Jun 25, 2014 at 9:50 pm #1318359
With global warming "heating up" (couldn't resist that ;o) we know it will affect backpacking. I have hated walking trails through burnt out forest. No shade, dirty, ugly, and hot!
So, what are you doing to lessen your own carbon/methane footprint.
Here are my feeble attempts:
(Disclaimer, I live in the Las Vegas valley. Today's temp. 108 F.)
1. insulated garage ceiling (10") and west facing garage door (foam panels)
2. installed thermostatic attic exhaust fan
3. installed complete 15.5 SEER Lennnox HVAC system last year ($9.600.!!)
4. installed front (west) and rear (east) awnings (a BIG help)
5. painted attic trusses and roof sheeting with aluminized reflective barrier (HeatBloc Ultra – so far the best of this type of radiant barrier.)
6. Xeriscaped front and back yards for less water use
7. bought new Toyota Prius V (wagon) & sold my hot rod Toyota V6 RAV 4
8. gradually changing out CFC bulbs for LED bulbs
9. installed Aussie-made Bonaire swamp cooler and ceiling exhaust ducts in 2010 (saves at least $100./month on summer electric bills, Useable only if temps are below 105 F. as it's just an evaporative cooler.)
So there are my efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Tell us yours.Jun 25, 2014 at 10:01 pm #2114749
– -K.T.- –Participant
No A/C, little heat.
Bought pre existing home
Driving 20+ yo vehicles that still provide reliable, economical transportation
Hike more. Use less power when away from home.
Buy durable, lasting, quality gear and conserve resources.
Recycle whenever possibleJun 25, 2014 at 10:54 pm #2114762
Hee, hee, I like that comment!
Unfortunately our two daughters have houses of 5,800 and 6,000 sq. ft. That's not just excessive, it's "Excessive excess".
BUT, the Thousand Oaks, California daughter's husband bought a "used" (2,500 mi.) Tesla and had a charger installed in the garage.
However daughter #1 in Lewisville, CO is getting an Audi RS 7 which offsets the Tesla!
And we have 5 grandchildren…Jun 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm #2114765
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
I happily have 3 children and live in a small growing town in the foothills of Mt. Rainier.
We moved this year, across town, and while we moved to a bigger home, our new-to-us home has more to offer. It is not a new home, but being newer than our old home, it has a few better things in how it was built.
I have never lived in a house with AC. Never. We chose the new house as it had more ventilation, it catches breezes better. The garage is also smaller and is insulated. Our property backs up to a protected green belt (a county rail to trail) and is lined with old growth trees. While our lot is big for in-town (13K sq ft), I came in this spring and put in all my native plants that I had lifted out of our old house. Once this year is past, I won't have to water them (they need to get reestablished this year). I grow native, I don't care about lawn (seriously, I am a fan of moss). I believe we must save water, but also make our yards welcoming to bees, birds and more. We NEED flowers. We need reasons for them to come. A big reason I loved this house was the yard. Behind the house, while ripping out Scotch Broom (invasive) this past weekend I saw 2 trees with bear claw markings. Woooooooh!
With our new home, I now drive even less. I barely drive at all now. I live with 1/2 mile of most shopping and can hop onto the trail for everything else – it goes through town.
On LED bulbs – Costco. We went LED years ago. In fact, when we moved, we pulled the CFL's out from the new place and put them in the old house, moving all our LED bulbs ;-)
So basically? Little driving, no A/C and heat doesn't kick on till it hits 64*. Green gardening, no pesticides or herbicides, native plants mostly. And that our water use is metered where we pay 4X the cost for outside than inside, well…you learn to watch how much you use.Jun 25, 2014 at 11:36 pm #2114768
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
My home is all-electric. There is no gas line in the neighborhood.
I turned off the main heating thermostat in 2002, and it has remained off.
Photovoltaic panel is on the south side of the house, except that I have to keep trimming trees to keep from shading it.
–B.G.–Jun 26, 2014 at 2:34 am #2114774
I go by bike as much as possible. We don't have a car. Use public transportation when ever we need to go long distances. Rent or loan a car if there's no other way.
