First of all, happy new year to all! I hope you’ve had a safe and enjoyable festive season.
My resolution this year is to reduce my energy demands. This isn’t bike related, but I feel this is relevant as many of you here would also be concerned about climate change.
Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, my resolution this year will be to reduce my carbon footprint. For those of you familiar with Australian politics, our current Prime Sinister (not a typo ) denies the impact of humans on climate change. As someone who has read the credible articles on the climate change debate, it has frustrated me a great deal watching the Australian government take step backwards on combating climate change.
However, it has only recently occurred to me that the power to fight climate change lies not with our politicians, but with us. Sure, combating climate change is easier with government support, but inevitably, the largest proportion of the action falls into the hands of us, and our daily lifestyle choices.
We should not criticise governments who cut climate change initiatives if we ourselves are not prepared to reduce our carbon footprint. With our extensive reliance on fossil fuels even our individual carbon emissions are quite substantial. If we make good small choices about our lifestyle we can have a huge impact on climate change.
My family and I have agreed to make a few commitments to reduce our carbon footprint. The first of these commitments is to reduce our fuel consumption by at least 10% in the year ahead, and then maintain that (or reduce it even further). To achieve that we have offered to give up on my dream to live a country lifestyle, as constant driving between the city and country is not feasible.
We have also committed to reduce our combined annual international plane trips. My family usually go on an overseas holiday every year. However we’re reducing these holidays to once every two or three years. On the alternative years, we’ve looked into local holiday alternatives.
We’re also trying to reduce our energy bills by 10%, we’ve also agreed to limit the number of internationally shipped orders to 4 per year.
These are the measures my family and I have challenged ourselves to take. I also challenge you to commit to reducing your energy demands. You don’t have to take the same measures as us, we’ve just identified areas where our energy demands could be reduced. If you are also concerned about climate change I suggest you and your family look into the following areas:
- Some reduction in combined energy bills (or if you have solar panels, an increase in returns to the grid compared to this year). A good way to reduce this is to rethink the heating and cooling of your home. For the fellow Australians here, do we really need to cool our houses to 24 degrees during summer? Wouldn’t 28 degrees be more practical and as comfortable?
- A reduction in average kilometres travelled by car (adding a family member to a normal trip can be regarded as halving the distance).
- Less international flights, including fewer international deliveries.
- Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, these are just some of the things that come to mind. If you’ve got another idea let us know in the comments below.
Oh, and buying more energy-efficient appliances or vehicles are not appropriate measures to achieve targets! This isn’t the same as replacing broken or defective appliances/vehicles with more energy-efficient alternatives. Basically, unnecessary replacements also place a stress on energy demands. Also remember that just because you have a more fuel efficient car, it doesn’t mean you can drive it more. For instance if you originally had a target of 10% reduction in petrol use, but your new car is 5% more efficient you should increase your target petrol use accordingly.
I hope you will join me in reducing our energy demands! May 2015 be a year of great prosperity, both for ourselves and the state of the Earth.