Global Warming Personal Action Blog

What can you do to reduce global warming?

Calculate your carbon emissions

Posted by mark54 on June 26, 2006

How much carbon do you emit, personally? Figure it out with this calculator at The Carbon Neutral Company of London. The company works with governments and businesses to reduce carbon emissions but also offers a range of actions individuals can take.

The calculator let's you gauge emissions from air travel, automobiles, home electricity consumption. The site also offers mitigation options, like sponsoring tree plantings.
Organizations that have pledged to go carbon neutral include the World Bank, FIFA World Cup Soccer and (of course) Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth," CNN reports.

Posted in Go carbon neutral | 2 Comments »

Tim Flannery on climate change and personal responsibility

Posted by mark54 on June 25, 2006

Here's an excellent interview with Tim Flannery, author of The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth, on the impact we can have on climate change through personal decisionmaking, conducted by the Lexington Herald-Leader newspaper. Another interesting story on Flannery and his book ran on National Public Radio in March. Brief inspirational quote from the book:

The best evidence indicates that we need to reduce our CO2 emissions by 70 percent by 2050. If you own a four-wheel-drive and replace it with a hybrid fuel car, you can achieve a cut of that magnitude in a day rather than half a century. If your electricity provider offers a green option, for the cost of a daily cup of coffee you will be able to make equally major cuts in your household emissions. And if you vote for a politician who has a deep commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, you might change the world. If you alone can achieve so much, so too can every individual and, in time, industry and government on Earth.

Posted in In the news | Leave a Comment »

Commute by bicycle

Posted by mark54 on June 25, 2006

Ever thought it would be nice to ride your bike to work –but consider it too much of a hassle? It's easier than you think, especially in the growing number of U.S. cities promoting bike-friendly policies. Here in Chicago, where I live, the city has been adding miles of on-road and off-road bike trails. We also built a great bike station in Millenium Park downtown where riders can park your bike safely for the day, shower and change clothes. Mayor Daley, who'se a big biking fan himself, also just unveiled a 2015 Bike Plan to promote biking over the next decade. Anyone with access to a shower at work or at a health club can pull this off, assuming good weather with a little advance planning. Work clothes are folded into a backpack. My commute by bike takes about a half hour more than the usual car or train method. . . but when I get there I've already got half my workout done for the day, and I feel invigorated (the other half is the ride home).

Posted in Bike to work | 1 Comment »

Compact flourescents: Find a store

Posted by mark54 on June 25, 2006

The Energy Star website has a handy store locator that lets you search by zip code to find retailers selling these energy-efficient bulbs. Most big retail outlets stock 'em, but this is a handy time-saver.

Posted in Compact flourescent lights | Leave a Comment »

Install energy-efficient appliances

Posted by mark54 on June 25, 2006

Consider upgrading your home appliances to those that carry the Energy Star designation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Energy efficient choices are listed in 40 different product categories; it's possible to save about a third of your energy bill, with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions. The site's product finder section offers an incredible wealth of data on all types of appliances, including energy efficiency ratings. You can even download spreadsheets to help with your research; check out this one listing clothes washers, for example.

Posted in Electric appliances | 1 Comment »

Compact flourescent bulbs save money

Posted by mark54 on June 25, 2006

Along with the environmental benefits, CFLs will save you money. Consider:

  • A CFL uses 75% less electricity than an incandescent bulb to produce thesame amount of light—so a 15-watt CFL is just as bright as a 60-watt incandescent.
  • A regular 60-watt light bulb costs 59 cents, and a basic 15-watt CFL costs $3.99.
  • A typical house has 45-50 light sockets.

Here's the math, assuming a household only replaces 10 of its 45-50 bulbs with CFLs in high use areas where lights are on 10 hours a day:

  • Cost of 10 CFL Incandescent bulbs: $39.90
    • Traditional bulbs: $5.90
  • CFL electricity cost for one year: $49.28
    • Traditional bulbs: $197.10
  • CFL total cost: $89.18
    • Traditional bulb total cost: $203.00

Posted in Compact flourescent lights | 2 Comments »

Compact flourescents: What are they?

Posted by mark54 on June 25, 2006

CFLs are fluorescent lights that screw into a regular socket, available in the same shades of white light as incandescent and halogen bulbs. They use only 25 percent of the electricity used by traditional incandescent lights. The potential to impact climate change here is enormous. According to the Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest:

If every U.S. household replaced its most commonly used incandescent light bulbs with CFLs, electricity use for lighting could be cut in half. This would cut our annual carbon dioxide pollution by about 62.5 million tons, halting the growth in our country’s global warming pollution.

If you live in an area where electricity is produced mainly from coal, using a single CFL bulb reduces carbon dioxide pollution by 1,300 pounds over the life of the bulb.

You'll also save money.

Posted in Compact flourescent lights | 1 Comment »

Bike to work week

Posted by mark54 on June 24, 2006

The Associated Press recently carried a good story about bike commuting around the U.S.:

"People are starting to look for fundamentally different ways to travel," said Bill Wilkinson, executive director of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking in Bethesda, Md. The soaring price of fuel "prompts people to really think about where they live and how they get around."

Less than 1 percent of U.S. commuters get to work by bicycle.

Posted in Bike to work | 1 Comment »


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