Within the next month, I will be flying to New York and then to San Francisco in order to promote my new book, Global Warming is Good for Business. This is more traveling than I did all last year; and, according to Terrapass.com, I will be emitting over two thousand pounds of carbon dioxide to make those trips.
The irony of emitting excess carbon dioxide in order to promote a book about environmental and economic sustainability is not lost on me. Of course, I could always opt to buy a carbon offset to make up the difference for my own emissions; but, frankly, that seems a bit like cheating. So I’ve decided to try to walk-the-walk, so to speak, and offset my own carbon emissions by giving up my car for one month, starting on Earth Day (April 22nd).
Terrapass calculates that my car emits over eleven thousand pounds of CO2 each year. I’m not sure if that’s bad or not, but I am intrigued by the question: Can a professional living in the greater Los Angeles area get by without a car?
Frankly, I don’t know the answer. I live in the OC. I’m not sure how many personal cars there are in this area, but I know that traffic is horrendous and the smog is even worse. Why? Because you can’t get around here without your own personal carbon-emitting, air-polluting, traffic-clogging machine. Or can you?
My goal is to see if I can get by on foot, by bike, via public transportation, or carpool. Barring emergency, I will be as carbon neutral as I can be, at least from a transportation point-of-view.
Some may say the whole point of clean tech innovations is to make this kind of self-sacrificing conservationist mumbo jumbo a moot point. After all, if we continue to develop non-fossil fuel technologies we will be able to drive anywhere we need to go without ruining the environment. I couldn’t agree more. Progress means taking a step forward, not backward. But I think, before we can move forward, sometimes we just have to move, to try something different, maybe even a little crazy, to see the world from a different perspective. In business, we call this “thinking outside of the box.”
So, I’m going to walk outside of the box. Between going to work, meeting with friends and business associates, getting the kids to-and-from school, shopping for groceries, and who knows what else, I may not get very far; but I’m going to see how far I can get. Maybe I will surprise myself.