Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Carb Cutting

No, this is not a post about dieting or eating habits - it's about the environment. A lot of people are talking about Al Gore's new movie An Inconvenient Truth. I haven't seen it yet - it just opened last week here in Kansas City - but it seems like the topic is one that I've heard about since junior high school. Global warming is happening, it's real and it's causing a lot of problems for the world as we know it. Of course, peace would also change the world as we know it, but that's another post....

Many people want to know what they can do - is there really anything one little individual can do to help such a lrge problem? YES!! In fact, it's the only way things are going to happen. Companies won't change policies unless their clients ask them too or choose to work with other companies who have better ones. Everything thing that we buy, choices we make about where to shop and which companies to work with - it all represents choices we make, votes with our dollars. Unfortunately, in today's society (be it due to capitalism or materialism or both) money talks - and loudly. Even in churches, eventually it comes down to the bottom line, so it is with our money we may make the bigger statements - more than bumper stickers or cool tshirt slogans (although those are perhaps cooler ways to make statements). So what can one person do??

There is a ton of information out there about a variety of environmental issues and agencies working with them, but my personal favorite is Co-opAmerica. They host sites like Responsible Shopper (see my links on the right side of the blog page) which show company policies on a range of issues from the environment to human rights and sweatshop use. You can check out the stores you shop and see which chain is actually better - WalMart or Target (Target, but not by much) or Nike vs. Adidas (both have plenty of faults). They also offer this challenge to INDIVIDUALS out there - to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions (hence, carb cutting) by doing 7 specific things around your house and daily life. Most of us probably won't do all of them, but even if we each commit to doing just one, every little bit will add up to big changes city-wide, state-wide, and nationally. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we all impact each other - the driver in Kansas has emissions blown into Missouri on the wind. It's going to take every one of us making small but very real changes to build up to a large impact on the crisis already underway. For example, one of the changes to make is using fluorescent bulbs rather than regular incandescent bulbs in your house. Yes, they're more expensive and the light is different, but they last a lot longer too. Check out the challenge and see what you can do, then let me know what you think. Are these things too much to ask? Have you seen Al Gore's movie? What did you think of it? What else can people do? Am I completely idealistic and not getting real?


mandyc said...

I also wanted tp point out that at http://www.climatecrisis.net/findatheater/ you can find a theater near you to see the movie so that if you haven't seen it already. It's showing at Quail Springs in OKC and in Westport at the Tivoli theater here in Kansas City.

Kim in KCK said...

Okay, here's the scoop: I've already been doing these things for a long time.

Compact fluorescents: Have a whole drawerful at home. Bought them in bulk about two years ago to save energy and with it, money on electric bills.

Computer: It's OFF when we don't use it.

TVs, DVD players: Only one of each in use in the house. If we unplug them, we have to go throughthe whole set-up routine everytime we use them, as power loss means reset. Probably won't do this one.

Laundry: I use cold water for everything but whites. We have a water saving washer, and we hang out clothes on the line to dry. Sometimes they get an extra rainwater rinse, but that is purely accidental. :-)

Driving: Whenever I can, I ride my scooter. Emissions are comparable to a car but significantly less volume. Also 90 mpg vs. 20 mpg. I would take public transportation, but it does not run early enough or late enough in my community to work with my schedule. My new churches are not on any bus lines, but very scooterable.

Garbage and recycling: One less thirty gallon bag means none since that is about all we put out in a week unless we've been doing major cleaning. We recycle paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, aluminum & steel. Been doing that since the late 1980's. We also try to buy our home improvement materials at the Habitat ReStore.

Flying vs. train: We are big fans of the train. Given the choice, we will always take the train if it goes where we're going and our time allows. I'm going to the clergywomen's conference in Chicago in August with some others from SPST, and we're all taking the train. I talked them into it.

Steve and I long ago decided that we're just weird. Our kids are learning to live with the fact that their parents are different. Many things that started out as efforts in frugality are turning out to be good for the environment, too. Go figure!

Big Unit said...

I have decided that I won't get that Hummvee and Excursion in order to save carbs. And I won't mow my backyard either.

Big Unit said...

BTW, we all learned in 4th grade that water expands when frozen. So when it thaws it has less volume, therefore, if the ice melts the ocean will actually go down.

mandyc said...

Kim, way to go!! I know I often end up preaching to the choir but it's only by each of us taking these steps that real change will happen - thanks for doing your part and teaching your family as well!!

Unit, I just don't know what to say to you. I don't think you're as ignorant as your comments make you sound and I know your wife is a reasonable person, so I'm just going to say thank you for whatever you can do.

Trouble said...

i really need to see the movie before it gets bumped out of the theater by some goathearding documentary.