Noel Oco

Web Developer, Project Management

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How do you simplify your life to lessen your carbon footprint on a daily basis?

Less stuff equals less concern which equals less stress.

  • Nov 17 2012: The less you have the more you love

    a friend once told me: "our material goods enslave us. we haven't got slaves, we are slaves." and it turns to be true. this was in my mind when I was doing a long distance cycling trip. I had to carry all the stuff I had with me... (surely I could even live without having most of them with me) but I had to carry them (protect them from rain and robbery) with me up to the top of the mountain and then down to the valley. this was one of the greatest lesson I learnt. Since then I stop buying things I want, I only buy things I need. Wants vs Needs.

    I am pretty sure that every one of us has got so many things in our homes that we can live without. we can't even remember how we collected them.

    here are two talks (from TEDx-es)

    Gandhi was successful and upper class lawyer... how does he simplify his life?
    people who lives more simpler life are more popular than the ones who complicated their lives for gaining more.
    Henry David Thoreau is an example as well.

    Cycling to work is one of the ways I simplify life on a daily basis. and I encourage people to do so too.
    I stopped eating meat... because it needs a lot of space and water to bring on the shelves just one pound of meat.
    Now I am healthier and happier than I used to be...

    less worries mean more time to be happy and enjoy life to the fullest
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    Nov 17 2012: I was looking at a magazine with a food chart. They rated about twenty foods for the carbon footprint they created in their production/distribution. Milk had the smallest carbon footprint. Based on my experience living in Southern California, I agree. Milk is the only food we produce here in abundance, about fifty miles east of Los Angeles there is a region with thousands and thousands of dairy cows where all our milk comes from. When the milk is produced locally, it doesn't have to travel as far, ergo less carbon footprint.

    For about five years, I've been living on milk. Every day I drink between one and two gallons of milk, and I don't eat or drink anything else. I love this diet, my weight stays down, and I find I feel better than I do on any other diet.
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    Lejan .

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    Nov 17 2012: In my opinion, the term 'simplifying' is confusing the 'carbon footprint' debate, as it suggests those things to be 'simple'.

    In general, humans tend to go the 'way of least resistance', which is a natural law, and therefore we are not always to be blamed for doing so.

    So if 'simplifying ones life' would be easy, we would not have any discussion on this.

    To 'lessen your carbon footprint' takes effort, a lot of effort, as we have to deal with one of the most difficult issues known to mankind: Changing our habits!

    Regardless of all our knowledge about 'doing the right thing' we usually refuse to do it, as long as this implies to leave our 'comfort zone'.

    If we are used to just wear a T-shirt at home during winter, we don't feel comfortable to wear 'full gear' and to lower the heating system accordingly. And as long the price doesn't hurt that much, our 'carbon footprint' will remain the same.

    So to me the question would rather be, how much are we willing to 'unsatisfy our lifes' to lessen our carbon footprint seen from the current perspective of usual comfort.
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      Nov 18 2012: I like what you said here: "If we are used to just wear a T-shirt at home during winter, we don't feel comfortable to wear 'full gear' and to lower the heating system accordingly. And as long the price doesn't hurt that much, our 'carbon footprint' will remain the same." When there is a will there is a way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
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    Nov 17 2012: I live in the UK. Reducing energy consumption is my current obsession - utility costs (mains gas & electricity) have rocketed in price over the past three years - 10% per year! Couple this with exceptionally cold winters over the past few years and the central heating is on for longer each day and for more weeks in the year.

    In normal winter conditions (day time external temp c. 10 degrees centigrade - night and early morning temp c. 2 degrees C) my heating timer is set to come on an hour before I get up and to stay on for 2 hours. It switches off when I'm at work and comes on again for 4 hours in the evening. I have individual thermostats on all rads, which I set to "freeze protection" in the rooms not used. I have a heavy velvet curtain across the bottom of the stair-well which stops all the hot air shooting upstairs. This has made a very noticeable difference to the temperature of the ground floor. In addition, my loft space is well insulated and I have double glazed windows throughout. The boiler is a combi-water heating system which heats water as required.

