It’s been four years since 31 families at UUCB calculated their carbon footprints. The overall average carbon footprint for these households in 2010 was 34.4 tons CO2 emitted/year. This compared favorably with the U.S. household average of 48.5 tons CO2/year, but scientists say that in order to have a sustainable climate, we need to do even better.
Over the past four years, many of us have become even more aware that climate change is already happening, and it really is a social justice issue. Climate change is already impacting populations in the world who are less able to respond to it, it’s causing the rapid extinction of animals and plants around the world (now known as the Sixth Extinction), and, according to scientists, it will certainly have an even greater impact on our children and grandchildren. We understand the urgent need for our society to reduce its use of fossil fuels now just to reduce these impacts.
Many families in our UUCB community have already taken action since 2010. We have reduced our carbon footprints by adding solar panels to our roofs, adding insulation to our homes, replacing our light bulbs with more energy efficient bulbs, gardening and eating more locally, changing our modes of transportation (reducing our use of our cars, riding our bikes more, purchasing more fuel efficient cars) and more.
The UUCB Climate Change Ministry has decided it’s time to take another reading on our UUCB Household Carbon Footprints. We encourage everyone to take part! By analyzing your own carbon footprint, you can identify ways you make improvements yourself. Here are the steps:
How: We’ll be using the University of California Cool Climate Calculator again. Please input your household information at http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/carboncalculator. You may want to review the site first to see what data you need to collect. (If you’d like a worksheet to help in the process, we will have these available at the Climate Ministry table during coffee hours.)
Who: We’re hoping that every UUCB household will take part! But only one person from each household needs to enter the data.
When: We’ll be collecting the data from now until December 14. If you have any questions, we will be available at the Climate Ministry table starting November 16.
What’s next: Send your Total Household Tons of CO2/Year to Tim Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org. After we collect all the data, we will report back to the church on our overall average. We’ll also provide opportunities to learn more about how you can continue to reduce your household average.
The UUCB Climate Change Ministry fully understands that solving climate change will take more than our individual actions. It will take a worldwide, system-wide change, transitioning from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on renewable energy. But “walking our talk” is also a key component of working toward that solution. As we all take steps in our personal lives to reduce our carbon footprints, we are moving the system in that direction and we are living our UU value of respecting the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. Our climate – our atmosphere – is a key component of that interdependent web. Let us work together to make it a healthy climate for the benefit of all of life.