Climate Action Shoreline: Fossil Fuel-Free Friday

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Photo by Chris LeBoutillier on Unsplash

By Diane Lobaugh 

Last month on Earth Day I wrote about “Start over every Sunday.” It is a day to stop and notice and connect with our neighbors and the natural world around us. This month my focus is Fossil Fuel-Free Friday.

What are fossil fuels? Coal, oil and natural gas or methane, called fossil fuels, are extracted from the earth by drilling, mining, or fracking. Fossil fuels are formed naturally inside the earth’s crust from the remains of dead plants and animals over millions of years. This is carbon from deep in the earth. Extracting, processing, storing, shipping and then burning these fossil fuels cause pollution to the land, the air, and water.

Fossil fuels are currently primary sources of energy for heating and transportation. The atmosphere around the earth acts like a blanket, keeping in heat that would normally escape to space. As fossil fuels burn, carbon dioxide (and other gases) released into the atmosphere, thicken the blanket and trap excess carbon dioxide and heat. This is causing global warming to increase to dangerous levels.

We are not yet feeling the extreme effects of climate change locally, yet our corner of the world uses a LOT of fossil fuels daily. Our actions contribute to the climate crisis in the world, such as extreme heat, drought, food and water shortages, and more. We must make major changes in how we live, even as we still have easy access and dependence on fossil fuels.

Most of us have gas-fueled cars, many live in homes that use gas for heating, water heaters and cooking. We live near airports and military bases which use a lot of fossil fuels daily. Many commercial buildings still use fossil fuels. Some of us support the fossil fuel industry by our investments, even without knowing it.

Our cities are working to transition to electricity and renewable energy for heating and transportation. The sun, the wind, and water can be used to power electricity for less cost and damage to the earth. 

A roof lined with solar panels

What can we do at home? Fossil Fuel-Free Fridays. 
  1. Use public transportation, walk, bike, share rides. 
  2. Park gas-fueled cars for the day.
  3. Try to run any necessary errands with friends, using public transportation, or in an electric vehicle if possible. 
  4. Notice how much fossil fuel was used to supply the food and products we use daily. 
  5. Stop deliveries using gas-powered vehicles. 
  6. No flying or planning air travel.
  7. Learn about energy use at home. What powers your heaters/furnaces, stove, clothes drier, appliances? Is switching to electric an option in your home?

A small bird peers in the driver side window

And for the future? 
Plan to stop driving gas-fueled cars or trucks. Make sure your home is air-tight so less energy is needed for heating/cooling. When replacing furnaces, water heaters, tools and appliances, switch to electric. Consider using a heat pump heater and water heater.  Get rid of anything you own that burns fossil fuels as soon as possible.  

Heat pump water heater
Find out if you have investments or retirement plans that support the fossil fuel industry. Can you divest? What about supporting renewable energy?

Attend webinars about the climate such as Electrify Now, offered last week through the City of Shoreline. There is a lot of information and help available to us. Watch for new programs providing financial help to buy and install heat pumps. 

Work with friends and neighbors to share rides, combine trips/errands, and share electric tools. Talk and listen to each other about what it is like to decrease our use and dependence on fossil fuels. 

Changing habits and overuse patterns can feel hard at first, and inconvenient. But there are so many benefits, such as connection with our neighbors locally and world-wide. The earth and sun give us heat, water, wind, trees, plants, and so much life. What if we use with gratitude what is given to us, and not dig into the earth to take more?

There are many people working to protect and heal the earth, including here in the Shoreline area.  Every one of us is needed as we face this climate emergency. I am glad we are doing this together.

See you next month, and in the neighborhood.   


Anonymous,  May 30, 2022 at 7:54 AM  

HooRay for Fossil Fuel Free Friday! Best wishes as we transition to a Fossil Fuel Free EVERYDAY... We CAN do this. So grateful to the teamwork and dedication of everyone pulling together to promote climate recovery!!!

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