My Carbon Footprint

My Carbon Footprint

It would be hard to properly figure out how to reduce my carbon footprint without even knowing what it is. So, here’s my result, at least according to one website. On Day One of my carbon “diet”, I’d classify myself as plump, but not obese. Obviously, car travel is the main culprit. It’s hard to tell much about a lifestyle from a number on a page, so let me provide a little background:

I don’t use any electricity at home. None whatsoever, except occasional batteries for a mini-TV if there’s something I don’t want to miss (and if you watch any network TV, you’ll know there isn’t much in that category these days!). Now, I do use a battery-operated PDA while at home, which I charge every few days at an internet cafe. And I also bring my laptop everywhere, often spending 6-8 hours a day plugged in somewhere or other. So when calculating my ACTUAL footprint, I’d probably have to include that secondary electricity consumption.

As for travel, I have a car, which I drive only when necessary in the city. Probably once every few days, maybe twenty miles a week. Everywhere else, my two feet do the job. However, as you can see, car travel is the single largest carbon expense listed. That’s because several times a year, I take road trips for work. On average, I calculated the distance as 1000 miles each way (2000 R/T). Given that I can’t just stop taking these trips, I figure that the fuel spent by road is still less than it would cost me to be taking an airplane and renting a car on the other end. One goal is to find a diesel car that can be converted to veggie, or eventually upgrade to a hybrid to lessen this carbon debt.

As for the rest of life, well, I shop at the thrift store and try never to buy household or personal items retail. And when I’m done with things, I try to pass them on to someone else who can use ’em. That’s my main form of recycling. I USED to recycle almost all of my waste, but my living situation right now (no kitchen) means that I eat out a lot. So waste is obviously created. Especially when eating fast food, which is a nasty habit I’ve acquired lately being always on the run. Yuck. To lessen this, I hope to construct a solar food dryer to dry fruits and carry them with me throughout the day. More tasty and earth-friendly! Also a solar oven to cook beans, veggies, and breads, which are the most yummy foods anyway, IMHO. With the money saved by doing that, I could probably afford to buy more organic and local products, too.

So there you have it. My carbon-consuming soul laid bare for the picking. How does it line up with yours? Let the diet begin!

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Cara said,

    hi! i first wanted to thank you for putting my blog [tdaait.wordpress.com] on your blogroll. i will do the same for you.
    second, i really like your blog. good work for sure.
    third, i am curious as to what you do for a living [you don’t have to say what company or anything, but what industry is more what i am interested in]? i am looking for a job as we speak and have applied to a few cool places, but for the most i am not in love with much. i mean as far as relating to my “eco” lifestyle. i have been blessed with time to find a job, which is cool, but actually finding one that is “green” is a different story. i have been talking with people into the world, asking what they do for a living and if they are living and working the “green” lifestyle. you can e-mail me, or anyone else reading this that can help with ideas or suggestions, if you feel so inclined, at girl.friday(at)inbox(dot)com!
    take care and keep kicking ass!
    cara

  2. 2

    Cara said,

    …and i live in New York City, which has it’s own unique workforce, so another reason i am asking you! 🙂

    -c

  3. 3

    solarious said,

    Thanks for the comment Cara. Yes, caring about the planet and working the nine to five don’t always seem too compatible. Here in Hollywood, there are a lot of earth-friendly organizations to choose from, but given the overwhelming influence of the media industries, they don’t get much press. I’d imagine NYC is similar in this respect. I myself gave up the standard work week a long time ago when I started making my own films. Luckily, I haven’t had to rejoin just yet. These days, I treasure hunt for a living. It’s not exactly a high-wage job, but it’s very satisfying to go into the mountains and sacred places of the world and get away from the daily pressures of city life. And it gives me a lot of time to work on solar and other research projects.

    Here are a few suggestions for your search. Many times, when profiling organizations for this blog, I find that they are based out here in LA. So I keep a file of these places, ostensibly for the purpose of eventually interviewing them for this site. However, it’s also become my “green file” of places that I would consider nurturing and progressive places to work. Should I need to rejoin the workforce, I will simply start interviewing people in these organizations in the weeks and months leading up to my transition. Then, when I do need a job, I’ll already have personal contacts in the organizations I think are doing a great service to the greater good. Who better to work for than someone you already admire?

    It sounds like you have the luxury of time in searching for the right fit, which is great. If not, I’d just apply at a temp agency for now, and request general office work. I’ve done that out here in CA, and they’re very good at keeping you busy and fed while you search for the best place for you. And this will also give you some time to build your “Extracurricular activities” section of the resume so that you become the ideal “green” candidate. If you’re interested in organic gardening, for example, you can use your free time to WOOFF (volunteer at an organic farm in your area – see my post on the topic here: https://solarious.wordpress.com/2008/03/17/organic-farming-learning-opportunities/ ) or you can join a few green groups in your area that have meetings and mention to them you are seeking eco-friendly employment. Another idea that you might find interesting is working for a foundation that awards grants. This will give you a great overview of the grant-funding process, which may allow you to put together an application yourself, for that organization or another, which will give you the funding necessary to CREATE your dream job… working for yourself toward whatever your cause-de-celebre may be. I know that a lot of these organizations work out of large cities like NYC.

    Well, these are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. I’ll email you personally with any other ideas that pop up. I greatly commend you for attempting to green every aspect of your life. Too often, people think of the hours between 9 and 5 as someone else’s, but really, every second of the day, you CAN be contributing to a green lifestyle and the health of our planet. Best of luck!

  4. 4

    […] distance trips across the country were unacceptably increasing my carbon load on the earth.  True, I still drove much less than the average American, and I shared a ride every trip across the country that I made.  But, when 45% of your emissions […]


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