Public transportation is getting better all the time in Copenhagen.
And the conditions for bicycles get's improved all the time too.
I always vote for the party that favors the environment, public transportation and bicyclism the most. It's easy to find a truly dedicated party on these matters in Denmark, because we can choose from typically 7-10 different parties.
I buy as much locally produced vegetables and fruits as my income allows me to.
I'm part of a non-profit locally produced ecological fruit and vegetable community. We do the work ourselves (all, except the actual farming). This makes it cheaper, and therefore possible to buy more and better quality locally produced vegetable and fruits. Our community is growing all the time, so we are pushing for more sustainable production all the time. And it's fun!
I buy quality that lasts. Be it bikes, kitchen appliances, clothes, HiFi. I try to buy as little as possible. Living in tight quarters helps.Jun 26, 2014 at 5:06 am #2114784
@leadfootLocale: Middle Virginia
I turned off the hot water faucet on the bathroom sinks. Soap and cold water is all I need. Dishes get hand washed and the rinse water goes into a wide pail to fit the sink and then that goes into a bucket to use to flush the toilets. The rest sometimes goes outside for the plants or trees. Keeps bugs off the bushes.Jun 26, 2014 at 5:34 am #2114791
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I drive a large SUV.
I live in the low desert, which requires A/C.
I fly over 100,000 miles per year.
When accosted by Eco-nazi Prius owners in California gas stations criticizing my SUV, I can usually make them cry.
I don't take my camper to improved campsites with electrical hook-ups. It has solar panels in the roof.
P.S. I have nice big green lawns in the front and back. Protects the house from forest fires. Also turns CO2 into the good stuff.Jun 26, 2014 at 6:35 am #2114805
– -K.T.- –Participant
"When accosted by Eco-nazi Prius owners in California gas stations criticizing my SUV, I can usually make them cry."
Don't limit yourself to just Prius drivers.
Wish I had a Humvee at times. And furs.
At least you don't run the heater much Nick.Jun 26, 2014 at 8:20 am #2114831
I use the dryer less than once per month. Wash my clothes in cold water with the fastest spin setting and then hang dry them. This allows for me to feel pretty smug as I drive my gas guzzling Toyota Tundra around town.Jun 26, 2014 at 8:55 am #2114845
"I believe we must save water, but also make our yards welcoming to bees, birds and more. We NEED flowers. We need reasons for them to come."
Agree. Interesting article on how "over half of the purportedly “bee-friendly” plants sold at Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart garden centers across the U.S. and Canada actually contain neonicotinoids — meaning gardens planted to save the bees, or even just planted under the assumption that they aren’t contributing to the die-offs, instead may be killing the pollinators."Jun 26, 2014 at 9:20 am #2114850
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
It always amazes me when people who claim to "embrace green-ness" get on an airplance and fly thousands of miles and then rent a car to go backpacking, as if the whole carbon-intensive exercise is permissible because of their otherwise good intentions.
I've traveled like that to go backpacking, but I'm not a hypocrite about it. I want to see and walk through what is left of the mostly unspoiled natural environment while acknowledging that it simply cannot be done with zero environmental impact, whether I arrive at the trailhead by bicycle or by Boeing 747.
EDIT: And this one is priceless: http://www.biggreenradicals.com/greenpeace-senior-executive-takes-a-plane-to-work/Jun 26, 2014 at 1:27 pm #2114903
@gordongLocale: Front Range, CO
I have an opinion on global warming. My statements below are not to create an argument, but rather share my thoughts and initiate discussion.
Though global warming exists, I don't think it is created by human contribution. There are natural heating and cooling cycles that take place globally over many many years. I do feel that it is smart and responsible to save our planets resources and I am definitely not a fan of pollution.
As I understand, there are a lot of people (politicians?) making money off 'carbon credits'. I know Al Gore is. And, his pool house uses almost 2-3 times the energy as us normal folk use for our primary residence. In 2005-2006 his monthly bill averaged over $500 per month.
I am no expert on the topic. Though, My uncle is.
