Accidental Activist

Checklist for Going Carbon Free

Everybody's full of advice on how to combat global warming - so why should we at RTH be any different?

By Ben Bull
Published February 09, 2007

Here's a sensible Carbon Free Checklist for you to ratify and get started on. Just check off the items as you go and before you know it - you'll be carbon free! Good luck!

Raise The Hammer's Carbon Free Checklist

# Action Item Check!
1 Lower the thermostat on your water heater. Turn that puppy down to 55 degrees C. All it takes is a screwdriver. If you're not sure how to change the setting, have a professional do it for you (Ryan? Can you come over?). check
2 Replace the shower heads in your home. Use low-flow models. Install faucet aerators on all your taps. No, I didn't make those words up. There really are such things as 'faucet aerators'. Just ask one of those blokes in an Orange Apron. I'm sure they'll be more than happy to point you in the wrong direction and run away laughing. check
3 Run your washing machine with cold water to wash and rinse your clothes. You don't need hot or warm water (unless you have kids like mine, or stinky cats - I'm sure we can make the odd exception here). check
4 Install a programmable thermostat for winter heating and summer cooling. Set it to lower than the room temperature in winter by 1 degree C during the day and 2 degrees C at night. (Ryaaaan! Is it this button or the other one to turn it down? Why does it keep flashing? What's going on?! Did I break it? Oh Sod it!) check
5 Turn off the air conditioner! Yes really! Well, run it at around 24 degrees C at least. It won't kill you. check
6 Replace all your light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. Apparently these don't waste energy by creating more heat than light - amazing! check
7 Turn off lights in rooms that are not in use, or install sensors that do the job for you (how lazy is that?) check
8 Maintain the pressure in your cars tires. This improves your gas mileage and it's safer (if you find a garage with an air thingy that works please let me know). check
9 Or... don't drive! Try riding a bike where it's practical or walk. Or hop - I don't care. Just don't drive! Why don't you dust off those roller blades - or catch a bus! Come on - you can do it! (Notice I said 'you' and not 'me'...) check
10 If you do drive make your next car a hybrid. Not sure about those Smart Cars though. They look pretty stupid. check
11 Purchase energy efficient appliances. Fridges, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers, washing machines - replace the lot. Too expensive? Well just wait until the old ones break and buy them then. check
12 Turn off the TV and other electronic devices instead of setting them to standby (be warned - this involves actually getting off your arse apparently). check
13 Weatherproof your home. Increase your insulation. Get an energy audit and see how much money you can save (and then give some of it to me for making this suggestion). check
14 Reduce, Re-use, Recycle! Use those green and blue bins like a good global citizen and avoid buying products with excess packaging (can anyone say 'Barbie Dolls'?). Try buying fresh food, you know - buy less, more often, support your local businesses, all that good stuff. check
15 Plant a tree. Amazingly, just one tree has the ability to absorb one ton of carbon dioxide in its lifetime (how the hell do they measure this stuff?). check
16 Vote for political leaders who will place the environment at the top of their priority list (in other words, try and spot those that are not just pretending) check
17 Dry washing in the furnace room or on radiators. Yes, really - just like your grandma used to do! It helps humidify the dry winter air. check
18 Reuse, recycle and repair furniture. Hell it can't be any worse than IKEA can it? This saves the forests and cuts down on energy used in manufacturing. check
19 Go veggie! Eat raw fresh fruit and vegetables. (Did you know that animals produce climate-changing emissions? Stupid bloody cows...) check
20 Use conference calls instead of traveling to meetings. Or tell the boss you're sick. Either way, tell him to screw off and work from home more often. check

Ratified By _______________________

On this day _________________________

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.

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By Sarah (registered) | Posted February 12, 2007 at 21:13:46

You forgot to mention eating locally grown food. Because of the export orientation and open markets, and the inability of small farmers to meet local retailer needs, food travels long distances to reach our tables. A recent study by Region of Waterloo Public Health states that 58 commonly eaten (imported) food items travel an average of 4,497km to reach Waterloo Region. A similar study conducted by FoodShare estimated that the average piece of produce sold at the Dufferin Mall No Frills Supermarket in Toronto travels 5364km from source to consumer. The goods from a similar food basked sold at the neighbouring Dufferin Grove Farmers’ Market traveled on average 101km. It's possible to eat locally grown food all year long, and hopefully with public participation and support, it will be easier in the future. Eating locally drastically reduces CO2 emissions generated by the food economy, saves family farms and supports sustainable agriculture. It's also arguably healthier, good for the local economy and strengthens community relationships. More info at

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