Reducing your carbon footprint

Guilty. That was the verdict six impartial jury members, which included County Supervisor Mark Stone and cycling activist Charlie Dixon, rendered Saturday against the automobile and its crimes against humanity and the Earth. As part of International Day of Climate Action on Saturday, SC 350 Coalition initiative put a 1980s Honda hatchback on the defensive during a mock trial against the automobile culture. This was one of more than 5,200 events hosted in 181 countries worldwide Saturday to address global warming. The event is a precursor to a larger rally planned in December, to coincide with a meeting of world leaders in Denmark to construct a global treaty on emissions. The number 350 represents the amount of carbon dioxide in parts per million the Earth can handle for humans to survive, scientists said. Currently, there’s 387 parts per million in the atmosphere. The people of the globe are encouraged to reduce their daily carbon emissions to help slow climate change and the impacts that come with it. Those impacts include the melting of the polar ice caps, longer periods of drought, intense storms, the death of the coral reefs, the collapse of the Amazon rain Forest and the flooding of low lying urban areas. On Saturday, the car faced charges of creating greenhouse gases, a public health nuisance, murder, disturbing the peace, causing congestion, racketeering, fraudulent advertising and parading around without a permit. During the trial, testimony against the automobile came from two teens and a redwood tree. All said they suffered badly from run-ins with the automobile. One teen, named Daisy Sunshine told the jury and the 100 people gathered at the Clock Tower Plaza Saturday that she had asthma from the automobile’s exhaust and many sleepless nights because of the noise the car creates. She also testified that her parents often spend more money than they have on medicine treating her medical condition. Another teen, Ellen Squashblossom sat bandaged up in her wheelchair after a car hit her as she rode the wrong way on the sidewalk down Mission Street. “You were riding illegally when you were hit by the car,” said Micah Posner, a cycling advocate who served as the automobile’s defense attorney during the trial. He cross-examined the witness. “The police found you at fault.” Meanwhile the redwood tree, which represented Mother Earth, cited that the United States is the largest producer of greenhouse gases, pumping out 19 tons of carbon dioxide each year, compared to China’s annual contribution of six tons. On the car’s defensive team were “Vicky Stationwagon” and “Joe the Plumber.” Both testified that the automobile plays an integral role in their daily lives. For the Stationwagon family, the car was a means to get everyone to their appointments, school, sporting events and other activities. For Plumber, he commuted up to five hours each day in his truck to get to jobs all over California. In issuing his sentence, Fred Keeley, the presiding judge and county treasurer-tax collector, ruled that the car must be made better, rather than cease to exist. He ordered that a tree be planted in the Honda. As for their day-to-day lives, Stationwagon and Plumber were encouraged to find ways to reduce their carbon footprint. For the Stationwagon family, that included, encouraging their children to ride their bikes or walk to school, arranging carpools and considering taking the bus. As for Plumber, he was encouraged to find work closer to home, to save on fuel consumption and costs, as well as reduce traffic congestion. The end result for both would mean a reduced impact on the environment, while adding more time to spend with family. For information on the things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, visit www.30x20.org, www.ecoact.org, www.sccrtc.org, www.scmtd.com or www.commutesolutions.org.
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