Sprinter Life is going carbon neutral!!!

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Lately Tree and I have been talking a lot about ENERGY.

We’ve been educated, inspired, and motivated by one book and one movie. We are sending out a call-to-action to our fellow humans. We believe both of these should be mandatory viewing/reading for every citizen on the planet.

FUEL – available from Netflix, on i-tunes, or via this website

Hot, Flat, And Crowded – available at Amazon.com – order here

 


Diving into the global energy crisis has forced us to take a serious look in the mirror.
Although we have actually reduced our carbon footprint since moving into the van, the reality is that we are still fossil fuel burning road warriors.

But now we’ve decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

Sprinter Life is going carbon neutral!!!

Carbon Neutral – what does this mean?

Being carbon neutral means removing as much carbon dioxide from the environment as we put in.

How are we going to achieve neutrality?

The best way, of course, is to reduce fossil fuel consumption, which we have done to a large degree. But achieving a net zero carbon footprint is not possible for us, or most anyone living in the civilized world. Every time we travel or turn on our computers, we add greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.  Due to special interests, like big oil and the corn industry, alternative fuel made from algae or sugar cane, for example,  have not been made widely available to the public, even though they are completely feasible solutions to our energy climate crisis.

However, what we CAN do is calculate our footprint and then BUY carbon offsets. A carbon offset can be a reduction of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases in one location made in order to compensate for an emission elsewhere.  Or, it can also be an investment in projects that are making GREEN ENERGY possible now and for the future. And, the best part? Anyone can buy them!

Why are we doing this?

For our future child, for the planet and every living species on it. More specifically, because:

1) Climate change is REAL

2) Our dependence on foreign oil funds terrorism, Muslim extremists, petrol dictatorships, and the oppression of poor people

3) Biodiversity loss is REAL (deforestation, dams, pollution, climate change, and (sub)urban sprawl all create rapid habitat and species loss)

4) We, America, led the world into this mess (we have 5% of the world’s population, yet we create 50% of the world’s CO2), so let’s be accountable and lead the way out.

What else are we doing?

We are immediately reinvesting all of the money in our 401K and IRAs.

It occurred to us that most of our money was invested in America’s biggest companies, which include BIG OIL. Wow, what an eye opener. We were directly funding the very companies who are destroying the planet.

We plan to reinvest our money in GREEN technology companies. YES, they are probably riskier. YES, we may not make as much money. We may even lose money. But what the hell good is a huge retirement account if we leave our child a world on the brink of environmental collapse? How could we possibility live with ourselves?

What’s Next?

Right now we are researching how to calculate our footprint, and the companies and projects we want to buy offsets from. So far we are interested in renewable energy, such as wind farms and biodiesel, as well as vertical gardens, electric cars, reforestation, and energy efficiency projects.

You can be sure there will be more ENERGY posts on Sprinter Life in the near future.

The time for change is now. Please consider joining us in the fight of our lives—the fight to save our planet.  If any of you have any suggestions, please share them with us!Stevie, Tree, and Kiki

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Comments

  1. let us know what you learn about the calculation of your footprint. That would be interesting to know how to do.

  2. Yeah Tree and Stevie. I will commit to riding the bus at least once per week to and from work. Hopefully that’s a smaller footprint than my hybrid!!
    Love love love you!!
    <3

    • I am so stoked that you got a hybrid! And I’m elated that you’re on board with our mission to achieve carbon neutrality by supporting renewable energy. Debby and Barry are bringing info to HR about green investments for us all to peruse. Can’t wait to see you! xoxo.

  3. Anonymous says:

    very cool. thanks for sharing you guys. you make us think.

  4. FANTASTIC!

  5. Hey, are you guys in Salt Lake yet? We arrived last night. Breakfast tomorrow? Let me know.
    And great post by the way,

  6. Check out Sustainable Travel International, a local Gorge non-profit based in White Salmon, WA. They sell carbon offsets, and because they are a non-profit, all of the projects your offsets investments support are third party vetted and totally legit (because this isn’t always the case in this era of greenwashing). Their website provides a TON of information to aid in your research: http://www.sustainabletravel.com. Their newsletter/online mag site http://www.responsibletravelreport.com is also a good resource.
    Happy Trails!

  7. This is so cool!

  8. Gee guys that’s a big one – “save our planet”.
    Hopefully yet unknown technological milestones will make saving this beautiful little planet feasible.
    Remember though, it’s humans that are destroying this planet so the single most important factor is “planned parenthood” and birth control world wide, then we might have a chance.
    Good luck and speedy connections –

  9. Why are we doing this?
    For our future child….

    Hello baby announcement! Congrats guys I knew you wanted one – I just didn’t know it would happen so quickly!

