Shaping Regina... Brett says that in our culture people tend to find fulfillment through material consumption

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 10/18/2006 - 17:24.

In today's Plain Dealer, columnist Regina Brett posted an editorial acknowledging the decline of PD readership and asking readers to offer suggestions. " How should we change? What do we do to attract young people without alienating the faithful?" I can offer an easy answer: " “When we talk about moving toward sustainability, we need to talk about at least three things,” he says. “Changing the economic structure we’re all working in, changing the culture we live in, and changing our own individual consumption patterns.”

This quote is from in intriguing source... "Shaping Regina". I found this site when googling "Regina Brett". It is about improving the economy of Regina, Saskatchewan, and has an affiliate named Brett Dolter (hence showing up in this search), and the coincidence is valuable and insightful. The PD is a victim of the region it has helped create, which is one of sprawl and ecological disaster. The PD will not "attract young people without alienating the faithful" because we are now so broadly dispersed and disconnected that we are little islands that have formed sub-communities completely disassociated with any significant core. For the region and the PD to succeed, we all must work together for significant change across the region, led by the next generation, just as they are doing in Regina.

My advice to the PD is that all their stakeholders (that means you, too, Egger and Regina) go to http://www.royalsaskmuseum.ca/gallery/life_sciences/footprint_mx_2005.swf and take your Ecological Footprint (this is a different test than previously posted on realneo) and publish the results by name in the PD, with an analysis of the implications on the next seven generations. And then, just as you battle obesity or breast cancer, battle ecological irresponsibility. When the rest of the community sees you leading by example, we will follow in good behavior focused on positive change, and the PD can say, we make a positive difference. For now, we all assume you are part of the problem. Are you? My ecological footprint is 2.6 hectares... what about you, Regina? Mr. Egger? The collective PD community?

Need more questions

My score is 2.5 -- which is pretty good, compareable to averages of those who live in Mexico and Brazil. I still feel guilty though. What about all the laundry I wash each week? My warm cozy house heated by gas? My light up holiday decorations? I can think of a few questions that would make these surveys more accurate.

To save more energy, wash in cold water and line dry

I hadn't really though about all the little things we can do to conserve energy, but a Cheer ColdWater ad made me realize just washing in cold water leads to huge energy savings. Also, unplugging all your electronics when not in use - put on power strips - switch to low energy light bulds, and resist putting up lots of lights for holidays, as I hear some of there folks with big displays will spend $1,000 a month for the juice, with is lots of wasted KwHs... in fact, I heard an interview with a utility official in NY state who said they have massive peeks in early evenings during the holidays from all the Christmas lights.

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bills plummet when kid goes away to school

Our utility bills took a dive when our son went away to college this past fall. No more washing the many sets of athletic clothes he wore each day. I have been washing in cold water and line drying (most things) for years. Cold water washing not only saves energy, but also saves your clothes. We are also seeing the energy saving results from unplugging the electronics, too.

At the last panel discussion at CIA, I met a guy who reminded me of a great place to shop when next we need to replace an appliance. I've been there, and it is worth the drive. It is Lehman's in Kidron, Ohio. It’s a no to low voltage hardware store that serves the Amish community there. Visit there on a Tuesday morning and experience a weekly livestock auction in person.

reducing the eco footprint

I reread an article from Andrew Postman in the NYTImes called the Energy Diet. Here's a quote.

"There were other bad habits that were just as easy to break. A friend suggested this quickie: Call retailers to get them to stop sending the print catalogs to which our house had become addicted. I chose 10 -- L. L. Bean, Crate & Barrel, J. Crew, Eddie Bauer, Garnet Hill, Design Within Reach, Lands' End, Restoration Hardware, Hammacher Schlemmer and the Company Store. (Originally I'd included Williams-Sonoma, but my wife vetoed that idea.) It took me 22 minutes total to cancel them -- eight phone calls and two e-mails. Ninety (the average number of pages) times 12 (number of issues per year we seem to get) times 10 (retailers) equals 10,800 pages. Since my research shows that one tree produces about 25,000 pages of the coated, lower-end virgin paper used in most catalogs, I'd just saved 43 percent of one tree. One tree produces 260 pounds of oxygen, 43 percent of that is 112 pounds, which converts to 154 pounds of CO2 saved."

Find the article by visiting CPL.org and using your libraray card number and the last 4 of your phone number. Ithe article can be found at NYTimes also, but they want $4.95 for it. It's free at the library. It choprnicles how he saved/and will save 1700 lbs of CO2 annually with a few simple changes like the one quoted above.


''Cutting Back''
How one man dropped 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
ACTIVITY: Turn the thermostat down 1 degree at night in the winter
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: Reprogram thermostat
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: None expected
TIME REQUIRED: 30 seconds
COST: None
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 79
ACTIVITY: Don't leave the bathroom while the shower heats up
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: None
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: None
TIME REQUIRED: None
COST: None
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 342
ACTIVITY: Wash whites with a warm/cold cycle
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: None
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: None
TIME REQUIRED: None
COST: None
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 62
ACTIVITY: Cancel delivery of print catalogs
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: 8 phone calls, 2 e-mails
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: None
TIME REQUIRED: 22 minutes
COST: None
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 154
ACTIVITY: Buy and put in 2 cool white compact fluorescent bulbs in non-annoying places
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: Install bulbs (but won't have to install again for about 80 years)
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: Light less warm, but in unobtrusive places
TIME REQUIRED: 20 minutes
COST: $4 more than for 2 regular bulbs, but they last longer
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 300
ACTIVITY: Buy 2 power strips with surge protectors, turn them off at night
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: Trip to hardware store, plug in
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: Turn off at night and on in morning
TIME REQUIRED: 25 minutes, plus 10 seconds per day
COST: $33
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 315
ACTIVITY: Hand-wash any dishes made dirty after dinner
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: None
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: Extra time for dishwashing, but I enjoy the reverie
TIME REQUIRED: 5-10 minutes some nights
COST: None
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 200
ACTIVITY: Set computer to ''sleep'' sooner
INCONVENIENCE FACTOR: Modify ''System Preferences''
ANNOYANCE FACTOR: A few extra seconds to get going after a lull
TIME REQUIRED: 20 seconds
COST: None
REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS (LBS. PER YEAR): 250
The Green Web
www.thegreenguide.com
This guide has in-depth product reports (on light bulbs, diapers and so on), blogs and a comfy feeling; especially good on health and nutrition.
www.dannyseo.typepad.com
Mr. Seo, an eco-friendly designer, blogs about ways to greenify your home, inside and out.
www.energystar.gov
Good conversion data is available here. Also, while some may find their eyes glazing over at descriptions of Energy Star-rated appliances, it's interesting to check out differences between what you have and what's available now.
www.aceee.org
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy offers refreshingly straightforward information for both regular folks and wonks.
www.nrdc.org
The National Resources Defense Council weighs in with good policy papers on almost every aspect of the environment -- air, water, cities, waste, etc.
www.stopglobalwarming.org
This site lets users join the Stop Global Warming Virtual March (in about as much time as it takes to read this sentence twice). It also has consumer tips. 

Great data on energy conservation

I love the specifics of these suggestions - really helpful posting. I'm pretty much doing everything on this list - so I still need to dig deeper. I guess I should cancel my subscription to the PD... I hate all the paper wasted just to get a few tidbits, but Cleveland.com is so aweful it is hard to view that as an alternative.

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