Thursday, March 15, 2007

If you're reading this, you probably know that I love everyday activist ideas... so here's the promised idea from my friend Ali. I can't do much of anything relating to politics and advocacy (including anything and everything related to women's rights work!) until my clerkship is over, but this is definitely an idea I can publicly support in the mean time.

From Ali:

The next time you go to Whole Foods, if you want to support renewable energy, consider buying a gift card for a Renewable Energy Certificates at the check-out lane.

Basically, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) allow those of us who are not able to affect the energy "demand" by ordering renewable energy through our utilities to otherwise be more eco-friendly by changing the "supply." When you buy an REC, you are purchasing renewable energy that is supplied to the electric grid, thereby reducing the demand for energy produced in non-renewable ways. This does not mean that you are actually consuming renewable energy yourself, as it is being supplied to a general grid. However, renewable energy is being provided to a grid where it is most efficient to do so, and you are reducing your "carbon-impact." It generally costs about 2-3 cents per a kilowatt hour. You can buy RECs in different amounts, so you can spend whatever your budget allows, from $25 to $250, or more.

I noticed last time I was at Whole Foods that you can buy RECs right at the check-out lane! How easy is that? So, if you are looking for an easy way to reduce your impact, check out RECs! If you want to buy RECs, I suggest "3 Phases." This REC vendor allows you to calculate your "carbon footprint" based on your energy consumption at home, through your use of a car and air travel, and then "offset" it with RECs. The 3 Phases website (below) also has a pretty good description of what RECs are and how they work. Their RECs are also Green-E certified, which is a voluntary certification program that ensures that the companies selling RECs are audited so that when you purchase your REC you can be sure that a certain number of kilo-watt-hours from renewable resources will be supplied to the grid.

Thanks Ali!! Ali also recommends this website for more info.

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