(You can add your household to the statewide tally by clicking in the sidebar to your left of your screen.)
By definition, a pledge is a promise, but it carries a much stronger meaning with it.
Making a pledge is a personal statement as well as a statement to others. It helps us to clarify and enforce our commitment to what we believe and our responsibility to act.
The word pledge calls for a commitment from those involved and action is expected to follow it.
This pledge serves as a foundation for your climate change efforts. It carries a commitment to use your own personal power, your collective power and institutional power to help bring about fundamental change.
This is an area we can run rings around the government – it is not too hard for any typical household to reduce its emissions by 40% in just a few years.
By methodically reducing our footprint by just 5% this year, then 5% in the next year, then 5% in the year after that… we can deliver a 40% reduction in just 8 years.
With some determination, you can, of course, do much better than that – and many people do – but it is best to target what you can realistically achieve. Then maybe surprise yourself!
After making your pledge plan the first steps you can take to reach that goal.
The 24-hour crash program
Believe it or not, most households can shave off one fifth (20%) of their energy usage virtually instantly. That is, by taking no-cost / low-cost actions in just one day.
These actions are often called the ‘low hanging fruit’, the things you can pick off without even stretching yourself.
They include a number of 5-minute tasks like: simply dropping your hot water cylinder thermostat to 60 degrees (that’s still plenty hot!), changing over high-energy light bulbs, exchanging your wasteful shower head for an efficient one… and some slightly longer tasks like: making a makeshift window pelmet, eliminating some draughts.
There are plenty of information resources that can help anybody achieve startling results, no matter what your starting point.
Longer term items, like thickening your ceiling insulation, may require some more planning and budgeting, the main thing is to have a target in your mind. Once you start to powerdown, your new energy consumption patterns will become second nature, you won’t even think about it.
What about my comfortable lifestyle?
Will I have to sacrifice my home comforts in order to save energy?
The short answer is No.
In a strange twist of irony, nearly everyone who improves their home’s energy performance remarks on how more comfortable their home has become, even though they have markedly reduced their power bills.
And nearly everyone who becomes active in the growing ‘sustainable community’ movement remarks on how more enriched, energised and happier their lives become as they discover new lifestyle skills, enjoy eating the food they grow, improve their fitness and get to know their neighbourhood.
You will often read in the media snide comments about wearing ‘hair shirts’ and ‘going back to the caves’. Simply ignore these prejudices and make up your own mind about what is important to you, and any sacrifices in comfort or convenience you may be prepared to make in the interests of sustainability. You will generally find your quality of life improves.