Recently in Sustainabilty Action Plan Category
Fast Food and Factory Farming:
Travel and Transportation:
What does it mean to go 'Carbon Neutral' and what are carbon offsets and credits - Look here
Why would a business go carbon neutral? http://www.roadmap2020.ca/resources/sp/business-case.pdf
Sustainable shopping choices - http://www.roadmap2020.ca/resources/sp/top-10-shopping.pdf
New stores in Saskatchewan promoting green technologies
Here is a pdf file that will help you calculate more precisely the impact your action has had in terms of energy or CO2.
Appliances - Calculating kWh Reduction - http://www.wisconsinpublicservice.com/home/appcalc.asp
Cars - Fuel Economy - http://www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca/transportation/tools/fuel-consumption-guide/fuel-consumption-guide.cfm
Water - Use per activity - http://www.globalactionplan.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=98&Itemid=199
Water - Energy to heat water - Most hot water tanks are set at 60 Celsius. The incoming temperature is around 10 Celsius. That means you are heating your water about 50 Celsius or 50 Kelvin. Remember Q = mCΔT. If you know the mass of the water (1 Litre = 1 Kg of water) you can calculate the energy to heat the water.
Natural Gas - Energy Provided - The gross heat of combustion of one normal cubic meter of commercial quality natural gas is around 39 megajoules. However, most water heaters run at around 80% efficiency and therefore only deliver 80% of these megajoules to the water (Wikipedia)
Natural Gas - CO2 released from burning
0.0503 grams of C02 produced for every 1000 Joules of natural gas burned
The complete combustion of 1000 cubic feet at STP of natural gas results in the production of about 122 lb of carbon dioxide (http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/faq.html)
Coal power plants (most of Saskatchewan's electrical energy) - 1 kWh of electricity from a coal-powered fire station produces on 966g of carbon dioxide (http://www.esru.strath.ac.uk/EandE/Web_sites/01-02/RE_info/C02.htm)
Reducing your hot water tanks temperature? - Be carful - http://www.safety-council.org/info/home/hotwater.html
Costs of energy - Natural Gas $0.3393 per m3, Electricity $0.0938 per kWh (www.saskenergy.com)
Cost of Gas - $1.20 / litre
Cost of Diesel - $1.00 / litre
Converting litres of gas used into CO2 produced - SHORT GUIDE, LONG GUIDE
All you wanted to know about Saskatchewan gas prices (http://www.saskgasprices.com/)
You could calculate the molecules of C02 saved or reduced:
Tonnes of C02 --> Grams of C02 --> Moles of C02 --> Molecules of C02
1 tonne is defined as 1000 kilograms or 1 megagram. (www.wikipedia.org)
Trees - The Government of Canada has encouraged each Canadian to lower their CO2 emissions by a tonne/year. The Tree Canada Foundation has taken up this lead by asking each Canadian to plant 110 trees - on average 110 trees will sequester 1 tonne (1000 kg) of CO2 per year. (http://www.treecanada.ca/programs/climatechange/trees.htm). Therefore 1 tree will sequester 9 kg of CO2 per year.
Lawn - NOT SO GOOD NEWS - Looking at lawns, West noted that there are a number of associated costs to the environment, ranging from mining lime and manufacturing fertilizer to the greenhouse gases emitted from fertilized lawns. And grass that grows faster needs to be mowed more frequently, which further increases CO2 emissions.
Putting this into further perspective, fertilizing one acre of lawn at the recommended rate of 137 pounds per acre results in 405 pounds of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions from the production, transportation and application of the fertilizer. This includes CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions, which are both reported in units of CO2.
These emissions are equivalent to the amount of CO2 released from an average family sedan driven about 440 miles. But residential use of fertilizer accounts for just a fraction of the more than 11 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer used in 2002 in the U.S. The majority of fertilizer is used in agriculture, and West noted that their research focuses primarily on management of agricultural lands. (http://www.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/get_press_release.cfm?ReleaseNumber=mr20040422-00)
LAWN - WORSE NEWS - (http://ecologyaction.ca/gowild/theLawn.php)
- An hour of mowing emits is as polluting as driving a car 32 km.4
- One hour of lawn mowing will produce approximately 2 kg of carbon dioxide, 1.8 kg of carbon monoxide, 178 g of VOCs, 6 g particulate matter and 1.8 g of nitrogen oxides.5
- Leaf blowers (voted as 'one of the worst inventions ever' in 2002 emit roughly 26 times the carbon monoxide and 49 times the particulate matter per hour than a new light-duty vehicle. 6, 7
LAWN - BETTER NEWS
Lawn does absorb a net amount of CO2 IF it is hand mowed (or mowed with green electric power), only watered when needed and commercial fertilizers are not used. I could not find the amount of CO2 absorbed per square meter.More about grass - http://www.michigan.gov/mda/0,1607,7-125-1570_2476_2481-9345--,00.html
Plastic bags - By cutting 100 million plastic bags a year the city will save 1.5 million litres of oil, and eliminate 4.2 million kilograms of carbon dioxide, Blumenfeld said (http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2007/03/28/sanfrancisco-plastic.html)
Plastic bags vs cloth bags and the CO2 involved - Excellent - http://www.bestfootforward.com/downloads/itsinthebag.PDF
Some chemistry for those doing composting - http://www.jgpress.com/archives/_free/000096.html
Great article - Farmer's market shopping versus big grocer shopping - http://www.foodshare.net/resource/files/ACF230.pdf
Energy production in Saskatchewan - http://geoscape.nrcan.gc.ca/sask/resources_e.php
Well, there is some minor debate over climate change once again - here are the details. Ultimately one needs to look at average and long term trends not just single pieces of data from a small portion of the overall data set.
