What Can I personally do to help against climate change?

wattmatters

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I had a chat yesterday with the much better half and we have agreed to pursue a few specific options, which I am now going to research. The first two are:

1. Move our hot water storage tank energy from the overnight off-peak grid energy and onto our regular daytime tariff when our solar PV can supply most of the energy. Our solar PV can supply 70-80% of the HW energy demand, grid supplemental energy required for the balance. Currently our excess solar PV is exported to the grid, which offsets grid fossil fuel, but it also offsets grid daytime renewables.

So while this represents no difference in energy consumption, because the carbon emissions intensity of our daytime and night time grids are different, with night being almost all coal power while daytime grid has a much higher supply of renewables (and growing every day), this will have a net emissions reduction benefit. I estimate the benefit to be a reduction of 1.5-2 tonnes of CO2 emissions/year. I'm also working to do this in as a cost neutral way as possible.

2. Improve insulation at one end of the house. Our home is thermally pretty crap, and in many ways we can't do a lot about it due to its construction. This is our household electrical energy split:

fqGFb3T - Imgur.png
If we can reduce aircon (heating and cooling) energy consumption by say 25%, then that will have a net emissions reduction benefit of about 3-4 tonnes CO2/year (accounting for average grid emissions intensity for times the heating and cooling are required).

Of the others, The pool pump is now powered off-grid via the repurposed DIY pre-loved solar PV system I installed. It replaced using the grid tied solar PV which frees up solar PV energy for the hot water system. Considering the emissions intensity of the grid at time of use, this reduced emissions by ~0.5 tonnes CO2/year. The pre-loved solar kit would have already repaid its embedded emissions (one of the benefits of re-using stuff instead of recycling it).

I have some other options to consider as well. One involves our vehicle.
 

svetz

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Updated Index to Ideas
The best ideas will not only be good for the environment but also save you money! Here's a list of those with little (if any) austerity:
Reordered them a bit, Let me know if I missed any!
 
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svetz

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Cool Roofs​


I forgot about this until @wattmatters commented about the albedo for Air Conditioning. I did that!

If seeing is believing, here are some panels on my Tropi-cool roof (90% initial solar reflectance, 85% after 3 years). The heat under the panels is from the heat radiated by the panels baking in the Florida sunshine. At the time I was more interested in panel temperatures, but you can see how cool the roof is in comparison to them:

capture-png.5888


It's more than being "white" paint. I've seen Ultrabright white roof coatings as low as 70%, all white coatings are not equal and why I went with Tropi-Cool (see the CRRC data).

Even better, I got credits back from the local utility for doing it!

The problem with the silicon coating is dirt sticks to it, we get a lot of rain which helps keep it clean. There are acrylic roof coatings that don't have the same "tack" as silicone and do a good job with reflection, but they only last a half dozen years. Silicon should be around 25 years.
 
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ArthurEld

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This thread is much more civilized than the other climate change thread.

If people want to do something about climate change, they need reliable information.
And people should be able to interact like adults.

Part of the reason I decided to get solar and drive EVs is because I want to help the environment.
I am beginning to realize that a lot of people who are in to solar and EVs don't give a crap about helping the environment.
 

svetz

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Please try and keep posts on-topic, it's about what individuals can do assuming climate change is real. Please post questions/discussions about if climate change is real or not to other threads (e.g., Can Solar & Wind Fix Everything (e.g., Climate Change) with a battery break-through?), the humor in the humor forum, and please let's not feed the trolls and make even more work for the mods.

I understand anything about climate change can be overpowering when you've got something to say... that's all cool... but please say it in an appropriate thread or start your own thread to discuss it.

Thanks! 🤟


This thread is much more civilized than the other climate change thread.
This isn't a thread about climate change per se (see the OP) ... but a big (y) to the moderators for keeping it on track & civilized!
 
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summit

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put on a hat & sweater and turn down the thermostat, fly less or not-at-all
 

eXodus

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Fat people are bad for the environment.
haha :)

Updated Index to Ideas
The best ideas will not only be good for the environment but also save you money! Here's a list of those with little (if any) austerity:
Reordered them a bit, Let me know if I missed any!

+ Buy lots of natural land do absolutely nothing with it, put it in a perpetual trust so that future generations can't touch it.
 

Dzl

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+ Buy lots of natural land do absolutely nothing with it, put it in a perpetual trust so that future generations can't touch it.
Seems you wouldn't even have to do nothing with it so long as the things you do do don't diminish the ability of the land/flora to pull carbon from the atmosphere, or increase your own carbon footprint to the point that it no longer makes sense.

