There are a number of devises that can help compute how much of the Earth’s resources we use, our “eco-footprints, ” based on a series of lifestyle questions, dealing with our use of food, housing, transportation, heating and cooling, water, etc.
Here’s one if you’d like to see where you rank. http://myfootprint.org/en/
One reason for living in a yurt in Hawaii is to consciously attempt to lower my footprint. So:
· My heating and cooling impact is near zero. Other than a warm blanket on a cool night, my impact is minimal. Climate clearly comes into play. The temperature ranges between 60-80 degrees.
· Cooling food is another issue requiring sizable amounts of energy. No one likes warm beer. We generate 99% of it through photovoltaic systems. It runs the ‘fridge, lights, pumps, computers, etc. Surprisingly much of Hawaii gets its electricity via standard generation using expensive, dirty, imported oil.
· Currently propane is used for cooking and hot water. This needs to change. Solar is the obvious solution.
· Water is plentiful, large catchment tanks are common to supply household needs, using gravity to move it to where it is needed. Since is rains often, refills are free!
· We grow some food here, and could do better. Right now there are bananas, strawberries, chard, basil, cilantro, tomatoes, and eggs. Taro, pineapple, artichokes, beans, and others are coming in soon. A greenhouse helps. Plenty of sun, water and compost are added as needed.
· Transportation is via gasoline powered car, big part of the footprint. A hybrid would be nice. Someday. Meanwhile we ride share and use the public bus system, which is free! And of course there was a long airplane ride here. I have done a carbon purchase to help offset the fuel used. Somewhere in the world, someone is planting trees for me.
I think I have reduced my impact to a reasonable share.But we all could do better, right?
So what will you do?
Next time: Work!