The 10 Percent Solution: A Low Carbon Diet For America

This is source I found from another site, main source you can find in last paragraph

“It drives me crazy,” a close friend tells me. “Most folks in my crowd are on the right side of the climate change debate, but I’ll bet they drive and fly a lot more miles than those guys with the muscle trucks in Middle America. They love those gas guzzlers but probably can’t even afford to drive their rigs much outside their own hometowns.”

Now that we eco-liberals are back in the political wilderness, one of our few consoling thoughts is how much more virtuous we are than those fools who voted to step on the gas. But it’s an inconvenient truth that most of us are actually a bigger part of the problem than we realize  —  which also means that we can become a bigger part of the solution. First a few stark stats: 1) the average American drives 13,474 miles a year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation; 2) while the middle-aged (35-55) drive most, the most rapidly growing demographic logging the long miles is seniors, who are living longer and traveling farther to see their grandkids.

The impacts of our driving habits are compounded by our addiction to air travel, especially among those of us who are cosmopolitan globetrotters. Time to get out of Dodge? How ’bout Bali? There are various ways to calculate and compare air vs. auto travel but most favor driving since jets (especially on short trips) use substantially more fuel per passenger. And of course one generally notches up far more miles flying across the country or abroad than one would in a daily car commute. Driving becomes still more advantageous when one’s behind the wheel of a hybrid plug-in with a full complement of passengers. Alas, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 38 percent of cars on the road hold just one person, the least fuel-efficient option.

Guilt is a poor motivator for changing behavior, so let’s not even go there. Instead, let’s tap into our innate resourcefulness and reframe it as a challenge and opportunity.

If we’re outraged by the rollback of hard-earned environmental progress, let’s get back at those fossil fools by cutting the subsidy we give them every time we fill our tank up with toxic petroleum. If our carbon footprint is stepping on our common future, let’s try on a low-carbon diet. How about slimming down our gas consumption 10 percent over the next 12 months?

Consider the ease and rapidity with which Californians cut their water use during the state’s long-running drought. In response to a request from Gov. Jerry Brown to cut use 25 percent from a 2013 baseline in the summer of 2015 and again in 2016, state residents met his target  and some districts exceeded it, cutting their use as much as 28 percent, not just for one month but on a continuing basis. In fact, many felt the state wasn’t asking enough of them. In a July 2016 Public Policy Institute poll, 63 percent of respondents felt the state and local districts weren’t doing enough to address the threat posed by the drought.


So let’s skip both the guilt and self-righteousness. Neither is a sound basis for action. Instead, let’s use some juicier motivations. Let’s get back at those fossils in the nation’s capital and their paymasters in an obsolete oil industry by the most direct and effective means possible  —  cut back on our use of their toxic products and thus counter the ostensible need and justification for them to strip mountaintops, drill more fracking wells, and build new infrastructure like the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. Skip one in 10 trips in the car and/or carpool to make more efficient use of those we need to take. Each time you do, savor the pleasures of depriving the oilers of their profits and turning this ship around.

Next time we feel the impulse to diss those rubes in the heartland for their uncool muscle trucks and climate denial, maybe our energy would be better spent bringing our own actions in sync with our convictions. We’re more in the driver’s seat than we realize. Time to take hold of the wheel and steer it in the direction of our dreams.

Mark Sommer is a resident of Trinidad and founder of SolArise, a grassroots movement to accelerate the pace of California’s transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

This is source I found from another site, main source you can find in last paragraph

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