LOW CARBON PLEDGE - ....for a low-carbon lifestyle by 2020
please see our Primer to sharpen your Climate IQ - at the end of this page.  Thank you for taking action in your own community!
 
 
OUR LOW CARBON PLEDGE CENTER is offering an updated
Menu of 17 pledges now, as a guideline for a sustainable lifestyle by 2020. 
 
Why this deadline? 
 
It has become clear to scientists dealing with our climate threat, that the sooner we move to a low carbon world, the better chance we have to offset Climate Chaos.  This is now becoming a planning concern in cities worldwide. 

World Leaders did commit to not crossing 2 degrees celsius of warming, in Copenhagen, in Dec 2009.  See Ezra Klein's article on what this really means we must do, complete with graph.


 
SO...Why shouldn't we put our own lifestyle choices first, redesigning our budget priorities to make the best outcome possible?  We ask you to join us on this quest...

We believe this menu will help you design your lifestyle so it can be enjoyable, while making choices that ensure we all live in the most sustainable world possible.
 
A significant way Americans can affect over two thirds of US carbon emissions, is in three ways:   
 
the design of our homeswhat we eat and how we travel.  
 
We have just added a fourth: 
 
who we elect into office, and influencing who is already representing us at all levels of government. 
 
 
The question is, what is YOUR next step to make more impact?
 
 
PRESENTING...our Menu of 17 ways to take a step forward:
 
 
 
STARTERS, that say...

1 - NO to plastic bag/paper shopping,  plastic packaged purchases; 
YES to cloth bag shopping:  recycled paper products, glass and aluminum containers, and cardboard or tin foil for take-out food.  Consider recycled plastic Preserve products, sold at Whole Foods and Seltzer Goods at SeltzerGoods.com, and other similar products.  Buy wheat straw-based toilet paper (no paper, note!): available at Whole Foods, from World Centric.
 
2 - NO on pesticide use in landscaping; YES to permaculture gardening.  NO to lawns, yes to native plants.  Consider hosting a honeybee hive or bee hotel.  Enjoy planting your own fresh fruits, herbs and veggies in small quantities.
 
3 - YES on full use of CFL and LED light bulbs in a home or rental;
choose yellow LEDs, avoid blue ones.
 
4 - YES on air drying clothes whenever possible.
 
5 - YES on stainless steel thermos bottles for portable personal use of water, replacing plastic bottled water.  Nalgene bottles have recently been more thoroughly tested for BPA, and the safest tested are made by Topas and Zeonor.
 
6 - YES on bicycling, walking and public transport - reducing or saying no to car use.  See more with pledges 9 - 11.
  
7 - YES on composting/food waste recycling: get one-on-one help with this with Green Irene,  www.GreenIrene.com.
 
When making changes in the kitchen:  we recommend using countertops made of bamboo/hemp or reclaimed wood, reclaimed cabinets.  Avoid teflon, buy iron cookware -  some comes non-stick - and stainless steel.
 
 
MAKING THE MOST IMPACT, covered in pledges 8 through 17:
 
transportation = 16% of US carbon emissions
agriculture&livestock = 33% (some data shows it as high as 51%)
building sector = 49% 
 
Capping global population to 8 billion will go a long way towards helping us to stabilize planet Earth:  the goal behind creating a low carbon world.   This is advocated by Lester Brown, President of Earth Policy Institute, www.EarthPolicy.org , based in Washington DC.
 
Going one step further, is suggested by World Population Balance, that believes we will be more sustainable if there were half the humans currently on the planet - meaning 3 billion of us.  They recommend one or two children at the most.  See Pledge #16 for more details.
 
A book on the value behind raising an only child, is
One and Only: the freedom of having an only child, and the joy of being one, by Lauren Sandler. Published in 2013.
 
Reforestation non-profits, especially in our rainforests, enables more absorption of our atmospheric carbon/methane overload.
 
Eating organic food ensures 30% more carbon/CO2/methane absorption into organic soil, than traditional pesticide/fossil fuel-based farming.  See more below on the Savory Institute, in pledge 16, on how SI is rebuilding the carbon sink in our global grasslands, reversing desertification.
 
