Day 357 – You might have someone on your Christmas list that is a bit difficult to shop for. So, waiting until the last minute to make that purchase is even more challenging. Well, I have an idea that just might make the perfect gift.
This gift is ideal for the following person:
The individual who never wants anything for Christmas.
The individual who is concerned about the current climate crisis.
Give the gift of carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere this season. Climeworks offers a variety of gift options.
Nordic Explorer Gift – removes 25 kg (55 pounds) of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for $28.
Lapland Discovery Gift – removes 45 kg (99 pounds) of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for $51.
Arctic Expedition Gift – removes 85 kg (187 pounds) of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for $96.
Just to give you an idea, a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. So, this gift will only make a very, very, very small dent, but nonetheless, it will help us move in the right direction.
Day 322 – A Swiss company, Climeworks, has designed a way to remove the carbon dioxide out of the air. The direct air capture devices capture the carbon dioxide which can then be turned into useful materials. The first plant was opened in Switzerland in 2017. They just opened their fifteenth plant this summer in Iceland.
The removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is helping the environment in a few ways. First, by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, it is decreasing greenhouse gases which contributes to global warming. Second, the captured carbon can be used for fuels and plastic. This prevents the need for more fossil carbon dioxide.
Another material produced from the captured carbon dioxide is cement.
“Materials made from atmospheric carbon could be transformative for the construction and built environment sector, which together are responsible for an estimated 40 per cent of global emissions.” – Dezeen.com
Since buildings stand for a long time, long term carbon storage is possible.
“Climeworks is not proposing to help decarbonize the global economy; instead, it is proposing to help defossilize it. This means leaving remaining fossil reserves in the ground to prevent new carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.” – Dezeen.com
It has become very clear that we can not continue at the rate we are going when it comes to carbon emissions. Something needs to happen and it needs to happen now. Waiting another 30 years for countries to commit to zero carbon emissions is 30 years too long. Climeworks hasn’t come up with a solution to global warming, but they have found a key component in fighting the battle against a warming planet.
You can become a Climate Pioneer be helping remove carbon dioxide from the air. Start making your impact today!
Day 283 – You might be thinking, yet another post about composting? However, I can not express enough how important composting is for the environment. The food that ends up in the landfill is a major contributor to methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas. Landfills are the third-largest source of methane emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. So, making sure we divert food waste from the landfill is key to reducing greenhouse gases.
So, when I started seeing advertisements about electric composters, I was curious if they really worked. Earth911 was kind enough to share some information about various electric composters and to share the pros and cons.
Even though there were a few pros on purchasing an electric composter, the bottom line is that we do not need yet another electric appliance. Just another expensive piece of machinery that generates carbon emissions when built and has no where to go, except the landfill, when it stops working. Yet another contributor to the e-waste problem.
Earth911 does suggest that if an electric composter is the one option you’re willing to try then make sure you’re buying it from a responsible company.
“If you’re interested in purchasing an electric composter, look for brands that take a full product lifecycle approach to make their product as sustainable as possible. That would mean the company has taken steps to reduce the manufacturing emissions and raw materials consumption on the front end, and it has a sustainable solution for responsibly disposing of or recycling the product at the end of its life.” – Earth911
Day 273 – I have written about composting on numerous occasions (Day 2, Day 118 and Day 149). The posts talk about an easier way to turn your food scraps into rich soil, without needing to do much work. The process is commercial composting and all you have to do is put your food scraps into a bucket and someone comes by and picks it up. No turning of compost piles and no worms necessary. It’s all very easy and so very important. Keeping the food out of the landfill helps reduce carbon emissions. My family of 6 can fill a 5 gallon bucket each week. I can only imagine what the local restaurants are throwing out. Imagine the impact if we could keep all that food from entering the landfill.
Well, a new pilot program in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood is trying to make this a reality. WasteNot Compost has partnered with the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce to launch Clark Street Composts. The program started on September 13th and includes over 20 restaurants, bars and other businesses, wanting to keep their compostable waste out of the landfill. The hope is that this program will be the gold standard for sustainable business practices and will encourage other businesses to start composting.
“Chicago’s 2.7 million residents rank final in the nation in phrases of recycling habits, with meals waste estimated to make up over 50% of landfill contents, and 17% of greenhouse gasses produced in the U.S. are a product of meals waste rotting in landfills.” – USA News Lab
It’s time Chicago starts becoming a leader in the environmental movement. We have been dragging our feet long enough.
