Ten Network in Australia is conducting today, Cool Aid: A National Carbon Test. On the prime time 8:30 PM slot for Sunday, the idea is to empower the individuals in Australia with information on their carbon emissions along with solutions to go on a carbon diet.
It is a big step forward for Climate Change in Australia. With professors, green company heads, the Federal Environment Minister and his shadow minister along with Al Gore and Tim Flannery participating in the show; it is the first “mass-market” show in this area in Australia.
The program follows a simple quality improvement system of: audit, act, change and check again. So use the following information to check out your carbon audit for your lifestyle, see how you can change and then act. If you are really want to take the next step, check out the carbon offsets available.
Before we go ahead lets take a step back. If you are not sure about climate change, check animations from the BBC, a long article from Wikipedia or indepth information from the US EPA or buy/rent Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” at your local DVD store.
Now let’s look at what you can do. A lot of the links are for Australians, remember that.
(Click on the link below for the rest of the article)
The first step is to do the Carbon Test which has come with the Sunday papers today. If you missed doing that, you can use the carbon calculator online (free registration required). The next step is to see where you can make a difference and start changing.
The program follows 4 households for one day to understand their normal day and its effect on carbon emissions. This includes, normal day-to-day activities, transport, food, household appliances, chores and work stuff.
The best way to cut down your carbon emissions is go for “green energy”. There are various options available for you. Check out Jack Green, where they have options in every state of Australia. I am with Tru Energy and they have a Go Green program where you can move to green energy at no extra cost.
Lets look at the individual areas for an household.
First, lighting. You can change to the compact flourescent bulbs which can save upto 80% energy over the recently banned incandescent bulbs.
Second, check your transport. Public transport emits only 10% of private transport. A standard family car emits 4.5 tonnes of CO2 per year and a hybrid around 1 tonne per year.
What else can you do? Bio-Diesel for fuels. Hybrid cars from Toyota and Honda. And the future, Hydrogen cars.
One thing to remember is that all cars still require energy and resources to create one. For me, a second-hand car is still the best way to go.
Third, water. Water and CO2 savings can come in the form of heat water savings, lesser water from efficient shower heads and in the case of Adelaide a large indirect greenhouse savings. SA Water supplies Adelaide with water from the river Murray and due to this it is the second largest greenhouse emitter in SA. So every time you save water, there is much more you save then just water.
You can buy from Bunnnings in Australia, for example, water divertors, grey water recycling systems, shower heads, rain sensors etc. For more, check out the Save Water section of Bunnings.
Fourth, appliances and stand-by. When buying your applicances like computers, television, refrigerators, washing machines check out their energy star ratings. Search the Energy Rating website for energy efficiency appliances.Also, remember to switch off at the plug because stand-by power can make upto 6% of a household’s energy usage.
Fifth, food. Food can be part of the carbon emissions system due to production, transportation and distribution. One of the best ways you can cut down the “food miles” and save carbon is buying local food.
Sixth, green home. You can use great design to build a green home or renovate your current house. For the 30% people who are renting in Australia (like me) the options are lower. For understanding a green home, check this out case study in Australia.
At work. Computers make up 30% of a office’s energy. Paper can make up half of all waste of a work place. My work revolves around doing this stuff at our workplace and a future article will explore this area.
Lastly, if you want to take a carbon neutral step, you can offset your emissions. There are some pros and cons of it but if you want to do it as part of a larger strategy to be sustainable it makes sense.
As part of my MBA assignment I recently interviewed a serial entrepreneur, Dave Sag; CEO of Carbon Planet. Carbon Planet helps individuals and businesses to offset all their carbon emissions for as low as AU$ 60 per month. Businesses and large organizations can use the expertise of Carbon Planet to take an audit, create strategies to cut down their energy and emissions and offset the rest.
Please remember that carbon emissions are climate change are one part of the larger Sustainability issue.
I have been trying to do a lot of these myself and it is not easy. However, it is becoming easier now with more organizations providing solutions and the greater need to act now.
Now that you know what you can do, check out the links in the article and start acting now.