Catastrophic Climate Change: Cutting Your GHG Emissions in March.
My life has been turned a bit sideways by COVID-19. As a result, I'm not able to
devote time to completing this page in the near term. If you would like to 'tune-in'
to what I am doing regarding the coronavirus pandemic, please visit the
Econogics blog. For obrious reasons,
I hope to be able to return to this activity soon.
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.
In like a lion, out like a lamb. - anonymous
Not so much always, as climate change will be shaking things up, and storm systems will
be less predictable.
Let's talk about toilet paper. Maybe this wasn't the first place you figured you were
going the save the world. Fair enough. This is a place where you can make a small change
in your consumption patterns, and if enough of us do it, the shift will really add up.>P
The next time you go shopping and TP is on the list, take a look at the packaging.
Does the package you picked up show that the product contains some amount of recycled
paper content? Or, is it made entirely from virgin wood from old growth forests,
like Costco's Kirkland house brand? There are other options, like
Cascades Fluff Enviro toilet paper - 100% recycled content and fully biodegradable.
Speaking of shopping lists, what do you use for capturing your shopping list? Notes
on your smart phone? We tried that, but as multiple people contribute to the list, it
hasn't worked well as one person does most of our household shopping. My eventual solution:
take the various pieces of 8x11.5 paper we receive whick are blank (or nearly so) on one
side, fold into fours, and then tear or cut into quarters. Stack and magnet-clip to
the refrigerator door (and put some by telephones). No-cost note paper, re-use of
the paper, and still eligible for recycling. Fits easily into a pocket.
And now that I mentioned the refrigerator, I want to introduce you to Project
Drawdown. This is a collection of 100 actions we can take to reverse climate change.
The expert contributors have ranked these 100 items in the order in which they would
have the most beneficial impact if implemented. Believe it or not, refrigeration is
at the top of that list. Go check out:
Today is a day to reflect on life, and on reflecting. As we get more sun-hours
but the temperatures are still low outside, more sun reflecting off the snow on
the yard to the south of your home and into your windows will help with solar gain
and warming your living space. And your houseplants will appreciate it, too.
Meal planning. Something I need to work on. Due to the work and school schedules
of those living with me, not knowing much in advance how many and who will be present
for dinners, and one resident who can be a challenge to prepare meals for, I have tended
to stock up on frozen, canned and pickled foods as staples, and only pick up fresh
meat and produce when there is a strong chance there will be a full complement of
people here to eat. That means a lot of non-reusable packaging. (Pickles are a bit
of an exception, as we do some of our own with Mason jars which we have reused for
The thing about meal planning is that is can reduce food waste and the number of
trips to the store to pick up ingredients. I am a fan of making significant
quantities of main dishes, and then portioning out leftovers for subsequent lunches.
If you are doing a roast of beef in a slow cooker, the energy difference between
cooking 1 kg or 1.5 kg is trivial. Likewise for boiling some potatoes or steaming
some vegetables. As the leftovers are already fully cooked, reheating will take
less heating energy than cooking a new dish from raw.
But even I had not thought there would be value in cooking enough oatmeal (a
really low cost food staple and breakfast favourite here) to have leftovers of that.
a recipe for using leftover porridge. What can you
come up with as a means of using even the low value leftovers in your kitchen?
(2020) COVID-19 is
dramatically changing how we live our daily lives. Self-isolation. Telecommuting. Stocking up on
essentials so we may be shopping less frequently. Spending more time at home, and therefore using
more energy there. How is this changing your GHG emissions? Driving less, or more? Avoiding
public transit? Trying to do more on-line, but possibly adding to emissions as multiple items
are now delivered to your door by competing delivery services instead of just making one
outing in your vehicle (even if with multiple stops)? Do you have a low or zero emissions
vehicle? Do the delivery companies? Choices have consequences. Could you be picking up
items for neighbours to reduce vehicle miles driven?
(2019)Today, I planted my garden - sort of. For those of you living in tropical climes, that may not seem very impressive.
However, here there is about a metre of snow on the ground, 2 metres on the snowbanks. That would give a new meaning
to iceberg lettuce. However, yesterday I received a new
Aerogarden. So, I have planted 3 heirloom cherry tomato plants and 3 of 6 herbs which came with the unit.
Set-up was easy. No soil required, and importantly for me - no window access required either. Grow lighting
is supplied by an array of LEDs, the growing system is essentially hydroponic (with a minor hybrid tweak for the
plant cones. Anyway, all seems to work as advertised. And now we wait for germination.
Today is the Ides of March. Do you remember what makes that phrase famous? According to
Shakespeare, it's the day Julius Caesar was assassinated.
Ah yes. St. Patrick's Day, the day the Irish don't celebrate for their patron saint, but
much of North America uses as an excuse to drink green beer (which doesn't work at all in most
of the Irish beers (dark) which I have experienced.
Still, for those of us north of the equator, summer is coming and a cold brew can be a welcome
respite on a hot day. Have you considered brewing your own beer? Either at home or support a local business, and
save the transporting of a product which is 90%+ water over long distances, plus the need for
the additional packaging to be disposed of or recycled.
(2019)I got a little busy, and have not had a look at the Aerogarden since I set it up. Lo, and behold - 2 of the 3
tomato plant pods have sprouted. Water topped up. Now, I'm off to ignore it again for a few days.
(2019)Yesterday, the Canadian federal government delivered their budget for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
At 464 pages, it's a bit of a slog. However, there are a few items that might be worth considering.
There are about 11 pages related to climate change initiatives, but they're a bit on the fluffy side,
so there's not a lot of meat in this area. Still, they have hit a few high profile items, some of
which mark dramatic turns in past federal policy and action (more accurately, lack thereof).
It's always a concern when a major financial document uses the phrase: "Program details to follow."
But the math says they're looking to boost sales of "zero-emission vehicles" (battery-electric or hydrogen
fuel cell - plug-in hybrids and hydrogen combustion are not mentioned) by about 20,000 units a year for three years,
starting sometime after April 1 2019. Let's be charitable and colour that as not overly ambitious.
If you want to get a head start, open
https://www.budget.gc.ca/2019/docs/plan/budget-2019-en.pdf and head for page 81 (internal numbering -
pg 83 of the PDF document).