The day the United Nations COP21 climate change summit accord was signed in Paris on December 13, 2015, committing us all to a lower carbon future, I was thrilled, especially by the increased discussion of the need to get to zero carbon. I linked to an article about it on Facebook, and wrote, “Now we need to get to work.”
Then I started thinking about it. Clearly there’s a ton of work for governments and industry. What can we do as individuals, in addition to lobbying, donating and voting for those who are working to protect our environment? I don’t even know what zero carbon means. What will it look like, at my house?
I tend to do this – learn something new in theory and then need to figure out what it looks like on the ground. In my house, in my garden. So I hatched a plan and talked my husband into joining in. This blog is our first step.
Through 2016, we are going to work on this question: How do we get to zero carbon, at our house?
I wrote to the Suzuki Foundation for advice. This was their reply:
Thank you for your interest in carbon neutrality. The process is actually fairly simple:
– Measure the emissions from your household
– Reduce emissions where possible at your household
– Purchase emissions reductions made elsewhere (carbon offsets) to balance the remaining emissions you were not able to reduce.
I’m not convinced it’ll be simple. Mark says it’s kind of like saying you play the flute by blowing in one end and moving your fingers up and down. But we’re going to leap in and learn to play.
Our plan is to tackle one topic a month, researching and making the easy changes. We’ll research the big stuff too, like electric cars and solar panels, so when the time is right we’ll be able to move quickly. That’s not likely to be this year.
January will be about finding out our current carbon footprint, and what it would cost to buy carbon offsets for that amount. This will define where we are and set a price on the problem. We’re also hoping to book an energy assessment of our house, so we’ll know what we need to work on most.
We’ll report on our progress at the end of the month, and set goals for the next month.
Maureen and Mark