Tread Lightly: An Update

footprints.jpgBack in January I wrote about the ‘Tread Lightly’ environmental project run by the Guardian Newspaper in the UK, (you can read the previous post here) and promised an update, so 3 months later, I’ve reviewed my pledges and progress, and that of the entire community who signed up – to date, 4209 folk around the globe, doing their bit to cut carbon and reduce their impact on planet earth.

The pledges on offer over the past 3 months have included switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, which for a medium sized flat saved 4.15kg; switching off electrical appliances (instead of leaving them on standby), saving 2.45kg; washing clothes at 30 degrees, which saves 85g of CO2, if reduced down from a 40 degree or higher temperature cycle. Since I signed up to the project, I’ve been staying in the UK, back home in Jerusalem, and also responsible for a ‘green’ rental flat here (of which, more about later), so on and off, spreading the impact of these pledges across 3 properties, which should result in greater energy savings. Other pledges have included turning down the heating thermostat by 1 degree (a more significant pledge in the midst of a cold British winter), which saves 3.60kg (so bear that in mind if you found this past Middle East winter bone-chillingly cold!); eating less meat – replacing one meat meal each week with a locally-grown vegetarian alternative, has an energy saving of 3.22kg, so mull on that when your organic vegetable box arrives!

The point of the whole exercise has clearly been to inculcate the energy saving tips into every-one’s daily life, and I have taken on board several of the tips, to the extent that I worry about every single piece of rubbish I produce.

From undertaking 17 pledges, and sticking to each of them as best I could, I have saved a total of 154.84kg, give or take a bit. As part of the whole community of pledgers, I have played my part in saving a total of 51.35 tonnes of CO2, which is equivalent to turning off a coal-fired power station for 23 minutes, or the equivalent energy produced by 5 average car journeys. This perhaps doesn’t seem like much, but considering how easy and straightforward each energy-saving tip is, just think how much could be achieved by a whole city (Jerusalem: population 732,100 … Tel Aviv: population 382,500) of green-minded souls, committed to reducing individual and household energy output….ah, green dreams indeed.

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