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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 04-14-08, 08:19 AM   #1
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The Human Footprint

National Geographic channel has a show called the "Human Footprint"
that shows the American Dream way of life from the mid to upper
middle class lifestyle (the don't say this but this is the model they use).
There is also a telling line that says.."If the whole world lived like America
does we'd need four planet earth's to satisfy the demand for resources"

I enjoyed the show but it held few suprizes for me but those suprizes
there were were shockers!

It's worth a watch if you get to see it.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.co...tprint/?ngc=60

Did you know that you'll own 12 cars in a normal 77 yr 9 mo lifespan?
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Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-14-08, 09:27 AM   #2
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National Geographic channel has a show called the "Human Footprint"
that shows the American Dream way of life from the mid to upper
middle class lifestyle (the don't say this but this is the model they use).
There is also a telling line that says.."If the whole world lived like America
does we'd need four planet earth's to satisfy the demand for resources"

I enjoyed the show but it held few suprizes for me but those suprizes
there were were shockers!

It's worth a watch if you get to see it.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.co...tprint/?ngc=60

Did you know that you'll own 12 cars in a normal 77 yr 9 mo lifespan?
That few? I never owned a car before age 32, and in the ensuing 20 years, I've owned 5 by myself, and shared two with my ex.

How many bicycles did they say you would own?
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Old 04-14-08, 09:53 AM   #3
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How many bicycles did they say you would own?
Didn't say really. The message was subtle but there if you listen.
American's can no longer enjoy "having it all their way" due to
the emerging nations economies and 7 billion people on a
planet that has already been mined, or picked, clean of resources
with ever shrinking acreage to grow food.

The simple fact that supply is being surpassed by demand will
change every humans lifestyle no matter where they live now.
That fact is inescapable..............
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 04-14-08, 10:19 AM   #4
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I saw the show and it is amazing how much people use. I have been car free my entire life so that part was cool to see how much I save there. I use three times the amount of soda cans though, so I will try to change that. All my light bulbs are those energy savers. I don't have nearly the amount of clothes the average male does, which was cool. I only have a couple of pairs of shoes, my wife only has a couple as well. She also doesn't wear makeup. To sum it up, I am much more aware of things now.
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Old 04-14-08, 07:21 PM   #5
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Did you know that you'll own 12 cars in a normal 77 yr 9 mo lifespan?
Haven't seen the show, since we don't get the Geographic channel on our cheapest cable service. But we tend to keep vehicles a long time. Even so, we've owned quite a few since I turned 16 going on 40 years ago. This year, we've bought two tanks of gas for the personal automobile, and the second tank was just last week. I do drive more for business, however.

The standoffs (mounting posts) are going on my roof this week for the photovoltaic panels that will soon follow. We won't generate all the electricity we use from the sun, but figure about 75%, which includes powering a bunch of computer hardware for my business.
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Old 04-14-08, 10:27 PM   #6
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Similar on human consumption- Manufactured Landscaping (2007) - movie w/ many Chinese photos. Truly awesome!

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Old 04-14-08, 11:43 PM   #7
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12 cars in 77/9? Guess I've made up for a few folks here. Last count, which ended nearly four years ago when I junked my last junker and never replaced it, was 19. But in my defense, they were ALL old and cheap, so they weren't about to last, anyway.

Sen. Hillary was asked the other night about the effect reducing our collective carbon footprint would have on the American standard of living; my enduring thought from that was this--our standard of living will be affected, but not nearly as much as our lifeSTYLE. We as a nation need to scale it back, and not pursue the excesses we have deemed our birthright up until now.

CFL's? All through the house. Car-free? I am, wish my extended family was at least car-lite. My daughter just LOVES being picked up from after-school activity and being hauled in my bike trailer. It's an ADVENTURE to her! Recycling? Not until they get a better handle on the resource use that drives up a recycler's carbon 'print. Where I live in the nation, I have to have home heat, and a fair amount of it, but there are habits of wastefulness I have (thankfully) broken. Now, for that mob I live with...!
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Old 04-15-08, 07:47 AM   #8
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Did you know that you'll own 12 cars in a normal 77 yr 9 mo lifespan?
.156 cars per year of life? For me it has been 0.057 cars per year of life so far.
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Old 05-29-08, 02:31 PM   #9
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Sorry to drag up an old thread but what the hell, I'm bored at work....

