Building on the information shared in our global warming reports, this series of three primers provides facts, comparisons, and useful information on areas many might not think about relative to destructive climate change. By educating ourselves, and making others aware of simple changes in our daily lives that promote more climate- friendly living, we can all make a difference. As with our previous challenges, we want to educate, raise awareness, and encourage positive actions in our communities. When you read the three primers and commit to making positive changes, we will donate $100 in your name to Solar Electric Light Fund (SELF), a non-profit organization fighting global poverty and climate change in third-world areas.
Shortly after beginning my Wall Street career, I took a recreational interest in early music encyclopedists. Jean-Jacques Rousseau earned renown for his articles on music in Diderot's Encyclopedia, some of his first intellectual publications. At the other end of Rousseau's life was his great Confessions (apparently Art Garfunkel's favorite book), and two unfinished books: Reveries of
a Solitary Walker and Botany, A Study in Pure Curiosity: Botanical Letters and Notes towards a Dictionary of Botanical Terms. Both unfinished books capture his utter fascination with observing nature up close. But it was Rousseau's Pure Curiosity that I had in mind as I became curious about specific ways we could all take little steps in our daily lives to fight global warming.
Social anatomists have long observed that the effective location of a man’s heart is either in his male anatomy or his pocketbook. So I thought the best place to start would be to examine those environmental actions that, as they did good for the environment, would also do good for the doer. Driving genuine high-mileage hybrid cars and eating a vegan diet might top this list, but the lifestyle impact of these two very potent actions presents too high a hurdle to presently motivate many people. These three primers cover activities in our daily life that represent the low-hanging fruit within the reach of nearly every American citizen and household.
To help educate and lead others to beneficial action, we have researched and educated ourselves about these three actions. Further, I have personally completed two of these climate-friendly actions in my Utah home. Thus, by learning and doing, we can more effectively help others take their first climate-friendly actions.
Now, in the manner of Rousseau’s Confessions, I must admit that I am still an environmental sinner. Were I maximally committed to doing everything I could to prevent global warming, I’d be taking lessons from New York City’s No-Impact Man and significantly curtailing my lifestyle to seriously lighten my carbon footprint. I accept that instead of lowering greenhouse gas production, America has largely been going in the opposite direction, and that the excessive lifestyles of many Americans (myself included) are at the vanguard of our greenhouse gas gluttony.
Yet I am a realist. I know that hard-working Americans are not going to voluntarily abandon their lifestyles en masse, to fight climate change. But for each one of us who takes an initial step now, two benefits occur. First, the action taken, itself, starts to reverse the growth in our carbon emissions. Second, and perhaps more importantly, each ‘early adopter’ helps to create the demand for additional climate-friendly products and solutions. Sure, CFLs are more expensive (today) than incandescent lights, and tankless hot water heaters cost more (today) than traditional ones. As demand is driven by the purchases of early adopters, producers and suppliers notice and start to invest in the ‘green’ market. As that happens, the cost to be green falls and becomes more within reach and more affordable for all.
- Hal Hinkle