carbon diet

I was pretty interested when I read about the slate/treehugger green challenge (slate here and treehugger here), wherein one attempts to shave 20% off of ones carbon emissions. I mean, I know I have pretty low carbon emissions. I was so excited after seeing an inconvenient truth that I set about off-setting my driving emisisons with a 12,000 lb CO2 terrapass. I bought green electricity – now 100% of my electricity is coming from NJ wind and solar. and I drive a hybrid! that gets roughly 65 mpg! I’m not even getting into how I’ve alreday changed all my lightbulbs into efficient compact flouresent bulbs, and how I have to wait for my living room to “warm up” after I flip the light switch before I can really see things clearly.The slate/treehugger quizzes seem to assume that you’re not doing so great. I took the first quiz and had to pretend like I had a dishwasher. there wasn’t anywhere to say I was using a hybrid. so I came out with annual emissions of 15,706 lbs, which is not so bad when compared to the US average of 44,312 (and not so good when compared to india at 2,645).

but the difficult part came next, where I took the transportation quiz and was asked to pledge to check my tire pressure monthly (it’s easy when you have tire minders), buy a terra pass (check!) for my car, buy one for my flights (was planning on it anyway – am not sure if I should go international at 7,500 lbs CO2 or frequent flyer at 15,000 lbs – it all depends on if I go to england in addition to heading to japan), and then comes the hard question: do you promise to trade in your car for a hybrid in the next 6 months? well. they don’t know if I have a hybrid, they just know I get 65 mpg. the estimates they use say that “driving a hybrid reduces CO2 emissions by more than 10K lbs a year, assuming you currently drive a car that gets average mileage”. which. well. I don’t. I had better not tell them I’ll trade in my *cough*hybrid*cough* because then the calc works out to me reducing another 17K lbs, and that is more than I am supposedly currently using.

sadly, my busy engineering lifestyle precludes me carpooling or taking the train to work. sigh.

so far, then, I’ve reduced another 1,050 lbs CO2 by telling slate what I have already done. which isn’t so shabby, I guess: if the goal is 20% of total I’m already 1/3 there with 6.6%.

the topics for reduction they’ll look at are transportation, heating, food, clothing, electricity, holidays, water, and home/office. y’all should sign up! it’s interesting!