I didn't actually get to see the show but watching the commercials for it and seeing the stacks of items was enough for me to start changing things.

-I have severely reduced the number if single use/serving consumables I use, soda bottles, paper/styrofoam plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, etc.
-I started a compost pile so my kitchen waste no longer ends up in a landfill
-I carry my own hand towel so I don't have to use paper towels in public restrooms. (this has gotten some "odd" looks, lol!)
-I brownbag my lunch using all reusable containers (no plastic baggies)
-I've cut down on my electricity usage at home. Generally, if the sun is up the lights stay off.
-I don't buy bottled water, I carry my Nalgalene just about everywhere.


Some of the things I/we already do
-car pool with my wife to work since we work on the same block downtown, we also drop off the kids at daycare. I'd consider us car lite by US standards, one car provides 90% of the travel for our family of four. My car only gets driven separately about once a week.
-CFL bulbs (the whole house is almost converted, I only replace them when an incandescent dies)

There's more but some things (like turning off the water when brushing my teeth) are so ingrained into my routine I don't even think about them anymore.
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Old 05-29-08, 02:41 PM   #10
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This human's footprint is 9 1/2 D
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Old 05-29-08, 02:51 PM   #11
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why do we always have to lower our standards? No one (outside of the super whackos) talk about population reduction through forced/voluntary sterilization, or other means.

Reduce the number of people on earth and RAISE the standard of living for everyone. Of course, it's largely the first world nations that are already doing this (birthrates for 1st world nations are largely declining), but for some reason it's politically incorrect to try and do the same in poorer nations.

I also never really see any recommendation at what level we can stop "reducing". Will we be balanced if everyone lives to N. Korea standards? China/India standards? African bushman standards?

Someone give me a target to shoot for, and as soon as Al Gore personally meets that target, I'll hop on board.
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Old 05-29-08, 03:03 PM   #12
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Did you know that you'll own 12 cars in a normal 77 yr 9 mo lifespan?
Oh dear, well I better get buying! I haven't owned a single one yet, and I turn 30 on Monday...
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Old 05-29-08, 05:42 PM   #13
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why do we always have to lower our standards? No one (outside of the super whackos) talk about population reduction through forced/voluntary sterilization, or other means.

Reduce the number of people on earth and RAISE the standard of living for everyone. Of course, it's largely the first world nations that are already doing this (birthrates for 1st world nations are largely declining), but for some reason it's politically incorrect to try and do the same in poorer nations.

I also never really see any recommendation at what level we can stop "reducing". Will we be balanced if everyone lives to N. Korea standards? China/India standards? African bushman standards?

Someone give me a target to shoot for, and as soon as Al Gore personally meets that target, I'll hop on board.
Look, is it so wrong for people to be and want others to be consciously aware of the damage they are doing to the world? Making changes doesn't necessarily mean living with lower standards. Is someone that rides their bike to work or takes the bus enjoying life less because they aren't driving a tank?
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Old 05-29-08, 06:22 PM   #14
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Did you know that you'll own 12 cars in a normal 77 yr 9 mo lifespan?
Shyt!
I had owned 10 by the time I was 38!
No wonder I'm car free now... I'm saving those last two for when I'm old and decrepit!
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Old 05-29-08, 08:23 PM   #15
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Sorry to drag up an old thread but what the hell, I'm bored at work....

I didn't actually get to see the show but watching the commercials for it and seeing the stacks of items was enough for me to start changing things.

-I have severely reduced the number if single use/serving consumables I use, soda bottles, paper/styrofoam plates, paper towels, plastic utensils, etc.
-I started a compost pile so my kitchen waste no longer ends up in a landfill
-I carry my own hand towel so I don't have to use paper towels in public restrooms. (this has gotten some "odd" looks, lol!)
-I brownbag my lunch using all reusable containers (no plastic baggies)
-I've cut down on my electricity usage at home. Generally, if the sun is up the lights stay off.
-I don't buy bottled water, I carry my Nalgalene just about everywhere.