 
8 - YES on eating organic food (same for pets), NO to GMOs and pesticides, which add more to our carbon atmospheric overload.  Both GMOs and pesticides are unhealthy for us in the long run. 

http://newfarm.rodaleinstitute.org/features/0802/regenerative.shtml 
 
Eating locally grown food, reducing red meat to one meal per week or more, or eating grass-fed meat (see #16, Savory Institute, on this), going non-diary for milk and ice cream, choosing sustainable fish/seafood sources or no fish or seafood, make for healthy choices.
 
As droughts move across the US, it is becoming clear, EATING LESS MEAT AND DAIRY PRODUCTS, lightens the water demand in those areas most affected.
 
Adding more vegan meals into our diet, is now becoming mainstream, and is considered an even more healthy diet for us all.  The western-trained medical doctors involved with the Forks Over Knives movement, have made this clear.
 
Mark Bittman, food writer for the NYTimes suggests eating vegan until 6 PM.

This link makes it clear, the US is trending vegan:

 
We applaud Whole Foods for labeling all food in their stores by 2018, ensuring we can avoid eating GMOs when shopping at their stores.  GM food is loaded with pesticides. This is creating the movement to go 100% organic in our agriculture.  This not only ensures we are healthy, but enrichens our soil, making it healthier so it absorbs more carbon and water, reducing flooding, dealing with droughts better, while we stabilize our home,  planet Earth.
 
Consider aeroponic gardening at home, with the new Tower Garden:  low water, no pesticides, and plants grow 50% faster.  Designed by NASA and Epcot Center in Florida.
 
See www.TowerGarden.com and in the SF Bay Area,
 
Another medical concern, is that due to overuse of pesticides and other such Western practices, we humans are low on iodine.
We recommend the work of Dr Brownstein who is a specialist on this epidemic.  We recommend his book,  Iodine:  Why You Need It,  Why You Can't Live Without It.

With the new documentary now out, Cowspiracy, (see www.Cowspiracy.com for the trailer and to purchase it), there is new emphasis on going Mostly Vegan, which we support.

 

BASICS that say NO to COAL, OIL and NATURAL GAS...
 
 
9 - YES on train travel for vacations.  YES on vacations at home by unplugging:  reducing electronic use and dependency on rare earths.
 
10 - YES on upgrade of current car to a hybrid.
 
11 - YES on upgrade to an electric car/plug-in, and leasing solar in your home.  The  perfect mix to ensure your car travel is solar-based.
 
We recommend Toyota's Prius Plug-in:  the plug-in feature operates for you with local car use, which is where most of car use is, but the hybrid feature is your source for long distance travel, while there is still uncertainty on where fast chargers are for electric cars and plug-ins.  You get a rebate on this car of about $8,000 - with a zero rate interest on a 5 year loan.  We consider this a good deal!

Stay tuned for Toyota and its new hydrogen cars....
 
13 - YES on having an Energy Upgrade done on your home, YES on purchasing Energy Saver appliances in your home or rental:  refrigerator, washer, dryer, dishwasher, TV and more. 
We recommend more affordable shared purchasing, when doing this as a team with others.   Some utilities offer free appliance upgrades, income-based, for renters.  In CA, seewww.EnergyUpgradeCA.org,  call 866-878-6008,  
 
and now also in CA, see  www.RenewFund.com, for loans in 17 counties, call 510-451-7900.
 
THINK ELECTRIC in buying appliances for a future clean energy upgrade, like solar and small wind.
 
14 - YES on water-use upgrade in home and landscaping:  low-flow showerheads, dual flushes, drip irrigation and rain harvesting.  Reducing or removing a lawn, using native or similar locale plants only.
 
Pledges 13-14 are affordable with a Quicken loan recommended with this link, with more details:   www.RethinkingEnergy.vpweb.com .
 
15 - YES to adding solar, small wind or geothermal to your home
 
Affordable SOLAR LEASES are possible with www.Sungevity.com, a solar company now partnered with in 8 states:  Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.  If you choose this company, Transition Express can offer you an added $500 bonus by using our code:  90579, as a referring customer. 
 
We also recommendwww.SolarCity.comthat offers solar leasing and commercial contracts, in the following 10 states:   Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.  They suggest starting at the city and school district level to advance a commercial contract, then expand into solar farms on farm land and privately-owned open space.   For commercial expansion, contact Aaron Olson in San Mateo CA, at 650-963-4772, or email him at aolson@solarcity.com.
 
