Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday 5: Earth Day 2010

I work in the renewable energy industry and I would be amiss if I didn't post some tips for reducing your carbon footprint today. We say this term "carbon footprint" often, but it's not terribly clear what it means. So first, a quick definition. A carbon footprint is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, or product. Now, initially, you might think, "Bahhh. I'm not flying across country every day and I take the train; I have no carbon footprint." But in fact, you are carbon footprinting even when you sit on your arse on the couch typing away on your WIP. Yes! Because you use energy, and that's really what it comes down to. Here's a quick carbon footprint calculator.

And here are five greeny tips:

1. Sign up for the carbon footprint free website/blog badge.
Sign up with this mostly German site, do a post, and they'll plant a tree in California's Plumas forest for you. Pretty dang easy to get a tree planted. Why wouldn't you? Then you can offset your blog's carbon footprint. Go here.

2. Change your printing methods.
We probably all print out our WIPs, but think of some alternatives first. Print front to back. Print two-up to a page. Print on at least 30% recycled paper (this is a pretty standard recycled content). Print on the back of old WIP pages.

3. Abstain from something.
Everything takes energy to produce. Abstain from the stuff that you know is awful. DOn't eat fastfood for a period of time (even if just for today) -- the industry is rife with disgusting processing practices. Don't eat meat for a day. Don't take such long showers, don't use disposable products. Use environmentally-friendly cleaning products. Don't use cleaning products that have phosphates in them -- like dishwashing detergent. Did you know that Spokane in Washington state has a law against using dishwasher detergent that has phosphates in it because the phosphates have decimated all the dish in their river? Here's an article where a resident drove three hours out of state to buy dishwasher soap with phosphates in it because she felt it cleaned glasses better (It doesn't. We've made the switch and phosphate-free detergent is AWESOME). What an arsehole -- she'd rather waste gas and drive far, pollute the environment, and kill Spokane's ecology. Phosphate-free detergent is widely available in stores now.

4. Pay your bills online.
Easy and free, and perfect for those of who you always wait until the last minute to pay because you were too busy writing. (Um, me. Online bill pay saves my life.)

5. Clean something up.
It's okay if you don't have to go do a beach clean up or whatnot. Just pick up that vile piece of litter you see on the side of the road next time. Or check your city's clean up program for Earth Day (likely to occur this weekend). I know my city emailed the activity out to residents rather than post fliers and mail stuff; check your city's web site for info. Usually cities organize clean up crews and some provide lunch, too.

Please contribute what you'll do in the comments.


Productivity tools said...

Print management software installed in companies, schools and libraries is a good alternative to reduce unnecessary printing. Managers will have complete information about who is printing, what and when; furthermore, filtering/restricting printing and enforcing printing quota will encourages responsible use of print resources and it typically results in a reduction of printing with 30-50%.

All these actions will bring short results in reduced costs, while long time results will be seen in a healthier planet.

Here are interesting printing facts that everybody should consider before hitting the “Print” button.

Simon C. Larter said...

I will destroy my nemesis using only environmentally-friendly methods. See how nice I am?

JEM said...

Love it! I work hard to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible and it makes me angry to see others who don't! Leaving lights on, throwing away glass and plastic's so easy to take care of the earth, I don't know why they don't. Thanks for raising awareness!

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Great tips. I love the blog footprint thing. I'll have to check that out. I'm a bit of a green nerd in an area where it doesn't seem many people worry about it. I still get strange looks at the Target when I bust out my uber cool cloth bags.

Jm Diaz said...

Though thoughtful, I miss the witty Sierra that I often find myself looking forward to. Where have you been? The twitterverse misses you!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Def. going to check out the carbon footprint thing.

You are so cute and green. ;)

Sierra Godfrey said...

Nice printing tippage, anon printer source dude. Although I would say that controlling what and where and how people print smacks of BIG BROTHER.

Simon -- nicely done. Goes without saying that I too use alternative energy to power my machinery with which I deploy my plots against you. Also, seeing how nice you are is reserved for later judgment.

JEM -- I'm glad you do those things, makes me feel better that I do, too.

Roni -- Cloth bags rock, and I bring them everywhere now, and also refuse bags for most items unless it's a bunch of items.

JM -- I know, I'm sorry this post was not amusing, but I really don't think mine usually are. Case in point, I JUST finished reading three different blogs that were hilarious in ways I couldn't be, and I was all "Cripes, it is SOO SOO clear why these bloggers have published/about to be published books, cause it totally comes through in what they write, just and it so does NOT come through in mine and maybe I'm just really, really tired right now and should go to bed, cripes."

Amber -- dude, you are cutest of all, nearly pissed myself reading your TMI today.

Ee Leen Lee said...

great tips, thanks!
but ohh, the search for a clean renewable and safe source of energy will continue (and no one really wants to go nuclear)

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