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The Other Side forums - suitable for mature readers! _ Daily life _ Cars and carbon neutrality

Posted by: Mata Jun 28 2009, 01:48 PM

So, I've finally given in to the horror that is car ownership. For people that are bothered about such things, it's a Y-reg Ford Focus, 73k miles, and more importantly is coloured green.

I filled it up with petrol and felt pretty horrible about the fact that I am burning a substance that took millions of years to come into existence, so can anyone recommend a good site where I can fund the planting of trees or other projects to try and get some carbon footprint neutrality?

Posted by: Yannick Jun 28 2009, 02:27 PM


Posted by: Kitty Jun 28 2009, 05:45 PM

QUOTE (Yannick @ Jun 28 2009, 09:27 AM) *

If you go to IKEA you have to make sure to ask the cashier about it when you're checking out. I'd been through the checkout numerous times and no one had told me about the donations. I finally was able to donate when I went through the self-checkout area.

Donating online is probably much easier smile.gif

Posted by: gothictheysay Jun 28 2009, 11:50 PM

Did you get good gas mileage? I drive my car a lot, especially during the school year to see my boyfriend who goes to school 2 hours away, and I get a little bit of peace of mind knowing I have a low carbon emissions vehicle. Not entirely reassuring, but it certainly doesn't guzzle gas. Much cheaper too smile.gif

Posted by: leopold Jun 29 2009, 09:01 AM

The Focus isn't too bad on fuel economy. But you should've bought a diesel, mate. Seriously, as uncool as they might be, they aren't massively off the pace of a petrol engine and you can go further on a tank. And they are more reliable.

And if you feel bad about the whole burning of liquified dinosaur thing: Do you ever buy anything? Do you ever go out anywhere on public transport? Do you ever turn on any electrical devices? Do you have gas supply to your home? Unless you answer no to everything, you are using the self same fossil fuels you worried about in your car. You'll probably find you use less of the stuff in your car than you do in your everyday life.

You could try going for the home electricity generator, apparently you can get a grant for it and if you fit it and it works well enough it can cover about half your electricity usage overall. And if you produce excess at any time it actually credits your account as you feed it back into the grid! It's a bit noisy and in high winds it doesn't work, but it's worth looking at and you could cut your carbon footprint a good chunk by not using as much juice from the power station.

Posted by: Daria Jun 29 2009, 10:46 AM

*muttermutterCarbon offsetting is mostly a load of bollocks used by governments and car companies to make you think that what they do is ok. Landrover, I'm looking at you heremuttermutter*
There are lots of websites like that allow you to buy trees fer plantin'. You might want to consider donating to a local forest or parkland for the upkeep of what they already have as it's something both local to you and can be enjoyed by people as well as helping the environment.
Other tiny but important things like making sure you have good tyres, driving sensibly, ensuring the engine and exhaust are up to top spec etc etc can ensure that your car is using the minimum amount of fuel- happier for your wallet as well as the environment.

And yes, what Leo said! Electricity generators ftw. Solar panels can also be excellent and pretty awesomely space-age- although obviously you'd have to have a big discussion with your landlord if you rent.

Posted by: Mata Jun 29 2009, 11:03 AM

I did want a diesel for those reasons but I couldn't find one in our price range. And yes, I also feel bad about using electricity or even going on a bus (though not as bad about that as driving a car), and especially about all the packaging that goes around every damn thing that I buy. I've recycled since I left home and try to buy my food with as little packaging as possible, but there's really no way of avoiding the simple fact that I'm using up resources that can't be replaced.

I live in rented accomodation, but when I get my own place I definitely want to look at options for natural or more balanced energy sources.

I just ran my stats through a calculator. They're not bad, but they're certainly not good:

* Your household footprint is 6.69 tonnes per year
* The average footprint for people in United Kingdom is 9.80 tonnes
* The average for the industrial nations is about 11 tonnes
* The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 tonnes
* The worldwide target to combat climate change is 2 tonnes

I probably over estimated on a few things. It was interesting that the vast majority of that came from 'secondary' carbon usage, such as packaging on products or only having a medium preference for locally sourced foods.

I've just donated 60 to carbon offsetting projects in South America, which has the plus sides of balancing my household's carbon output as well as providing support for poorer communities. Hooray!

Posted by: Mata Jun 29 2009, 11:06 AM

Daria: yes, I realise these projects can be viewed by some as a way of saying 'we can party as much as we want and do whatever we want' but I think that it's a good idea overall to try and keep a low carbon profile in whatever ways you can, then use projects like tree planting to balance whatever you can't avoid. I find it interesting that the Highway Code now contains information about economical driving, and my driving instructor has to inform me of these things too.

Posted by: Cath Jun 29 2009, 03:30 PM

Yup it's part of what we have to teach now and is the reason I'm having to break some of my bad driving habbits to make sure I can pas on the skills when I start teaching.

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