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Energy Addicts "Anonymous"

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Energy Addicts "Anonymous"

This group is for those of us who know that we are addicted to energy, especially oil, and we sometimes find ourselves feeling powerless in our efforts to substantially reduce our need for oil and the lifestyle that it allows us.

Members: 17
Latest Activity: Nov 13, 2013

Discussion Forum

Moving Towards Recovery - Resources & Ideas

Started by Heather K. Last reply by Kate Clark Jul 3, 2010. 6 Replies

Add your Ideas & Resources for reducing your energy use, creating a smaller carbon/earth footprint, and restoration steps towards 'Global Cooling" and Cultural Integration.Continue

Tags: oil, addiction, peak, climate, energy

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Comment by Hank Kastner on November 13, 2013 at 5:48pm

There are a couple interesting new things being hatched by activists at Power Past Coal: an investigation into creating a Municipal Energy district for B'ham as an alternative to PSE, and an effort to reverse the County moratorium on wind energy; to get involved contact Matt Petryni at http://www.re-sources.org/gpt

Comment by Brian Carpenter on May 25, 2010 at 3:17pm
Right, Tris, that's exactly what I did. I've done several different calculators. Some give the tons of carbon you emit, some do acres required to support you, some give the number of earths we would need if everybody lived like you.

My most quantifiable change has been in driving. I decided I would shoot to stay under 10k miles, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. My revised goal is 13k. I will sell my car if I have to to stay under 15k. Last year with life and travel I drove 30k miles, which is just absurd.
Comment by Kate Clark on May 16, 2010 at 1:09pm
Sorry to be so verbose, but has anyone else been thinking about that part in Age of Stupid, when the young Nigerian woman who wants to be a doctor and have a big car and a big house just like in America, says, "Americans live so well, they have everything, its like if you live like that you would never want to die." That line is haunting me.
Comment by Kate Clark on May 16, 2010 at 11:34am
Brian- how did you figure out your "carbon budget"? I wonder if we could do a workshop on this sometime?
Comment by Kate Clark on May 16, 2010 at 11:32am
I too feel I often have to make a decision between two seemingly vital outcomes- stop burning fossil fuels but yet maintain contact with my family. On one hand, we can't take too much responsibility individually for the way the whole system has turned out- sprawl, families living thousands of miles from each other, everything in plastic, kids wanting to go to soccer practice (!), and so on. Yet, I also know I need to use a LOT less energy! The conundrum can be crazy making!

Sometimes I think what would help me is to sit down and look at how much energy I feel I should use and still feel responsible - in CO2 emissions or gallons or BTUs or KW hours or whatever. Then, if I know how much each activity or product uses- I can make a more informed decision about where to "spend" my quota.

For example, I would forgo a cell phone (lots of embodied energy), would carpool and bike a lot, would buy used clothes, and eat mostly locally and simply if I could save some of my quota to visit my family back east once every year or two. Guilt free.
Comment by Juliet Thompson on May 13, 2010 at 6:23pm
Kate, thank you for this. It is so great to have a place I can admit how much I obsess over this issue and the guilt is causes me. Can I confess here? Well, here goes.
There have been times - and this is probably the absolute worst - when I've used excess energy to satisfy a desire to eat snack foods that quell yet another addiction.
That's the one that gets me......if I go out to get a beer though, I generally ride my bike...usually...
I've stopped visiting family several years ago...I figured that the economy in combination with my guilt at knowing that a road trip would be cheaper than an airline ticket --would keep me at home, and it basically has...but I haven't seen my mother in 5 years, and now I feel guilty about that.
I do appreciate this group, Kate, because now I can tell you all that I screamed in fury in my house alone when I heard about the oil spill, and in my dreams I imagine something amazing coming out of doing the same with others present. If I could really see how others feel about the oil spill in the Gulf, and let them see how much it hurts to know the impact this will have on so many innocent creatures.
I have dreams and desires to start neighborhood groups that measure their carbon footprint and challenge each other to reduce it, as Brian mentions, to take action with Congress as Rebecca mentions, and I do these things sometimes, and I still use way more than my share of fossil fuels.
Now, here's another confession...sometimes the things I do to transition down (making my own cheese), or to restore the planet (planting trees), end up using additional fossil fuels, agricultural chemicals, and other shocking consumptive products that come in plastic containers, that I give up! I give up!
I have spent the last year staying home because of the economy, the price of fuel, and my own conscience. I have cultivated relationships closer to my home. I have yet to look analytically at my carbon footprint, but I promise to do that too.
Thanks for listening. I'd love to hear your confessions.
Comment by Brian Carpenter on May 12, 2010 at 5:48pm
Hmm, yes, the "One Seven-Billionth Share" idea. That's where I'm headed - hopefully soon - but it ain't easy!

By my carbon budget I only have 4000 miles left that I can drive this year to stay under 50% of what I did last year. That seems like a lot, but sure gets burned up quick.
Comment by Kate Clark on May 12, 2010 at 4:33pm
I just returned from a trip (yes, confession: large EF- energy footprint) and any time I leave the relative progressive atmosphere of the Northwest I am reminded that most (by FAR!) people are either 1) completely unconcerned about climate change and know nothing at all about peak oil or 2), are very much convinced that technology will come about to "fix" both of those problems. End of story.

Then, if you combine that with the extreme few of us that are convinced of both, but who still struggle with making certain sacrifices, you are left with even fewer who use that extremely small amount of fossil fuel energy. If we were to come up with a figure of how much fossil fuels we can SAFELY burn in one year (globally) and divide it by the number of people on the planet and divide equally...we would end up with a "share" that is very small indeed. And smaller every day as the population grows.
Comment by Kate Clark on May 3, 2010 at 12:37pm
What do we do with our grief about the suffering our collective addiction has on the natural world? I am thinking about the oil spewing from the deep in the Gulf of Mexico, in particular these days.
Comment by Kate Clark on May 2, 2010 at 10:36am
Heather- not very anonymous, hence the quotation marks! However, we are all energy addicts to some extent, so at least we are admitting it!

You ask some hard questions...and the answers seem so complex. A lot of both of our dilemma's (dilemmi?) involve others....their needs, their judgement. I try to think about my mother as she gets older. She is 76 now, but what do I do when she is elderly and all her children live thousands of miles from her? We are living in an entire structure built on the assumption of an ever expanding supply of energy- I feel trapped in it sometimes.
 

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