Posts Tagged ‘appliances’

What is Your Carbon Footprint?

Image by net_efekt

I’m resurrecting some of my earlier posts which I want to call attention to.  “What is your carbon footprint?” is one of them. 

Relating to that topic, I have another perspective as the price of oil continues to drop and gasoline prices become so much cheaper.  My concern is that we will be more complacent and less careful about our energy usage with such low prices. The news rarely if ever talks about the the environmental impact of oil.   No matter the price of gasoline, driving and flying still are major culprits of climate change and the resulting intensifying storms and droughts.  I drive an electric car and only occasionally have to fill up with gasoline, but I too am enjoying lower prices.  I’m afraid we have to be hit in the pocketbook for necessary change to happen.

Carbon Footprint is a measurement of greenhouse gas emissions an individual produces from energy consumed in their day to day activities, emissions that cause pollution and climate change.  The US accounts for 26% of the world’s energy use despite that we are less than 5% of the human population. Driving, flying, heating, air conditioning, electricity, the size of your home, the type foods you eat, and the products you buy all require the use of fossil fuels and make up your carbon footprint.  It’s important to be aware of how much energy you use, a first step in reducing your carbon footprint.   To find out yours, click here.

Below are simple changes you can make to lessen your footprint.

  • walk or bike more
  • combine errands
  • take public transportation when possible
  • carpool
  • drive more slowly
  • keep your tires inflated
  • consider buying a hybrid or electric car when you need a new one
  • turn off lights when not in use
  • unplug appliances when not in use
  • run your dishwasher and washing machine only when full
  • turn down the heat
  • check for air leaks
  • eat meat less often
  • eat local foods
  • compost
  • reduce consumption
  • recycle paper, cans, bottles, newspapers and buy recycled products

While you enjoy lower gasoline prices, continue to be mindful of your energy usage.  Each little step will reduce your carbon footprint, lower your energy costs and make you a bit healthier!  Calculate your footprint, you will be surprised at how much energy you consume.

A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

Fixer Fair

If you are in the Boston area and your garage is filling up with broken appliances, bikes and other things, head over to the “Fixer Fair” in Union Square Somerville on Saturday, August 16. Talented fixers, supplies and tools will be on hand to fix anything – appliances, bikes, computers, even cars – for this free outdoor event.  They don’t make promises, but will give it a try and if they can’t fix it, they will help you figure it out, locate needed parts or direct you to a local fix-it business.  What a great idea and one I hope will catch on everywhere!

When I was growing up, small appliance repair shops were common. If a blender broke, you took it to a repair shop.  In this era of planned obsolescence with cheap, made in China everything, however, appliance repair shops and handymen have all but disappeared.

Boyett's TV

Boyett’s TV (Photo credit: Steve Snodgrass)

It’s time to rethink our throw away society mentality, and reuse, repurpose and fix what we already have instead of always buying new.  Of course some things have to be thrown out and it’s important to recycle them, but before you do, think first.  Can I fix this?  Can I use it for something else? With the internet, you can easily find replacement parts online and it’s always worth a try.   Who knows – maybe we’ll bring back the fix-it shops of long ago with a 21st century approach like the Fixer Fair, creating new jobs and saving unnecessary items from the landfill.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Take The Ecological Footprint Quiz

I consider myself an ardent environmentalist (I ought to be, right?) Even though I recycle and reuse almost everything and have been known to take things out of the trash that my husband threw away to recycle them; even though I always turn off lights when I leave the room and never leave the water running when I brush my teeth;

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb

English: Compact fluorescent light bulb (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 Even though I have replaced all my light bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs; even though I unplug small appliances when I’m away and use an energy-saving power strip that has made turning the television on even more complicated; even though I rarely eat meat and buy organic and local produce (just to name a few of my eco-habits),  I was shocked when I recently took the Ecological Footprint Quiz and found out that I need 3.5 planets to sustain my current rate of energy consumption!  The quiz, sponsored by the Center for Sustainable Economy, asks 27 questions about your lifestyle and the answers determine how much “nature” your lifestyle requires.  It estimates “the amount of land and ocean area required to sustain your consumption patterns and absorb your wastes on an annual basis” and allows you to compare your ecological footprint to others’.  My footprint was lower than “others”, but 3.5 planets is horrifying!  Naturally, the quiz is not totally customized to your lifestyle.  For instance, there was no place to put that I drive an electric car or that my husband drives a biodiesel one, nor that we have planted over 2000 trees on our farm where we are developing a life off the grid. Surely, this would have at least knocked one planet off my consumption level.  Nevertheless, it was eye-opening and scary to say the least to see how much energy I actually consume and need in my daily life.

Go to myfootprint.org to take the quiz yourself.  Sometimes a dose of reality is exactly what one needs to make positive changes in life.  The quiz offers lots of energy-saving tips.  Let me know what changes you plan to make!

Ecological Footprint Quiz Results

Ecological Footprint Quiz Results (Photo credit: acordova)