SunRun.com is in Hawaii and 10 other states.
Verengo.com is in California, New Jersey and New York.

In Massachusetts:  you can Make the Switch to Renewable energy, with www.MothersOutfront.org 
 
Other solar applications choices include solar hot water heating and solar thermal for walls and floor heating.  You would hire a plumber for these applications.  Another option is hyponic heating, which is water based.
 
For those who find rooftop solar not suitable, with a roof that doesn't face south, or with too much tree coverage, you might consider a stand-alone location for the solar panels, or a small wind application (available with Amazon.com), or a geothermal application.
 
Another more affordable option, is with Pear Energy. See  www.pear-energy.com .  It is a newer company that at a minimal cost to you per month, coordinates with your electric utility, and utilities in all 50 states, to put more solar and wind power into the national grid.  Wind is getting generated from wind farms in Iowa, Minnesota and South Dakota.  All these states are in what is now known as the wind belt.
 
 
AND NOW - an exciting new small wind company in San Diego, Primo Wind, can be mounted on rooftops, or built onto hills as wind farms:  silent with no bird killing.  Even better:  it is more cost effective than solar, and uses a smaller footprint.  See www.PrimoWind.com  and this 2 minute video on how this new small wind fixture adapts to rooftops and hillsides - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21HRjjLLjpg&feature=youtube 
 
 
16 - NO to Overconsumption and Overpopulation, YES to reforestation, rebuilding our global soil's carbon sink, and transforming our world into a low carbon one, by 2020.
 
Join www.7billionandcounting.org and advocate for small families, helping us stabilize planet Earth to 8 billion of us.  Even better...
 
A new movement is called One Planet, One Child, with a goal to reduce world wide population to 3 billion - half of what it is now - by encouraging having only one child, two at the most. 
 
Read Lester Brown's book, Plan B, 4.0 and Danny Kennedy's new book, Rooftop Revolution.  Both are very readable, uplifting books on moving clean energy forward.
 
Support reforestation non-profits:
 
Check out the 11 finalists with Richard Branson's challenge, to sequester CO2 out of the atmosphere. 
See details at www.VirginEarthChallenge.com
 
Consider eco-vacations, avoiding cruises and airplane travel when possible, choosing car and train adventures.  Help feed the 'fabric of life' every day, respecting our biosphere and sharing the same with others, in your daily interactions.  Hang out, outside!
 
17 - YES on learning science-based basics on climate to talk with the public, and the need to price carbon and cut subsidies to Fossil Fuel.  See our primer - BELOW - to be prepared to talk to elected officials and candidates running for office, at the city, county, state and congressional level.  YES on asking candidates and your elected officials, on what they plan on/are doing on climate change.  Congressional candidates:  will they co-sponsor climate bills that price carbon and cut subsidies to Fossil Fuel.   YES, on keeping the climate conversation going in your own network, encourage this pledge with them during this election season, and the other 16 pledges too.
 
 
 
PRIMER:   Climate Basics, to sharpen your Climate IQ
 
In the year 2013, a reading of the global atmospheric carbon hit 400 parts per million, in May.  The polar vortex migrated south for the first time, bringing unusually cold winter weather, indicating the jet stream is tracking a new course due to warmer weather in the Arctic.
 
In Dec 2009 in Copenhagen, all World Leaders agreed to not pass the 2-degree Celsius mark, on global warming.  While President Obama has the US moving closer to his goal of 1990 levels of carbon emissions, by 2020, the atmospheric carbon levels are continuing to rise globally, indicating more drastic measures are still needed.
 
The US example to the rest of the world is crucial.  If we show the way, others will follow.  Many countries like Denmark, Germany and Spain are already setting valuable trends in wind and solar.
 
The year 1990 is the standard for stabilizing the planet, when it was at 350 ppm (parts per million of atmospheric carbon), and the world population was 5.3 billion.  This is agreed upon by the world climate and earth scientists.  Goals for reducing emissions to this level are getting set.  The same needs to done about future population levels.  At WorldPopulationBalance.org, this group of scientists, faith leaders and activists in MN, agree that striving towards reducing the world population to 3 billion would be the best balance possible with the natural world.  Our world population in 1960 was at that level.
 
