Recently, my Dad sent me an email asking about getting solar power for their home, a townhouse in Philadelphia. He has already replaced his windows with energy efficient panes, insulated his roof, is purchasing energy efficient items, and has taken other, important measures to reduce his climate impact. But what Dad can resist the allure of having a cool gadget on his roof powering his entertainment system? While he may be able to get some benefit from solar energy, he would have to cut down a tree that’s already providing insulation benefits to get a fully sun-drenched roof. So I suggested instead that he get looped in on the discussion on climate change action (and saved a beautiful old elm as well). The political opportunity to influence US and international action on climate change has never been greater. Nationally, we have a change to set an economy-wide cap on carbon that restricts emissions over time with the Waxman-Markey bill. It creates a market for carbon, incentivizing reductions in carbon emissions and putting a price on pollution. The vote on this bill is expected in August. Then, this December, the world’s leaders will meet in Copenhagen to craft a new global treaty on cutting carbon emissions. All eyes are on the US to see how we will meet our obligations. That’s why real Dads cap carbon. Get involved! 1. Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t™. 2. Stay informed about climate change, and express support for action. 3. Forward this article to your Dad or a Dad you know, and consider giving a gift offset instead of a gadget this year. You’ll be doing him and the planet a favor!
And, for the record, here are all the things my Dad has done to reduce his carbon emissions:
- Sold the two cars.
- House’s basic structure—N/S exposure only; S. shaded in summer, open for sun in winter.
- New windows throughout—double paned, sealed, and screened for warm weather.
- Recoating for the roof and insulated ceiling with panels.
- Sealed the chimneys and installed ventless gas fireplaces.
- Installed Mitsubishi heating and air conditioning system instead of electric room heaters and window air conditioners.
- Energy efficient refrigerator
- Energy efficient hot water heater
- Energy efficient washer and dryer
- Energy efficient toilets, shower heads, and faucets.
- Replaced light bulbs, use bleachless or recycled paper products, sprays rather than aerosol cans
- Use dishwasher and washing machine after 11:00 p.m.
- And, of course, he offsets with Carbonfund.org
Thanks Dad, and thanks to all the fathers out there who are helping to solve climate change and create a clean energy future. Happy Father’s Day!