As a “good wizard” I believe in supporting fair trade as well as environmental sustainability. Fair trade organizations, such as Ten Thousand Villages, pay artisans, farmers and others in the developing world a living wage for their work. I support this by buying coffee, chocolate, magic props and gifts from my local Ten Thousand Villages store here in New Haven, CT. I also support their fair trade efforts by performing “fair trade magic,” in the local store. I theme the routines to fair trade and use props from the store itself. Fair trade reverses the trend of creating poverty overseas so that we can have cheap and disable goods at home.
Okay….I didn’t really “vanish” my carbon footprint. Instead I first used the Yale Community Carbon Fund to calculate the amount of carbon dioxide released during my magic-related travels last year via air and car in 2012. The Fund’s calculator tells you how many miles traveled, how much carbon dioxide was released as a result and how much you can contribute to put in place energy efficiency efforts to avoid the production of an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide. My magic-related travels resulted in a release of a little more than 4 metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2012.
My local travel produced only a small portion of this foot print as ground travel via a Toyota Prius hybrid is fairly efficient. Coming in at 40-50 miles per gallon, the Prius is a fairly magical way for an environmental wizard to travel. The big part of the footprint needing offset was my air travel. I don’t have Harry Potter’s Nimbus 2000 and rely on planes to fly to far away destinations for performing. I also make my annual pilgrimage to the real-world Hogwarts, McBride’s Magic and Mystery School. JK Rowling’s school for wizards is somewhere in northern England or Scotland, but America’s is in Las Vegas. Makes sense. Getting there takes lots of jet fuel and carbon offsets are a good way to reduce the impact as airlines and engineers work to make air travel more efficient. Distance learning with McBride’s Magic and Mystery School allows contact and classes throughout the rest of the year with near magical ease. Technology is part of the magic we can use to keep our planet from heating up too quickly. Carbon offsets is another. Beyond this…solar panels on my roof heat my water and make electricity. That trims the carbon footprint right off the bat.
The fact is that the carbon dioxide I produced last year has already traveled up into the atmosphere. Perhaps 45% of it will be absorbed by plants and the ocean over the next decade. More than 50% of it will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, warming the Earth all the while. So even though it was good for me to offset my carbon by contributing to a program that will reduce future carbon dioxide creation, we should all work our magic to curb our production in the first place. Reduce your energy use through energy saving lighting, appliances, vehicles and by using an electricity supplier that uses renewables. My state of CT has two suppliers for folks seeking “green” energy.
But we still generate some carbon dioxide…and we can try and offset it. There are many carbon offset programs that can help you calculate your footprint and make a contribution to counter it. Read more about them at HowStuffWorks.com and Wikipedia. Terrapass is a good basic program as it allows you to offset the carbon dioxide produced from the driving of your personal or business vehicles. To learn more about climate change and its effects on life, the economy and the environment here in New England, stop by Yale’s Peabody Museum and experience the “Seasons of Change” exhibit. It features a host of interactive learning stations for young and old alike.
Make 2013 magical…vanish your carbon footprint! You don’t need to be a wizard to help the planet.