  10. Well, do not know if I agree with your approach or not.
    Not entirely convinced that stopping fuel consumption and staying off the computer is the answer.
    As you have seen in your travels, there is a lot to this “environmental” thingy.
    Since we have been on a “less oil” for over 40 years, do you think it will benefit the world or yourselves that much?
    Like so many things in the world, individuals can make a difference, but it has to be a networked type of thing.
    I wish you luck in you “carbon” dropping as you take a jet back to the USA for business and pleasure. (Hmmm, how much carbon does that move put into the environment?)
    Not trying to diss what you are doing, just not sure the energy could not be used better.
    Cheers,
    John D. Wilson

    • John – well put, man. A pretty kind post, actually. The world runs on fossil fuels and will continue to do so for many decades. There may indeed be some technology breakthroughs “way out there” in the future, but not in our lifetimes I am betting. To move investment funds to green energy companies is simply an unwise move. The “invesments” one makes through 401Ks and IRAs does nothing to fund companies, one way or another. This kind of “thinking” shows a distinct lack of thinking, a general malaise among the more educated among us, for sure. Let’s see – jet back to the U.S., jet back to South America…geeze, guys, how do you live with yourselves? Oh, and BTW, carbon credits are perhaps the biggest scam ever invented. Don’t say you won’t warned…..

      So many bogus stats quoted to justify actions. When will we ever learn that just because it is in a book, or on the internet, does not make it factual or truthful.

      Wish you guys the best in your coming years, but you are essentially dooming yourselves to a third-world existence. Which, after all, may be what you want

      • Hi Rob, welcome to Sprinter Life.
        I’ve answered your comments below…
        ————————-

        >>>>> The world runs on fossil fuels and will continue to do so for many decades.

        Not if we decide to change fuel sources. Right?

        >>>>> There may indeed be some technology breakthroughs “way out there” in the future, but not in our lifetimes I am betting.

        I think you already lost that bet. There already have been breakthroughs. Algae Biodiesel is a GREAT alternative to oil. It would power every diesel engine, TODAY, with no modifications to the engine. Does that count?

        >>>>> To move investment funds to green energy companies is simply an unwise move.

        So my 9th grade economics teacher was right about me. Cool.

        >>>>> The “invesments” one makes through 401Ks and IRAs does nothing to fund companies, one way or another.

        Wait a second, if I put my money into a fund which invests the money into shares of a big oil company, does that not fund the oil company? My 9th grade teacher really sucked!

        >>>>> This kind of “thinking” shows a distinct lack of thinking, a general malaise among the more educated among us, for sure.

        Correct. A lack of thinking about just myself.

        >>>>> Let’s see – jet back to the U.S., jet back to South America…geeze, guys, how do you live with yourselves?

        As stated in the post, we’ll start by buying carbon offsets from carefully selected companies who will try to bring alternative fuels like biodiesel to the market so hopefully one day we can fly without burning fossil fuels.

        >>>>> Oh, and BTW, carbon credits are perhaps the biggest scam ever invented. Don’t say you won’t warned…..

        Cool. I won’t say we WON’T warned. But just out of curiosity, what exactly is the scam? Investing in wind power? Planting more trees? Cleaner fuels?

        >>>>> So many bogus stats quoted to justify actions. When will we ever learn that just because it is in a book, or on the internet, does not make it factual or truthful.

        No doubt. Can you believe the shit they put out on Fox news? Crazy right?

        >>>>> Wish you guys the best in your coming years, but you are essentially dooming yourselves to a third-world existence. Which, after all, may be what you want.

        Please stop. You’re scaring me.

    • >>>Not entirely convinced that stopping fuel consumption and staying off the computer is the answer.

      Hey John, how is it going man?
      I am not purposing that we stop fuel consumption. Rather we need to CHANGE fuels all together! We need clean fuel. It’s out there. But it needs to be brought to the market so we have the choice to buy it.

      If we make it a priority and we all invest time, money, and resources into clean fuel, we can change the type of fuel we use. It doesn’t have to be oil.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Ooops, sorry for the typo. Thanks for your kind understanding of the obvious error. Hey, you can rationalize just about any behavior you want to. What I am hearing is you are justifying consumption of energy by buying carbon offsets – which, as noted earlier, are completely bogus. But since you are in love with your economics teacher, trying to explain that would likely prove fruitless, as your minds are made up. Nothing wrong with that…its what happens when one buys into an ideological belief. Normal. And BTW, no, moving your investment money will have zero impact on the companies you seek to reward and “punish” as they will never see a dime of your capital. Another BTW about your “arguments”: if we all flush our toilets at the same time we would all be washed out to sea. I love your trip and your adventure, and wish you the best as your capital runs out from declines in your investments. Green energy investments in the USA have proven to be nothing but disasters, only propped up by gobs of government money…..

    • Hey Rob. First I wanted to thank you for posting on the blog. I know it takes time and a certain amount of courage to speak your mind, particularly when your opinion is one of dissent. We appreciate the dialogue, however, and feel that it is crucial in a quest for truth.

      I would like to clear up something, though. In no way are we justifying consumption of energy by buying offsets. As stated in the post, we both believe that the single most important thing that we can do to help the planet is reduce consumption (which entails reducing population as well).