He has shared some entertaning stories from the courtrooms in DC.Jun 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm #2114909
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Doug, very much so! It is very important to know where the plants come from – and use Heirloom seeds :-)Jun 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm #2114913
I kinda knew that this topic would generate some opposing opinions and I wuz keerect.
But that's OK because we of the "tree hugger persuasion" need to hear from large SUV owners. They have some perspectives worth viewing. Not all "green" solutions are truly green.
For ex. natural gas conversions of former coal-fired power plants is good IMHO, even thought it still has a carbon footprint. We all can't use solar, geothermal or wind power right away and natural GAS, with less than 1/2 the carbon footprint of coal (remember the full and empty coal trains) and far less emissions than even the cleanest coal-fired plant is a great transition fuel while we work on better renewable power sources AND cleaner nuke power. (Yep, it can be done.)
Not often mentioned is that METHANE is at least 2 X more dangerous as a greenhouse gas than carbon. And cattle make a LOT of methane with farting and their cow patties.
So… we could all safely and healthily cut out meat consumption in half by cutting our meat portions in half. Next time you order a burger just get the smaller size (but with cheese if you must,to offset the smaller size).Jun 26, 2014 at 3:13 pm #2114928
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
Last post for a couple weeks. Getting ready to take off in my big SUV for the Eastern Sierra Nevada to see if Mosquitos are a problem.Jun 26, 2014 at 3:36 pm #2114937
"Though global warming exists, I don't think it is created by human contribution. There are natural heating and cooling cycles that take place globally over many many years".
One of the biggest misconceptions in the global warming debate is the: "only this or that cause" rigid form of thinking. BOTH natural warming / cooling cycles AND man made warming exist. The spikes are measurable from the onset of the industrial revolution to the present.
Similar as if someone argues that tires never blow out from excessive wear but only from nail punctures.Jun 26, 2014 at 4:07 pm #2114944
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
Conservatives seem to think global warming doesn't exit, they're wrong imho.
Many liberals seem to think a few tweaks like a carbon tax and getting people to car pool will have a meaningful impact. They are wrong too.
Here's the problem, meaningful solutions would be so costly not enough people and countries would sign on. Solutions that are politically feasible will still hurt people and create backlash but they won't be enough to solve the problem.
Remember the recent standards announced by the EPA? Someone calculated that would amount to 20 days of Chinese emissions. So the pro-industry guys said "This is pointless but it costs us money." The environmentalist said "Yes it won't help much but its a step in the right direction." My question is how many "steps in the right direction" will it take to really change things? And how will you keep a pro-industry president from undoing it all?
My conclusion is the issue is really gridlocked and unlikely to change dramatically one way or the other. That is fine for politicians who thrive off such issues and those who get grants to study melting glaciers. Its not fine for the climate however.
Since political solutions aren't going to happen I think the best hope is the free market. Its unfortunate that many environmentalist associate "free market" with coal mines. What they forget is that markets are ultimately driven by self interest which is a very powerful thing. If you invent a clean source of energy the has significant advantages to the consumer then people will ditch coal and oil like and out of date smartphone.Jun 26, 2014 at 4:29 pm #2114948
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Since political solutions aren't going to happen I think the best hope is the free market. Its unfortunate that many environmentalist associate "free market" with coal mines. What they forget is that markets are ultimately driven by self interest which is a very powerful thing."
Let us hope that we start to see our ultimate self interest very clearly, very soon, if the consensus conclusions of climatologists worldwide are anywhere near correct. If not, Mother Nature will solve the problem for us, albeit in a way almost certainly not to our liking. One way or another, we will learn to live within limits, a foreign concept to most at this point in time.Jun 26, 2014 at 5:52 pm #2114973
But there are lots of things that can be done that aren't expensive, like making cars and houses more efficient.
And switching from incandescent bulbs to CFC and LED.
Switching a lot of transportation to using natural gas.
Wind mills to produce electricity.
Part of the expense of carbon producing fuels and inefficiency is externalized – it produces carbon dioxide that will cause climate changes that affects other people in the future. That's where government intervention is reasonable. affect change now that will result in less carbon that will have less effect in the future for everyone on the globe.