But, the more I think about it, this doesn't actually help/improve anything in and of itself. Because basically what you are doing buy buying a piece of land and not changing it is preserving the status quo. Now, this will eventually have a positive impact if we assume that that land would be developed at some point. But that is very dependent on the assumption that that land would be developed in the near future, if it wouldn't--and a lot of the land that people buy to just leave undisturbed (cheap land in the desert, hunting land, unbuildable/inaccessible land)--your action would have no net positive or negative effect. It would have the feeling of doing something because you now own it, but if the likelihood of it being developed was low, there would not be any net positive. For this strategy to be effective, you would have to buy land that would otherwise be likely to be developed/destroyed and buy land with a high capacity to pull carbon from the atmosphere (like a chunk of the amazon for instance), or you would have to buy land with a low capacity to do this and re-forest it. Just buying 10 or 100 or 1000 acres in Nebraska or Nevada, or Arizona would not in and of itself be a net positive.

At least that is the way it seems to me.
 

Samsonite801

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Seems you wouldn't even have to do nothing with it so long as the things you do do don't diminish the ability of the land/flora to pull carbon from the atmosphere, or increase your own carbon footprint to the point that it no longer makes sense.

But, the more I think about it, this doesn't actually help/improve anything in and of itself. Because basically what you are doing buy buying a piece of land and not changing it is preserving the status quo. Now, this will eventually have a positive impact if we assume that that land would be developed at some point. But that is very dependent on the assumption that that land would be developed in the near future, if it wouldn't--and a lot of the land that people buy to just leave undisturbed (cheap land in the desert, hunting land, unbuildable/inaccessible land)--your action would have no net positive or negative effect. It would have the feeling of doing something because you now own it, but if the likelihood of it being developed was low, there would not be any net positive. For this strategy to be effective, you would have to buy land that would otherwise be likely to be developed/destroyed and buy land with a high capacity to pull carbon from the atmosphere (like a chunk of the amazon for instance), or you would have to buy land with a low capacity to do this and re-forest it. Just buying 10 or 100 or 1000 acres in Nebraska or Nevada, or Arizona would not in and of itself be a net positive.

At least that is the way it seems to me.

I would definitely say, buy desertified land, and start a project to de-desertify it, yeah like you are indicating...
 
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Dzl

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I would definitely say, buy desertified land, and start a project to de-desertify it, yeah like you are indicating...
This would just be an extremely satisfying achievement on many levels!
 

Samsonite801

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This would just be an extremely satisfying achievement on many levels!

Or can do what our agriculture cooperative is doing (since it is harder to afford to do on an individual level). Our group of shareholders started the Utah OSR Land Co-op, purchased a 1245 acre land in the middle of nowhere (BLM lands all around it), and we are selling up to 250 shares/lots, and our plans are to develop the lands into an eco-friendly modern community of off-grid permaculture farmers who are like-minded individuals, and eventually we hope to get to a point where we could help to develop the surrounding lands with more trees, plant-life, and ground cover as well.

Wish us luck, because this is like a minimum 30-year project and all obstacles are against us, but we still believe we can make some sort of positive difference as we roll along... We have sold 90 shares so far and around 15 families living out there full time at present.

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eXodus

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Seems you wouldn't even have to do nothing with it so long as the things you do do don't diminish the ability of the land/flora to pull carbon from the atmosphere, or increase your own carbon footprint to the point that it no longer makes sense.
in my part of the world when you leave stuff alone it's overgrown rather quickly.
My point is that humanity as whole has a pretty a good ability to make mistakes. Even the most well meant intentions - 50-100 years down the line we discover that it was a stupid idea, whatever sounded great way back then.

By conserving pockets of land and doing absolute nothing with it, we avoid all those potential mistakes.

I would definitely say, buy desertified land, and start a project to de-desertify it, yeah like you are indicating...

In my neighborhood (Florida) a farm got abandoned like 3-4 years ago. It was completely deserted - only sand, destroyed ground.
Nature recaptured it in record time. Without any help. Grasses came back, then shrubs and the first trees are now growing.

But I can see your point some lands need more help getting started back to health.
 

svetz

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I'd say it depends on the "net"... what's the expected decline in GHGs by the improvements in the next 50 years versus the GHGs created to get those improvements. The "best" projects would be the ones with the most significant reductions. Of course, if you're getting the land to prevent someone else from doing something that increases GHGs (e.g., cut down forests and raise cattle) that's a win.
 
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