This was the fifth year I went fossil free for Earth Week – making a vow not to buy or burn any fossil fuels, nor to ride on any fossil fuel powered transportation. The first year I went fossil free for Earth Week was 2013, and I have gotten by for one week without fossil fuels every year since except for 2013 when I was sailing my boat in the Bahamas with my brothers and nephew. I could not get around burning a little diesel to get in and out of harbors and a little propane to cook with that year.
So my fossil free week has become both routine an a ritual – I shut off the gas to the house, and dig out the electric induction stovetop. I hope for good enough weather to ride my e-moto and do my bike and kayak commute for the week, with my little Smart EV as backup for rainy days. Even riding a bus or Metro North commuter rail would be using fossil-fueled transport – public transportation is not emissions free, not yet. Robin goes along with this particular climate devotional eccentricity of mine, and we both trade hot showers for hot sponge baths for the week.
Not that fossil free week year didn’t have its challenges- our son’s girlfriend ran the Boston Marathon on the Monday of my Earth Week, and they were stopping over on their way back to Pennsylvania, and she specifically requested one of my homemade pizzas for dinner. Which I usually make in the gas oven. Lucky for me, a couple of years back I impulse purchased this gizmo that turns your charcoal grill into a pizza oven! So Danielle got her homemade pizza without busting my fossil free vow!
Yeah, I know, charcoal is processed with fossil fuels – but the heat energy from burning charcoal is biomass based, theoretically renewable, so it passes my fossil free test.
We capped off the week with a neighborhood paella party with a wood fire cooked paella – with windfall wood from our backyard.
Totaling up my carbon bill for April, my direct carbon impacts (gas, gasoline, meat eating, electricity) was 214 pounds, or about one tenth of a ton. That’s about as low as it gets. I am well on track for my four ton annual budget. Did shutting off the gas for one quarter of the month reduce my gas footprint? Well, we used 19 ccf of gas during March (870 heating degree days) but only 13 ccf of gas during April (603 heating degree days).