Krupp: My carbon footprint

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(HOST) Commentator Ron Krupp has been thinking about his own carbon footprint – and how to make it smaller.

(KRUPP) I know it’s spring, and the green leaves are just beginning to unfold, and I’m putting dandelions and violets in my salads – but I can’t let go of winter entirely. It was a long, cold one, indeed. Sure, I’m tired of carrying wood from the wood pile into my home, but I still start a fire in the wood stove when there is a chill in the air.

I try to live intentionally like Thoreau, even though he didn’t spend the whole winter on Walden Pond. I cut some firewood, grow lots of vegetables, store carrots, beets, turnips, potatoes, winter squash and onions. I dry herbs and can tomatoes and applesauce and freeze corn, beans, peas, summer squash, and Swiss chard – the green I call Woodchuck spinach.

As you can see, I try to keep my carbon footprint down, but I find it challenging to make a real difference. Most folks do the light bulb thing and try to cut back on how much they drive. I started unplugging electrical appliances that draw energy when not in use. I’d like to buy an energy-efficient refrigerator and new wood stove, but that will have to wait. I also need to change some windows, and the new tax credits would help, but you still gotta pay for the windows.

When I compare myself with my two buddies, Nick Peck and Richard Foye, I have a long way to go. They make me feel inadequate.  These guys are really cheap.

Nick Peck lives off the grid using one solar panel in a small rustic cape in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts. He doesn’t own a car. He rides a bike and picks up raw milk once a week from a local farmer. The milk is kept cold in a mud-floored cellar where there’s a small stream of running water. Nick has a hand-cranked water pump in the kitchen and a one-seater privy in the back forty. He eats lots of rice and beans.

Richard Foye lives in South Newfane.  In winter, when he doesn’t use his 1952 Frigidare refrigerator, his electric bill is around $13 dollars a month. He picks up raw milk from a local farmer in one his many cars – which he loves to crawl under in the winter to make repairs. Also in the winter, he keeps his milk and perishables cool in a cold space in the back room. Richard’s water comes from a gravity fed spring. He loves to collect apples from neglected apple trees near his home that have gone wild, and he grows lots of kale.

We all need to pay attention to our carbon footprint. We don’t have to live like Nick Peck or Richard Foye, but it’s critical that we learn how to cut back on how much energy we use. So here’s a thought:  I wonder how much energy I could produce if I connected a nano-generator to my dog’s tail.

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