Earth Day – Taking real action

So it’s the 41st annual Earth day and people are out rallying and parading. These are all great things, its good to see people in tune with the environment. But what does this mean over the long term? After the parade, are we all going to hop back into our gas-guzzlers and drive back to our giant houses in the subburbs?

You might remember my angry post on Earth Hour 2010. It was a reaction to the whole “turn your light off for an hour” slacktivism that is Earth hour ( grand savings of 0.0114% over the entire year for those who are counting). The most amusing part was the status updates like: “unplugged my laptop, sitting in the dark, happy Earth Hour everyone.” Le sigh. Anyway, I decided that ranting wasn’t doing anything productive and created this pledge. Since then, I’ve been tracking my utility and mileage and think I’ve done pretty well.

Here are my results:

Mileage:
My pledge was to drive 15% less. Comparing 2011 to 2010, I drove 19% less and comparing 2011 to 2008, I drove 29% less. This is a result of biking more and combining errand trips to once or twice a week.
2008 – 20,200K
2009 – 17,600K
2010 – 17,000K
2011 – 14,300K

Power consumption
My pledge was to drop 15%. Comparing 2011 to 2010, I decreased my power usage by 22%. This was done through a few things like reducing electronic items around my home, changing lighting to CFL, and hanging my clothes to dry (plus they last longer).

There are some other areas of my pledge that need work (my addiction to new electonics for one) so I’m going to make that the focus of my effort in upcoming years.

I encourage you and your family to make a pledge on the Earth Day site. Set some goals that you can follow-up on over the course of the year. Track your usage. Post them on the fridge as a reminder that every day is Earth Day.

2 Comments

Very cool that you tracked your progress and saw real results. There’s website/mobile app idea with some potential in here somewhere.

Thanks Terry,
I actually track my mileage with an app on my phone called mileage. Hopefully with things like the Smartmeters, we’ll see some additional savings as people are forced to be more concious about their power usage.

I actually try to minimize my peak power usage by running things like the dishwasher late at night but there currently is no incentive to do so.

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