Some of the things I/we already do
-car pool with my wife to work since we work on the same block downtown, we also drop off the kids at daycare. I'd consider us car lite by US standards, one car provides 90% of the travel for our family of four. My car only gets driven separately about once a week.
-CFL bulbs (the whole house is almost converted, I only replace them when an incandescent dies)

There's more but some things (like turning off the water when brushing my teeth) are so ingrained into my routine I don't even think about them anymore.
I really admire folks who can itemize what they have done to reduce their resource waste. While we can all sit around complaining about it, a list like this really works wonders.

I basically follow all the steps you mention, except for carrying your own hand towels to public washrooms. I might just give that one a try. Thanks for the tip.

I will add one to your tip. You could try to grow a bed of lettuce this summer. Even if you live in an apartment, if you have access to a window. This might be ridiculously insignificant to the question of world starvation, but remember than for every pound of lettuce you grow, that is one pound of lettuce that does not have to travel (on average) 1500 miles.

Besides, next year, you will undoubtedly try to double your output.
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Old 05-29-08, 09:41 PM   #16
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Look, is it so wrong for people to be and want others to be consciously aware of the damage they are doing to the world? Making changes doesn't necessarily mean living with lower standards. Is someone that rides their bike to work or takes the bus enjoying life less because they aren't driving a tank?
They may not be enjoying life less, but in reality they're doing bugger all to save the planet. There was a thread over in P & R (which is probably where this one will end up eventually) that linked to an article in the Guardian newspaper in London. At current global population levels, we'd all have to lower our standards and live like they do in Nigeria to be sustainable, and if we take into account population increase, we may need to go quite a bit further. The situation is really that simple. If we keep adding to the global population, it won't matter how we live, the world is screwed anyway. If there is somehow a reduction in population (and if all the talk about climate change is true, it will eventually happen one way or another), we can live sustainably without giving anything up. That's really the choice we face.

And before anybody on this board tries to start a flame war, let me point out that I have never owned or driven a car in my life -- I'm just realistic about the difference it really makes to this issue.
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Old 05-30-08, 06:56 AM   #17
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I will add one to your tip. You could try to grow a bed of lettuce this summer. Even if you live in an apartment, if you have access to a window. This might be ridiculously insignificant to the question of world starvation, but remember than for every pound of lettuce you grow, that is one pound of lettuce that does not have to travel (on average) 1500 miles.
Thanks for the tip. Actually, I do have plans to start a veggie garden but my wife and I are planning on moving (much) closer to town in the next 6 months so I've put off doing anything to the house/yard that we can't take with us.

Oh yea, I forgot one thing we already do, reusable shopping bags.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bizzz111
why do we always have to lower our standards? No one (outside of the super whackos) talk about population reduction through forced/voluntary sterilization, or other means.
Well, W is already working hard on population reduction in the third world "by other means" but those damn liberals keep getting in his way.
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Old 05-30-08, 08:00 AM   #18
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Thanks for the tip. Actually, I do have plans to start a veggie garden but my wife and I are planning on moving (much) closer to town in the next 6 months so I've put off doing anything to the house/yard that we can't take with us.

Oh yea, I forgot one thing we already do, reusable shopping bags.

Well, W is already working hard on population reduction in the third world "by other means" but those damn liberals keep getting in his way.
how have the "damn liberals" gotten in the way? As far as I've seen, the democratic controlled congress has been handing out the war money like it grew on trees with no sign of stopping.

However, we are getting off topic. I never said we have to control population by killing people. We need to start by changing religious doctrine to allow birth control and start giving incentives to people who don't have large numbers of children. Also, dramatically increasing education in third world countries. Highly educated people tend to have less children.

There's tons of stuff we could be doing that would do much much more to save the planet than switching light bulbs, recycling, or railing against any one political party. Am I for recycling and energy efficiency? Hell yes, but as mentioned above, in the whole scheme of things, the way the population is growing, it won't do one bit of good.

What's more compassionate? Allowing unfettered breeding until we are forced to reduce population through war, disease and starvation? Or steady, managed population growth?
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Old 05-30-08, 04:07 PM   #19
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how have the "damn liberals" gotten in the way? As far as I've seen, the democratic controlled congress has been handing out the war money like it grew on trees with no sign of stopping.

