It was 2007 when I had my consciousness raised to pay attention to the plight of the planetâ€™s resources. I admit to feeling pretty overwhelmed and inadequate when it came to solving the problems. It all seemed to me there was too much to do and it didnâ€™t really affect me â€“ surely â€śsomeâ€ť authority was taking care of it. As the week went by I was haunted by the things I had heard; but how could I make a difference? EcoStagingÂ® was born that night. I realized the people who I teach could be an army to spread the message of conservation of resources. I am in the real estate staging industry, we come in contact daily with agents and sellers who want a marketing edge for the property they are sellingâ€¦ what better marketing edge than saving money while helping the planet?
What I learned was it was all too much for many; people didnâ€™t understand how it affected them directly, how it improved their health, how they saved money or how it was a marketing edge for business.
I am an early adopter; five years later I see the world catching up with increasing interest in wanting to understand the who, what, where and how.
The simple ways it affects any household:
Seventy percent of all energy consumption in North America is used by households. By paying attention to simple things you can reduce your energy bill and increase your savings. Things like changing regular light bulbs to CFL, they use less energy, give the same amount of light but they last seven to ten years so you save money two ways!
â€śPhantomâ€ť power is a huge drain on energy; phantom is standby energy â€“ when you have anything plugged in ready to go (coffee maker, cell phone charger, washer, dryer, stereo, cable box â€“ etc.) it is still sucking energy. Itâ€™s a lot when you add up all the things throughout a house. One way to make it easy for yourself is to plug as many devices as possible into power strips. Then you only have to turn off one point. A friend of mine did this in his one bedroom condo when he was away for a few days or on vacation. It resulted in him saving 50% on his electric bills.
Associates of mine have asked why all the fuss? Surely the claims are exaggerated! Sadly they are not. The world is running out of resources because the amount of supplies could sustain approximately 5.5 billion people and we are at about 7 billion now and climbing.
Over the last hundred years we have levied more damage on the earth than all the time before it. Much is a result of the Industrial revolution, technology, chemical development â€“ all faster, bigger, better than before but at such a toll not factored in to long term affects on people, the land, crops in North America and many of the larger land mass countries.
What I have learned over the past few years with respect to the greening of our consciousness is that most people havenâ€™t taken the time or had the inclination to process the changes which are happening all around them so they donâ€™t understand why they are happening. What helped me was to learn a little about the Kyoto pact. I had heard the word on the news but honestly, I didnâ€™t have a clue what it was about. In simple terms this is what I know:
- Over a decade ago, most countries joined an international treaty — the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) — to begin to consider what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.
- More recently, a number of nations approved an addition to the treaty: the Kyoto Protocol, which has more powerful (and legally binding) measures, 194 countries attended convention, 193 support Kyoto
- The Kyoto Protocol was seen as an important first step towards a global emissions (GHG) reduction; The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it set binding targets for 37 industrialized countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions .These amount to an average of five per cent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012.
- Canada has done most of its work reducing solvents, while the USA focus is in manufacturing. As of the end of 2010 both are only at about 3-4% reductions, so still a long way to go
What this means to you:
What it means is you will have seen the results of the government reductions in things which have become everyday items for us consumers:
CFL light bulbs are obvious; energy labeling of appliances, electric/hybrid cars;
Wind and solar power, geothermal heating options, hot water tanks which fit on the wall vs. in the basement, car pool lanes, energy efficiency creeping into advertising, smaller cars, recycling programs, banning pesticides, water and electricity costs increase for prime time usage, smart meters, bike lanes, organic farming, rain barrels and government grants and tax subsidies. These are all ways the government is working to reduce emissions without you being aware. After the ratification of the 2012 agreement there will be more and more requirements of property owners to do their part in a more conscious way. Here are some of the trends I believe we will see:
Top Eight Green Trends of 2011-2012
- Global energy efficiency regulations
- Energy Labeling Homes/Offices
- Energy Performance Requirements
- Carbon Disclosure
- Energy Efficiency Retro-Fit grants
- Smart Grids
- Mandatory Disclosure
- Health & Wellness