    In the manner of our grandparents generation I put more layers of clothing on if I'm feeling cold. I try to buy jumpers made of natural fibres - preferably wool which is very warm. I no longer buy "fleece" clothing as I understand the microscopic pile that washes out each wash is highly polluting in marine systems. I have invested in some very beautiful woollen throws which can be snuggled under when relaxing on the sofa.

    As far as my electric usage is concerned I switch off all appliances (TVs, Stereo's etc) at the plug at night - stand-by mode uses 60% of the power it would use if "on". I use eco light bulbs throughout. I use a solar power panel to charge my mobile phone. I'd like to have a water solar system and a photovoltaic system - but the capital outlay is high and my roof slopes east / west.

    We all have to find ways to save power if the world is to have enough.
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      Nov 18 2012: Thank you Heather for sharing your practical ways to save your energy consumption in the UK. It is indeed a good obsession to have.
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    Nov 17 2012: Graham Hill is not reducing any footprint. His editing is about exchanging the old stuff with a cooler and more expensive stuff. Soon he will find himself lost in the ocean of cool devices.

    Why? because he is a materialist like any other. His editing does not go in the direction of spiritualism (which is opposite to materialism) but in the direction of coolness.

    He would do a much better job if he turned off his computer and AC, and started reading books in the daylight.
  • Nov 16 2012: Drink from water fountains.
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      Nov 17 2012: breathe slower!
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      Nov 17 2012: Yes! Plastic water bottles are SO polluting. We don't have public water fountains in the UK - only in infant / junior schools.
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        Nov 18 2012: Yes. I agree plastic water bottles are not necessary. I use a stainless steel water bottle that can last for a long time.
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    Nov 16 2012: Noel,
    Diminishing our waste, increasing the recycling (including donating things not in use) are some of the practical habits we can cultivate to simplify our lives and lessen our carbon footprints.
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      Nov 18 2012: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on diminishing our waste and increasing recycling practice.
  • Nov 18 2012: We burn wood for half the house, a renewable resource, and I keep the other side of the house heated with oil between 62-65 degrees.
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    Nov 18 2012: Hi Noel - Just sit still, don't think, (thinking takes consumes energy) - generally do as little as possible and we will all live in a much better world?

    Or perhaps ask why are we in this predicament when the human race unlocked the infinite (clean) power source of the atom over 60 years ago - and ask why we still don't have plenty of excess, clean energy for the whole world and why are we not surging ahead developing plentiful almost free energy for the next generations (thorium, geothermal, solar)...

    Perhaps, if you try the other end of the telescope and you may see the answers written clearly. With enough energy we can solve the co2 problem, but it has probably gone past the tipping point now anyway, sorry kids.

    rgds JP
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      Nov 19 2012: Just for the record:
      Nuclear Energy, what you probably meant by 'power source of the atom' isn't infinite and it isn't clean.
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    Nov 18 2012: Yes.
    Everything has its own “optimal point”. Our carbon-footprint can not be an exception.
    That is why a simple peaceful rural life at its optimal point makes us feel comfortable, safe and happy.

    At least, we can save about 90% of our carbon-footprint by the similar way.

    10. Optimal Points
    Optimal point is a very important factor in human life.
    a. Definition
    Optimal point is the point at which the condition, degree, quality, quantity and etc. of something is in the most favorable state for keeping our DNA alive.
    b. Functions
    Optimal Point is a key to every right thing in human life. Also, it is essential for keeping human happy or keeping our DNA alive.
    c. Properties
    Reaching the optimal points is easier than keeping it right at the very point without going away too far.
    d. Optimal Point of Wealth
    Optimal point of a person’s wealth is being passably well-off. Too much or too little money makes us keeping DNA alive difficult and even causing crimes.
    Such as: too much money causes global warming, drain of world resources, man-made human extinction, difficulties of children education, and etc; too little money causes starvation, diseases, crimes, violence, and etc.

    ... ”
    (See the 1st article at
  • Nov 17 2012: use less fossil fuels etc. But the size of population has a great influence. I know that the population cult here has reduced the living standard as well as creating more problems.