Catastrophic Climate Change: Cutting Your GHG Emissions in April.
The objective of the monthly tips pages is to provide ideas, experience and inspiration
on how individuals can make changes to reduce their own climate change impaact, and also
collaborate to foster positive change. This has been built up over a few years, so some
items are dated, but many are just intended to be of value year after year and particularly
for those who discover this site after 2010.
We have met the enemy and he is us.
- Pogo (Walt Kelly for Earth Day 1970)
It's April Fool's day, and the first day of the new fiscal year for many governments and
agencies. Sadly, too many of them are still thinking about talking about planning to do
something constructive, some day. But until then, they'll keep spending based on lowest
price procurement, which typically means using subsidized fossil fuels for energy, buying
products from low wage countries while their own citizens are unemployed or underemployed,
and creating ever more GHG emissions shipping things half-way around the world.
If you can, encourage such taxpayer-funded organizations to implement purchasing
policies which take our future into account, allowing them to spend a small premium on
supply chains which are GHG-free or low-GHG emissions, and encourage employment within
the city, province (state) or country which pays for their operations.
(2019)Contributions will be lighter this month, as I'm writing a couple of papers to present at
CIRSIP at the end of May.
Do you own a sewing machine? If not, consider haunting the local thrift stores to find
a basic machine in good working order (straight and zig-zag stitches, forward and reverse.
This will keep such a machine out of landfill, and
possibly eliminate the need for another to be built.
With the machine you can make your own reusable bags from cheap or surplus fabric.
You can get creative and make convenient storage containers. Really simple fabric items
which aren't difficult to make.
Having a sewing machine makes a lot clothing repairs easier, like when a seam comes
undone, or a patch would give a new life to a piece of clothing. Why risk a nice new
jacket when doing a dirty chore outside, when a repaired item can stand in for it saving
the nice item for dressier occasions?
Did you know that clothing is a major waste disposal issue in the industrialized
world? We simply don't have enough uses for these items once their out of fashion,
which means a lot of really good fabric is going to waste. By all means, if you have
items which can see a new life with someone else, donate these items to a thrift store.
But what happens to the items which the thrift store doesn't think they can sell?
Those typically get baled and shipped offshore for possible reuse, but mostly for
disposal. If you have a project which can use smaller pieces of fabric, and where
a variety of colours is possibly beneficial or at least not a problem, why not visit
a local thrift store and see if they will let you go through their discards and sell
you what you pick out at a very discounted price (like a dollar a kg). Saves them
having to bale it and remove it, and they make a dollar instead. Then, take it home,
cut it into the sizes and shapes you need, and make something new from fabric which
is essentially free.
If you get good with the sewing machine, and have a little ambition, you can
make patchwork quilts. Small ones make great lap quilts. You can also make
small blankets for pets, cancer patients (see Victoria's Quilts), or others in need.
Perhaps local shelters for animals or people would be interested in what you can produce.
You can even make insulated
window coverings to help keep heat in (or out).
The daylight hours are definitely getting longer, and the energy of the sun is
making its presence felt. Ever thought about harvesting that energy to cook some
of your food? The Heaven's Flame solar cooker is simple to make, uses inexpensive
materials and is fun to learn with on the subject. You can learn more about this
simple box cooker here:
Still deciding what to plant in your garden, however small? How about giving a thought
to pollinators like honeybees. Given colony collapse disorder which is likely related to the
widespread use of neonics, how about growing some plants which are bee-friendly?
Here's a starting point:
(2019)Took the chance today to rake up some leaves. Discoverered some are still embedded in ice.
Spring may be a few more days before showing up to melt the remaining ice. But given the amount
of snow we had this year, gradual warming is desirable.
(2019)I'm taking a few days away from the usual thread because a lot of people are dealing with flooding, one of the early
consequences of climate change.
If you are not dealing with flooding issues personally, or pitching in to help, take the next few
days to contemplate how you would deal with flooding where you live. Do you really understand the
risks you may be facing? At a minimum, is your home emergency kit (3 days minimum supplies) stocked
Do you live in a city, taking your domestic water from a central supply and flushing your
human waste down a toilet or drain? How do you cope if that stops functioning? This isn't a
simple rhetorical question. Most cities in Canada sit on the shore of a river, lake or ocean.
With flooding, are the water intakes at risk? The water filtration plants? What about their
power supply or supply roads? Do they have emergency power as a backup? How long can that run if
fuel cannot be resupplied?
If you aren't on a municipal water supply, do you rely on a well? Will it still be safe if
flooding washes sewage waste over the well or the ground around it? If you have a septic tank, will it
remain buried if covered with flood waters, even if it is mostly full of air after a pump-out?
If your well uses a pump to bring water to your house (and a cohort of
sump and water pumps) and the electricity is cut off, how long can you power it before you run
out of fuel? If your house is cut off by flood water, how will you get more fuel?
If you are truly in a situation immune to flooding, contemplate one of the other climate emergency
issues you could be facing, and how you would deal with that.
It's tax day in Canada, so you might be focused on something else than saving the world,
or at least your part of it, today. (As I used to put in my email signature block:
It's your planet. If you won't look after it, who will?