Decades and centuries from now when we're significantly experienceing the climate change, we'll be glad we made reductions today. That is, our great grand children. Or they'll be cursing us for letting politics delay any action.Jun 26, 2014 at 6:44 pm #2114986
No Nick – you just state opinions – no sources
"First thing to consider is that both are expensive. On a per-kilowatt basis, they are more expensive than hydro-electric, coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear power. Secondly, both are unreliable."
cost of electric generation $/megawatthour
natural gas $66
So yes, natural gas is cheaper
but there is no more hyrdo available so that's moot
coal is slightly cheaper but so much more polluting it's not worth it
nuclear is more expensive, and that doesn't even take into account the cost of disposing the waste and cleaning up Fukushimas
"When the wind stops blowing… can no longer produce energy… we must keep 100% of our maximum energy needs in traditional power generating sources"
actually, a good combination is wind when the wind is blowing and natural gas the rest of the time. Wind produces no direct CO2 so the increased cost is worth it. Plus, we'll eventually run out of natural gas, the wind will blow forever.Jun 26, 2014 at 6:52 pm #2114992
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"Wind mills to produce electricity."
Bad idea. Nick and Pancho will knock them over with their trusty lances.Jun 26, 2014 at 6:56 pm #2114993
are you comparing Nick to Don Quixote?Jun 27, 2014 at 12:45 am #2115070
@yakLocale: IN, USA
I have 14 large solar panels on my barn roof, and make about 20kw/day. We have geothermal heating and cooling. We use it for cooling and some light heating, but hard core winter heating is done w/ wood (lots cheaper). We built our house out of ICF w/ CCF sprayed roof deck way thicker than necessary. We grow a lot of our own food. We also both drive big diesel trucks, because we need them to support the size of our family and the work that we do.
Exactly zero of the decisions leading to the procurement and use of those items had anything to do w/ carbon. We got them for utility, survivability of the house/family in natural disasters, and for cost savings.
I honestly don't know what to believe. I grew up in the 70's and 80's. In school they were teaching us about the next coming ice age and nuclear winters.
I'll say that things appear to be a heck of a lot cleaner, in the mid west anyway, than they were 25-30 years ago.
The recent "concerns" about carbon as a pollutant confound me a little. It's the same stuff that we breathe out and that trees breathe in. I'm highly suspicious of the scientific method being applied to this debate, as it's been co-opted as a political weapon. IMO, that never works out in the favor of anyone but the politicians.
I know there's tons of scientists that say we should be worried. I also know that many if not most of them are taking huge grants to study this from a gov't eager to promote it.
Here's the core part of the issue in my mind:
The entire world economy, as it exists today, is pretty much based on carbon-based fuels. If we want to reduce carbon emissions, we've got to have an economically viable alternative to these fuels in all of the needed forms: liquid, solid, electrical, gaseous, etc. Human civilization depends on this economy to continue to function with reasonably priced fuel sources.
If some technology were to materialize tomorrow that would run my truck and still be able to effectively pull 12000 pounds of trailer, for 1/2 the operating cost, I'd buy it immediately. Making my fuel more expensive w/ no viable alternative only drives up my costs, and what little I'm able to pass along to customers.
One side of this debate wants to reduce demand and use some alternative supply thats not commercially viable. The other side says "there ain't no problem, drill baby".
Neither of them are right I suspect. You can't tweek one side of the supply/demand curve and not get a reaction from the other side and/or price. We learned that in econ 101.
Raising my taxes isn't going to fix anything. Drilling holes isn't either. Time to move on to plan C, whatever that is — all the while de-politicizing the scientific debate so that it actual scientific debate.
Until then, we're just watching people beat the snot out of each other.
Sorry if my opinion doesn't quite square with everyone else's here. Thanks for reading this far.Jun 27, 2014 at 3:39 am #2115079
@bobmny10562Locale: Westchester County, NY
One doesn't usually associate Formula 1 racing with "green" pursuits, but some of the most fruitful developments in the area of automobile fuel efficiency are coming from this cutting-edge racing technology.
And it's stuff that will trickle down relatively quickly to consumer markets and vastly improve fuel efficiency.
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