Low-carbon resolutions

When you pop the cork on your locally produced champagne this year, be sure to make at least one low-carbon resolution. Pick one simple change that will lower your carbon footprint, and put it into action.

Want to take this a step further? Calculate your total carbon footprint using the tools on our web site, and pledge to knock it down by 5% (or more, if you’re feeling ambitious).

Further still? On top of whatever conservation measures you put into place, balance your entire carbon footprint by funding clean energy and carbon reduction projects through TerraPass.

There are lots of good sources of information for lowering your carbon footprint. Browse our conservation tips, or buy a book, or purchase some energy-saving items. For quick inspiration, here’s a list of things that TerraPass employees have pledged for the new year:

  • One TerraPasser is selling his car and signing up for a car-sharing service. (He’s actually already done this, which is either cheating or admirably proactive, depending on how one measures such things. In either case, it’s a good thing.)
  • Another TerraPasser is hoping to put a solar hot water heater on her roof. This is a major project, but new tax incentives become available in California on January 1.
  • One TerraPasser is planning to install a low-flow showerhead. Easy and effective.
  • A TerraPasser with four kids has committed to doing fewer loads of laundry and giving up her hair dryer. She’s already washing clothes in cold water, but will now work to consolidate loads. Her young daughter is also getting in on the act — she’s agreed to give up her night light.
  • A highly omnivorous TerraPasser is planning to go vegetarian at least one day a week.
  • A cold-weather TerraPasser is forgoing the outrageously inefficient space heater, and instead winterizing her home with plastic window insulation, radiator reflectors, etc.

Got a carbon resolution of your own? Leave a comment.

Photo available under Creative Commons license from Flickr user Josh Shlabotnik.

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  1. Krishnaraj Rao - December 31, 2007

    My fellow Indians & fellow world-citizens,
    In the closing hours of 2007, I wish you a very Happy New Year. I sincerely pray that all of us find contentment and fulfilment in life

  2. Rob Ewaschuk - January 2, 2008

    I dispute that all of the products in the “Energy Savers” section of your store are, in fact, energy savers — in particular the Solio charger. It may be a useful tool for people who find themselves in sunny, non-electrified, cell-covered places, but I cannot imagine that, even under intense use, it would *ever* pay back its embodied energy through solar power.
    Even ideally placed, large-scale solar panels take on the order of a couple years to pay back, as I understand. They’re a large, capital investment and people take them seriously, and, relative to the Solio, they have a reasonable economy of scale. Not to mention that having people focus on the 4-8w involved in charging their cell phone is like getting people to reuse Christmas paper. It’s a nice gesture, and makes people think about their waste, but it’s completely token in the face of excessive commutes and daily newspapers.
    (The SmartStrip also strikes me as dubious — I can imagine in the most extreme of cases it would make a substantial difference. But it seems to me that the right way to address “phantom power” usage is at the device(s), or at the fusebox, not at every power bar.)

  3. Pete - January 2, 2008

    Well said Krish. May the Great Bird of Paradise light our path with peace and kindness.

  4. Katy - January 2, 2008

    Since last winter, we have been hanging our clothes to dry in the drier months (no point in hanging clothes to dry in summer–they never will here by Lake Michigan). I bought a very large rack, keep it standing in the basement, and take about five-ten minutes per load to hang stuff up. I still use the dryer, but only for maybe one load in five (sheets and towels, mostly). It also fits into my effort to SLOW DOWN and simply enjoy the quiet task here and there.
    Happy New Year to all!

  5. Hannah - January 2, 2008

    I have a little washing up tub that I keep in the shower. I put a little water in it and shave my legs prior to turning the shower on taking a shower. I save a lot of hot water by doing this and my husband also has started filling the sink and shaving instead of doing it in the shower. Just think of all that wasted water and energy down the drain just while you shave…not a big change, easy to do and a noticeable difference in the electric bill! Sadly enough, these little tips are all things my grandparents did automatically, what has our lifestyle come to that we can waste and abuse resources so freely.

  6. Anon - January 2, 2008

    1) I’m planning to de-car in 2008 — even in my public transit poor city. I’ve already started testing this out — and am planning to see how many days in January and February I can go without using my car at all before I take the official plunge and sell the car altogether.

    2)In general, I want to buy less in 2008.

  7. Shawn - January 2, 2008

    I just leased a new Civic Hybrid (was this . close to buying on old Mercedes converted to run on veggie oil), am purchasing a low-flow showerhead, am putting plastic bottles filled with water in my toilet tanks and, like the carnivore mentioned above, am cutting back on my meat intake.
    Happy new year everyone!

  8. David - January 3, 2008

    Last year was one of continued notable and steady forward progress toward sustainability for me. It was the first year our household offset not only our vehicle emissions but home energy use and air travel. (Thanks, Terrapass!) To reduce our net consumption of energy, we also installed 26 low-e windows for our home and I biked to work 136 days, up from 76 in 2006. I also led service efforts with a local watershed group with productivity up over 50 percent by the units of work accomplished.

    I’ve really enjoyed my biking and encourage everyone to make choices about where to live and work, that enable such more-sustainable lifestyles possible. For my family, it involved deciding to live in a different city with lower housing prices, and living within 5 miles of my workplace.

    I disagree that the road forward must be an arduously steep mountain (or valley of declining expectations). Yes the results at the end will be revolutionary as we look across the chasm that we have crossed, but the journey through the canyon begins with a single step, and we just need to keep taking them each day.

    One daily commitment I began last year that was very empowering to me, is to pick up at least 10 pieces of litter as I am going about my daily tasks outside in my city, and to recycle as much of it as possible. Just doing this has given me a much stronger sense of ownership and stewardship of my local environmental conditions.

    For 2008, I plan to do more to actively speak out to my elected officials in favor of political change for sustainability. I also want to increase the thermal insulation in my home, especially the attic and exterior walls. I hope to convert my home heating/cooling to geothermal in the next few years, although this may be costly on my urban lot. I know it can be done because a friend has set the example. I also want to get some net-metered solar electricity production started on my garage roof. This spring, I will also begin using two rain barrels in my garden. I would like to make a “rain garden” in my yard to absorb and buffer the runoff from my lot.

    Most of my actions are very local, which is where I can see the most difference. It gives me the spark to keep doing more.

  9. Adam Stein - January 3, 2008

    Wow, David. You rock. Thanks to everyone who has written in with good ideas. Keep ’em coming!