Monday, 7 January 2008

Manifesto, or, the three parts of this blog

I don't doubt that climate change is anthropogenic (and I'm fed up with arguing, and won't do so on this blog). The question remaining to me is: can we do anything to stop it? Which really means: can I do anything? Can I personally, all by myself, have any effect at all on climate change? Up until now I've thought I couldn't. And that's meant I haven't tried.

But then I read The Undercover Economist and realised: I can't even make a coffee by myself (I have no cow for milk, I haven't grown any coffee plants and in fact they don't grow in my country, I have no mine and smelter to make metal to build a coffee machine with, or clay or kiln to fire pottery for cups) and yet I cause coffee to be made every day. I can't do the smallest thing alone, but I can do my little bit in the great engine of the market that ends up with me drinking a nice latte.

As with coffee, so with CO2. I hope. My goal for 2008 is to work out how best I, as an ordinary consumer in a first world country (or countries... see coming posts) and a participant in the global economy, can be a force in the global ecology too.

For now, on the principle that it's better to do something than nothing, I'm going to start measuring my CO2 output so that I know how much I will need to offset, or minimise. Peter Drucker, in his seminal book on management, said "you manage what you measure". John Walker (no, not that one) in the Hacker's Diet, used that truth to lose 70 pounds, and I used that to lose 8kg a while ago. Can I make a Hacker's Diet for the planet?

My energy usage so far (to 2 Jan)

1 January:
Normal home usage (in Auckland): 1.58 kg CO2
2 loads washing and drying: don't know yet

2 January:
Normal home usage (in Auckland): 1.58 kg CO2
Car 45km: 8.82kg
Cardio machine 30 minutes: don't know yet

I'm going to work out how to turn all the remaining items into kg of CO2 some time soon. The stats here are from

Oh, and if you were expecting a travelogue with pretty photos: that'll come too, in time. I plan to blog three kinds of posts: this kind, where I try to save the planet; a travelogue of my time in the States; and a gadget junkie log of toys and the fun of the internet.

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