High score no source of pride
The Ninetieth Percentile has always been a point of pride. It's the phrase parents drop at cocktail parties when describing their progeny's...
Seattle Times staff columnist
The Ninetieth Percentile has always been a point of pride.
It's the phrase parents drop at cocktail parties when describing their progeny's score on some Princeton-based test. Now, the Ninetieth Percentile is a valley of shame.
And I walk it.
Rather, I drive it in a bloated, gas-guzzling, emissions-oozing station wagon that was one of the great loves of my life until about 15 minutes ago.
That's when I signed up for the Seattle Times Climate Challenge. I started by calculating how much of a "carbon footprint" I am leaving on God's green Earth.
Mine isn't a footprint. It's Godzilla stomping through Tokyo: 49,182 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions a year.
It also puts me in the Ninetieth Percentile of those who have taken the Challenge. In other words, only 10 percent of those folks are bigger polluters.
How did this happen? Well, I live with a 14-year-old boy and drive a station wagon. In our electrically heated home, we have a computer, cellphones and iPods, which are all charged daily.
We use the toilet and flush it every time, unless someone is in the shower. (Then we flush it twice.)
The only saving grace is that I recycle and take a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store.
But it's not enough. I need to compost. Pull plugs once things are charged. Start walking to my running trail, to the store.
For longer trips, I need to car pool, bus or ride a bike. This means planning, which is the biggest adjustment for any of us trying to do the right thing.
I barely leave enough time to get to the bathroom, let alone catch a bus. I have a school-aged kid who needs to be picked up and dropped off at all hours, and who carries more baggage than Victoria Beckham after Fashion Week.
But I can't make excuses when there are so many green resources.
King County Metro has an online Trip Planner (tripplanner.metrokc.gov) to help relative newbies like me negotiate the bus schedule.
It also offers Rideshare (www.rideshareonline.com), an easy way to form a car- or vanpool. I entered my name, address and schedule, and answered a couple of questions with the help of a drop-down menu ("What motivated you to try this service?" includes "Save energy/environment," but not "soul-crushing guilt"). Within a few minutes, I had a list of three people in my neighborhood who work near my office.
I'm also taking advice from all corners. For more than a year, I've been getting daily tips from the fine folks at Idea Bite (www.ideabite.com), who have a green alternative for just about everything -- even liposuction. (Take the stairs. Drink green tea and burn as many as 70 additional calories a day. Get Pyruvate-D supplements, which can increase your metabolism. You get the gist.)
We're also offering daily tips and facts on the Climate Challenge Web page (seattletimes.com/climatechallenge).
Go there, too, to follow my blog, "Sins of Emissions," which will chronicle my going-green exploits. The lower my carbon score, the smarter I am.
The trick will be explaining that to my parents.
Nicole Brodeur's column appears Tuesday and Friday. Reach her at 206-464-2334 or email@example.com.
If she looks lost, give her a ride.
About Nicole Brodeur
My column is more a conversation with readers than a spouting of my own views. I like to think that, in writing, I lay down a bridge between readers and me. It is as much their space as mine. And it is a place to tell the stories that, otherwise, may not get into the paper.
firstname.lastname@example.org | 206-464-2334
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.