June 6, 2012
By Sister Mary P.
Members of the Northeast Community of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas calculate that collectively we have saved about 246 tons of carbon since pledging last year to reduce our carbon footprint. It is encouraging that there is such tremendous effort on the part of Sisters, Associates, Companions and institutions.
Responses to questionnaires completed this spring confirm that members are doing many things to reduce their carbon footprint and are committed to do even more to meet our community’s decision to reduce our footprint by at least 10%.
Some of the things being done, and the impact, are listed below. The number of pounds of carbon saved by each action comes from David Gershon’s book Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5000 Pounds–Be Part of the Global Warming Solution. We then multiplied that by the number of people who said they are now taking this step.
- Reduce electric dishwasher use by one load per week: 100 lbs lost each year x 85 = 8500 lbs
- Reduce shower time to less than 5 minutes: 300 lbs each person per year x 138 = 41,400 lbs
- Install low-flow shower heads: 250 lbs per year per shower head x 40 = 10,000 lbs
- Reduce warm/hot washer loads per week: 100 lbs per year each load less x 118 = 11,800 lbs
- Reduce # of weekly dryer loads: 260 lbs per year each load less x 130 = 33,800 lbs
- Switch from meat to vegetarian meals one or more days per week: 700 lbs each year for each regular day switched x 296 = 207,200 lbs
- Reduce your weekly household waste from two 30-gallon bags to one: 1500 lbs per year x 112 = 168,000 lbs
- Install compact fluorescent bulbs: 100 lbs per bulb x 114 = 11,400 lbs
We figured that totals 492,100 pounds of carbon dioxide lost per year, or about 246 tons. What great news to share as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of World Environment Day!