Sunday, October 2, 2011

Commuters can offset their carbon footprint –- Is there any possible way to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale?

Commuters can offset their carbon footprint and these statistics show that doing so can have a huge impact to putting a stop to climate change and global warming:

Transportation accounts for 22% of energy use worldwide and 27% of carbon emissions.

96% of the energy used for transportation in major energy-consuming countries comes from petroleum fuels, which are a main cause of global climate change.

Three fourths of transportation energy use originates from road vehicles, about two thirds is consumed by passenger mobility, and one-third is utilized by moving freight.

Light vehicles accounted for 63% of transportation energy consumption in 2005.

But aren’t big businesses, industries, and rich countries reliant on fossil fuels the bigger culprits?  What are governments doing so that countries and businesses reduce their carbon emissions? 

The Story of Cap and Trade

Cap and trade, also known as carbon trading or emissions trading, is one of the leading proposed solutions to the global climate crisis. 

Under cap and trade schemes, individual governments or intergovernmental bodies, like the United Nations, set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions allowed within a given time period — that’s the cap. 

If a company plans to pollute more than their allotted limit, they can buy permits from companies that haven’t used all of theirs — that’s the trade.

Check out this video by the host of the Internet film sensation “The Story of Stuff”, Annie Leonard, explaining cap and trade and revealing the "devils in the details" in current cap and trade proposals.  See how carbon offsets work in a global scale.

What we can do

As the video points out, our global economy runs on burning fossils fuels such that just about everything releases carbon.  

We might think that although ordinary commuters can offset their carbon footprint or even better, reduce carbon emissions, there really isn’t that much we can do if the factories that make our stuff, the ships and trucks that carry it around the world, our cars, buildings, and appliances keep coming from carbon-intensive sources.

This is true. But as end-consumers, our money and the way we consume stuff fuels this kind of destructive economy. 

The money we all spend on supporting polluters by buying their products or investing in these businesses can, for example, be diverted to supporting clean and renewable energy sources.  

Planting trees, buying organic produce, recycling, taking public transportation, biking or walking, and even lobbying for more efficient and cleaner public transportation are just a few examples of how commuters can offset their carbon footprint.

To know more about the story of how our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health, check out Annie Leonard's book.

Transitioning to a clean energy world will not be easy but our collective efforts will go a long way in taking us there.  We can all be more involved by learning how our lifestyles affect the environment, changing our consumerist mindsets, and taking small steps to make it happen.  With the impact that transportation has in global warming, it is well worth remembering that commuters can offset their carbon footprint.

References: /transportation-energy-use-infographic/ capandtrade

Photo thanks to photos/mikaelmiettinen/

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Safe plastic drinking water bottles -- How much damage do plastic bottles do to our environment?

Safe plastic drinking water bottles:  reduce, reuse and recycle

Using safe plastic drinking water bottles is one way to help reduce the impact to the planet of consuming plastic.  “Reduce, reuse, recycle” still are the best ways to help the environment especially when you read these overwhelming facts about plastic bottles:

  • It takes 700 years for plastic bottles begin composting
  • Nearly 7x as much water is used to make and transport one kilogram of bottled water as is in the bottle

  • 90% of the cost of bottled water is due to the bottle itself
  • 80% of plastic bottles are not recycled. More than 60 million plastic water bottles end up in landfills or incinerators every day.

  • In 2006, Americans drank an average 167 bottles of water each for a total of 50 billion bottles (total spent $15 billion). Of that total, only 23% was recycled.
  • 24 million gallons of oil are needed to produce a billion plastic bottles. Currently, the amount of oil we use to produce water bottles each year (17 million barrels) could fuel over 1,000,000 cars for an entire year.

  • If you drink 2 Liters of tap water a day, it only costs you 50 cents per year to drink. Drinking the same amount, but bottled will cost you nearly 1000 times more.

The story of bottled water
When I was a kid, we would normally drink straight from tap.  We usually drank from glass and then suddenly, we find ourselves searching for safe plastic drinking water bottles.  

These days, a lot of us cannot imagine drinking tap water and I have often wondered what happened between then and now that made plastic bottled water a hit.  In this video, Annie Leonard provides some very interesting answers to our obsession to bottled water.

To know more about the story of bottled water and how our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health, check out the book from the host of the Internet film sensation “The Story of Stuff”, Annie Leonard. 

How much plastic trash are you contributing to the pile of plastic garbage each day?  

How much do you spend buying plastic bottled water each week?

How much can you save by cutting on your bottled water purchase?

How can you help reduce the pile of plastic garbage that harm our environment and our society as well?

Reduce, reuse, recycle and start using safe plastic drinking water bottles.


Photo thanks to http:// www.