|Re: Walking Lightly||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Tom Hammer (thammer302yahoo.com)|
|Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2007 06:29:49 -0700 (PDT)|
Great note from Ruth. Thank you. Buying used is inherently less polluting than buying new. However, some things cannot be bought used. Also, there are practices which are widely considered to be "green" and are not particularly effective. A famous example: bringing a mug to work instead of using disposable coffee/tea cups. A study was done which factored in the total cost/pollution of manufacturing the mug, transporting it, washing it, etc, and it takes 1000 or so uses for the mug to start coming out ahead of disposables. If one uses recycled paper coffee cups, (not studied, I think) it may be even harder for the mug to win. As for homes, if we assume that the population is going to increase (the biggest cause of pollution & carbon use of all!), then more homes will inevitably be built. We might as well build and buy truly green, well-insulated homes. For a good list of what really helps and what doesn't: Tread Lightly, Fly Directly From the N.Y. Times Published: July 1, 2007 To reduce your carbon footprint in ways more substantial than buying an expensive hybrid car or jetting to an eco-spa, here are a few suggestions from among 77 offered by ?The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook? by David de Rothschild, the official companion book to the Live Earth concerts. 1. Whenever possible, replace meat with soy or other vegetable protein in your diet. It takes eight times as much energy to produce a pound of meat as it does a pound of tofu. 2. Replace your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times as long as incandescent bulbs. To save even more, turn off the lights when you leave the room. 3. Sub-size it. Houses between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet consume about 40 percent less energy than McMansions over 4,000 square feet. 4. Downsize your car. Every extra 100 pounds a car weighs requires 2 percent more fuel to move it. 5. Fly direct. Takeoffs and landings are where the most fuel is burned. Takeoffs alone can burn 25 percent of the energy used on a short trip. For trips shorter than 600 miles, consider taking the train. 6. Pull the plug. Appliances like televisions and VCRs still suck power when turned off. An estimated 95 percent of the energy consumed by cellphone chargers comes when they are left plugged in. 7. Skip the bottled water. For every one million bottles of water that are manufactured and shipped to consumers, 18.2 tons of carbon dioxide emissions are pumped into the air. 8. Vote. I don't own the book, so I wonder what some of the other best practices are. Does anyone have it? Tom Hammer Concord Village Building homes which won't use any fossil fuels for heating or cooling. >Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2007 11:13:25 EDT >From: Ruthpoet [at] aol.com >Subject: Re: [C-L]_ [C-L] Walking Lightly - buying used things To: cohousing-l [at] cohousing.org Message-ID: <c2a.142ac21b.33bbc195 [at] aol.com> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Stuart - thanks for your comment about using it 'til you wear it out! In all of the conversations about greenness vs. affordability, I've been surprised that no one has mentioned buying used goods. Frankly, I feel much better about buying used goods than I do about buying new cheap goods (e.g. WalMart), new not-so-cheap goods (e.g. Macy's) or new "green" goods. It is MUCH more affordable, giving me much more flexibility and financial freedom, AND I feel like I've taken myself (to some extent) out of the consumerist loop. I would estimate that 90% of the non-consumables that I own (car, clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture) were bought used, or in some cases gotten for free, at _www.craigslist.org_ (http://www.craigslist.org) (a great place to find any and everything - for any of you who don't already know about it), _www.freecycle.org_ (http://www.freecycle.org) , or at a thrift store or flea market. It's been a long time since I had a job where I had to dress up, but when I did, I always found good quality "dressy" clothes in thrift or consignment stores at a fraction of the cost of buying new. For me, buying used is also more fun - there are more surprises (you never know quite what you'll find), it's more creative, and more eclectic. For anyone who doesn't know about _www.freecycle.org_ (http://www.freecycle.org) -- it's international, with myriad local chapters all over. In just the past few months, my partner and I have received, for FREE, a great futon and frame, two canoe paddles, a grill in very good condition, and a bunch of dishes -- and we've given away some stereo equipment, electronics equipment, some plants, a different futon mattress, an animal cage, a set of chairs, etc. Everybody's happy, and no new goods had to be produced to meet any of our needs/desires. (OK, the only "cost" was a little fossil fuel required to pick the goods up. Which isn't nothing.) Speaking of used items: I don't know how this equation works out is in buying a "used" (i.e. already existing) house, vs. building a new, but more greenly-constructed house. Since there are so many already-built houses on the market, it makes sense to me on the one hand that it would be better to buy one of them, rather than using up materials to have a new one constructed. On the other hand, most existing houses are not as well insulated or set up for solar, etc. Comments, anyone? Ruth
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