Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Friday, February 8, 2013

What I'm Working On

In my copious free time (Ha!) I'm working on a little thing to help in the fight against global warming. So, what I've learned is pretty interesting, and useful for the average homeowner or landowner. You see, the average carbon data of people and plants is all over the map. In some places, the average home generates 2.6 tons of carbon per year. In others, the average person produces 12 tons of carbon per year. In some places, trees pull down 46 pounds of carbon into the soil per year, and in others between half a ton and a tan of carbon each, per year.

The numbers here, are all over the darn place, I tell you what. No wonder people are all confused and don't know what to do.

What the global warming struggle really needs is a simplified action plan, where everyone can put a lifestyle choice together based on data that is digestible to the average layperson. I'm no scientist, nor am I particularly inclined to be one, but digging through science stuff has definitely left the impression on me that it's no wonder people make poor lifestyle carbon decisions. Nobody knows what those decisions are doing, or even has good guesstimates!

Anyway, let's say the worst I've seen is accurate, and my home is generating 12 tons of carbon a year right into the atmosphere. I have trees all over the lot, sure. Most of them aren't too big. So, let's say I've got about half a dozen small to medium-sized trees, with quite a few other hedges and ornamentals and whatnot. What does that mean to my carbon footprint? Figuring the smallest numbers, and dividing that by the size of the plant, does that mean my average-sized plants are pulling down - what - 21.5 pounds of carbon a year, each thereabouts? That's guesstimating 193.5 pounds of carbon which is a cough in the wind, and doesn't seem like a right figure, when so many estimates are all over the map.

Even then, let's say the 12 tons of carbon is about right. Let's say you can mitigate that with large, hardwood trees up to about a ton each. Plant two on your land, one in front and one in back, and you've only just begun planting. there's a lot of empty space under the canopy of a oak tree. There's a lot of room at the edges of the yards and growzones. There's weird corners that function like no-man's-land in the yard, where people just don't go. There's room for more.

I'm looking for better numbers on a couple different things. I'm going to do something with those numbers. Anybody looking to give me a hand getting good numbers, let me know.

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