Questions for our Coaches

23 11 2009

At this point in the process, I’m really looking back and reflecting upon my old habits vs. new habits. I’m trying to figure out which habits will make it into my permanent repertoire, and which habits may need to be tweaked to become truly climate-friendly. As I do so, I realize that I’ve got a few questions for our Climate Coaches, but I thought I’d also open them up to any readers. I welcome the input from all sources!

1. We’ve learned that recycling isn’t the only piece in the ecological puzzle. We’re also trying to reduce our consumption and reuse what we have. To that end, what are your thoughts on holiday energy consumption? Specifically, I’ve read that LED Christmas light strands are much more energy efficient, but I do own plenty of serviceable traditional lights. How do I determine whether it’s better to discard old (but working) lights and buy new (energy-efficient) ones?  I suppose that this question could extend to other appliances and items as well: When is it best to replace old (but working) appliances with newer, more “green” models?

2. Walking our dog, and hiking with our dog, is one of our preferred forms of recreation.  We scoop up dog waste and dispose of it in trash bins per local laws. In the interest of being climate-friendly, we’ve been purchasing biodegradable dog waste bags.  However, I recently realized that the plastic bags we put our grocery produce in (fresh veggies and fruits) are really not being used past the purpose of packaging produce and taking it out of the store.  So I thought I might use those bags as doggy waste bags, but then I realized that these are NOT green bags, so perhaps reusing them defeats the purpose. Is it better to reuse these produce bags in a way that’s perhaps not so eco-friendly, or best to simply return them to a recycling facility?

(I realized as I wrote this that perhaps the real answer is to not use the grocer-provided plastic bags for produce. I have seen a few reusable mesh bags that I can purchase online. But then, is it better to purchase a new product or to reuse an existing one?) Can anyone weigh in on this topic?

by Climate Pilot Mya Akin


From White House to green house

6 11 2009

Photo: Gunnar Seijbold/RegeringskanslietJust a few hours after Minister for Enterprise and Environment Maud Olofsson ended the first Energy Council meeting within the framework of the Washington Summit between the Euopean Union and the U.S., the Minister headed to the Washington, DC suburb of Falls Church, Virginia to visit the American families who are participating in the Climate Pilots project.

The day before Maud Olofsson had met US President Barack Obama and the US Minister of Energy Steven Chu regarding the climate negotiations on a global level – the day after she met ordinary American families about what can be done in the everyday life.

– My reflection was that we need politics and climate agreements on a global level, but we also need this. We need this knowledge and inspiration, how we as individuals can change our behavior both when it comes to big and small things, says Maud Olofsson in a telephone interview from Washington to the local newspaper Östra Småland in Kalmar.

Read more on the Climate Pilots wesbite >>

Read the article on the website of the Swedish Presidency of the European Union >>

Photo: Gunnar Seijbold/Regeringskansliet

Greetings from the Mayors in Kalmar

5 11 2009

greetingsfromkalmarDear Climate Pilots,
We are very impressed and thankful for your great engagement and all the concrete measures you already have made and are planning.

What you are doing for the climate is good for the inhabitants in the City of Kalmar and vice versa. We are fully convinced that the citizens are worried about the climate and would like to act. What and how are key issues. The Climate Pilots in Kalmar are role models and have proved that a climate smart life is also a good life.

It is very exciting that the concept of Climate Pilots, developed in the City of Kalmar, seems to be a success in Washington DC as well. We like to continue learning from your experiences and of course do our best in supporting you.

Johan Persson, Mayor of Kalmar and Malin Petersson Vice Mayor of Kalmar

Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson visited the Climate Pilots today

4 11 2009

Maud Olofsson, photo by: Pawel FlatoSweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Maud Olofsson visited the home of one of the Climate Pilots families in Washington D.C. on the Wednesday.

Maud Olofsson learned more about the project between the families in D.C. who are coached by four climate coaches in the city of Kalmar in Sweden. Maud brought as well greetings from the climate coaches in Kalmar.

Read the greetings from the climate coaches >>

Challenge 3 on Energy has now started

1 11 2009

Challenge 3 EnergyToday, more than ever, consumers have the ability and the interest to choose clean energy, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and efficient combined heat and power. In the third challenge the Climate Pilots will look into what they can do when it comes to energy including electricity, heating/cooling and water.

By being an active consumer you can influence your consumption of energy and also lower your costs. We all make use of energy in one form or another in our daily lives. You can influence your consumption in both very simple and more advanced ways.

Did you know that, of the total energy consumed in America, about 39% is used to generate electricity. Therefore, electricity consumption is an important portion of a consumer’s environmental footprint. All forms of electricity generation have some level of environmental impact.

Read more about challenge 3 >>

 By: Tove Lund, Project Manager
City of Kalmar, Sweden