What is Reduction?
One of key elements in achieving a smaller carbon footprint is to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Climate Action Powell River is dedicated to helping individuals and businesses reduce their carbon footprint by:
- Determining present energy use by means of a Carbon Calculator [Link to Calculator]
- Offering strategies, tips and practical information about how to reduce our individual and collective energy use
Why Carbon Emission Reduction is Important
Our earth’s natural greenhouse effect is critical to supporting life. Without it the average temperature on the surface of the planet would be too cold for life to exist. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the gases in our atmosphere that traps heat and makes the planet habitable. However, human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, over-consumption and clearing of forests have dramatically increased CO2 levels and intensified the greenhouse effect. This has resulted in unprecedented rapid warming of our planet and detrimental climate change effects such as shrinking sea and glacial ice, the shifting and destruction of plant and animal ranges and habitats, accelerated sea and ocean level rise, droughts, flooding, more intense and frequent hurricanes, intense heat waves, bleaching and death of coral reefs and so on.
Carbon dioxide is climbing at twice the pace it was about 50 years ago. For all of these reasons it is imperative that we act now to reduce our carbon footprint.
CAPR Can Help You Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Before thinking about efficient ways to reduce our impact on the planet we need to know how much CO2 we are contributing to the atmosphere. A carbon footprint calculator (Hyperlink back to our calculator) measures exactly this—both our direct contributions (i.e., driving a car, heating your home) as well as our indirect contributions that result from the transportation or manufacturing of the things you buy (how far your food travels to get to you, how much you buy).
We have identified five major areas where we can individually and collectively reduce carbon emissions: Transportation; Carbon Wise Living Spaces; Food; Recycling and Consumer Habits.
In each case we offer practical examples, interesting tips and informative links to pages you can visit. Look them over! Click on the links!
- Take a Hike…or a walk! With a small pedometer you can measure a one kilometre radius. Within that one kilometre radius determine what services, conveniences, meetings can be accessed just by walking! Then the next month, increase your radius and reduce your carbon footprint! You’ll stay fit and do the right thing for the planet! Find out about Powell River’s walking trails here and day hikes on the Sunshine Coast Trail
- Ride a Bike! Visit the Powell River Cycling Association for all kinds of interesting information and tips about cycling in Powell River
- Use Public Transportation! Visit BC Transit to find out about routes and schedules in Powell River. For those with disabilities visit the following site.
- Drive a Fuel-Efficient Vehicle! Learn the facts about fuel consumption and CO2 here. Electric cars are our carbon reduction friends…just ask Bill Lytle-McGhee and Jack Anderson! Check out The Definitive Guide to Electric Cars in Canada. Also, visit Charge Hub for interesting information about Electric Vehicles. Don’t forget Plug In BC and Plugshare for information on charging stations etc. Powell River even has an EV Network on Facebook!
Carbon Wise Living Spaces
Climate Action Powell River has a great program called Carbon Wise Homes!
- Insulate Doors, Skylights and Windows! For information about windows, doors and skylights. For information about energy efficient homes
- Install Solar Panels! Visit these sites to understand the benefits and some great ideas about solar energy. You may also want to visit one of our local solar stores here and here.
- Choose Energy Efficient Appliances! Natural Resources Canada has good information about energy efficient appliances. You might also check out the BC Hydro site for further info
- Use LED Lightbulbs! Canada’s standard for efficient lightbulbs. What you need to know about LED Bulbs…
- Reduce Water Heating! Tips on how to reduce your carbon footprint by lowering water temperatures can be found here and here.
- Reduce Space Heating! Winter home heating tips from BC Hydro. The Popular Mechanics guide to cutting home heating bills!
- Eat Less Meat! Try to go meatless 2 or 3 times a week. If someone eating more than 100 grams of meat a day simply cut down to less than 50 grams a day, their food-related emissions would fall by a third. That would save almost a tonne of CO2 each year. Try the Darwin Challenge and download their free App!
- Go Vegetarian or Vegan! So many great vegan and vegetarian recipes! Eat less meat and lower the earth’s heat! Follow Michael Pollan’s very good environmental advice: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plant.”
- Buy Local Organic Food! Organic food is better for the climate. It’s grown without genetically modified organisms. Organic meat, poultry, eggs and dairy come from animals that are not fed antibiotics or growth hormones. And, because they’re grown in healthy soils, organic foods are typically ore nutritious, containing more vitamins and minerals. Organic farms promote genetic biodiversity, create less water pollution and soil damage, and result in fewer poisonings of farm workers and less harm to wildlife. Go here for information about food and drink produced locally in the Powell River region of the Sunshine Coast of BC.
- Read That Label! Find out all about Canada’s guide to food labels nutrition facts, serving sizes and other interesting food related tips.
- Don’t Waste Food! The stats are in and they are sobering: we Canadians waste a lot of food! Wasting food significantly increases our carbon footprint. However, there are ways to reduce food waste. For helpful information and tips go here and here.
