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Paul, Alan Booker and some others continue the discussion about carbon footprint

Paul starts by talking about electric cars.  Switching from a gas car to electric reduces your footprint by 2 tons per year.  Julia has an electric car and says that it has positive lifetsyle benefits.

The next topic is buildings: most concrete and cement has a large carbon footprint.  However you see LEED Platinum certified concrete buildings.

Alan naturally has input to this.  LEED has become a standard for "green" construction, but what it does is to compare buildings with the average in the area.  Although LEED has shifted the bar so it's easier to build greener buildings, it doesn't make a big impression on the underlying issues.  

Chris comes in with a question: is it better to refurbish an old building, or build a new one?

Alan says refurbishing should be better but modern buildings are often built to a low standard and only last about 30 years, so although a well built building should last hundreds of years, that often isn't viable: buildings need to be built better so they become long term assets.  

Paul wants everyone to have a better quality of life, by installing a rocket mass heater.

Paul´s next point is food choice.  While researching for the Building a Better World book, they calculated the impact of food choice, and arrived at a figure of 10.5 tons per adult per year.

Eating a strict vegan diet can reduce that by 4 tons.  But so can growing a garden; if you grow half of one person's food per year that also reduces your footprint by 5 tons.  Paul says that on the average US urban plot of a quarter acre you can grow that much without a massive effort.  With more effort, even on a quarter acre, you can grow enough food for one person for a year.  If you have an acre, you could easily grow enough for 2 people.

He also points out that if done properly rotational grazing of large animals grown for meat can sequester a lot of carbon.
Alan agrees: it's well established that rotational grazing sequesters carbon.  He compares this with industrial scale feed-lots and corn-fed animals, which is an "ecological disaster".

They finish by thinking of some other beneficial things:  Alan cites community level projects and Paul mentions drying clothes on a rack, and doing the laundry in cold water.

Relevant Threads

Building a Better World in your Backyard by Paul Wheaton and Shawn Klassen-Koop

Urban Gardening forum

Rotational Grazing forum

Cider Press forum - for discussions on climate change.  Enter at your own risk.

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Posts: 2163
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
kids purity trees urban writing
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for Hawaii, what about a solar chimney effect, like the big canvas on a cable shading it but also with a hole in the top to allow air to flow up?  thus cooling the outside of the house but not drawing smoky air into it.  Not a replacement for fixing the ecological issues causing the fires, but at least it would be more comfortable.

As for general responses to the podcasts, I am not sure that replacing the trees that had been cut down in America and restoring the grasslands via rotational grazing is going to compensate for all the extra oil burned.  it helps mitigate and it is necessary, but it isn't sufficient to reverse the problem.  Putting more organic matter back into the soil than there was 500 years ago would work, but. this wasn't specified in the discussion.  Greening deserts that have not been sequestering any significant carbon for the past thousand plus years might be more impactful.  

"When the opportunity presents itself" is a concept that could use some more explanation.  I find un-planting more effective--oaks have started to volunteer all around the land here but most of the seeds I've planted or tossed have been returned to sender.

I think more on growing a large garden for what you eat, start to finish, would be useful, maybe a whole video? a kickstarter?  I have been trying my darnedest to reduce my footprints and  have made a lot of progress but there have also been obstacles and comedies.  I'm remembering that what would make the biggest immediate impact is if I got a good acorn processing game going, since there are millions of calories of acorns growing all around me (except last year with the drought), and I have just never managed to leach them to the point of being palatable myself.  (One time I did find a tree in the city that had sweet acorns, I've got to get me some of those to propagate out here).  I could also feed acorn flour to the ducks, but acorns are too tough for them to quack open.

Joshua Myrvaagnes
Posts: 2163
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
kids purity trees urban writing
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When the opportunity arises…some ideas:

- [ ] Your yard if you have one
- [ ] Your relatives’ yard
- [ ] An abandoned lot
- [ ] A spot in a park you can make look intentional (put hardware cloth around )
- [ ] A place where a street tree has died
- [ ] Weedy patch by train tracks
- [ ] Edge of a parking lot
- [ ] Toss out the window of your car as you drive

Other ideas?

Joshua Myrvaagnes
Posts: 2163
Location: Massachusetts, 5a, flat 4 acres; 40" year-round fairly even
kids purity trees urban writing
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The other thing about the Pauly Appleseed solution that I don't like is that it seems to let people off the hook for thinking and examining their part in anything else.  It's almost like the idea that rotational grazing will save us.  It will help, but we also have to stop polluting.  

If you keep heating your home with baseboard electric, flying in airplanes, driving an internal combustion car, and funding war with your tax dollars, you're contributing to the problem.  It doesn't really offset it that you planted 100 tons'-worth of trees.

It is slightly better than the "let farmers solve it for me, I'll just buy rotational/grassfed beef, end of story."  If you're planting with your own hand you're at least involved bodily as well as mentally and monetarily.  But it's not really better than the rest of the solutions in the Better World book, and I think it's a distraction.

For a person who's trying to stop harming other people, it isn't really a way to make progress.

(It's almost like carbon offsets, planting trees, which has a whole lot of problems.).

If i had a choice between 300 million Americans reading the book and thinking things through, on the one hand, and 300 million Americans planting 5 apple seeds a day, I'd choose the former.  
And that's when I realized I wasn't wearing any pants. Maybe this tiny ad has pants:
FREE Perma Veggies Book! - Learn how to grow the most delicious and nutritious food with the least amount of work.
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