Monday, February 14, 2011

Carbon Footprint - Size 16 Shoe

DAY 322

I ate 2 purple potato chips at a gourmet restaurant in Athens, GA over the weekend. Oops! Day 12 of no Coke – good AND I still need to keep limiting my sugar intake. I feel the need for a sugar detox after a weekend of sweet tea in the south! I was also forced to eat “Momma’s Pancake Breakfast” at the Cracker Barrel.

OK, I’ve decided my final challenge will be around reduced use of my car. I will track gas purchase and miles – should be interesting to see how much less I spend and what kind of extra time it takes. Thanks to Mandy and Becca for the inspiration! Be careful what you ask for – I solicited ideas and the car thing came at me twice!

Because I travel for work long distances – flying and driving – my carbon footprint is very (VERY) high – Sasquatch-sized. Our carbon footprint calculator estimates how many tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases our choices create each year.

In spite of my efforts to reduce in many other every areas of my life, the choices I make produce 34.22 metric tons of C02 a year. Nice. Not what I was expecting...I have not been thinking about the big items in my consumer life – car, flying, and utilities. Check out this website for a nice little (well, big) reality check.

More stats on carbon footprint according to this site:

• Average for industrial nations is 11 metric tons
• The worldwide average is 4 metric tons
• The target to fight climate change is 2 metric tons

These other sites are good too – what sites have you seen out there?

I have a lot of work to do.

So, this month I *will* use my car less – I need to do some homework on the bus lines in Rochester AND look at some ways to share driving for some things – find a friend to go to the grocery store with – we could take turns driving. I also need to think hard about the work that I do – I flew 10 times in 2010 – 24, 450 miles and a C02 use of 3.88 metric tons. That alone is almost the average across the world for all aspects of consumption. Kristin Skarie – High Impact Girl. Not the Super Hero name I would have chosen for myself!

I will report on the car and other changes I will make– here are the suggestions from the site (the extreme ones):

• Buy used clothes
• Be vegan
• Recycle or compost EVERYTHING
• Eat only local food
• Grow all your own food
• Eat only foods that are in season in your area
• Participate in recreational activities with ZERO carbon footprint – bike & walk not eat out & go to the movies
• Get rid of your car.

OK. Not so easy!


I need to start now – not look for a convenient time to start riding the bus. It’s cold, I’m busy, I’m stressed, there are not enough hours in the day...AND I will start now.

Film at 11.

Have a Nothing New Day! Kristin


  1. I humbly post this comment with permission from my friend Rebecca - so may things here I have NEVER thought about! Thank you for all you do Becca and for your excellent ideas and resources :) I will be addressing these in my life - check out future blog posts...K


    So your blog, and more generally your efforts for this year, have been in the back of my mind all this past week. I just kept thinking about random things I've done/am attempting to do which are in the same spirit as your efforts. Rather than detail them all, I thought I'd briefly highlight some of the things I didn't notice you mentioning which you might be interested in exploring. Maybe it's just me rambling, but maybe it'll be interesting. Here goes.

    You mentioned eating local, but I didn't see any mention of CSAs (community support agriculture). After moving to Cali I joined a CSA, and I love it! I get a box of locally grown vegetables and fruit delivered every week to a drop point that's a short walk from my apartment. It's all the joy of local food, with even more convenience.

    I'm surprised you haven't focused at all on transportation. I know you travel semi-great distances a great deal for work, which in some ways limits the possibilities, but the environmental impacts of flying and driving are a major contribution to greenhouse gases. Public transit, carpooling, shared cars, biking, and walking are all great ways to decrease this footprint. Again, after moving to Cali and having sold my car, I've found myself being much more aware of my transportation situation. For example, I shop at places much closer to where I live, since I know I have to walk back carrying whatever it is I've purchased.

    Next, a topic I believe is completely absent from your blog, for some reasons which are likely obvious (e.g. the average viewer of your blog may not be female) is female menstruation. Female hygiene products produce huge amounts of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste every month! I (relatively recently) switched to using a reusable female cup, and I will never look back. It's more comfortable. It's more hygienic and safe. And it's reusable which means less waste and less money spent! Two things I basically always support :) I've also started using reusable pads, but I think that's a much harder sell to most people.

    Lastly, and quite randomly, I recently decided to start using cloth napkins. It occurred to me that I spent a fair amount of money and create a great deal of waste by using paper napkins and paper towel. So instead, I'm using cloth. It's also great because when I travel, I just take one with me instead of using paper ones wherever I go.

  2. Part Two - from Becca :)

    Here is some info on female cups:
    I've been using lunapads (both their divacup and their pads) for a number of reasons, but irrespective of the specific brand you may choose to go with, their sites have some really good info on benefits of using cups and reusable pads. They also answer a lot of questions that you probably have about initially switching. I'd say they are some of the better sites (especially the first one) to look at, at least initially though they're obviously a bit biased.
    These are two other major brands that people I know have used. The table mentioned above compares them to lunapads, but their sites also have general info comparing pads/tampons to cups; I personally think the lunapads sites have better (as in more extensive) info though.
    The top entry on this site gives a chart (really two charts) that compares the main menstrual cup options that are out there, but it doesn't really give a lot of general information about how cups compare to pads/tampons. I'd recommend it as a way to help narrow down the choice between brands though.
    Lastly, there are disposable cups which are cheaper, but obviously don't eliminate the amount of waste produced to the same extent as a reusable cup. Though the fact that you only theoretically need two per day, does mean you're wasting less. They sit in a completely different spot, but basically accomplish the same thing.

  3. What an amazing and inspiring year you are having. I applaud your transportation goal and give you tons of credit for even trying it. I often struggle with this one. I want to go on a hike, but the trail is 35 miles away. That's 70 miles round trip. But going into the woods is what recharges me. In fact, it's what motivates me to recycle, eat locally, drive less, etc. It's not just the price of gas that makes decididing what to do on the weekends a difficult process. I've been caught in the grocery aisle, pondering eggs (locally raised or organic? free range or from California?) for 30 minutes.

    In the end, for Americans at least, it seems to come down to this. Most of us are lucky. Damn lucky. We have such abundance that even with major lifestyle changes, we are still using more resources than we deserve. I haven't figured out how to deal with that moral dillema for myself. I know I give more money away (to organizations like Heifer International) because it's the least I can do.

    Some days I feel like I do as much as I can. Others, I feel that I could never do enough. I think the most important thingm, though, is that you're thinking about it and doing something. You're living intentionally - consciously - aware of what you have and what you use and how you can live your live as a reflection of what you believe.

    Yay you.