Representatives of the Edmonds Taming Bigfoot teams came together Thursday evening at the Library Plaza room to mark the halfway point in what they describe as a “friendly competition” to see which team can achieve the biggest reduction in their carbon footprint.
Highlight of the meeting was an address by Jamie Margolin, a 16-year-old sophomore at Seattle’s Holy Names Academy. Margolin is one of 13 student plaintiffs in the suit brought against the Washington State Department of Ecology for not taking sufficient action to address climate change. Last summer, Margolin started Zero Hour, a youth-led organization that takes a decidedly activist approach to the issue. In addition to writing articles, giving talks and interviews, Margolin plans to lead the group on a march on Washington, D.C. this summer.
The Taming Bigfoot effort kicked off Jan. 1 as each member of the 20 teams began measuring their carbon footprint, defined as their individual contribution to atmospheric CO2.
The effort is being run by a community steering community coordinated through the Edmonds Mayor’s Climate Protection Committee and Interfaith Climate Acti
As team members quickly learned, this is not a simple endeavor. Each team member tracks activities including miles driven and gallons of gasoline purchased, fuel used for home heating, how much garbage they threw away, electricity used (yes, it means learning to read those meters), and even the foods they purchased and prepared.
Participants record and enter their data online, where the Taming Bigfoot computer program crunches the numbers and comes up with each person’s carbon footprint, their contribution to atmospheric CO2.
“January was the baseline month,” said Stan Gent, Taming Bigfoot webmaster. “This was the time for participants to live their lives pretty much as normal, record their data, and see the size of their carbon footprint without having taken any measures to reduce.”
In February the fun began, with folks taking measures to actively reduce their carbon impact, everything from turning down the thermostat to taking fewer trips in the car, even to purchasing food items that are produced close to home and don’t take so much fuel just to get here.
“One thing that came out Thursday evening was the effect of the cold weather we’ve all suffered through in February,” he added. “Some even found their February heating fuel use was higher than January, traditionally a colder month.”
The teams will continue working to reduce their carbon footprints through the end of March, when the competition ends.
— By Larry Vogel