With humility and in the spirit of reconciliation, I acknowledge that my work in the Kootenay Boundary region takes place on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the Sinixt, Syilx, Ktunaxa, and Secwépemc First Nations, and is home to the Métis and many diverse Aboriginal communities. I am continuously inspired by what we settlers can learn from the traditional ways of the indigenous peoples of Canada.
I look at my sons and I am worried. For their futures.
I look around and at the world, I look at scientific climate predictions. I look at the painful consequences of a warming climate. I look at climate protests and governments’ slow reactions. I look at floods every spring and fall and smoke-filled skies from widespread wildfires every summer.
I also look at armadas of SUVs and 5.7 liter pick-up trucks on our highways. I look at people idling their cars and customers still demanding grocery store bags. I look at people who put everything into one garbage bag – no recycling of paper, glass, metal, plastics. I look at polluted beaches, lake shores and water bodies. I look at the insanity of rising online consumerism.
I also look at the Climate Crisis-caused mental health challenges in all ages, the increase of substance use, the rise of poverty and the depth of racial injustice.
I don’t see the initiation of changes that are necessary.
My heart suffers at the current suffering of others and the immense suffering yet to come through the impacts of the climate breakdown.
Julius Halaschek-Wiener, PhD, creator of the minusfiftypercent movement, a past scientist (genetics/genomics, cancer cell biology & healthy aging), has confidence in the scientific conclusions of the international panel of climate scientists. He believes that we individually and collectively must change; not to pretend or merely tinker at the edges. He also recognizes that an immediate stop is also not possible. Therefore, the goal is to start with a -50% reduction of polluting and harmful behaviors and once achieved keep “minusfiftypercent-ing it“, until net-zero.
Julius follows a life-long pursuit of simple, green and sustainable living, holistic health and well being. He lives with his family in rural British Columbia, Canada. With the purchase of a used 2014 Nissan LEAF in March 2021 (for all daily trips), being members of the Kootenay Carshare Cooperative (for longer trips), adding an electric heat pump water heater, and using a high efficiency wood stove, the natural gas connection was cancelled in the Summer of 2022. His family is basically emissions free for all their daily routines. They are gardening for their own food, incl. eggs; buying local and organic; every possible piece is recycled (incl. going through the garbage at work meetings); permanently looking at ways to reduce our carbon footprint (carpool, cycle, reduce electricity use, house energy upgrades); buying used (clothing, bikes, tools); being in nature; keeping screen time low (very hard!) and limiting online purchase to items (or their alternatives) that are truly needed and not available locally. Julius has served as board chair of the Nelson Waldorf School as he strongly believes that Waldorf education balances engaging students’ heads, hearts and hands, helping educate the bright, grounded, earth-connected and creative leaders our world desperately needs.
Pre-upgrade emissions: Emitted approx. 6 tons of direct CO2 equivalents, as a family of 4, in 2020 (2.12 t CO2e for natural gas-powered heating/hot water & 3.91 t CO2e for running the car (Subaru Forester); 2x 20lb BBQ/camping propane tanks <0.048 tCO2), plus unknown indirect emissions from food (meat) and other purchases (transport, packaging etc).
After upgrade: what emissions are left? BBQ propane, some fuel for lawn mower & weed whacker; some gas when using the non-electric car share vehicles; and then yes, the necessary flights to the homeland of Austria.
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