Really! I did. A huge reduction in my carbon footprint. And it took less than an hour of my time. Here’s the story.
On average, each human on earth is responsible for 4.9 tons of carbon-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions. As we know, that’s way too much. And that’s why every country in the world came together in Paris two years back to set goals for how much each one would reduce its greenhouse gases.
The United States promised to reduce carbon emissions by 26% by 2025. That might sound like a lot, but we start from a very bad place: On average, each American is responsible for 16.1 tons of carbon emissions every year. That’s more than triple the global average. So if anyone needs to cut emissions, it’s us.
How to do it? Well, you could insulate the house, or trade in the SUV, or install solar panels, or take the train, or eat less beef, or divest from fossil fuels, or hundreds of other measures. But if you pay your own electric bill, you can make a huge difference in just one single step: Select a sustainable source for your electric power. You keep your utility. They provide the same service they always have. You get your bills from them, as always. But now, instead of coal, gas, nuclear and whatever else, your electricity now comes from wind, solar or other carbon-free sources.
We live in New Jersey, one of many states where you can choose your source of electricity. I took some time recently to examine my alternatives. Is it wind? Solar? A blend of sources? What does it cost? Can it go up or down? Will it cost me if I decide to cancel? I settled on Green Mountain Energy, a wind power company. It costs a fraction less than my utility’s default choice. Call it even. And it’s carbon free.
So I made the call: 844-245-9582
We’re not the average utility customer. Our farm has greenhouses, irrigation pumps, and several residences, including our own. Hundreds of families own shares in our harvest. A dozen workers make their living here. We also have four sets of solar panels that cut our electric purchases by more than half. But still, we buy a lot of electricity. All told, we purchase 18,400 kilowatt hours (18.4 mWh) from the utility every year. And that electricity comes almost entirely from dirty sources – mainly natural gas. For our usage, it pumps 7.6 tons of earth-warming gases into the air every year, plus the smog that causes respiratory illness. That’s nearly double the emissions of the average human, just for our electricity.
So I just had to do something. Well, it took about 30 minutes on the phone. But if I hope to leave our kids a livable world, it might be the best 30 minutes I could ever spend.
So, grab a copy of your electric bill, and make the call, like I did. Or if you want to find out first what your state offers first, go to this website and find out.
Once you do, leave us a comment about what you did. We can’t wait to hear how you’re changing the world!