The Carbon Debt Card (“CDC”); what have you sacrificed lately? (like “what’s in your wallet?”)

TrackMyCarbonAs it turns out, we do have a serious problem with global warming; largely caused by our use of fossil fuels. Lots of great work has been done by so many – still, can’t we make it easier to track our personal effort? Everyone is wondering who will do what to make it better. Or, seeing nothing happening at all, they avoid despair by looking away. “Why should I skip beef for dinner when my neighbor drives a big SUV?”

When you need to change something (and we are really there), the first smart move is to measure the “it” that needs to be changed.

This seems doable; many want to know how they could help. Just start by tracking your carbon score?

What if every American was issued a numbered card that is used with every purchase; “Sorry, cash might be legal tender but, I have to run your ‘Carbon Debt Card’ (CDC) when you buy gas, a ticket, electricity”? Like a gas ration card issued in WWII. Would you switch to a L.L. Bean card or an Amazon card if they were the ones willing to start the effort? Sure, they’ll make money on it, they shouldn’t be citizens but they were set up to make money and let them. Whoever begins this, takes the risk, and will, I am certain, make some money. How about a FaceBook card?

If it was cool to have a carbon debt score under, say 5 mTons, it’d be a start. People might start to tweak their mindyourwakeconsumption habits or curb their ecological indiscretions. T-shirts should be issued.

Maybe business people and politicians would carry 2 cards; one for personal consumption and one that is “billed back” to the organization. When they run again or sell their wares there’d be a scale to apply.littlefeet

Maybe, if a million people around the world said YES, track my consumption and I’ll use your credit card to do it, we could start. It might attract the attention of a politician or a corporation who recognizes that they need to lead this.

Maybe this is just a first small step.

Share this on FaceBooks if you support taking the first step towards curbing climate change.

Building a rough draw/shave hourse

Like building a work bench; don’t you need a bench to build a bench, you sort’a need a shave horse to build rustic horse.

The first horse I built has been super functional and served very well. It was very inexpensive and really quick! Dimension lumber, two screw pegs, 2 hinges and one log:

  • 8 foot 2×10
  • 8 foot 2×3

swingIt’s 5’ long so you can work on long pieces and you can work stock up to 5” thick. It has shaved a lot of things including cherry legs for a table, spoons and odd other items. It has little risk of being a cherished heritage piece handed down to kids but it has been functional for 4+ years.


swingprofile swingbenchdetail1swingbenchdetail

My second attempt was equally cheap but took a lot longer. It also pushed the ‘too short’ limit for length. My goals were:

  • No power tools; splitting mall, hand ax, block plain, draw knife, brace and 2 bits (3/4″ for the axle, 3/8″ for the pegs).  OK, I did use the circular saw a bit as I lack good hand saws.
  • No metal fasteners
  • Very small – such that it’d fit in an apartment

It is a single fulcrum design (there must be a better description – maybe single pivot). It is very rugged and would last for eons but is more of a hobby horse than a shave horse. It’s useful but could be longer. It was split from my firewood pile. except for four screws used for ease of adjustment it is all pegged. I will build it again and make it a little longer that 34″.

I learned a lot on this project – mostly just how awesome power tools are. I split a log to make the bench and spent way too long shaping it. The legs too were split from a log and hand shaved.

pivot pivotprofile 1pivotbench 1pivotbenchdetail1 1pivotbenchdetail2Lots of learning. My next one will be a bit different.  so-it-goes.

Resume; Van purcell

Van Purcell

While fully embracing retirement I am still interested in learning new things, earning some money and generally having fun. I like working and, odd as it is, I really like data. I am good at data and enjoy a good spreadsheet. I am a heck of an analyst, I am mature and a really good trainer. I don’t want another full time career; been there …     I would like an occasional challenge, part-time gig, or project.

1986-2013   Central Vermont Public Service Corp. (‘CVPS’)

Green Mountain Power (‘GMP’)

163 Acorn Lane Colchester, VT 05446
2008-2013      Manager Geospatial Technology Department

  • Insure that GMP systems complied with state and federal regulation and served the needs of the internal stakeholders. After acquisition of CVPS managed the projects to merge the outage management system, the asset management and construction tracking system and the GIS. Also developed the strategy to move the merged mobile workforce to tablet based toolset with AVL and outage mapping available to crews.
  • Evolved GIS as a foundational component of strategic initiatives including a fuller deployment of ESRI products to support engineering decision making, rapid delivery of one-off maps for varied audiences, line-books maps, deployed Intergraph’s G-Technology and In-Service suite of products supporting asset management, service restoration, and preparation for AVL and mobile computing.

2002-2008      Manager Business Development and Technology


  • The BDT department was responsible for business analysis, prioritization, and implementation of IT changes/enhancements related to Engineering & Operations division. This included managing changes driven by regulatory requirement, business strategy as well as changes imposed by platform and program upgrades. In 6 years as manager this area successfully implemented, supported and maintained:
  • A mainframe-based Customer Information System and its integration to the meter reading system based in IBM/IDMS products.
  • A homegrown Work Management System fully integrated to the GL accounting package, the continuing property records and the automated mapping and facilities management system built on Intergraph’s FRAMME product, upgraded to G-Technology in 2008.
  • A Computer-aided Dispatch and Outage Management System utilizing Intergraph’s In-Service suite.
  • A homegrown On-call System supporting routine and major restoration efforts.
  • Deployment and adoption of an ESRI GIS platform.
  • Integration of systems between and among all of the above and many other legacy systems including General Ledger, Materials and supplies, DigSafe, Time Track, and the Fixed Asset (CPR) Internet access both internal and external.
  • The department was focused on the integration of diverse technologies as well as optimizing the relationship between business processes, procedure and policy and system functionality.


2000-2002      Systems Analyst/Program Lead – CADOMS

  • Project lead for selection and implementation of the CADOMS system, possibly the first IT undertaking to come in on budget, ahead of schedule while delivering every requirement promised.


1989-2000      Systems Analyst/Program Lead – Work Management System

  • Head business analyst in all aspects of the long-term project that took the company from a totally paper-based records management to a fully automated and integrated work management records system. The final system resulted from a strenuous collaboration chiefly between Accounting, Engineering and Operations.   In 2001 this application was sold as a design guide to Chattanooga Power. The system remains in place to this day and has grown to serve several additional areas of the company.


1986-1990      Joint Lines Coordinator

  • Coordinator of a 100% joint use inventory that resulted in $1.3 million in back rent and substantial increases in yearly revenues as a result of developing and filing pole attachment rate tariff that codified and superseded 26 joint use contracts while doubling rental revenues.
  • 1983 – 1986  Valicom Field Services, Inc.

Bloomington, Indiana

President and co-founder

  • Built a company that focused on the delivery of utility field inventory services.

1979 – 1983  Commonwealth Telephone Technologies Corp.

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

Project manager

  • Onsite project management for CATV construction and expansion and REA contract administration on telephone upgrade projects.



1978     Indiana University      Bloomington, IN

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology