to that saved money? Do you throw it away? Do you use it to plant a tree? Usually, people just spend the money that they save on some other none green stuff instead....

Maybe, maybe not. I suspect that if you car share for green reasons then you'll take the environment into account in your purchase decisions too.
If you car share simply because it's cheaper then you're probably right, you'll just spend the extra money on non-green stuff instead.

I don't think yours is a strong argument for not doing these things, at worst people spend money on other non-green stuff, at best they consider the environmental impact of all their spending. On average a net improvement for the environment.

>
> I think there are some things which do make a difference, for example, getting electricity from a greener supplier, or making sure that products are biodegradable. Things that don't particularly free up any money to spend on other stuff...

That helps too.

GROWLER - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:
Why bother?
If you are doing it to save money then OK.
If you are doing it to prevent climate change then you are deluded.
If you are doing it as a reaction to the nonesense culture which bombards us daily then well done.
If you are doing it to impress 'eco-aware females', yes I can see the plan there...
Why do you not brew your own beer and capture the fermentation gases?
Every little helps....
GROWLER - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:
My wife says farti*g is just as important as fermentation gases but I told her rude words are not allowed on mountaineering forumae.
jimtitt - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

Pro-I run the most environmentally correct climbing equipment company in the world.
Con- IŽm flying to Las Vegas in the morning, weŽll see how energy saving bulbs have worked over there!
yorkshireman - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to Plan Airborne)
>
> I just don't get how half of these things actually have a real green effect?

Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean it doesn't happen.

> For example, you might carshare. That means that you use less petrol. Which saves you money. So what happens to that saved money? Do you throw it away? Do you use it to plant a tree? Usually, people just spend the money that they save on some other none green stuff instead....

Possibly.

However, if car sharing became more commonplace, there would be signifcant impacts in.

* less fuel burned (obviously, you mentioned that)
* fewer cars built and sold - therefore less steel, plastic and electronic components created and shipped around the world.
* less traffic on the roads, meaning fewer new motorways and roads being built, less road maintenance being required - all that concrete is hugely polluting.
* less congestion, meaning the traffic on the roads is burning the fuel more efficiently

Your points about getting energy from a green supplier is fair enough - I used to do that when the option was availble to me. But it obscures the issue, and makes people think its OK to carry on consuming so long as you pay for a green tariff, and maybe deciding other steps aren't therefore important, when the only long-term sustainable solution is going to be a per-captia decrease in human consumption.
Eric9Points - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

Why not run through a carbon footprint calculator, it might give you a few ideas of where you can cut down on CO2 emissions. Is your house well insulated and draught proofed? Are you careful about the heating?

http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx

Morgan Woods - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

oi what have you got against harmless, non-toxic, life giving carbon?
tlm - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to yorkshireman:

I understand the benefits of car sharing.

However, the 'carbon' saved becomes money in people's banks.

If you still spend the money elsewhere, rather than simply throwing the money away, then you are simply moving your carbon use from petrol, cars etc into whatever you buy instead with the money.

There are SOME things that you can spend money on that don't create carbon, but not many. I gave some of the examples that I could think of...

At the end of the day, the only real way for people to live in a sustainable way is to have less people, and for each person to overall use less stuff, not to not use one thing but end up using more of another thing instead...
gritrash0 - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm: ...and live in a society whose economy is not based on a model of endless exponential growth. I believe our current woes are in part caused by the 'greening' of our economy. Spend, borrow, waste and consume and we thrive.
Tall Clare - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:
> (In reply to yorkshireman)
>
> I understand the benefits of car sharing.
>
> However, the 'carbon' saved becomes money in people's banks.
>
> If you still spend the money elsewhere, rather than simply throwing the money away, then you are simply moving your carbon use from petrol, cars etc into whatever you buy instead with the money.
>
> There are SOME things that you can spend money on that don't create carbon, but not many. I gave some of the examples that I could think of...

You could offset by buying a carbon bike :-)

tlm - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to Tall Clare:

> You could offset by buying a carbon bike :-)

or coal sculptures....

Tall Clare - on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to tlm:

Can't ride a coal sculpture to work :-)
Padraig on 14 Nov 2012
In reply to GROWLER:
> (In reply to Plan Airborne)
> Why bother?
> If you are doing it to save money then OK.
> If you are doing it to prevent climate change then you are deluded.

This pretty much sums it up for me as well.
I've read ALL the stihe by posters on this topic over the last 10 years on UKC. (Recently?, Planet Airborne, Ben Drivel & subalpine spring to mind) And I've NOT read anything to persuade me to change my way of doing things. In fact, if anything, it makes me want to switch on a few extra lights and book a few flights just for the hell of it! I'm selfish, oh, and I don't give a fUKC!

Jim Fraser - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

Never have left things on standby unless I have measured the power levels and they are low.
Always (1978) recorded all car actions and use fuel consumption as principal driving quality and maintenance indicator.
Always had low waste levels. Bin goes out once a month, maybe less.
Design and construction background in renewables.
Helicopters ... oops. I think there might be a problem here with my size 13 prints.
SCrossley on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:
I assume you know this but the average UK carbon footprint in CO2 tonnes is circa 10 tonnes and in the US it is circa 20 tonnes and the amount that is susatinable if everyone in the world had an equal share is circa 2 tonnes, so you may find it inteesting to use a Carbon calculator http://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx to see what your footprint is and how you could reduce it. I have not used this carbon calculator myself but it should work ok, my footprint is circa 8 tonnes.
Personally I am a Climate Change pessimist and beleive that ultimately the Human race is too selfish to avoid a major extintion event.
Cheers sjc
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teflonpete - on 15 Nov 2012
In reply to Plan Airborne:

I've used a carbon calculator and my footprint comes out around the average UK 10 tonne mark. I've got the house insulated and a grade A rated boiler with efficient heating controls but what I save there is offset by driving an average 70 miles a day on my own in the car. I used to have a diesel car that did 60 mpg but had to get a larger one that does 50 mpg now, although I use it for less social travel than I used to. I'm careful with water usage and don't spend much on consumer goods and clothing in general. I don't leave things on standby other than my laptop as that's a major PITA to restart. Reducing my carbon footprint from energy usage is as much about saving money as reducing carbon to be honest. I could do more and intend to.

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