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Live Earth

I didn’t watch much of Live Earth, but it has inspired me to sign up to the pledge. Or at least, my variation of the pledge.

1. I will continue to reduce my carbon emissions, both by switching to more efficient appliances and equipment where practical, and by reducing my use of them.

2. At the end of this month, and regularly after that, I will calculate and offset my remaining emissions, to become carbon neutral. (The last rough calculation came out at 9 tonnes per year. The Australian average for households is about 14.)

3. I’ll continue to lobby for more options so other people can reduce theirs. (Reminder: Depending on how you measure it, transport is the biggest cause of household carbon emissions; between 34% and 49%.)

4. I will try to never have a comb-over like Al Gore.

Who’s with me?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

14 replies on “Live Earth”

I sold the car so I think that leaves me a long way in front of everyone else. I do make an effort to ensure all non necessary lights and appliances are turned off.

And I have no hair so there is zero chance of a comb ever. Ever. I laugh in the face of people with comb overs.

I am with you Daniel. I even dawdled a few extra seconds before leaving for work this morning to go around turning off power at the wall sockets. Need to get into the habit of doing this when I go to bed of a night-time.

I’m not at all happy with my carbon emissions, but given my skepticism about offsetting (see ), and my recent discovery that Green Power appears to also be a bit of a rort, and living in an apartment where it’s difficult to solarize, it’s hard to do very much.

I’ll do my bit. We’re going to replace an old freezer (I mean over 30 years old!) with a newer, smaller one with better insulation, and Energy Star compliant, which means it uses less power. Also, not using air conditioner at all this year. It’s all either ceiling fans or portable stand fans, and windows open at night, and then closing the house during the day. To air-condition your house down to 20C takes a lot of power. Even still, around here, the basements are freezing cold, the main floors are comfortable, and the upstairs is too hot. Can’t win.

Yes, we do have to do what we can.

Errr – I just bought a 106cm plasma screen and I feel a bit guilty about it. I did, however, decide not to buy the bigger 127cm screen because it uses almost twice the power – does that let me off the hook a bit?

I’m in the process of creating my own home automation system, and one of the things it will be doing is cutting power to virtually everything whenever we are asleep or not home… eg the air-conditioning compressor is always on standby, our rangehood is touch-sensitive and thus partially running, plasma/DVD/etc on standby, microwave/etc running in limited fashion, even the computerised hot water service is still sitting there idle and drawing power… it will ALL automatically be cut when not required.

Furthermore the touch sensitive light switches will only engage the current room’s light for a pre-set amount of time, after which it will automatically turn off (but obviously with a warning to reset it if you are still in the room, at least initially, down the track I’ll tie it into the infra-red sensors so it knows when you are still in there).

So while I have always used energy saving bulbs in this house, even intenionally choosing light fittings that are NOT halogens to ensure I continue to use energy savers, I’m planning to go a LOT further with cutting down my electricity usage.

I later hope to invest in one of those wind generators floating about on eBay, will be putting in a hell of a lot more insulation, etc.

Carbon emissions, let’s see…

– We have one family car, not the standard two of ‘burb-dwellers. None would be great, but impractical, sadly.
– We have just completed the changeover of all our bulbs to the energy-efficient ones
– We do the nightly switch-off and during the day, when at home with the kids, I try to only “light” the room we are using, not other parts of the house
– We have drastically reduced the use of our central heating (I won’t say dispensed with, especially with two sick kids in the house, but I now keep it set so it kicks in at the cool but reasonable 18 degrees, rather than my preferred 20.5, which means it kicks in about half as much time as before)
– We have gotten more and more serious about not buying new stuff we don’t need. Let’s not forget that a large part of the whole carbon emissions problem is what’s involved in creating (or producing) then transporting consumer goods around the world. We buy locally produced food wherever possible (living in a market garden area helps here!), we buy as little packaged food as we can (my Coeliac disease helps here, as I can’t eat most of it anyway) and we only replace things when they are completely irrepairable, and only if we feel they are necessary. (Eg we bought a new electric kettle when our 12-year-old one died, but we’re doing without a juicer since our old one carked it, just using the blender to juice stuff up, because really, we don’t NEED a new juicer. We are fine with our 25-year-old Rank Arena TV; we don’t need to rush out and buy a plasma. Things like that).

This year we’re investing in three water efficiency measures – a gray water toilet-flushing system, a waterwall (water tank) for collecting rainwater, and replacing all our water fittings with water-stingy ones. So this is the Year of Water. 2008-09 we are looking at fitting solar panels to the roof. Expensive, yes – in fact, it’ll take over 30 years for it to pay for itself in terms of electricity – but we think it is necessary and on a selfish level, future-proofs this house to some extent against the inevitable rises in power costs (and possible grid outages) as resources become more scarce. Ultimately, more people need to be less dependent on all aspects of the consumerist grid if rampant environmental damage is to be curtailed.

My family and I have been doing a bit in terms of reducing our footprint for a number of years – as have many people responding – but I must confess to a sense of hysteria in the air. Don’t get me wrong, I think that humans have made a major impact on our environment and that we need to do as much as we can to ameliorate that effect.

However, I wish people would do the ‘right’ thing without having to be scared into action. The so called sceptics are shouted down rather than argued down.

A couple of interesting examples from Radio National this week:

Ian Plimer on In Conversation

Kesten Green on Counterpoint (I know it is right wing but that doesn’t mean people can’t make a valid point)

I believe we should be questioning everything – and “because everyone says so” is not proof – and acting on the best information we have available. For me, the point Kathy makes is the most pertinent. If we reduce our overall consumption and look to making ourselves as self-sufficient as possible (especially water and electricity) we will do the most to ‘help the planet’.

Is it just me or does the “Philly . com” logo from the link you gave for Big AL look a bit like a comb-over!?!?! Yeah it’s probably just me ……

Carbon footprint? In twenty years, when all this global warming rubbish has been discredited, nobody will remember what their “carbon footprint” was. Just another ploy by the Left to get you to lower your standard of living and submit to more government control.


At least i am going to offset my flights and guess who’s going to get the money – THE PTUA. For whenever we achieve something to made the system better to some extent it means less people will use their cars meaning less emissions. I am very suspicious of these carbon offset schemes, certified or not.

There are reports of native Brazilian rainforest being cleared so that they can be planted with plantations paid for by carbon offsets. MADNESS AND GREED COMBINED !

So I will be coming into the office to make my donation for my flight to Darwin and back from Cairns. Maybe this suggestion could be made in the next newsletter ?

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