2009: The year we began reducing our carbon footprintMy wife and I, with the help of our two daughters, spent the year 2009 learning how to reduce our carbon footprint and implementing the things we learned.
Much of what we discovered in 2009 was how much information is readily available to anyone who wants to live well while consuming less. The challenge is not finding it, but sorting through it and boiling it down for use.
Our intention is to learn how to live quality lives while consuming less energy, producing less waste, fewer greenhouse gases, and while being generally kinder to the environment. We see this as a life-long learning process. While we learned quite a bit in 2009, we realize that we have a long way to go, and we will never stop learning, and re-learning, how to live lower impact lives.
One of the essential questions that started us on this project is: Do you really have to lower your standard of living in order to live a low carbon footprint life?
In a year's time we have certainly lowered our consumption. For example, we're burning between a half and a third of the gasoline each month that we were burning in our cars before we began this inquiry. Our electricity and natural gas usage are down twenty and twelve percent respectively. We've reduced our use of environmentally damaging materials and lowered our consumption in other areas to varying degrees. Our standard of living is unchanged. The adjustments we've made have been sideways adjustments, not sacrifices.
And what we've done so far is a drop of water in the ocean.
2010: The year we take it to the next levelWe may have thought at one point, naively, that we could save the earth, or some part of it, by reducing our own carbon footprint, but we've read enough enlightened authors and studied the question enough now to know that this is pretty silly thinking (not that we don't enjoy being silly sometimes). Our eyes now are on the multiplier effect. As we work to change our habits to live healthier and lighter, our hope is to leave our children with the skills and sensibilities that we've picked up along the way, and that to them the lighter way of living will be what is normal.