It was a beautiful Saturday here in St. Louis, and Sunday was just as lovely. Today is Veterans’ Day in the US, and many people have the day off. I’m self-employed and because two friends of mine are off today and have agreed to help me drop and cut up another large limb from the dead 80’tree just outside my studio door, I am taking (most of) the day off, too.
After driving 100+ miles on Saturday to visit with clients (the sheer thought of using that much gas just makes me cringe) I came home and mulched the leaves that had fallen on my almost acre lot with a push gas mower. I then set about doing what most of us do on our fall weekends – cleaning up the dead stalks and mulching the garden for the winter. Let’s just say that after pushing the mower around the yard my energy started to fade and I only cut about a quarter of the stalks and misc. trees that had planted themselves in my garden before I decided to quit for the day.
Saturday evening I attended a function where I ran into a number of people from my church – it looks like I have yet another person who will join me in displaying their energy consumption as incentive for others.
At church we have a bulletin board in one of the halls, and a number of us are participating in sharing how much we each use in the way of electricity and natural gas for our homes, and gas for our cars. There is also a place for folks to write down what they do to reduce energy consumption – and there are a number of posts. I have posted the “Riot for Austerity” rules as well. I have been blown away by so many folks there – both who post their numbers and those who do not. The number of folks biking to church and work has grown dramatically, as has the number of scooters and motorcycles. (I live roughly 20 miles away, and even if I were in tip-top shape, I wouldn’t be caught dead trying to bike through some of the bad city neighborhoods I drive through to get from my house there.) I even know of one person who now takes the bus to work on a regular basis when he never had done so before. One of the women used a total of 6 gallons of gasoline for her car last month (I used 16)! I find that amazing!!! Another person has cut his electric usage in half since starting and is down 76% from the average. Our rector drives a hybrid – I admire her leadership by example.
Our Environment Committee has been winterizing places around the church, and is trying to figure out how to incorporate solar energy into its 150-year old building – but I’m thinking a good deal more research will need to be done before that occurs. We have also decided to become a collection site for used compact florescent bulbs that have mercury in them to return to the manufacturer for disposal.
Here’s to getting more people involved in decreasing their carbon footprint!