Day 74 – When I started to pay closer attention to the products I was purchasing and how they affected the environment, I started noticing certain labels on products. Some I had seen before, but others were new to me. I wanted to make sure others were aware of these labels and the importance they bring when choosing the things you eat, products you clean with, the clothes you wear, and everything in between. As we learned on Day 17, there are plenty of people out there that want to greenwash us and make us believe their product is environmentally friendly. Here’s a list of 20 labels you can trust.
Certified B Corporation – I wrote a post about Certified B Corporations back on Day 16. In that post, I explain how the Certified B Corporation label shows the consumer that the business they are purchasing from or working with has met the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are building a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Climate Neutral Certified – It’s the standard earned by companies that offset and reduce all of their greenhouse gas emissions. Companies will measure all of the carbon emissions from making and delivering products and services to customers. They will then purchase carbon credits to completely offset their carbon footprint by funding a mix of projects, like reforestation or renewable energy. The final step is to develop and implement a plan to reduce future emissions.
1% for the Planet – On Day 43, I wrote about how 1% for the Planet was created. On Day 53, I wrote about how I joined 1% for the Planet as an individual member and I listed the organizations I am planning to support this year. 1% for the Planet exists to help companies and individuals partner with highly vetted environmental groups. This partnership allows companies and individuals to donate money and time (through volunteering) to organizations that are helping to preserve and protect the planet.
BLUESIGN – BLUESIGN represents the vision and mindset of responsible and sustainable manufacturing of textile consumer products. BLUESIGN traces each textile’s path along the manufacturing process, making improvements at every stage from factory floor to finished product. BLUESIGN changes the environmental impact of textiles for good. As a solution provider and knowledge broker, BLUESIGN acts as an independent verifier to secure trust and transparency. Currently, there are not too many clothing brands that have this certification. Numerous outdoor clothing brands carry the BLUESIGN label.
Leaping Bunny – Eight national animal protection groups have banded together to form the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC). The CCIC promotes a single comprehensive standard and an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny Logo to notify consumers that the products they are purchasing have not harmed any animals during production. They work with companies to help make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy.
Cradle to Cradle – Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a globally recognized measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. Product designers, manufacturers and brands around the world rely on the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard as a transformative pathway for designing and making products with a positive impact on people and planet. From fragrances to flooring, t-shirts and jeans to water bottles and window treatments, thousands of products are Cradle to Cradle Certified. What’s more, a growing number of brands, organizations and standards also recognize Cradle to Cradle Certified as a preferred product standard for responsible purchasing decisions.
USDA Organic – Organic is a labeling term found on products that have been produced using cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that support the cycling of on-farm resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. The National Organic Program – part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service – enforces the organic regulations, ensuring the integrity of the USDA Organic Seal. In order to use the USDA Organic Seal, the final product must follow strict production, handling and labeling standards and go through the organic certification process. The standards address a variety of factors such as soil quality, animal raising practices, and pest and weed control. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.
Fair Trade Certified – When you see a product with the Fair Trade Certified seal, you can be sure it meets rigorous social, environmental, and economic standards. That means: Safe working conditions, environmental protection, sustainable livelihoods and community development funds. A choice for Fair Trade Certified™ goods is a choice to support responsible companies, empower farmers, workers, and fishermen, and protect the environment.
Non-GMOProject – The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization offering rigorous product verification and trustworthy education that empowers people to care for themselves, the planet, and future generations. The Non-GMO label allows consumers to know that the food they are purchasing has not been genetically modified. They also encourage a non-GMO seed supply, which supports the restoration of traditional seed breeding and the right of farmers to save and plant their own seeds and grow varieties of their choice.
Green Seal– Green Seal’s rigorous standards for health, sustainability and product performance have driven permanent shifts in the marketplace. With thousands of certified products, services and spaces from the world’s leading companies, the Green Seal certification mark is a universal symbol that a product or service meets the highest benchmark of health and environmental leadership.
ENERGY STAR -ENERGY STAR is the trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices. The ENERGY STAR label was established to: reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy; and make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products that offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.
Certified Humane Raised and Handled – Certified Humane® is a registered 501(c) 3 nonprofit certification organization, operating internationally and dedicated to improving the lives of farm animals in food production from birth through slaughter. The goal of the program is to improve the lives of farm animals by driving consumer demand for kinder and more responsible farm animal practices. When you see the Certified Humane Raised and Handled® logo you can be assured that the food products have come from facilities that meet precise, objective standards for farm animal treatment.
