Saturday, 8 March 2008

What you can do

via interwoven threads

it's a very handy summary of some of the main things to think about for now

my three questions would be:
- if the average family did ALL of this what would the impact be? (is it the required 80%+ reduction)?
- what is missing from this list both within CO2 emissions (air conditioning, growing your own food, maintaining and using technology products for longer, buying second hand, dynamic demand schemes, home energy monitors, living in smaller spaces, freecycle...) and also beyond carbon emissions (eg swimming pools, composting, bottled water, local shops...)?
- what could community sized groups of people do that's beyond the scope of any of these nuclear family -bound actions (shared resource network models)?

on the last point, while waiting for my pre-ordered copy of the Transition Handbook I am reading the pdf guide


Anonymous said...

Nice mind-map...Heres my question... if I jump in my car and drive from London to Glasgow, do I use more or less carbon than if I went by plane?


John Grant said...

ordinarily I wouldnt have had a clue except to say flying 'had to be worse' given overall footprint figs I'd seen - but as it happens today I was writing something where I did need to refer to figures on what different forms of transport use

you can check them yourself here

according to DEFRA figures short haul flights from London to Scotland emit 158.2g/km per passenger with average loading (they actually use this as an example)

HOWEVER its actual global warming impact may is equivalent to to 2-4 times that due to other factors like water vapour etc causing radiative forcing - ie heating - according to the IPCC

your car may well emit more CO2 than that. a prius does 102 g/km but the average is 187 g/km and their real world performance is 15% or so worse than that according to defra

so yes if you drove on your own and you ignored the overall impact on the environment and focused on carbon only you could argue against the car

catch the train and the figures according to DEFRA are 60 g/km

in a modern bus on a motorway the figure is 615g/km and assuming you get one of those 61 seater coaches and its 80% full - then per passenger it is only 12.5g/km

if there were 3 or 4 of you in your car it's not bad still but nowhere near the coach figures

but if you really want to do it the best way go by coach. It's also funnily enough often the cheapest too - also unsurprisingly though it takes longest although in theory if you drove at a legal speed and took breaks it would be no different

John Grant said...

ps greensailor - I didnt even check but the figures going by boat would obviously probably be quite good too :)

Tad Hargrave said...

i love the points you raise.

it's interesting how 'divide and conquer' has been taken to its ultimate logical conclusion - individualism.

in the USA there's the old Smokey the Bear slogan "only you can prevent forest fires" (no doubt inspires dozens of paranoid children with buckets of water on rooftops scouting for smoke).

Al Gore's movie - in the attempt to be empowering - focuses on all the simple things we can do as individuals. They're obviously important - but even if we did ALL the things he said, it's maybe a 20% reduction in impact - a far cry from what we need.