Sustainability: Carbon Footprint

Sustainability > Carbon Footprint > How You Move Around

The Climate Crisis is so big and so multi-faceted that I do not (and could never) claim to be an expert. What I am is someone who cares deeply for this place and therefore for the whole beautiful place we call Earth. I have been making real efforts to reduce our personal carbon footprint to below 50% of the average American since 1997. Since 2020 began, I have been working to shave off a bit more each year hoping to be carbon neutral in our own home by 2030. Along with these personal actions, I also write and call my Members of Congress regularly and speak to my community whenever the opportunity arises.

Four areas to focus on as you consider your personal carbon footprint: 1) how you move around, 2) what you eat and how it is grown, 3) how you use natural resources in your home, and 4) what stuff you buy and how you get rid of it.

How you move around— We’ve all seen the science on driving and flying. I am not here to rehash that. Right now, even if we all drove electric cars, there still is the problem of how the electricity is generated. Living in a rural area means even fewer options until they come up with a better battery (which I know is in the works), a charging station system, and a clean way to produce and distribute the needed electricity. So for now we drive a vehicle that gets good gas mileage, keep it maintained, and plan for errands along the route that is between workplaces and home. For my part, I don’t ask for stops that are off of that route, and I do not drive at all. Secondly, I am transitioning to doing as many errands as possible in the small village that is within bicycle riding distance. I can ride there and back with no issues and plans are in place to allow me to carry a larger load. I don’t travel anymore either. I am content to stay home or close to home.

The average American uses 500 gallons of gasoline / person / year. In 2020, I used 5 gallons. In 2020 , we used 15 gallons to cut the grass. In 2020, our commuters used 1000 gallons. So — 51%

In 2020: I walked — 1040 miles and I biked — 250 miles.

What You Eat and How It is Grown — I feel like I have talked and talked about this piece here on the blog. However, I realize that I’ve talked about how we grow our food and what I prefer to eat. I haven’t really been clear about what I look for when purchasing food. For me, organic is really just the beginning. When purchasing meat I look for organic, grass fed, and humane slaughter methods. This makes meat quite expensive. That is ok with me. I am happy to pay the true cost so that my local farmers are encouraged to use regenerative agriculture methods. We eat eggs that our hens lay or we do without. I cook in a manner that stretches the meat as far as possible. For instance a whole chicken will make 2 pot pies (=8 servings), 1 pot of soup (=12 servings), and a pot of broth/stock (=24 servings). Where I need to do better is with grains and beans. I hope next year to begin growing more of our own dry beans. It will probably take several years to get a system in place and actually meet our needs. It is doubtful that I will ever try to grow our own grains. I can get organic, but have yet to find a regenerative farmer that sells in small bulk quantities.

If you have any leads on the grain front, please leave me a comment.

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