A realistic guide to recycling

I think it’s best to be pragmatic about recycling, rather than "wish-cycling" and then patting yourself on the back. Recycling rules vary by region (look them up for your city / county) but this post provides some generally applicable guidelines.

California’s plastic problem

This post focuses on a news special by KQED (Bay Area public television) – California’s Plastic Problem. It provides an excellent overview in 30 minutes of the challenges of plastic recycling, plastic pollution, and the carbon footprint of plastic.

Domestic waste policy: The best way to reduce your waste

The best way to reduce your domestic waste is to rearrange your kitchen a little bit – it’s that easy! Here’s what to do: Convert your main kitchen bin to a compost bin and then set up a much smaller container or bag for waste destined for landfill.

Marathon (imidacloprid) used on ornamental plants kills bees

Marathon is a formulation of the neonic insecticide, imidacloprid, that’s commonly used on ornamental plants in nurseries, garden centers, and homes across the US. A 2021 University of California paper shows that the application of Marathon, even at 30% of the recommended dose, killed 90% of leafcutter bees.

Vegan companies are being harassed – support them!

Companies that make plant-based food are being harassed by meat industry groups on a regular basis. I’ll go through a few examples to underscore why it’s important to support these underdogs.

An ad blocker will reduce your carbon footprint

Cat's paw on laptop keyboard - an ad blocker will reduce your carbon footprint

As a follow-up to my last post on the carbon footprint of data, here’s an easy action that you can take: install an ad blocker on your browser. There is a downside: many websites and content creators do rely on advertising revenue to pay the bills. So it’s your call 🙂

The carbon footprint of data (& why I quit AT&T Wi-Fi)

I quit my home Wi-Fi service from AT&T and am completely happy with that decision. Now I simply use my phone as a mobile hotspot, saving money and reducing my carbon footprint. I’ve estimated the carbon footprint of data at around 0.054 kg of CO2 per 1 GB of data. Streaming HD video is by far the largest consumer of data for most people.

Can we offset global CO2 emissions?

We need a global fund and program to offset CO2 emissions because our current carbon budget is getting used up fast and we need more time to meaningfully reduce our emissions.

Calculating and offsetting your carbon footprint

CoolClimate Network - Carbon footprint calculator, output image. A graphic shows my carbon footprint, broken down into categories as a bar chart, from CoolClimate at the University of California, Berkeley, CoolClimate Network.

I looked at a few ways of calculating my carbon footprint and found UC Berkeley’s CoolClimate calculator to be the most useful resource. Offsetting your footprint is a useful exercise but the best place to start is to identify ways to reduce your footprint.

IPCC climate change report summary

IPCC 2021 AR6 Report summary. The graphic shows how the frequency of a rare event changes in future climate scenarios. A temperature extreme that occurred about once every 50 years is now occurring 4.8 times per 50 years. If the global temperature rise reaches 1.5, 2.0 or 4.0 degrees Celcius, then the event would happen 8.6, 13.9, or 39.2 times per 50 years, respectively.

According to the latest IPCC report, the mean global surface temperature has already risen by 1.09°C above pre-industrial levels. Here’s a brief summary of the essential points from the IPCC’s sixth assessment report.