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Climate Change

Page history last edited by Gardener 4 years, 4 months ago

Make energy and resource conservation a routine part of your life. The less fossil fuel energy we use the lower the amount of greenhouse gases we release into our atmosphere. Resource conservation enables regeneration of our natural resources for generations to come. Both actions are needed to preserve our biodiversity. Why do we need to make smart choices?

 

Read the booklet Biodiversity Our Living World: Your Life Depends On It!.

 

Read the National Audubon Society's Help Combat Global Warming section which includes: Get the Facts, Impacts on Birds & Wildlife, Be Part of the Solution, Global Warming Crisis Calls For Bold Action, and Test Your Knowledge of Global Warming.

 

Here are actions to help conserve our limited natural resources..... 

Household measures

Home Energy Audits

  • A comprehensive energy audit pinpoints air leaks throughout your home, spots areas that need more insulation, assesses your electrical wiring, as well as other energy uses. The analysis will provide cost effective measures you may take to decrease your energy consumption.

 

 

Bath

Teeth: Brush your teeth and shave with the faucet off.

 

Deodorant: Consider a mineral deodorant stone which lasts well over a year. Wet the rock then apply to your underarms. Best to use with your shirt tucked in when applying the deodorant in case you drop it. If you drop it in your shirt you can easily retrieve it without a problem. If it falls onto a tile floor the deodorant rock will shatter into several pieces.  Avoid mineral stones sold in typical deodorant plastic containers as they may fall out of container while in use and the plastic creates more garbage. Natural Food & Garden Store in Lewisburg sells the Naturally Fresh deodorant stone in a box. Now Foods also makes a deodorant stone.

 

If you prefer a cream consider Lavilin, which contains such ingredients as zinc oxide, calendula and arnica; each application lasts well over 24 hrs.; available from such sources as Herbal Remedies 866.467.6444, Fubao Health Store 866.883.8226, or online.

 

Fans: Use the correct size fan to minimize moisture. Read Bathroom Fans info by the Sierra Club.

 

Menstrual Flow: Consider using The Keeper, a reusable gum rubber cup worn internally,rather than using tampons or pads. The Keeper was developed in 1987; easy to use, comfortable.

 

Shaving: Use a bowl of water for shaving rather than running the faucet. Try  bar soap for shaving rather than aerosol cans which create more waste in production and disposal. Kirk soap is available at Wegman's in the Natural products section. This bar soap lathers as well aerosol products.

 

Take short showers rather than tub baths.

 

Toilet: If you need to replace a toilet consider buying a dual flush toilet. All new toilets are at least low-flow toilets which use a maximum of 1.6 gallons per flush. Dual flush toilets enable you to use 0.8 gallons for a half flush and 1.6 gallons for a full flush. Another option is to only flush when feces are in toilet. If you just urinate wait for another toilet visit or two before flushing.

 

Toilet Paper:  Recycled toilet paper is available at such places as Staples and Seventh Generation. Tissue rating by Greenpeace is here

 

Cleaning

Household Cleaning Made Cleaner GreenTips by Union of Concerned Scientists; includes info on harmful ingredients to avoid as well as green alternatives.

Supplies include: baking soda, white vinegar, rubber gloves, spray bottle, rags, and a bucket.

Alternative Cleaners and Recipes from Eco-Cycle, an organization striving for Zero Waste communities in Boulder and Broomfiled Counties in CO.

 

Computer

Set your computer to go in sleep mode when not being used for say 15 minutes. Be sure to turn off the screen. If your computer usage is infrequent then shut down the computer each time. Avoid screen savers as they consume energy.

 

If you need to replace your computer consider buying a laptop to decrease your energy usage.

 

Print on both sides of paper. Beside your printer keep a file of paper with one blank side to reuse for later printing or notes.

 

Reduce the margins on your printer to save paper. If you need to hole punch left side then set that for 1 inch and right side for 0.75 inches or narrower. Also decrease the top and bottom margins to 0.75 inches or narrower.

 

Staples sells 100% recycled post-consumer multipurpose and copy paper by the ream or case.

 

General Purchases and Usage

Think manual first. Could you use a spoon or whisk rather than an electric beater or food processor? A sweater rather than turning up the heat? A rake rather than a leaf blower or mower?

 

Wherever you shop, buyer beware is a motto to heed.

 

Read the Reduce Reuse Recycle page to help you think before you buy and for places to buy and donate items.

