Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Think Global/Act Local- Green Objectives for 2008

With Earth day upon us, it is always a good idea to review some of my objectives for the year and welcome suggestions from fellow bloggers on how to do my share to help the environment. Below are my Top 15 green objectives for the year.

1- 20% increase in my use of mass transit over last year during the same periods.
2- Carpool as often as possible with others to reduce harmful emissions and save money.
3- Plant a larger garden and better utilize the harvest of the garden to reduce our purchases of products that will need to be shipped vast distances. Share excess harvest with friends and neighbors.
4- Utilize local farmer’s markets to meet some of the same objectives as #2.
5- Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits and whole grains while reducing the consumption of red meat.
6- Plant additional trees and shrubs in my yard and ensure that they are wildlife friendly.
7- Plant additional flowering perennials in my yard that will provide habitat for pollinators such as bumble bees, hummingbirds and hawkmoths.
8- Plant two additional fruit trees that will in the future meet some of the same objectives as in #2.
9- Take fewer long trips, keeping our vacation activities reasonably local.
10- Continue to recycle newspapers and aluminum cans.
11- Utilize re-usable shopping bags for groceries and other items.
12- Ensure the seafood I eat is eco-friendly, coming from sustainable fisheries.
13- Allow as many seed-bearing perennials as possible to go to seed and make them available for wintering seed-eating birds such as finches, chickadees and juncos.
14- Continue to utilize certain areas of my yard for xeric plants that require little to no water.
15- Continue to compost garden and kitchen wastes to recycle these wastes into my vegetable garden.

I certainly welcome other suggestions.


Urban Koda said...

I personally think that the whole gobal warming/cooling/climate change thing is a political movement designed to further encroach on our freedoms and increase fear.

With that in mind, I whole heartedly support the individuals choice to be environmentally responsible.

You have inspired me to look at making some changes in my life style! Thanks - I'll see if I can come up with any additional ideas.

Jesse Harris said...

How about a home energy audit? The power or gas company will often chip in for one (or even do it for free) and it'll help reduce your energy use substantially. You can usually get all kinds of tax credits for upgrading windows and doors as well.

You can also resolve to stay on top of car maintenance including making sure your tires are properly inflated. This makes a big difference in gas usage and extends the life of your car (which is important for people like me that drive them until they give up).

A more drastic step would be to look at either changing to a job closer to home or moving closer to the office to reduce the number of vehicle miles you need to drive. I live less than three miles from the office and regularly take advantage of telecommuting options to cut my gas usage.

Obi wan liberali said...

Good to hear from you Urban. I actually do think there is something to the relationship between human caused emissions and global warming. I think we are and will continue to learn more about it.

But even so, like you, I find other reasons besides global warming to try to work to help the environment. Trying to save energy isn't just about emissions, it is about reducing our international vulnerability relative to an unstable region.

Part of it also comes from a genuine love of nature and biodiversity. When you are a true Darwinist, you see all life as cousins and appreciate their unique characteristics, even if they may be pests in certain situations.

Jesse, thanks for the suggestions. I know for certain my car needs a tune up and my house is in need of some upgrades that would reduce energy use. I use alot of fluorescent lights in my house, but I could also use more.

I like the suggestion of moving to a neighborhood closer to my work. Unfortunately, my wife works in Tooele, and I in Salt Lake. We live in Tooele and the net savings wouldn't work very good.

Urban Koda said...

Oooops! I didn't state my position very well...

The part of Global warming that I don't like, isn't the study and attempts at prevention - which I support. Its the political side to it that bugs me.

I struggle with someone like Al Gore who claims to stand for something like this, but has a far bigger impact on it that you, me and all your other readers combined and rather than changing his ways, he buys carbon credits to make it OK (What?!?). I think in a lot of cases, the facts are skewed for shock value - kind of like all the evidence (or lack thereof) for going to war against Iraq. You can't go about something by being dishonest, no matter how worthy you may think the end result is.

As for environmental issues, I definitely support the study of problems and proposals for solutions. I think each of us has a responsibility to take care of the environment, as well as the economic aspect you mentioned. I would just rather make an informed decision myself, than be forced or cooerced into it by hypocritical politicians who have hidden agendas.

We've gone completely CFL at our house, and halved our power bill as a result. Now I just need to work on convincing my boss to let me telecommute every day, instead of just once or twice a week!