Friday, June 20, 2008

What are you doing to fight global warming?

What a hostile choice of words, isn't it. Fighting global warming. But then other words seem to be just as belligerent such as "Combating global warming" or "tackling global warming". I have to admit it does have those nice action verbs that jump off the screen. Perhaps a different tack such as "living more carbon efficient" or "recycling our better goodness" But I digress, the reason for the headline is that is the headline from the "Freakonomics" installment that asks a few noted individuals what they are doing to fight (the NYT's word not mine) global warming. Some highlights;

Yoram Bauman, environmental economist at the University of Washington:

Top of the list: One year ago my girlfriend and I started shacking up together. (Yes she told me to say that, and in all honesty it probably is the most important thing we’ve done.) Just for the record though, I think she’s going too far in arguing that she should get carbon offsets for taking birth control pills.

Ed Begley Jr.

Saving energy and saving money — I can’t think of two better reasons to do this. Another thing I’m doing now is riding my bike again. Two years ago I got so busy with TV and the theater that I stopped riding my bike. Now, I have a new hybrid electric bike from IZip called The Express and I’m riding it multiple days per week as transportation, as well as for fitness and for traffic reduction here in smoggy and congested L.A. I’m really committed to riding a bike again and I hope I’m leading by example and more people will follow.

John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist.

How concerned are you about global warming?

I think about climate change in the same way that I worry about my house catching fire. Even if I am not 100 percent sure that it is going to happen, its ramifications are awful enough for me to justify spending a lot of “insurance” money now to stop it.

So I'm going to change the conversation to "what are you doing to fight global warming?" to "what do you do to live more cleanly?" Why? Because global warming, resource depletion, pollution, everything are byproducts of being wasteful. If CO2 gases are responsible, why are they produced? They are produced as a waste product of releasing energy from hydrocarbons? And we're not off the hook since we create CO2 by breathing it out, it's a waste product so why do we want to put more in the atmosphere for us to breathe. Yes plants close the carbon cycle.

For instance, if you mostly drive on suburban streets and freeways, having a faster car or a bigger car does not move you around any more quickly than a smaller car. If a base car gives you 25 mpg and you drive an SUV that only get 12 MPG. With respect to getting you from point A to point B any faster. It doesn't work out. If you need to make an aluminum can, it take less energy to get the aluminum from an existing can (and cheaper too) than from mining bauxite.

So let's as the question, given the same outcomes, what are you doing to live more cleanly? Here's a few things...

1) turning off most things while I'm gone.
2) riding my bike for short trips, difference in time is usually 5 - 7 minutes.
3) Using the library more often.
4) buying used (which oddly a lot of my "used" stuff is brand new"
5) Reusing containers when possible
6) carpooling whenever I can convince people.
7) taking mass transit whenever possible
8) reusing my mug at work (note why don't you use disposables all the time at home, but at work when they give it to you, you do?)

Economist love efficiency and we're suppose to pursue it, what are you doing to live more cleanly and efficiently?


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