Blue Fish Label – The Blue Fish Label is only placed on seafood from fisheries that meet the Marine Stewardship Council’s strict standard for sustainability. It’s their way of making sure you know that your seafood purchase is good for the oceans because it’s wild, sustainable, and traceable back to a certified fishery.
WaterSense – WaterSense, a voluntary partnership program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is both a label for water-efficient products and a resource for helping you save water. The WaterSense label makes it simple to find water-efficient products, new homes, and programs that meet EPA’s criteria for efficiency and performance. WaterSense-labeled products and services are certified to use at least 20 percent less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.
Made Safe – MADE SAFE® is a program of Nontoxic Certified, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. They provide America’s first comprehensive human health and ecosystem-focused certification for nontoxic products across store aisles, from baby to personal care to household and beyond. Their goal is to change the way products are made in this country to ultimately eliminate the use of toxic chemicals altogether. The MADE SAFE (Made With Safe Ingredients) seal literally means that a product is made with safe ingredients, without toxic chemicals known to harm our health.
Rainforest Alliance – The Rainforest Alliance seal promotes collective action for people and nature. It amplifies and reinforces the beneficial impacts of responsible choices, from farms and forests all the way to the supermarket check-out. The seal allows you to recognize and choose products that contribute toward a better future for people and planet. The seal means that the certified product or ingredient was produced using methods that support the three pillars of sustainability: social, economic, and environmental.
Compact By Design – Amazon created Compact by Design to identify products that, while they may not always look very different, have a more efficient design. With the removal of excess air and water, products require less packaging and become more efficient to ship. At scale, these small differences in product size and weight lead to significant carbon emission reductions.
ECOLOGO – ECOLOGO® Certified products, services and packaging are certified for reduced environmental impact. ECOLOGO Certifications are voluntary, multiattribute, life cycle-based environmental certifications that indicate a product has undergone rigorous scientific testing, exhaustive auditing or both, to prove its compliance with stringent, third-party, environmental performance standards. These standards set metrics for a wide variety of criteria in some or all of the following categories: materials, energy, manufacturing and operations, health and environment, product performance and use, and product stewardship and innovation.
The Forest Stewardship Council – FSC labels can be found on millions of products around the world – from toilet rolls to your favorite book, to that milk carton in your fridge, and other food products. By choosing products with FSC labels, you are helping to take care of the world’s forests. Each label provides information about the origin of the materials used to make the finished and labeled product.
Textile Exchange – The Textile Exchange provides both the Recycled Claim Standard (RCS) and Global Recycled Standard (GRS). Both are international, voluntary standards that set requirements for third-party certification of recycled input and chain of custody. The shared goal of the standards is to increase the use of recycled materials. They verify recycled content in products and provide consumers with a tool to make informed decisions.
It’s not always easy to identify an Earth friendly product. It’s nice to know that there are people out there taking the guess work out of being environmentally responsible.
Day 68 – A carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions.
“The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average is closer to 4 tons. To have the best chance of avoiding a 2℃ rise in global temperatures, the average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop under 2 tons by 2050.” – The Nature Conservancy
By using a Carbon Footprint Calculator we can start figuring out how much greenhouse gas emissions we produce through our daily activities. Once we figure out where we are with our production of greenhouse gases, we can better understand how to reduce those emissions.
So what goes into calculating your carbon footprint? Information like how much electricity and natural gas your home uses in a year. What kind of car do you drive? Do you take public transportation? Even what kind of food and beverage you consume and the clothes you wear can affect your carbon footprint.
Earth911 recommends various Carbon Footprint Calculators. If you choose to use one, be sure to use the same one throughout your calculations. Jumping around from calculator to calculator will not be beneficial.
Carbon Footprint – This calculator is described as “extremely thorough”, which makes me a little apprehensive. It also uses British currency and measurements. So, conversions will be needed. I would rather not do extra math if I don’t have to.
World Wildlife Calculator – This is offered by the British division of the WWF. So, I’m guessing extra calculations would be needed to convert to U.S. currency and measurements. They do offer advice on reducing your carbon footprint available on their site.
CoolClimate Network – Created by the University of California Berkley, this calculator illustrates the breakdown of emissions across individual categories of activity.
I’m going to start using the The Nature Conservancy Carbon Calculator. I’ve chosen this calculator because I’m familiar with this organization. I really don’t know any specifics about the calculator, but will definitely update everyone on how it’s going. Please be sure to share how your carbon footprint calculator experience is going, too, if you choose to do it. I would love to know what kind of changes you have made to reduce your carbon footprint.