- On August 3, 2007
- By Gavin & Yvonne Frost
These thoughts are written on Friday August 3. Numerologically the date is a 2, the ultimate feminine day on which we should think of the Mother, especially Mother Earth.
On our mind today is the idea becoming known as your carbon footprint, and its counterpart, carbon offsets. Your carbon footprint is the amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) that you and your actions release in a year; in other words, the amount that each of us individuallly contributes to global warming. It is up to all of us to reduce our carbon footprint.
On average, each adult person and each child in the United States produces twenty (20) U.S. tons of CO2 each year of our life.
Most of us can do many small things to reduce our own personal carbon footprint painlessly, such as changing light bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent; planting trees; turning the air conditioner to a warmer setting; using less ice or no ice in our beverages. AND RECYCLING
At a meeting of the morning council at Sirius Rising, Gavin raised the question: How about the famous Sirius bonfires? Yes, they consume only logs that the lumbermills have rejected, but the amount of CO2 is no less for that fact. He pointed out that firms such as offsetters.org will sell you carbon credits and use the money you thus spend on credits to buy such things as windmills, photoelectric panels, insulation, and, yes, to plant trees, to try to balance out some of the CO2 that you produce.
In that council meeting Elspeth of Haven too expressed concern, pointing out that the bonfires were something none of us would like to give up because of the community spirit and happiness they generate; but that we should find a way of paying for offsets to compensate for the bonfires, which after all are just for fun.
When we Frosts got home from Sirius (coming down with a bump, as always), I did a rough calculation. A bonfire like the one at Sirius or Starwood emits something like 100 U.S. tons of CO2. offsetters.org charges $20 a U.S. ton for offsets. This means that for a Starwood / Sirius bonfire a payment of $2,000 in offsets would be appropriate; that is, $2 per attendee. If we pay that, and even if $2 is only a sop to our conscience and a Band-Aid on the planet’s total problem, still it would increase the awareness of all who enjoy the bonfire.
For your information, if you do a web search for carbon footprint, your first search will turn up over four million sites. So the world is aware of the problem. The site at carbon footprint.com has a calculator so that you can work out what you and your family actually contribute to global warming. A family of three members will average something like 60 tons a year; an offset of this amount will cost you $1,200.
That sounds a lot? It is. But it really doesn’t cost the earth to save the planet. Every little bit helps.
Surprising as it may seem, it may not be your SUV that’s the worst offender in your personal carbon footprint. Air conditioning a three-bedroom house in summer produces 300 pounds of CO2 per day. Turning it to a setting warmer by 5 degrees will reduce that by 100 pounds a day. 300 pounds a day works out to 4.5 tons a month.