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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.

March 1st

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.

March 2nd

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.

March 3rd

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: https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/materials/refrigerant-management.

March 4th

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.

March 5th

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 decades.)

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. Yet behold, 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?

March 6th

Trips planning.

March 7th

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March 13th

(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?

March 14th

(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.

March 15th

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.

March 16th

March 17th

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.

March 18th

(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.

March 19th

(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).

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