      Understanding this, Tree and I have reduced consumption by living in the van, which is powered by diesel (a more efficient fuel than gasoline) and solar panels, but, still, this isn’t enough. We would like to use renewable energy to power the van we drive and the planes we fly and the computers we use and the heat we enjoy high up in the Andes. We would like to have a net zero carbon footprint, but right now, that isn’t possible, not because the technology does not exist, but because it is not widely available. For this reason, we are choosing to invest in wind, solar, and biomass energy, as well as reforestation projects, vertical gardens, and countless other innovative ideas that need the funding from both the private and public sector. We 100% believe in funding green energy projects, and quite frankly, you scare the shit out of me when you say that you don’t. But, you are from a different generation, an older one, a dying breed; I cannot expect you to understand, and thank god, we don’t really need you to. Whether you like it or not, green energy is the future my friend, and I herald the news.

  12. Yeah- reduction in all that stuff is key. We dabbled around with the biodiesel subject a few years back.. Jetta, a couple of Mercedes Diesels.. Great concept. Electric fueling stations are going up around us, Getting rid of high consumption rigs, Commuter car is a Prius.. Solar panels are popping up all over the place (even in Oregon).
    As for our business, we just invested in a printer that over 4 years will create only 22 pounds of waste, compared to most other printers that produce over 900 lbs (8000 sheets per month) Plus on recycled paper. My hosting company runs on pure wind power.. Yeah there are always going to be issues on all the new ways to save the planet- but hey we are humans and need to evolve and learn from our mistakes before it is too late.

  13. I can’t believe there are really people out there who still deny global warming and all the implications of the climate crisis. We have to move to renewable energy. The longer we wait, the worse it will be.

  14. Hope this helps. Kinda scary how much a plane ride emits.

    http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/

    Have fun.

  15. Teri Hogan says:

    Stevie, you can calculate your carbon footpriont and find out more about how to reduce it for free at this website, thanks to Scott. Check it out!

    http://www.goinggreentoday.com

  16. Anonymous says:

    that movie fuel is great! I saw it a couple months ago. I would recommend it to your friend Rob above. Sounds like he needs some reality.

  17. I like that you write interesting posts. Keeps me coming back to Sprinter site. You are good writers and thank you for sharing

  18. Have you considered converting the sprinter (or future exploration vehicle) to WVO? do you ever run biodiesel?

    • We would LOVE to run biodiesel, but it’s not readily available anywhere, especially not in S. America. That being said, we have mulling over the idea of converting it to run WVO since we can find that just about everywhere. One of our biggest questions though is whether we’d be able to mix oils…meaning, can we put in WVO and then fill up with regular diesel half way through the tank, if need be?

      • Stevie, Thanks for responding,
        Lots of people mix WVO with their diesel without any modifications in warmer climates, However I am not sure how susceptible the sprinter is to unheated WVO. In my opinion a heated second tank/fuel lines for WVO is safest with a toggle switch to switch between the diesel and WVO tanks. If you’re not in an area that has WVO you have the option to use the second tank as a long range diesel tank.

        • This solution would work for us, but now we have to find a place that can do the labor for us. We’re not very skilled in that arena. Thanks so much for the info. though. I think we may be looking into a new vehicle once we’re done with S. America, and the next one will definitely be able to run both WVO and diesel…..

      • Stevie- You could run a dual tank system with the WVO. Problem is purity and the strength of your filters, and the health of your engine. Tinkering with Old Mercedes was fun, but was time consuming and problematic. The nice thing about the dual tank, is that you can run diesel whenever, and when the wvo is heated to the right temp, you switch it over. Good systems cost 2-3 thousand dollars, but the technology is getting better. You might be able to do the conversion yourself for a heck of a lot less. I could see Tree getting obsessed over this type of project, totally up his ally, but watch out. WVO is kind of a disgusting product to be playing around with. Where would you carry the filtered WVO? Good luck. Here is a quick link that looks good.
        http://www.organicmechanic.com/product/diesel-conversion-kit

  19. Your sprinter should probably already run on biodiesel. I don’t think you need a conversion.

  20. Steve Cox says:

    Ha, Global warming, Please….Next you will tell me that the beautiful sheen caused by oil spills in the ocean is unhealthy for sea life to eat. Oh and I suppose domestic animals can feel pain as well. All Voodoo talk, I tell you….

  21. Really, those polar bears should adapt to our ineptitude! We may be smart enough to make really stupid mistakes, but they should learn to mutate fast enough to grow hairless, bulletproof, and eat fat congressmen instead of seals.

  22. The real question is will you give up rain forest destroying chocolate? or coffee? or tea? We’ll discuss this further over a slice of chocolate cake when you get here. This IS a tricky subject, so kudos to you two for tackeling it. Can’t wait to see you.

    Xo

    • Somewhere in Central America, that very thought–the treacherous chocolate and coffee thought–made its way into my conscience and is now undermining my pleasure. Finding balance in today’s world is so difficult…. I just want to eat my cake and have it to. Can’t wait to see you too!!!

  23. Anonymous says:

    it will be interesting to see how much it takes to offset your footprint. You guys travel non stop. Good stuff though. Impressed with your dedication.

  24. Anonymous says:

    you guys are my heros!!!!!

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