 

If you need to buy something new consider buying items made from recycled material to reduce energy and conserve natural resources.

 

Before purchasing an electronic item note the amount of energy it requires. Buy the most energy efficient item that meets your needs.

 

Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency - Check the appropriate year at this Energy Star site to see if you qualify for a tax credit.

 

Unplug electronic items when not in use to avoid energy use. If the item has a light on when not in use some energy is being used. For example, if your coffee maker or microwave oven has a digital clock then the item is using energy even when not in use. Instant on electronics also use energy even when turned off. Once your cell phone or digital battery is charged disconnect the plug to stop energy use. You may be able to put several electronics on a power strip to turn off several items with one switch.

 

Throughout this website regional sources of items are mentioned. Other places to find crank or solar equipment include:

Real Goods Solar Inc. - extensive online catalog of renewable energy products; started in 1978 in CA; headquarters now in CO; distribution center in OH; retail store in CA.

 

Heating and Cooling

Simple measures include lowering your thermostat in the colder months by wearing warmer clothes and socks. Keep blinds open to help the sun warm your house. Raise the thermostat in warm months and keep your blinds closed to keep the heat of the sun out. Seal gaps around your home with caulking.

 

Keep air filters clean following manufacturer's recommendations. A dirty filter will slow air flow and make system work harder thus wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system, leading to expensive maintenance and/or system failure.

 

If you need to replace your central system consider installing a geothermal heat pump. Although the initial cost is expensive over time you will have lower energy costs.  You will also have an abundance of hot water when the air conditioner is in use. There are several installers in our region.  Consider a closed loop system to avoid contaminating water sources. 

 

Home Office

Read Computer section above.

 

Use waste paper to fill your loose-leaf notebook. Collect paper only used on one side. You may have a stack beside your printer. Also check out libraries and copying centers. Be sure to ask prior to taking paper out of the waste receptacle. Using a three hole hand punch, punch holes in the paper then place in your three-ring binder.

 

Odd sized paper may be used as scratch pads beside the phone. Keep in a letter holder or file drawer so they are readily accessible.

 

Kitchen

If you need a new oven consider buying a convection oven which will reduce your energy needs by at least 25%.

 

Turn off your cooktop and oven a few minutes before food is finished cooking. Retained heat finishes the cooking using less energy.

 

Use pot lids to trap heat inside and use less energy.

 

Do you really need an electric mixer? Perhaps you could mix your ingredients using a spoon or whisk and large bowl. Hand nut grinders also work well.

 

To decrease dirt in the house take off your shoes and wear slippers inside. Consider a commerical grade entrance mat. Lowes sells one with a 100% recycled rubber backing which is 3 ft. x 4 ft. by Apache Mills Inc. of Calhoun, GA. The rugs were purchased in brown and black in Feb 2009. 

 

Keep heat off refrigerator to decrease energy needs; if possible move refrig away from sun, oven, or heat vent. If unable to move refrig. try a plastic vent diverter over floor duct to direct heated air away from refrig. Close curtains to keep sun off refrig.

 

Dishwasher

Use an energy efficient dishwasher to save energy and time.

 

Use the air dry option. Run full loads for maximum efficiency.

Bosch dishwashers are one of the most energy efficient on the  market and readily available. There is no heating element.

 

Scrape dishes rather than rinsing before loading into dishwasher. If food scraps are compostable scrape into your compost bucket.e.

 

 

Oven

Avoid peaking in the oven. Each peak drops the temp about 25 degrees and requires more energy to re-reach the set temp. Large glass oven doors and a bright interior light help avoid opening the door. Be sure to use an appliance bulb per manufacturer if you need to replace your bulb.

Check the seal on your oven door. If you can pull a dollar bill out the gasket seal needs to be replaced. Contact your appliance service.

 

Refrigerator 

To reduce energy usage, position your refrigerator away from a heat source such as an oven, dishwasher, or direct sunlight from a window.

Leave a few inches of space behind the refrigerator and vacuum the condenser coils twice a year to ensure proper air circulation.

Open the door as little as possible to minimize the amount of cold air that escapes.

Keep refrigerator and freezer full to better retain cold temp.  If your refrigerator is fairly empty, store water-filled containers inside.

Make sure the door seals are airtight.

Keep your refrigerator between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit and your freezer at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Use Energy Star appliances.

Easy calculator to determine energy cost of your refrigerator. Remember our electric rates may double by 2010.

 

Laundry

Use concentrated laundry detergent to decrease water, packaging, and energy waste or make your own.