In the US, there is a new trend for going 100% renewable, with the recent posting of 50 state blueprints.   The Jacobson et al team is headed up by Professor Jacobson of Stanford.  These blueprints make clear this is doable by 2030. See www.theSolutionsProject.org 
 
Energy Efficiency (EE) is getting promoted for buildings nationwide, where roughly 50% of carbon emissions come from.  States set up some programs to make this affordable for homeowners.  This includes water efficiency too.
For those in CA, see www.EnergyUpgradeCA.org.   
Quicken Loans, in all 50 states, offers a cash-back refinance to homeowners for these retrofit upgrades.
 
Leasing solar is the affordable way to go solar with Solar City,
Sungevity and SunRun – mostly in Northeast and West Coast states, and including AZ, CO and HI.  Small wind is available from Amazon, while a new company based in San Diego, PrimoWind.com will open up more options.  Its design is silent and does not kill birds, so will adapt more readily onto housing and urban hillsides.  Pear Energy is available in all 50 states, coordinated with utilities to move clean energy into the grid.  Great for renters who pay their own utilities and those homeowners finding solar or small wind unworkable.
 
Community Choice Aggregated Energy – CCAs – is moving the 100% renewable agenda, now legislated in 6 states - CA, IL, OH, MA RI and NJ - with 3 more coming on board - HI, NY and UT.  A new effort is moving to get the other 41 states active on this too.  See www.LeanEnergyUS.org and www.MCEcleanenergy.com for details.
 
The transportation trend is towards more low carbon public transit and hybrid/electric car use.  Battery technology for cars is improving in efficiency.  The Chevy Volt and Tesla batteries are setting new efficiency standards.  High-speed Rail is getting worked on in CA and the NorthEast.
 
Eating 100% organic diets means that organically-produced food re-establishes US soil that has been depleted of carbon and nutrition, from heavy pesticide/fossil fueled agriculture.  This re-creates a carbon sink, where carbon/methane belongs, replicating the natural cycle, drawing down atmospheric carbon levels, absorbing water, making the soil fertile and nutrient-rich, while reversing deserti-fication and acidification of the ocean.

This carbon overload in the atmosphere perpetuates Extreme Weather, while the carbon overload in the ocean creates dead zones and destruction of life.  Organic agriculture reverses these destruc-tive trends.
 
Facing a severe drought now in CA,  residents are learning to avoid meat, poultry and dairy, all heavy users of water.  The Forks Over Knives doctors, and Holistic doctors, all encourage this more healthy, plant-based diet.
 
The other side of the climate dilemma - removing carbon out of the atmosphere - is being taken on by CEO Richard Branson, who  has a challenge going on this, with 11 finalists.  The winner will receive 25 ML dollars.  See www.VirginEarthChallenge.org for details.
 
The AMA – American Medical Association – in 2010, declared Climate Change to be the biggest global threat to our health.
 
The Interfaith Community in the US is taking on the moral aspect of our need to be better stewards of the Earth.  The group Interfaith Moral Action on Climate – IMAC – launched with EarthWeek2012, in Washington DC. See www.InterfaithActiononClimate.org
 
Faith communities are divesting their portfolios of Fossil Fuel, along with cities and college campuses.  See 350.orgs Divestment Initiative for details, www.GoFossilFree.org .
 
In March 2014, The American Association for Advancement of Science, Americas premier science society, with over 120 thousand scientist and science supporting members, issued its What We Know report, as a rare policy intervention, stating that Climate Change is putting the world at risk of irreversible changes, and urging the US to act swiftly to reduce carbon emissions.  More action will be coming from them, led by Mario Molina.
 
Huffington Post gives us insight into how water vapor relates to climate change, in this Aug 2014 posting, including an 8 min. video:  http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/08/14/1321481/-Global-Warming-is-increasing-moisture-in-Earth-s-atmosphere-driving-Mother-of-all-Feedback-Loops? .  

EcoWatch shared this climate change primer, in Nov 2015:
 
The public commons – our air, land and water – will be healthier and sustainable with efficient clean energy and clean, organic and mostly plant-based food.  This needs to be our goal, for a sustain-able world for all living forms.
   
Have fun, building community around you, transforming
your immediate world for a healthy, sustainable future... 
 
And...be sure to enjoy the journey with others.  Go outdoors!
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