Toronto blogger turns up NASA climate error
An important excerpt is this:
Some consider the adjustment a blow to Al Gore and others who maintain the planet is heating up as the result of global warming. But NASA has downplayed the corrections and even McIntyre has suggested the new numbers would have little impact on climate policy.
McIntyre has said he had fun discovering the flaws, but called the adjustment a "micro-change."Read the detailed explanation from NASA scientists - Excerpt
What we have here is a case of dogged contrarians who present results in ways intended to deceive the public into believing that the changes have greater significance than reality. They aim to make a mountain out of a mole hill. I believe that these people are not stupid, instead they seek to create a brouhaha and muddy the waters in the climate change story. They seem to know exactly what they are doing and believe they can get away with it, because the public does not have the time, inclination, and training to discern what is a significant change with regard to the global warming issue.
Here is a nice summary article about climate change for those with questions and such. It exposes common myths surrounding climate change and includes original source material for its references.
Since the current Canadian government disabled the website for your carbon footprint, I have posted several more calculators below. Most don't give before and after results however, you still can print or record by hand the results you get with one of the calculators below.
Here is a VERY good Canadian Calculator that gives the reduction in CO2 after your actions - http://www.onelesstonne.ca/
Here are some other calculators that may be of use.
A potential idea (but quite a costly one...)
Save money (in 2 - 6 years) and reduce your CO2 footprint...(and learn something about plumbing and physics - conductivity and heat).
Powerpipe - http://www.renewability.com/powerpipe.htm
It essentially collects the waste heat from a shower, bath or dishes and returns it to your hot water tank. Pays for itself in 2-6 years depending on your water usage (you could calculate how long it would take to recover your money as part of your project).
It may be a good idea however I don't know anybody that has tried it so I am not endorsing it, just making people aware. It is a Canadian company also.
Sustainability is a paradigm or worldview that refers to the ability to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Sustainability is a way of understanding and interacting with the world that enables society to "meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" ( Our Common Future, United Nations , 1987). This representation of the paradigm of sustainability echoes the "seventh generation" philosophy of some First Nations, which suggests leaders consider the effects of their actions on their descendants through the seventh generation in the future.
Sustainabilty IS the path towards addressing climate change and global warming.
Why sustainability, why action, why now?
Impacts in Western Canada you may not have thought of
Costs of Kyoto - Staggaring or Affordable
It is now a human rights issue
Harmful effects of climate change happening now
EU is leading the way - can Canada be a leader
Youth adopt MPs to address climate change
Sask/Alberta worst in GHG emissions
Latest Climate Change Report (IPCC - 2500 scientists from 100 nations)
For those skeptics out there - here is an article
Here is the handout you will get in class. Here is the rubric we will use for marking. Remember this is 10% of your overall mark.
Here are some sustainability links that may give you some ideas about sustainability and actions that you could take as part of your project.
Note, climate change is a political issue. Various web sites may criticise or endorse certain political parties over others. Be sure to look at the issues critically using several political viewpoints.
David Suzuki's web sites - excellent ideas about what you can do from writting letters to politicians to changing light bulbs. There are so many excellent resources on this site that you could spend the whole year finding out new info.
Time Magazine - 51 things we can do to save the environment
CYCC - Adopt an MP - http://www.ourclimate.ca/main/index.php
http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/ (I am not sure if this link is still active - it may be temporarily down)
http://www.ec.gc.ca/climate/home-e.html (This government climate change link is active)
There are other sites that are also quite good. Please let me know if you have other links you would like added to the list so other students can share your expertise!
Inconvenient Truth Focus Question Answers
Follow up articles:
Giant ice shelf breaks free from Canadian Arctic
ExxonMobile funds disinformation campaign against global warming science