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Friday, August 1, 2008

Reduce your carbon footprint with Terrapass

While in Costco the other day in San Diego my husband swears he saw Ed Begly, Jr. I wouldn’t recognize him if he was right in front of me, never watched St. Elsewhere. Then today I was reading http://www.terrapass.com/, and on it there is a picture of Ed Begly, Jr., promoting climate change and balancing your carbon emissions. According to Wikipedia, Ed lives in a modest 1585 sf house, uses public transportation or bicycles but has recently purchased an electric powered vehicle, which he charges by the solar panels on his roof. His house is run by solar and wind power, so his electric bills are $300/year.

I’ve never really been an environmentalist before but somehow I was drawn to this terrapass site and have spent dozens of minutes on it so far today. Sure, I’ve seen the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, but I never thought I could do anything about global warming before I took a little test to determine my “carbon footprint”, which is the amount of carbon emissions I am responsible for in a given year. I’m too embarrassed to write down my number here. All I have to say is it’s a LOT.

Some steps terrapass suggests to reduce your carbon footprint is to conserve by driving less, turning down your thermostat, and buy locally produced goods. Then buy a terrapass for the emissions you can’t reduce. Terrapass uses the funds to pay for clean energy and products such as wind farms.

Terrapass was started in 2004 by Dr. Karl Ulrich at the University of Pennsylvania. During the first year, 2400 members registered and together they reduced emissions by 36 million pounds.
Dr. Karl commutes 8 miles to work each and every day by his bicycle, regardless of Pennsylvania’s weather. However, Karl also has a cabin in Vermont, which he drives to several weekends every year. Karl wondered whether he could balance out the climate impact of his driving. He began to buy thousands of dollars worth of renewable energy contracts, but he was frustrated by the high minimum purchase price required to get into the market.

That fall, Karl gave the 41 students in his class a project to turn the check he gave them for $5,000 to create an affordable offset for everyday drivers. Terrapass is the result, and currently Terrapass has reduced over 700 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, and has 100,000 members. However, their goal is to obtain a million members and reduce emissions by ten billion pounds.

Personally, after educating myself a bit about my carbon footprint, I plan to work a little harder to make a reduction, starting with convincing my husband to move to a smaller house.


Anonymous said...

I'm impressed you wrote something that relates to global warming. I too saw Al Gore's Lecture in the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" and my eyes opened wide. I wrote a
blog about it in my Friendster account sometime ago.

I'm not if the link on the word "blog" above is accessible. Anyhow, I said there that one of the ways we can do something is to help spread the word about it. You're doing just that. Keep up!


Mommy Meryl said...

That was a good read. . .I'm checking out that website

Anonymous said...

BTW Phoenix is in dire need of an NPO carbon offset provider that benefits local 'green' initiatives, so that might make a good idea for a 'winning startup' here in the valley. ;)