How We Began this Project
In Fall of 2008, I read somewhere that for every pound of grapes I buy from the grocery store, if those grapes were grown some place as far from northern Michigan as Chile, I've contributed six (6) pounds of Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere just getting them produced and shipped to my local store. Given that most of the grapes in the local store we shop most of the time were labeled "Grown in Chile," that realization struck my wife and me pretty hard.
Imagining six pounds of carbon and soot packed around those grapes made them quite a bit less palatable. And knowing that most of the pollution we caused by buying those grapes wasn't even nearby for us to clean up or live with, but was strung out along the route between here and South America for others to deal with, made the realization worse. We like grapes. We've been eating them for years without paying much attention to where or how they were produced.
We started to look around our house and our lives and wonder how many other of our seemingly innocent habits and daily decisions held these hidden consequences. If just buying grapes could be such a soiling activity, we started to imagine that our humble Midwestern family of four must actually be a pollution and waste factory in disguise. My wife visited a web site to calculate our carbon footprint. ( The Nature Conservancy's Carbon Footprint Calculator ) and found that if everyone on the planet lived as we do, it would take 4 Earths to support us all. We don't have 4 Earths. This inspired us to examine every aspect of our lives, and we decided to spend the next year learning how much we consume, how much carbon and waste we produce, and how much we can reduce those quantities through methodical learning and action.
This page last updated on: 2009-11-23