- Visit Your Local Farmers Market! The Powell River Farmer’s Market is open from May to September. Sat 10:30am – 12:30pm, Sun 12:30pm – 2:30pm 4365 McLeod Rd, Powell River, BC 604-414-5076.
- Start Your Own Garden! Turn your lawn into a garden of raised beds! But you don’t need to own a home to grow a garden! You can grow small gardens on rooftops, on your apartment balcony in unused city spaces. You can start a community garden with others. It’s fun, it’s ecologically sound and it’s nutritionally better to grow your own or buy local food. It not only reduces the environmental impact of transporting goods, it also offers a way to put really fresh, tasty, pesticide-free food on the table! Powell River is blessed with ideal growing conditions for gardens and plants. Find out all about Powell River’s community gardens. Visit Powell River Garden Club’s Facebook page. Find the best dates for planting, transplanting, and harvesting vegetables and fruit in Powell River.
It’s Simple: Throwing things away is a waste of the energy and the resources taken to make the product. Reducing the number of things that need to be thrown away, reduces the amount of materials which have to be mined, manufactured and transported. Greenhouse gas emissions are tied to making, moving and disposing all the things we use. That means when you recycle you reduce your carbon footprint.
Powell River has a great team at Let’s Talk Trash. Their mission is to “develop and implement an innovative education program on waste reduction strategies to help guide our community toward Zero Waste.”
If you are wondering where to bring your recyclable goods, see this directory.
When we think of the word consume, we usually think ‘food’ or ‘eating’. But consumerism goes well beyond food: goods such as cars, houses, furniture, jewellery, appliances, electronic devices, cosmetics, household cleaners, clothes, paints, plastics, metals; services such as media, events, auto repairs etc. Since the industrial revolution we humans have been consuming goods and services at alarming rates.
It has been abundantly clear for some time that the growth of consumer culture has a profound impact on the environment. What we consume on a daily basis can affect the environment in many ways: higher levels of consumption (and therefore higher levels of production) require larger inputs of energy and material and generate larger quantities of waste by products. It is also evident that globally, 20% of the world’s people in the highest-income countries account for 86% of total private consumption expenditures; the poorest 20% a minuscule 1.3%. More specifically, the richest fifth:
- Consume 45% of all meat and fish, the poorest fifth 5%
- Consume 58% of total energy, the poorest fifth less than 4%
- Have 74% of all telephone lines, the poorest fifth 1.5%
- Consume 84% of all paper, the poorest fifth 1.1%
- Own 87% of the world’s vehicle fleet, the poorest fifth less than 1%
Household consumerism is responsible for an estimated 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions and between 50% and 80% of total land, resource, and water use. The manufacturing of everyday goods is responsible for 20% of carbon dioxide emissions and 35% of global electricity use. Canada’s ecological footprint is well beyond our Earth’s capacity to support us. It is estimated that we would need between three or four Earths to maintain our current level of consumption. Runaway growth in consumption in the past 50 years is putting strains on the environment never before seen.
If we are going address this issue and reduce our carbon footprint, we need to adopt a conscious consumer attitude. Here are some tips that will help you:
- Research before you make a purchase: Take the time to learn about the product you’re buying, including how it was produced, where it came from and what impact it will have on the environment when you’re done with it. Arm yourself with information by learning more about the manufacturers, distributors and stores involved in each transaction.
- Eat and shop locally when you can: Shopping locally is good for your local economy as well as your environment. Locally sourced goods require less fuel to transport, and local produce is likely to be fresher and better tasting.
- Choose less packaging: When in doubt, always go with the option that has less packaging. The less waste you produce, the better.
- Avoid disposable goods: Disposable goods, whether the wrapper on your hamburger or paper cups for a party, are harmful to the environment. Choose reusable items whenever possible.
- Choose natural over synthetic: When possible, choose natural materials over their synthetic counterparts. For example, you might choose an organic cotton shirt over polyester.
- Spread the word: Increase awareness within your community by initiating conversations about conscious consumerism. The more people actively practicing these habits, the more impact we’ll make collectively.
- Declutter your home: by donating unneeded items to charity here or here.
- Make your Own Clothes!
Powell River Carbon Neutral Action Plan https://powellriver.civicweb.net/document/2722
Powell River Emissions: https://www.bcemissions.ca/go/city/Powell_River/index.html
BC Hydro Carbon Neutral Action Report https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/climate-change/cnar/2016/cc/final_bchydro_2016.pdf
CO2 Concentration Spiral: https://vimeo.com/175317502
Green Eco Tips for Sustainable Living: http://www.globalstewards.org/ecotips.htm
What is a Carbon Budget: http://climateactionnow.ca/what-carbon-budget
Environment and Climate Change Canada: Greenhouse Gas Emissions 2018 (PDF) https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/eccc/documents/pdf/cesindicators/greenhouse-gas-emissions/greenhouse-gas-emissions-en.pdf
David Suzuki Foundation: https://davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/four-places-cut-carbon/
COTAP Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty: https://cotap.org/reduce-carbon-emissions/
50 Ways to Shrink Your Carbon Footprint: https://climatecare.org/50-ideas-for-shrinking-your-carbon-footprint/