Posts Tagged ‘Energy conservation’

What is Your Carbon Footprint?

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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

Reboot Your New Year’s Resolutions!

Lately, I’ve been hearing about rebooting our abandoned New Year’s resolutions.  It’s only February after all, and way too soon to let those good intentions fall by the way side.  Hopefully your resolutions included adopting new green living habits, but if not, it’s never too late to add them.

What is the most important green thing you can do?  Think.      

  • Think about unnecessary packaging when you buy something.  Packaging represents about 65% of household trash.
  • Think about where that product came from and under what conditions it was produced.
  • Think about refusing those ubiquitous, non-biodegradable, petroleum-based plastic bags at the grocery store and bringing your own reusable ones instead.  (Plastic bags are banned in some areas of the USA and in some countries.)
  • Think about bringing your own bags on all errands.
  • Before you throw something away, think about whether it can be reused or given away.
  • If not, think about our jam-packed landfills and the importance of recycling.  According to Recycling Revolution, “The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1609 pounds per person.  This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.” There is good news however. Efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle are paying off and landfill demand is diminishing.
  • Think about the seriousness of the record-breaking drought in parts of the country and what you can do to conserve water – turn off the water when you brush your teeth, shorten your showers and run your dishwasher only when full.
  • Think about consolidating your errands, walking or taking public transportation in an effort to conserve energy.
  • Think about turning off lights when you leave a room to save electricity.

In our busy, fast-paced lives we usually don’t take the time to think through our daily habits.  They become rote.  It takes about three weeks to develop a new habit.  Make these simple green tips your new routine.  Then, take the time to think and learn about why the time is now to start living a greener life.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Some information compiled from http://www.usi.edu/recycle/solid-waste-landfill-facts; http://postcom.org/eco/facts.about.landfills.htm.

SURPRISING GREEN THINGS

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 Without even trying, you’ll surprise yourself with the green things you are already doing.   For instance, do you have a smart phone?  Instead of buying a camera, a phone, a GPS, a tablet computer, a music player, and even a pedometer, your Smartphone is all of those things.  With a Smartphone you only have to buy one device, eliminating the manufacturing waste and e-waste disposal for several different devices.  With all the apps you can now download, your phone can do just about anything you want it to!  And, if you charge your phone with a solar charger, which are getting better all the time, you will really be going green with your phone!

If you have switched your light bulbs to energy-efficient CFLs, you are probably seeing considerable savings on your electric bill.  If you have added extra insulation to your home, you have probably noticed a drop in your heating bill.  This is a form of “green investing” – the return is immediate and probably greater than investing in a utility company.  Of course I’m also all for investing in companies that are doing the right thing for the earth and people, or socially responsible investing, but start your green investing at home first.   (Check out slowmoney.org for investment opportunities within 50 miles where you live that aim to fix the economy from the ground up starting with food entrepreneurs.)

Do you realize the houseplants you decorate your house with not only give off oxygen and filter carbon dioxide, but some plants also actually absorb indoor toxins?  Houseplants are nature’s air purifier. Click here for a list of the plants that best absorb toxins.

Every time you take the stairs instead of an elevator or an escalator, every time you air dry your clothes or turn off the lights when you leave a room, you conserve energy.  When you turn the water off brushing your teeth or run the dishwasher only when full, you save water.

These simple acts all make a difference.  Keep going – add new “green” things daily to your life.

Some information compiled from Green Living, editors of The Environmental Magazine and  green.life@sierraclub.org.