1. On a scale of 1 to 5, how sustainable are you daily?
I think in a relative sense my household is a 3 or 4 (5 being the most). My family recycles as much as our facility will accept, but there are a lot of plastics that are not recyclable. The facilities will still take the plastic, it just gets cycled into a waste stream, so we try to use reusable containers when possible, and stop buying items with a lot of packaging. We use Amazon shopping entirely too much and the waste associated with that kind of shopping blows away my score quickly. We try to order as much single mutli-item shipments as possible. We conserve water as much as possible, our heating and hot water is a high efficiency tankless system. We allow for a lot of passive temperature control in our home to cut back on turning the heat or air conditioning on.
2. Give an example of the one thing you do to be sustainable
Avoiding over packaging where possible, my household needs improvement in that area, though.
3. Who is your sustainable ‘inspiration’?
Bill McKibben - he has been a modern siren for fossil fuel reduction and big picture policy changes for limiting a lot of the waste and largess by corporate and government polluters. His organization 350.org, has been on the forefront of the climate change information movement and he personally has made the battle for sustainability go far beyond the band aid that is just our personal responsibility. Recycling and conservation are laudable on the personal level, but action and change seem to be transformative when the policy changes make the society into a good planetary steward.
4. What does the world need to become more sustainable right now?
A massive re-shift in our energy budgets toward renewables that are true green rather than just “green washing” dirty practices. Solar panels, batteries, and turbines that are as low as possible in waste and the use of rare earth materials. An Example in my own industry would be turbine blades that have secondary, tertiary, or more uses after their primary lifespan has ended and non-chemical battery storage such as water or compressed air storage. This is just a small token, but directly applicable to my industry now.
5. What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
My generation was brought up almost from birth on the green ideals that came out the earlier conservationists, and environmental leaders. A lot was ignored, even more was marginalized. I would, I guess, tell my younger self that you should be the change you want to see in the world- but it’s your responsibility to force that change on your local and regional policy makers to make the systemic changes that matter. For example: recycling alleviates landfill space and environmental waste, but policies that remove forever chemicals and petroleum products out of the manufacturing of our daily products goes far further. My generation was slow to take it to that next step, we’re only just now seeming to be getting there. More products today use low waste options, are biodegradable, and don’t chemically/physically pollute the environment. More of this.
6. Could you live ‘off grid’ for a whole year?
Not easily, and my kids would probably eat me alive without their electronics. I always dream of my cabin in the woods though!
7. What three sustainable items would you want on a desert island?
Air water condenser and purifier.
Solar hydroponics system for food.
A sailboat- for fun, food, and rescue (‘cuz really? I like people, and I’d have to find my way to civilization (oh desert, not deserted 😊) eventually!).
8. If you could rid the world of one thing that is environmentally detrimental, what would it be?
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). Because a sustainable world is no fun with high rates of cancer.
9. What one step could each of us make right now to be more sustainable?
Lobby congresspersons and politicians to sign onto meaningful climate/environmental goals.