However, we are getting off topic. I never said we have to control population by killing people. We need to start by changing religious doctrine to allow birth control and start giving incentives to people who don't have large numbers of children. Also, dramatically increasing education in third world countries. Highly educated people tend to have less children.
It's interesting that we're constantly asked to send aid to third-world countries because we hear stories of a family trying to feed 10-20 children on an average wage in a third world country. A good way to put this into perspective is to try to imagine trying to feed 20 children on an average wage in the US, or Australia or Europe. Chances are, the parents would probably find that difficult too. Personally, I think the aid handed to third-world countries should be tied directly to the reduction in birth rates they can achieve. The first step would be to declare that any family with more than two children is ineligible for foreign aid (apart from one-off disaster relief). Applying such a policy retrospectively could present problems, but going forward I think it's absolutely essential. Help those who take steps to help themselves, and help the planet at the same time.
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Old 05-30-08, 11:38 PM   #20
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A lot of stupid things are being said and done in this world.

Strive to make money off them and you'll generally find yourself on the right side of the issue
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Old 05-31-08, 12:04 AM   #21
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Yea, I have owned 5 cars in 9 years. I guess I need to slow down.
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Old 05-31-08, 12:55 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by bizzz111 View Post
why do we always have to lower our standards? No one (outside of the super whackos) talk about population reduction through forced/voluntary sterilization, or other means.

Reduce the number of people on earth and RAISE the standard of living for everyone. Of course, it's largely the first world nations that are already doing this (birthrates for 1st world nations are largely declining), but for some reason it's politically incorrect to try and do the same in poorer nations.

I also never really see any recommendation at what level we can stop "reducing". Will we be balanced if everyone lives to N. Korea standards? China/India standards? African bushman standards?

Someone give me a target to shoot for, and as soon as Al Gore personally meets that target, I'll hop on board.
Are you a fan of Isaac Asimov? One of his last works, Foundation and Earth, dealt with the very question of 'overpopulation', using a planet 'out of the loop', where hermaphroditic humanoids operated vast estates for their own purposes, keeping strictly segregated to their own holdings, and only having remote contact whan necessary. These beings considered their lives idyllic, and here you are, advocating the control of population for your own comfort. At least Asimov wrote FICTION....

We sure don't need the standards of rampant waste becasue we're too busy/tired/preoccupied/self-important to be responsible in our use of resources. I have a 1700 sq.ft. house, which I share with 8 other people, one of whom is my daughter. These are the most important folks in the world to me, and even without the extra load of another house to pay for, our little group struggles to make it from month to month. A lot of it is because the demands of the 'free market', which is becoming less and less free, what with credit checks for insurance premiums, the coming mortgage crash, runaway credit coupled with runaway bankruptcy...you get where I'm at.

I'll give you a target to shoot for -- a comfort level below DECADENT.
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Old 05-31-08, 07:35 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by tightwad
7 billion people on a planet that has already been mined, or picked, clean of resources
with ever shrinking acreage to grow food.
Oh, don't worry, as long as there are enough fossil fuels to get water and fertilizer to wherever they're desired, we will have plenty of land on which to grow food.
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Old 05-31-08, 07:58 AM   #24
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-I carry my own hand towel so I don't have to use paper towels in public restrooms. (this has gotten some "odd" looks, lol!)
I wash, shake water off my hands, and then leave with damp hands.

Having worked for an electric company and having paid attention to where the energy is going, I saw that heating and cooling are the real killers in energy usage. Laptops, 25 inch TVs, incandescent light bulbs, toasters, etc (each using a couple cents per day of electricity, max) ... none can compete with the $15+ per day of energy needed to temperature-control a single family house. Turn down the thermostat in the winter, insulate like mad, live with less space per-person, and live in a house that was designed not to need ridiculous amounts of cooling (under trees is good).

If you care about your energy consumption, though, never, ever own a swimming pool. (kiddie pools are no problem though!)

It's all about the appliances that create massive amounts of temperature change. (don't put your hands on your pool's electric pump.)
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Old 05-31-08, 11:06 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Tabor View Post
Yea, I have owned 5 cars in 9 years. I guess I need to slow down.
I have a recurring image of all the automobiles I have ever owned piled up in my backyard. Imagine the 1972 Chev V-8 which was my first car. I bought it in 79 when it was starting to rust pretty bad. Can't imagine what it must look like now, but... bear in mind... it is sitting around somewhere currently. Hopefully some of it is recycled, but I seriously doubt it.
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