What can you do before 9 a.m. to save the planet?
OK, so by the time I'm posting this it will be past 9 a.m. But I was up early this morning, reading Tom Friedman's provocative Hot, Flat and Crowded. I won't try to recap the dire, hard-hitting facts he presents about the rapidity of global warming; rather, I encourage you to read the book. Actually, he prefers the term "global weirding" to suggest the real significant impact of an average rise in global temperature is not that it's always going to be hotter, but that we will experience unsettling climate changes and much more severe weather...see Hurricane Katrina as exhibit A. He reinforces the message Al Gore is delivering--I had a chance to hear him talk this fall--that we need decisive action now to avoid potentially catastrophic climate change by mid-century.
I'm only about halfway through Friedman's book, but clearly one message is that it will really take significant policy action to create the market incentives needed to alter our CO2 emission trajectory enough to save the planet. But when I read this morning that 40% of America's CO2 emissions come from the generation of electricity, compared to 30% from the transporation sector, I was motivated to take immediate action.My wife had not too long ago come across information from our local utility, NSTAR, about options to pay extra to have one's electricity generated from clean sources. We had generally thought this was a good idea and worth paying a bit extra if not too exorbitant. My early morning reading combined with a big cup of coffee had me online turning this idea into action. If you get your power from NSTAR and want to make the switch, here's the link: http://www.nstar.com/residential/customer_information/nstar_green/nstar_green.asp
I found it's pretty easy to go green sources with NSTAR's program. So we made the switch this morning! For an additional $.014 per kilowatt hour, we are now able to have 100% of our power generated from windfarms in the Northeast. This would add just $11 to the monthly bill. Now, I know, times are tough and that might be too much for some people to add; but we figured we could manage it. Saving our planet is certainly a worthwhile cause, and we know our investment of $11/month will have a very tangible impact in terms of reduced CO2 emissions.I'm pleased our family is making a modest contribution to prevent global weirding.
But of course, if this story motivates some others to make the switch to clean energy, all the better! I figured it was time to tap my social capital and encourage others to join me. To that end, I also created a new Cause on Facebook (well before 9 a.m. still) "Switch to Clean Energy" where people can pledge to take steps to move to clean energy sources and share how they are doing so. So if you're on Facebook, come join the group: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/207316, or simply share here what steps you are taking to save the planet.