This Thursday, as I give thanks for my blessings and for the feast, I am going to take my gratitude beyond words. The fall season harvest brings so many of my favorite foods, pumpkin, pomegranates, persimmons and more. All gifts from Mother Earth. I am very, very thankful, as I know you are when you break bread with your family and friends.
So, to give my thanks to Mother Nature through my actions, I intend to take at least one hour completely off the grid, and get as close to personal net zero as possible. I hope you will join me in one hour of Earth Gratitude, too, this weekend. The idea is simply old school, back to the roots, honoring a time when holidays and celebrations were grounded in dancing, singing, playing and human interaction, the original “connectivity.”
I started my “personal net zero” tradition on Earth Day 2010, which was the year that the BP Oil Spill was gushing 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. I knew then that oil companies were drilling a mile beneath the ocean with unproven recovery equipment to feed my addiction. It was not easy reducing my driving. However over the next six years, I cut my gasoline usage by 80 percent.
Since the grid is still 67 percent fossil fuels, I now do my work in sunlit rooms and regulate temperature by opening and closing windows and with layered clothing.
Well-insulated homes can heat using body heat. I know many smart handymen, contractors, electrical engineers and architects who have reduced their electrical usage by 90 percent with smart energy choices, and very little reduction in lifestyle. Many people commute by bike, enjoying greater fiscal and physical health. All told the savings can be thousands of dollars every year to enjoy.
The possibilities are far more prevalent than we might realize, and only require pushing pause on the daily routine and trying something different.
So, here is an invitation to join me this Thanksgiving weekend in at least one hour of personal net zero. Get tips of what you might try at http://earthgratitude.org/ in the free Future Earth ebook. You can also read about other sustainable visionaries in my HuffingtonPost blogs.