Not only do we need to make a difference, we need to figure out how to make the best choices. And I admit, it is sometimes difficult to know where to put your energy. For example, the CO2 output from one medium sized coal power plant (500 MW) will in just 10 days of operation completely offset the planting of 300,000 trees. And in the United States today, there are over 150 conventional coal powered plants on the drawing board. Not to mention China, where there is a new conventional coal powered plant being brought online every week.
Sometimes I feel like we are fighting an uphill battle.
But still, every tree we plant DOES make a difference. Every time I leave my house now, I try and power down all my electronics. And I just spent tons of time and resources putting expandable caulk into the seams of this ancient modified A-frame I live in, in Truckee, CA, at 5600 ft above sea level. Its cold here, and it is costing me a lot of energy to stay warm in this poorly insulated house. So what right do I have to tell China not to build more coal power plants?
According to Ed Mazria at the 2030 challenge (www.architecture2030.org), the problem can be solved with no more coal — even if we were to burn ALL the remaining gas and oil reserves, we still would not reach a critical thermal mass in the atmosphere to fully trigger global warming. But coal is the factor that will push us way over the edge of this precipice.
Is it possible to conserve our way to sustainability? The road is long, and must begin with more awareness. And Playa Viva is a medium to communicate this message of awareness, tolerance, and respect for the people and natural environment we live in.