Climate Change and Health

Chapters 4 › Unit 4: Exercise Ch 3 Unit 2: Interview someone View instructions Hide instructions

Exercise Ch 3 Unit 2: Interview someone

Dear course participants
I would ask you to make an interview with a friend or family member. Find out what they think THEY can contribute personally to reduce their own carbon footprint. Then ask them to rank their options according to their preference to actually change their behaviour or whatever they suggest. For example: I would stop eating meat first, then I would turn down the temperature in my apartment . etc- etc.

Please write in the Journal for this interview just the answers your interviewee gave you:
1) what he things an individual can do to reduce their individual carbon footprint
2) What that person thinks he or she would really consider doing herself
Everybody can and should share their interview results and maybe add a comment of their own about the interview, the reaction of the interviewee. In any case, please write down as a minimum 1) a... and 2) a...

Good luck. looking forward to your answers

Rainer Sauerborn

Interviewee: my Father, but he was on his annual holidays


Sorry I'm late with this exercise, don't tell my children please.

I waited a week for my dad (born in 1946), who was on his annual holidays to Austria, because he is very interested in making his house energy-neutral.
I explained to him what the carbon footprint means and he answered as follows:

1) Individuals in Holland are able to reduce their carbon footprint by:
a) travelling less (redactional comment by me: he just came back from his langlauf-holiday! But that is something he's done annually in his adult live, that is no holiday that counts anymore ;).
People in their sixties and seventies are very eager to travel the world and use lots of carbon by using planes and the like.
b) isolating your home or move to a smaller house. The old houses (older than 20 years) can be isolated very efficiently and will use much less heating. In approximately 10 years the investment will payback.
c) buying less stuff. Who needs the latest fashion in clothes and living? Buy less or vintage, from a thriftshop or chique antiques.

2) He wants to reduce his carbon footprint by:
a) isolating the house (we live in Holland, the winterseason can be cold) - he hass isolated the walls, the cellar and the roof of his 1968 house. He also installed solar energy cells on the roof for producing electricity. He has replaced the windows with highly isolated glass (HR glass in Dutch).
b) growing a part of his own vegetables. He loves his daily meat too much to reduce that. His father was a butcher and sundays was and still is steaktime. But he grows his own vegetables and in winter likes to eat cabbage and leek (redactional: my mother confessed to me she throws the red cabbage in the bin and uses store-bought one, due to the mess it causes for cooking. But the rest of the cabbage she truly uses).
c) growing trees. He bought 3 hectares forest and is busy to plant different native trees and shrubs. For every grandchild he planted a tree.

My comment:
In Holland the carbon footprint of most people is very high (6,2 hectares for average). We travel a lot, eat whatever we like and have a lot of pets (it was an eyeopener for me that my dog Isa uses more carbon than an average human in India. The dog is small but she gets daily medicine for epilepsy. Very polluting).
Recently the Foodcenter, which informs the Dutch public about healthy food, introduced a FoodPrint for Carbon and Water. I think I'm aware of the climate and environmentalimpact of our way of living and try to act for it, but my FoodPrint is 2 hectares. For only my food I use more CO2 than is available for the average human being on earth for living.
That's not good!
And the problem is: awereness is just the first step. Reducing in real life is so much harder without direct incentive.

Your Comment

Please login to leave a comment.