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Waking Up To What Is Sustainable

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More and more people are practising what they think is sustainable behaviour but is it? This week two comments caught eco-blogger, Victoria Carter's attention and are worth sharing to encourage more considered thinking around some of our so-called sustainable actions.

One was Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB quoting an article on how electric cars are now recognised as not being so eco-friendly. Why? Because they still using a resource, even if it is electricity.

Finally people are waking up to the fact that if we all keep driving the way we do then we are going to need a lot of electricity to ‘fuel’ these electric cars. As Intercon a sustainable blog explores, electric cars are not really lowering emissions if we eliminate oil production only to draw power from a system that has the majority of its energy produced from coal.

The second was  Catherine Moyt speaking at Ted, ideas worth spreading. Catherine explores amongst other things what is more sustainable using a paper towel or a sponge.  It turns out the things you least expect, for example, the position you leave your tap (in her case in the hot position) can determine how much energy you use and whether your actions are sustainable.

Catherine illustrates the concept of embodied energy - how much energy it takes to make something, use it and dispose of it.

The paper towel analogy appealed to me because I have always hated them, a bit like I hate glad wrap, because I believed they are environmentally insensitive. I've learned a bit more and now find I can buy recycled paper towels and that they can go into my worm farm to give my worms a more varied diet!

In the u-tube link on Ted, Catherine moves on from paper towel embodied energy to explore how to build a 'green' house separating hype from real 'green' value and what one can do to reduce the level of embodied energy in building.

Life cycle thinking is a subject Cityhop car share is deeply interested in. Most car share cars around the world are low energy fuel efficient vehicles that can be used by sometimes more than 7 different people in one day. Every car share vehicle is reported to take 20 privately owned cars off the road so that is a lot of energy being saved.  

If every action we made we considered its full consequences environmentally we might make different choices. For example, buy Whitakers chocolate (NZ locally made) rather than the Lindt, on special at the supermarket this week that has come all the way from Switzerland.


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