Letter: Take responsibility for carbon footprint

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Asheville scores above the national average in sensitivity to climate change due to global warming and the importance of green and clean energy. A personal carbon footprint should not be all that difficult to understand.

Here is a look at the impact of our motor vehicle culture. One gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of CO2. If a person drives a vehicle 15,000 miles per year and averages 30 miles per gallon, that’s 10,000 pounds of CO2 produced from that vehicle in one year. If the owner of the vehicle drives that vehicle for 10 years, the vehicle produces 100,000 pounds of CO2.

Currently, most of that CO2 by weight is stored in either the atmosphere or bodies of water. Every molecule of CO2 from the first year through the 10th is still present, adding to the crisis of global warming. If you multiply the number of vehicles on the planet that average placing 10,000 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere in one year and 100,000 pounds in 10 years, the number is in billions of metric tons.

So, what is the implication of these numbers? The answer is environmental degradation. It starts with one vehicle at a time. It starts here in Asheville and in Buncombe County. What are you driving? How many miles per year? How many miles per gallon do you average? Now do the math to look at just this one component of your personal carbon footprint.

In the end, the equation is simple. We all must take greater responsibility for the degradation of the planet and actions we must take to reverse the trajectory of this destructive curve. For a lot of us who drive motor vehicles, it can start one gallon at a time. The results may be electrifying.

— Richard Boyum


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3 thoughts on “Letter: Take responsibility for carbon footprint

  1. Hiram

    I drive less than 3000 miles per year. The environmental impacts of tourism are going to be our undoing…

  2. Mike Rains

    Excellent commentary by the author. All of our governments (federal through local) are not promoting conservation to the level needed. We all can drive less than we do (mea culpa) and almost assuredly without impacting our basic needs.

    Regarding tourism’s impact, that is a good point and one that has been mentioned before. Tourism is an optional or “nice to have” activity for all of us; similar to attending major sports events, concerts and other entertainment. We could all be a bit moe intentional about attending distant entertainment venues..

  3. Richard

    Our government adds a trillion dollars to the national debt every 100 days with all its spending. Currently stands at around 35 trillion. Don’t take my word…look it up. Needless to say, that’s unsustainable. Won’t be long until everyone’s money will be worthless. At that point each person’s concern will not be driving but how to survive. I guess the author will love that.

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