Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Topher and Kerstin have created a very nice site to inspire people to transition to a zero-carbon lifestyle

Check it out… http://carbonbalancers.wordpress.com/

On that same note, we use Bonneville Environmental to buy our offsets, they seem to have a pretty robust system for making sure they are selling real offsets.

Another handy way to offset your CO2 is through your local power company. For example, in Utah, we can pay a bit extra on our power bill and then the power company buys wind and solar power instead of coal generated power for the amount of green energy that customers have paid for. To offset other CO2 emissions other than power usage, you can just buy extra power blocks beyond the amount you use for power. The outcome is less power bought as coal and more as wind and sun. This is a nice way to offset because it is a direct offset of CO2 emissions and is relatively local to one’s location. In Utah, the coal power comes from within the state and so has a direct impact on our air quality.  I’m not sure how this approach squares with the standard methods of offsetting emissions. Any ideas?


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There is a great article over at earthfirst.com about how hard it is to reduce the amount of plastic in our lives (link).

It is amazing to me that something so obviously terrible as the fact that we throw away billions of pounds of plastics a day should be controversial. To anyone who understands what sustainability means our current behaviors appear totally insane. If we ever make it to a sustainable future, it will be illegal to sell products in plastics that can’t be recycled and it will be illegal not to recycle. This isn’t a matter of violating our personal liberties or big government intervention, it is common sense. We live in an unstable system now where manufacturers can put their products in any packaging they want with no regard for the full lifecycle of the packaging or the products or the toxic byproducts that go into making them and are released when they degrade. In a sustainable future these things will as seem as bizarre and wrong-headed to our decedents as doctors prescribing heroin children for coughs does to us (yes that was common 100 years ago).

People concerned about the environment too often fall into the trap of demanding that everyone give up everything they have to save the world. While we seriously need to curb our unbridled consumptive habits, we have reached a point in our technological development that we can build a sustainable world and give everyone a better standard of living and a higher quality of life.

The problem is not that we use plastic – plastic is great for so many things – that’s why there is so much of it. The problem is that the plastic we use is toxic and gets thrown out instead of recycled when we are done with it.

In a sustainable future, plastics will be non-toxic we will all have desktop fabricators (link, link) to make the parts we need to repair the things we own by recycling the plastic we use ourselves. This may seem far-fetched now, but 10 years ago I don’t think most people would have believed you could get a phone that would show you the location of all your friends, in realtime, on a satellite map of your neighborhood (yes the iPhone does that).  The way these things become real is for people to demand that they become real. We need to have the vision and see a better future and then we need to educate our friends, tell everyone we know and demand that the people with power make rational decisions based on sound science.

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