 

For maximum efficiency run full loads in an energy efficient washer which uses minimal water.

 

Use cold water for washing and rinsing to decrease energy use and pollution.

 

Clotheslines, inside and out, will save you hundreds of dollars. Be creative; set up tension rods in doorways or hang items on floor to ceiling pole. Ikea sells a Broder pole system. Their older Stoleman pole system works well but no longer on their website. If you have limited floor space consider hanging a clothes rack from your ceiling. Kmart may still sell the Martha Stewart Everyday drying rack, a sturdy one with plastic coated cross poles which prevent the mildew problems with wooden poles. It has 27 ft. of drying surface. Screw an eye hook on opposite walls then run a clothesline across to hang clothes. Hang light weight clothes on a shower rod.

 

If you need crisp dress shirts run your washer on the wrinkle-free setting and remove as soon as wash ends. Hang clothes up to minimize wrinkles. Use a spray bottle of water if you see any wrinkles. This saves time and energy over ironing.

 

If you must use a dryer, use the moisture sensor option, which automatically shuts off machine when clothes are dry. Clean lint collector after each use and keep entire dryer duct line clean including outdoor flap to run dryer efficiently and decrease fire hazard. Try adding 2 tennis balls to the load to keep the clothes moving and drying faster.

 

Avoid buying clothes that require dry cleaning. To find out why read Do Green Dry Cleaners Exist by Union of Concerned Scientists Greentips August 2007. Most clothes may be washed in cold water, perhaps on a delicate cycle.

 

Lighting

See the Lighting page.

 

Food

See the Food page.

 

Pets

  • Consider getting your pet spayed or neutered to decrease the number of unwanted pets.
  • Keep your cat indoors to protect your cat and our biodiversity. Cats are natural hunters, even when well fed, they will kill such creatures as chipmunks, butterflies, and birds. Outdoor cat hazards include being hit by cars; cat fights; maulings by dogs, foxes, and raccoons; and various diseases including feline leukemia and rabies. Read more at: Cats Indoors The Campaign for Safer Cats and Birds by the American Bird Conservancy.
  • Avoid clay cat litters.  Most clay is strip-minded.
  • Consider earth friendly litter alternatives such as recycled newspapers, wheat, or other natural products.
  • Resources: Pet Waste and Water Quality - U of WI-Extension with WI Dept of Natural Resources. 
  • Use a fine-toothed flea comb to reduce pet hairs and dandruff flakes in your home.
  • Use a dry sponge or clothing brush rather than vacuum to remove pet hairs. Add hairs to your compost pile.

 

Yard

  • Consider reducing the size of your lawn by extending your flower beds, putting in vegetable beds, and adding native plants to your landscape. A reduced lawn size makes it easier to mow using a manual mower, available at such stores as Cole's Hardware. Home grown fruits and veggies are delicious and readily at hand. Incorporating native plants in our yards helps reestablish the biodiversity lost through habitat destruction. Our native creatures are dependent on native plants for food and shelter.

 

  • Rake your leaves and compost them in your yard rather than working out at a gym. Consider collecting leaves from neighbors that are unable to rake them or who do not garden. Your ears and lungs will thank you for avoiding gas mowers and leaf blowers.

 

  • Practice other EcoGardening measures. Read how on the EcoGardening page.

 

  • Plant evergreens along the prevailing wind side of your home to serve as a windbreak for your home.  

          How Windbreaks Work by U of NE Lincoln Extension.

          Windbreak Benefits and Design by Kansas State Extension forester.

 

  • Grow your own vegetables. Learn how by taking a vegetable gardening class offered by Penn State Extension Master Gardeners. Maybe some green thumbs will start a Your Backyard Farmer program in our area. The program started in Oregon in 2006 as "an innovative approach to community supported agriculture through urban backyard farming. We create small sustainable organic method farms at your backdoor & provide fresh, in-season produce from your farm to your fork."

 

  • Shovel your drive and sidewalk rather than using a snow blower. If you coat your shovel with vegetable shortening it will help prevent snow from sticking on the shovel. Push small loads of snow and lift small amounts away from your path. Use your thigh muscles rather than your back. Alternate body positions to exercise both sides of your body. If you have a long drive or medical condition hire someone.

 

Out and about

Walk or ride a bicycle whenever possible. Your heart and lungs will thank you.

 

Combine errands if you need to use your car. Offer to take a neighbor shopping.

