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Portland Needs CRAGs, not Craigslist

March 22nd, 2008 by Alison · 4 Comments · sustainability

Don’t get me wrong; I think Craigslist is cool. But I’ve recently learned from the Business of Green blog about CRAGs, which I think are even cooler.

CRAGs are Carbon Rationing Action Groups, active mostly in the United Kingdom, so far. People join to become mutually supportive and accountable about lightening their carbon footprint.

Why do I find this so relevant? All my experience tells me that it’s only when you watch and measure a thing that you reduce it. (A household’s financial spending is one good example.) And the average carbon footprint in the U.S. , roughly 18,000 tons, is about twice that in the U.K., and four times that which CRAG folks generally set as their goal.

Thor’s and my electricity bill shows us our electricity consumption is 53% of the norm in our area. But we don’t have any measuring stick for our transportation emissions, nor any idea of what our green friends’ overall carbon footprints are in relation to ours. Friendly competition can be a fun and healthy thing.

Here are my next steps: I’m going to talk about starting a CRAG with folks at the Alice B. Toeclips bicycling awards event tonight, and my Green Girls dinner group next weekend, and with my new ski-trip friends when we next get together. And I’ll report back within early April about how the CRAG idea is coming along.

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Colleen

    CRAGs, how cool. Even the name sounds cool. In the spirit of friendly competition — if you don’t mind sharing — how much electricity use is 53 percent of average in Portland? I’d love to know, compare it to ours, and see if we can match it …

  • Sue

    Sounds as cool as carbon offsets but just as hard to understand. Will look forward to hearing more from you this weekend!

  • Our Carbon Reduction Group « Diamond-Cut Life

    [...] Our Carbon Reduction Group Published April 7, 2008 biodiesel , carbon footprint , climate change , environment , global warming , green living , lifestyle , simplicity , sustainability , transportation Tags: electricity bills, heating bills, United Kingdom The funny thing about climate change (also known as global warming) is that it is so invisible to us, while so serious. Our daily lives here in the affluent U.S. don’t look different despite the icecaps melting, etc. But our lives should look different — we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. So Colleen and I are starting a Carbon Reduction Action Group (here is my first look at this). [...]

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    [...] things like political and policy work (macro) and hands-on-in-my-own- household things (micro). The CRAG (Carbon Reduction Action Group) I’m starting with Ewan O’Leary, Colleen Kaleda and a few others is largely the hands-on [...]

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