Saturday, February 17, 2007


Break It Down

Now that the word is out about the human connection to global warming and how we've royally screwed up the planet, it's time to move out of overwhelm - or, as my daughter likes to call it, the "We're all gonna die!" feeling. We know the problem is a big one and that we're going to have to act fast to reverse climate damage, but many of us also feel like the problem is so big that there's not much hope we can change things. We're paralyzed. Now, it's time to break it down into manageable chunks. How much CO2 would we keep out of the atmosphere if every household replaced one regular lightbulb with a flourescent one? What if we all changed two or three light bulbs? What if we decided to run one load of laundry per week on cold water, rather than warm or hot? What if we hand-washed the dishes once a week (turning off the faucet while scrubbing), rather than running a load through the dishwasher? What if, in the warmer, sunnier months, we dried one load of clothes each week outside on the clotheslines? (Do you even remember clotheslines?) I'd like to see someone do an analysis of the cumulative effects of these small actions on global warming. We can't all rush out and buy a hybrid car, much as we might like to. We can't all erect windmills in our yards. suggests these small changes that we can all make, but there is no exacting analysis to show us the effects of these changes. The other thing we need to do is set a goal of how much we want to reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere in one year's time. If we have a measurable goal, we have something to work for. If we have the effects of the small changes, we know how we're going to get to that goal.

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