Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

First Steps Lead to Big Reductions of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

19.05.2008
Forty-two Eugene-area residents took some big steps to improve their environmental friendly living styles after completing a newly developed Climate Master program at the University of Oregon. Their efforts resulted in reduced greenhouse emissions by two tons per person, according to a review of the program's first year.

That remarkable reduction, said Sarah Mazze, the program's director, represents a 15-percent reduction from the carbon footprint of a typical Eugene resident. Through their actions, the participants reduced their personal greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 4,317 pounds, according to the report. The 42 people, including one couple, lived in 41 households.

"I think that what these people achieved were small changes over a period of time that resulted from changes in the way they had been thinking," Mazze said. "We heard that people began making decisions differently, as if they were operating with a climate filter. They started understanding where their greenhouse gas emissions were coming from. If you don't know where they come from, you can't make choices to reduce them."

As staff members of the UO's Climate Leadership Initiative reviewed the program's pilot year, they also found a surprise result: Participants reported that they had gained "a sense of community" as they began to address what individuals can do to fight back against climate change fueled by human activity, Mazze said.

"We found that people were reporting a greater sense of well-being and that they really were changing some of their daily behaviors and practices," Mazze said. "They had to slow their lives down a little bit to remember to grab their reusable mugs for their cups of coffee in the morning. They enjoyed the new pace of their lives and said that some of the changes, like biking or walking more, took them outside and put them in greater contact with their neighbors."

Some of the things participants began doing to reduce their emissions were making more energy-efficient purchases, using alternative transportation, buying fewer disposable goods such as plastic water bottles, eating less meat, growing some of their own food, flying less, turning down the water and space heaters and joining appropriate organizations and making their views on global warming known. Most already were recycling and composting, buying organic food and engaging in a variety of other climate-positive activities.

The results, by category, are detailed in the Climate Leadership Initiative's report, which is available on the CLI's Web site (see links below). Also available is a handbook and curriculum that local governments, utilities, extension services, non-profits and others can use to start their own Climate Master programs.

"I think that it was empowering for these initial participants to be able to get through a long list of things that many of them had wanted to do to save energy in their homes, for example, but had never gotten to do until they were surrounded by a group of people who were also doing these things," Mazze said. "It gave them an extra boost to do these kinds of things."

The Climate Master Program is based loosely on the national Master Gardener and Master Recyclers programs. Most current research, Mazze said, is geared toward policy and technological changes rather than what individuals can do to help in the fight to curb emissions. Participants in Climate Masters receive 30 hours of instruction, and then are required to give 30 hours back through public outreach and education to neighbors or groups.

The data in the report came from 42 of the people who had completed either the Climate Master training class or received a household consultation from a trained class participant during 2007. Actual reductions in emissions were based on their efforts during the last half of the year extrapolated over the full year, Mazze said. In all, she said, the program reached 1,250 people, through educational outreach efforts, as a result of 50 individuals who went through the initial offering of the Climate Master program.

After going through the program, Paul Moore of Eugene, told an interviewer preparing the first-year's report: "I have a broader perspective, across the board, from ideas about how buildings are built, to how food is distributed, to how it is grown, to all the vast variety of ways you can reduce energy consumption in households."

The next step, Mazze said, is to make the program available nationally. Mazze and colleagues are working with four other Oregon communities that are preparing to take part in the effort.

"We have developed a successful outreach program for households and individuals to support them in making climate-friendly choices, and this model can be replicated around the nation," Mazze said. "We need to be making much bigger cuts in our personal emissions to avoid the catastrophes that could occur if the future goes as the scientific models are predicting. This approach is a way to help set us on the right track to a solution."

Sponsors of the pilot program were the Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB), Commuter Solutions, Jerry's Home Improvements and a private donor.

About the University of Oregon
The University of Oregon is a world-class teaching and research institution and Oregon's flagship public university. The UO is a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), an organization made up of 62 of the leading public and private research institutions in the United States and Canada. Membership in the AAU is by invitation only. The University of Oregon is one of only two AAU members in the Pacific Northwest.

Source: Sarah Mazze, program director, 541-346-0786, climlead@uoregon.edu.

Links: Climate Leadership Initiative: http://climlead.uoregon.edu/; First-year report (PDF): http://climlead.uoregon.edu/publicationspress/CMResults__5.7.08.pdf; Climate Masters handbook (PDF): http://climlead.uoregon.edu/publicationspress/ClimateMasters.pdf; Sarah Mazze home page: http://ri.uoregon.edu/whoweare/sarahmazze.html

Jim Barlow | newswise
Further information:
http://www.uoregon.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht When corals eat plastics
24.05.2018 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>