Earth Day

22 Apr 2010, by Brian in Uncategorized

Today, Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, is probably the best day to remember that traveling sustainably is just as important when we’re at home as when we embark on the Mongol Rally.

We’re going to be exhibiting several impact reduction techniques, and measuring our carbon output throughout the trip, but that is only for the 6 weeks we’re on the road… what about the other 46 weeks of the year?

This is by no means an exhaustive list of measures one could take, but I took stock of my impact today to see where I’m at:

  • Commute Trip Reduction: I am pretty fortunate that my company supports commute trip reduction with Telecommute Thursdays! This is something new we’re trying, and one of the benefits (for me at least) has been a dedicated day that is relatively free of meetings and distractions… not only do I reduce my commute 20% per week, but I get a pretty productive day out of it! Ironically, today of all days, I had unavoidable meetings downtown and had to commute anyway.  Not a perfect score for me, but this is a new practice for the company, hopefully as time goes on the culture will adjust and get used to the dedicated telecommute day.
  • When I do drive, I have a relatively fuel efficient Honda Civic which usually gets over 30mpg in the city.  The EPA estiamtes the average car puts out 10,000 pounds of CO2 per year.  I’m easily able to drop that by 40% with my car.  I’ve also added the handy little Scan Guage II to my dash to see my realtime and trip average mpg, which helps me hypermile my driving style and push the mpg higher and CO2 lower.  It’s like a contest to see how far I can coast and push that mpg limit higher and higher.
  • No matter how far I drop the CO2 though, it won’t go to zero with this car.  Maybe some day I will have a zero emission car, but for now I need to offset that carbon output some other way.  So I renewed my TerraPass subscription today for the car and household output. Offset your carbon today!
  • Every other Thursday is also the day Kim brings home the big box of veggies from Full Circle Farm! They are part of the slow food movement, focusing on quality over quantity, bringing us local organic produce that has been grown sustainably and outputs the least carbon possible to bring it to our table. They’re just one of many great Community Supported Agriculture projects.  Find your local CSA and eat better food! There was a fridge full of fresh organic carrots, cilantro, apples and pears when I came home tonight. Yum.
  • Thursday is garbage day at our hosue. We’ve sized down to the smallest possible garbage bin that the city picks up, which pretty much forces us to recycle everything… our recycle bin is easily 5 times the size of our garbage bin. Whatever doesn’t make it into our stomachs from that Full Circle Farm box goes into our compost or yard waste bin (to be composted by the city) instead of the garbage.  Bonus: the smallest garbage bin is also the cheapest. Reduce your waste, save money, easy!

These are just a few things that came to mind today… and far from being a sacrifice, these habits are just a fun part of every day.  We can’t wait to take these habits mobile over the course of the Rally!

What did you do this Earth Day to reduce your impact?

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