Michael Rass is a web producer for The World.
I reduce my carbon footprint by: (1)burning three cords of wood each year to heat my house; (2)flying from the US to Europe at least once every year; (3) walking or biking the 5 mile round trip to my workplace; (4) using air conditioning in only one room at a time and only when it is both hot _and_ humid (live in DC area); (5) never heating bedrooms (feather comforters do the trick); (6)not replacing cell phones, computers, cars, appliances just because there is a new model or a part breaks (repairing stuff is easier than you think, with the internet to help); (7)not adding onto or updating our house every time we read a design magazine (1910 square feet is more than enough for 3 people); (8)using an electric lawn mower (gas lawn mowers produce 10% of emissions); (9)never using pesticides or fertilizers, but leaving grass clippings on the lawn (unpoisoned worms are 10x better than fertilizers); (10)forgetting about that “perfect” lawn that is as unachievable as the photoshpped beauty women are supposed to strive for; and (11) most importantly, always thinking about what I am doins. I apologize for items 1 and 2, but they are critical for my mental well-being, which is the reality check on getting too nutty about all of this.
About reducing carbon footprints:
people can of course themselves choose to save energy emissions and money.
as far as society is concerned,
rather than regulations or campaigns getting everyone to cut down and save,
the focus should be on providing whatever energy is needed with whatever emission parameter that needs to be put on it.
For example, it may sound good to set building efficiency regulations,
but efficient apartment type buildings are generally sealed buildings, with limited exterior ventilation (windows, balconies, open plan roof tops)
- not what everyone wants.
Light bulbs may not be as bright, quick responding, cheap, versatile, small sized etc,
cars using less energy may be less safe (lighter) or slower,
– and when performance characteristics can be retained, the products cost more, or they’d be energy efficient already.
If consumption has to be hit,
it is better by taxation
(on light bulbs, buildings, cars -whatever) which in turn can help pay for renewable energy
while still reducing sales, and keeping consumer choice.
Why energy efficiency regulations are wrong