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Pay attention to energy and carbon spending

{mosimage}If you’re using SCE&G to get your electricity and gas less than 2 percent comes from renewable sources, about average in the nation. Unless you find a way to live completely “off the grid” or install solar or wind power, you have little choice except to cut your usage. The federal goal is to increase the percentage of power companies’ use of renewables to 15 to 20 percent.

So what to do?

{mosimage}By Emily Cooper 

LAKE JUNALUSKA – Want to measure your carbon footprint?

My what?

You know, how much of the Earth’s resources you’re using/destroying every day, how much damage we’re doing to the land, water, air and minerals and other resources.

John Hill, director of Economic and Environmental Justice at the General Board of Church and Society, told United Methodists gathered in a Lake Junaluska conference.

People came from as far away as California and Michigan to talk about caring for the Earth.

The Rev. Jerry Denham, pastor of a UM church in Canton, N.C., put in compact fluorescent bulbs and a member complained, “It’s dark in here.” “Just close your eyes and pray a minute, and the light will come to you,” he advised. “Denham, a native of Timmonsville, S.C., said, “If the pastor doesn’t take a role (in saving energy), there’s little hope for our people.”

Weighing the pros and cons of carbon savings isn’t easy. Sometimes it means taking the least bad choice.

For example, Hill said it took 130 to 150 gallons of water to grow a pound of wheat and 1,200 or more gallons of water to grow a pound of beef. We need bread, but we could do without beef and eat more fish. That leaves you confronting the big amount of water used for farm-raised fish.

Governments spend 10 times more on roads than public transit, Hill said, but won’t roads always be necessary?

Want lettuce in the summer? If it’s trucked or flown in, fuel usage is huge. According to Hill, farmers make 90¢ on the dollar when their produce is sold locally. And that great California produce and its livestock use more than half the state’s freshwater.

If you’re using SCE&G to get your electricity and gas less than 2 percent comes from renewable sources, about average in the nation. Unless you find a way to live completely “off the grid” or install solar or wind power, you have little choice except to cut your usage. The federal goal is to increase the percentage of power companies’ use of renewables to 15 to 20 percent.

So what to do? Measure your footprint and do what you can.

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