11 August 2008

Finding it hard to breath

After watching the preliminaries to the Beijing Olympics this week I am more determined than ever to do everything possible to reduce our carbon footprints. My heart just aches for the people who have to live, day after day, in that incredibly dank looking smog.

I started thinking about the long term ramifications breathing in that poisonous air will have for the citizens of Beijing (and any other city that is even remotely that polluted). They will not only have immediate health issues such as asthma, skin and eye irritations and so on, but the long term effects on this and future generations could be devastating for this country.

I already use mostly plain water and microfibre cloths for cleaning, with vinegar and bi-carb for an extra boost if needed. The washing powder is pure soap, washing soda and borax. We have switched all the light globes over to compact fluorescents and turn things off at the wall when they aren't being used. Showers are limited to 5 minutes and no longer; I have the routine down now, when the water has been running for two minutes I start knocking on the door. Just before the five minutes is up I actually open the bathroom door. Works like a charm, before the door is even a quarter open the water is off and the kids are howling at me to go away. I'm such a mean mother :)

For the next week we (I have deputised the kids for this job) are going to track our carbon footprint and then work on reducing it. I don't ever want to live in such a rank atmosphere as that in Beijing and I certainly don't want to inflict such an environment on my children or any future grandchildren that might be coming my way.

I found a carbon calculator that is really quite easy to use online. You just need to have your electricity and gas bills handy and know some basic info about your car, just to let you know, because it's much easier to have them handy before you sit down to play with this carbon calculator. One area we can improve in is the amount of travelling we do. I drive 68kms a day just getting the kids to and from school without any other trips so if I can combine trips and do errands at the same time that will help. And I can keep on lobbying for real public transport in our area instead of the bus route to nowhere that we have.

Ok. I'm off to find a notebook to use for tracking, I think there's a small one in one of the desk drawers.

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