 

Keep your tires inflated to the maximum recommended pressure to decrease gas consumption. Roof racks increase gas usage so only keep them on when being used. Excess weight inside your car also increases gas consumption so only transport material you need.

 

Use cloth bags when shopping to decrease landfill waste.

 

Enjoy a walk in our great outdoors. Smell flowers. Look at the stars. Appreciate the sounds of nature, song birds singing, winds blowing.

 

Learn from others, spread the word to conserve our precious natural resources.

 

Peace

Simply stated, seek global peace.

United for Peace & Justice.

 

Population

Our current global population growth is rapidly outstripping our natural resources. For details read http://www.overpopulation.org/  The goal of the World Population Awareness and World Overpopulation Awareness website is to preserve the environment and its natural resources for the benefit of people, families, and future generations.

 

In 1950 the population of North America and Latin America and the Caribbean were the same. In 2000 the population of Latin America and the Caribbean was 200 million greater than North America. Further details at National Audubon website: http://www.audubon.org/campaign/population_habitat/pdf/PopHabitatBrochure.pdf 

 

U.S. Census Bureau U.S. and World Population Clocks, U.S. is 305.7 million people and counting and World is 6.7 billion and counting.

 

Per the WorldWatch Institute

  • The United States, with less than 5% of the global population, uses about 25% of the world’s fossil fuel resources—burning up nearly 25% of the coal, 26% of the oil, and 27% of the world’s natural gas.
  • As of 2003, the U.S. had more private cars than licensed drivers, and gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles were among the best-selling vehicles.
  • New houses in the U.S. were 38% bigger in 2002 than in 1975, despite having fewer people per household on average. 

 

Why we need to take positive actions now to reduce our carbon footprint:

  • Climate Change Impacts and Solutions for Pennsylvania and Climate Choices in the Northeast by the Union of Concerned Scientists UCS. Full PA report.
  • "PA generates 1% of the world's heat-trapping emissions. Significant reductions in the state are essential to achieving deep reductions in C02 levels nationally -- 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050, as many scientists have called for. This means stabilizing heat-trapping gases at or below the CO2 equivalent of 450 parts per million. Electricity generation accounts for over 40% of our emissions. In 2005 PA power plants exported one-third of all the electricity they generated.  Cars and trucks account for another 26% of PA 's total CO2 emissions."...from the PA Climate Change report.
  • UCS "combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices." 
  • The IPCC and Al Gore received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man - made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change".
  • The IPPC is a scientific  intergovernmental body established by the World Meteorological Association and the United Nations Environment Programme UNEP in 1988. Hundreds of scientists throughout the globe wrote the reports based on scientific evidence and reflect existing viewpoints within the  scientific community.

 

Other Resources

Birds and Climate Change - Birds and Climate Change Ecological Disruption in Motion Feb 2009 report by Audubon scientists.

Center for Sustainability at Penn State  PA Green Guide

 

Climate Change - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency EPA. Quarterly SO2 emissions tracking.

 

College Sustainability Report Card - The Sustainable Endowments Institute is a nonprofit organization engaged in research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. The College Sustainability Report Card and GreenReportCard.org are initiatives of the Institute.

Founded in 2005, the Institute is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Please see About SEI for more information.

 

Global Climate Change - material is based on work supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

 

Home Solutions - Energy saving tips from the Washington County Peak Oil group via the Relocalization Network.

 

Putting Energy Hogs in the Home on a Strict Low-Power Diet NY Times article 6.14.07.

 

RealClimate "Climate science from climate scientists ...aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science."

 

Nuclear Information and Resource Service & World Information Service on Energy Information and networking center for people and organizations concerned about nuclear power, radioactive waste, radiation, and sustainable energy issues.

 

Radiation and Public Health Project   Nonprofit educational and scientific organization, established by scientists and physicians dedicated to understanding the relationships between low-level, nuclear radiation and public health. Donate one of your child's baby teeth to the Tooth Fairy Project to study the levels of Radioactive Strontium-90.

 

We Can Solve It  Al Gore's We Campaign to solve our climate crisis and Repower America with 100% clean electricity within 10 years.

 

World Watch Institute  Independent research organization which provides fact-based analysis of critical global issues.

Mission: "To generate and promote insights and ideas that empower decision makers to build an ecologically sustainable society that meets human needs."

 

Other Pages 

Composting

EcoGardening

Native Plant Landscaping

Reduce Reuse Recycle

What Else

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