Saturday, 29 March 2008

Earth Hour 2008: turning my lights off

Since I last updated this blog I've been to NZ and back. Did I take lots of pictures of the wonderful Indian summer weather, my many gorgeous and intelligent friends (hi guys) and their lovely new babies, or my beloved and missed family? Nup. Too busy enjoying myself.

So what did I bring out my camera for? This unassuming little bottle.

I was thirsty when I got to LAX (no fault of Air NZ, they were quite happy to keep pouring any one of a hundred expensive liquids into me for the duration of the flight). So I bought a bottle of water, attracted by the pretty flower on it and the name, FIJI, which reminded me that there are beaches and sunshine in the world. Then I forgot to drink it.

Serendipity struck: on the next flight I read an article in the New Yorker about the owner of the company which bottles the water, and read the fine print on the back. It's not just named after Fiji, it's from there.

Fijian water, flown from Fiji to LAX, bought there and flown to Dallas and then to Little Rock and then driven to Pine Bluff. Water. It's free, it's heavy, and I just bought some and flew it hundreds of miles. No wonder I'm such a carbon-criminal. *Smacks self on wrist*. I'm keeping the full bottle as a reminder to myself.

I've done the maths and I'm now at 8,011 kg of CO2. That's how many trees? Even Google doesn't pretend to know! Searching on "a tree absorbs tons of carbon per year" gives answers like:

A healthy tree stores about 13 pounds of carbon annually

[www.coloradotrees.org/benefits.htm] ......

This is an average of 12.5 kg per tree per year

[www.carbon-info.org/carbonnews_072.htm] ......

a mature tree only absorbs 7.5 kg of CO2 per year, while a young and actively growing tree can absorb 13 kg+ of CO2

[www.carbon-info.org/pressrelease/pressrelease] .....

each tree will absorb 1 ton of CO2

[www.carbonify.com/carbon-calculator.htm] .........

A single mature tree can absorb up to 50 pounds of carbon dioxide per year

[www.greatermemphisgreenline.org/treevalue.htm] ..........

roughly one metric ton of carbon per acre per year

[greenmyplanet.blogspot.com/2007/12/how-much-is-tree-worth.html] .....

in the lower Mississippi River Valley, on a per planted tree basis, each tree absorbs an average of approximately 1.33 tons of carbon dioxide

[www.institutoterra.us/learn] .............

How is it measured? I need to see some peer reviewed scientific research. But I'm sleepy now, because it's late, which is because every detailed scientific page I read leads to ten random minutes browsing wikipedia/slashdot/xkcd/arts&lettersdaily/other people's blogs/etc....

So I'm going to turn out the lights and go to bed.

Oh, speaking of turning out the lights: turn them out at 8pm Saturday to participate in Earth Hour. If you missed it, turn them out NOW! After the mandatory ten minute random browse , of course.

3 comments:

Morgan said...

Possibly the last (and first) time I'll ever be mentioned in the same breath as both XKCD and A&L Daily, but I have pies & milk, so I don't mind. XD

Carolyn said...

Pies AND milk? Damn you, just when I have left the Land Of Tasty Pies behind for a while... I have milk, though. Sad little sigh.

rowan said...

Carolyn-

Very cool to discover you're blogging.

Thanks for the link :-)

Rowan.