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Dustin LindenSmith

father | musician | writer


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family discussion on personal contributions to global warming

My father-in-law sent us a link to a Globe and Mail survey results page that posed the following question:

Are you prepared to make some sacrifice in your own standard of living to help fight global warming?

Yes, unequivocally.

8587 votes (27%) 8587 votes

Yes, but only if governments and industries around the world also join the fight.

20597 votes (64%) 20597 votes

No, global warming is occurring but we don't need to act right now.

1138 votes (4%) 1138 votes

No, I don't believe that global warming is occurring.

1951 votes (6%) 1951 votes

Total votes: 32273

In the e-mail, he indicated that he had responded "Yes, unequivocally," which spawned part of the following reply from myself:
Have you given any thought to what sacrifice you could make personally? It's not hard to support this idea in principle, but it's a lot harder to make the changes required to make a difference. Things like moving to a more fuel-efficient vehicle, driving less, altering your home, flying less, etc. The only areas I feel like I personally can make a serious difference are in using less gasoline and using less electricity. Beyond that, I feel a bit helpless.

But maybe I should watch Al Gore's doc about it. I heard an audio clip from it in which he asked the audience to consider living a carbon-neutral life, in which you reduce your own emissions by the greatest extent possible, then purchase carbon offsets for the remainder of your surplus.

More info on going carbon neutral can be found on this page of David Suzuki's site, and a Canadian carbon emissions calculator can be found here, with which you can calculate your own output.

Our own family's output, which I've just calculated, seems pretty high -- 8.57 tonnes -- with over half being generated by transportation and a third generated by heating. Thankfully when we move this spring, both of those will drop significantly because we'll heat with natural gas instead of oil, and our commuting distance will be cut by roughly three-quarters.
At times like this, when global warming is so prevalent in the news, I'm inspired to try and reawaken the energyconscious community. But at the moment, I know I haven't the time to do so.

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