This is a summary-comment list I put together from a Time.com article called 51 Ways to Save the Environment. I left out a few that were primarily government or corporate initiatives. Most were about power plants and ways of regulating emissions. I really think they should have separated the two ideas, and most were about regulating power plant emissions and carbon-taxes. They were also redundant. Anyway, my comments follow a short blurb from each entry.
2. Get Blueprints For a Green House If you begin thinking green at the blueprint stage, low-tech, pragmatic techniques will maximize your new home's efficiency.
If I'm ever a homeowner, I probably won't build my own, I would renovate an existing structure.
If I'm ever a homeowner, I probably won't build my own, I would renovate an existing structure.
3. Change Your Lightbulbs - CFLs cost three to five times as much as conventional incandescent bulbs yet use one-quarter the electricity and last several years longer.
I replaced all the burnt-out bulbs in the apartment with CFL's, but I'm waiting for the rest to burn out before replacing them, otherwise its just another form of waste IMHO.
6. Ditch the Mansion - A typical new single-family home in the
This is one I feel pretty strongly about.
7. Hang Up a Clothes Line - [also] wash your clothes in warm water instead of hot, and save up to launder a few big loads instead of many smaller ones.
The clothes line option is out, as we live in an apartment. I do all my washing in cold water. I don't sort, so I can have a full load per week. Also, you (and I) should switch to powder detergents from liquid (oil product). I will once I've used up the giant 9 Liter I got on sale. Maybe in 2010 then.
8. Give New Life to Your Old Fleece - [They] melt [it] and make into new fabric and clothes. Some of that fleece is especially virtuous, starting out as fabric made from recycled plastic.
I had no idea what fleece was made of. Wow. Also, I don't own any, so moot point.
9. Build a Skyscraper - Bank of
10. Turn Up the Geothermal Heat - This geothermal system taps into water that is a relatively stable 55 degrees F and transfers that heat to warm the building in the winter and cool it in the summer. The building's roof is covered in easy-to-maintain plants and grasses, and has two heliostat mirrors, which track the sun and direct its rays into the building, reducing the use of artificial lights during the day.
The first part is just pretty cool. The second part includes things I suppose a upper-middle class person could do with their house.
11. Take Another Look at Vintage Clothes - Buying a shirt the second time around means you avoid consuming all the energy used in producing and shipping a new one and, therefore, the carbon emissions associated with it. Every item of clothing you own has an impact on the environment.
Sadly, the second-hand shops here don't carry much that's worth the drive to downtown. I pretty much grew up on thrift store clothes though, so maybe I get a pass on this one for awhile.
12. Capture the Carbon - What if coal-fired plants stopped spewing their carbon dioxide fumes into the air and instead sequestered them—pumped them deep into the ground for storage?
Makes me think of those tires they "recycled" for use as coral-reef builders, that actually created an ecological disaster by destroying coral. Hopefully long-term consequences are in the forefront here.
13. Let Employees Work Close to Home - a program that helps firms slash the time employees spend driving by matching them with work closer to home.
Better yet, work from home, depending on the type of work you do. I think its pretty nuts to commute more than 20 minutes to work, hopefully I never will have to.
14. Ride the Bus - Public transit saves an estimated 1.4 billion gal. of gas annually, which translates into about 14 million tons of CO2.
I don't think I've seen a public bus in
15. Move to a High-Rise - The Big Apple is home to the greenest citizens in the U.S. Relatively few New Yorkers own cars. Eight million New Yorkers are squeezed into 301 sq. mi.—less than a fortieth of an acre per person.
I would hate living in such a major city as they are now, but I am really optimistic about http://nymag.com/news/features/30020/ and also about making a whole city within one huge skyscraper. Yeah yeah yeah, you think I'm crazy.
16. Pay Your Bills Online - [and] direct-deposit your paycheck.
I do both, and all my bills are automatically paid. Learned to do that the hard way. The only bill that isn't online now is the rent/water, and I walk 20 feet or so to pay it.
17. Open a Window - Open a window instead of running the AC. Adjust the thermostat a couple of degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter. Caulk and weatherstrip all your doors and windows. Insulate your walls and ceilings. Use the dishwasher only when it's full. Install low-flow showerheads. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water. Turn down the thermostat on the water heater.
I love open windows in the spring, but Michael complains. Now that it's summer, our thermostat is set at around 79 degrees, and you'd think I was locking him in a sauna. Buying the bird pretty much set things now, because he needs a temp of around 79-82 (i think, can't find a reference). We should get low-flow showerheads, and the front door really needs to be sealed better from drafts.
18. Ask the Experts For An Energy Audit of Your Home - A home energy audit, which most utility providers will do free of charge, will tell you the amount of power your household consumes and what you can do to reduce it.
Interesting, but I doubt they would do it for free. I guess I'm cynical like that.
19. Buy Green Power, At Home or Away - More than 600 utilities in 37 states offer green energy, but unless you read the fine print on your bill, you may not know if your power company is one of them.
I know we researched power companies for this when we moved here, but then I think we switched companies later and didn't check. I know this company indicates clearly on our bill what percent comes from what source. I admit to not checking it in a very long time. (hey, its automated online billing, I don't look at my bills anymore)
20. Check the Label - Energy Star, a rating system by the Environmental Protection Agency. Approved products can be pricier, but they cost less to power.
Our old fridge was Energy Star, and the washer, dryer and microwave are too.
21. Cozy Up to Your Water Heater - Wrapping your heater in an insulated blanket—one costs about $10 to $20 at home centers—could save your household about 250 lbs. in CO2 emissions annually. If the surface feels warm to the touch, get your heater an extra blankie.
Mine's not hot to touch, and I would have to get maintenance to adjust the temp because there is no simple knob on this one. The water is a bit warmer than necessary in the morning.
22. Skip the Steak - Which is responsible for more global warming: your BMW or your Big Mac? Believe it or not, it's the burger. Cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, etc.
We had burgers just tonight. I am trying to cut down, but its hard to decide what to eat when really everything has a different kind of ecological impact. Shrimp are out forever because they can only be caught by bottom-trawling which is super-bad. Other forms of fish are being caught to extinction. Vegetarians don't get "complete" proteins...what to do? Bender says "Kill all humans..."
24. Just Say No to Plastic Bags - Reducing your contribution to plastic-bag pollution is as simple as using a cloth bag.
I have two large and three small cloth bags. I forget them almost every time I go to the store. Bad TJ! Seriously, many places are starting to outlaw/discourage plastic bags also because they are made from oil and the cost is becoming prohibitive for stores. Its an all-around good thing to do anyway.
25. Support your local farmer - How do you find them? Search localharvest.org by ZIP code for farmers' markets, greengrocers and food co-ops in your area.
Here in a West Texass town, we have all of one listed on that site. They aren't even a real farmer's market, just some people who park on a street corner to sell watermelons. I find this both odd and annoying.
26. Plant a bamboo fence - Bamboo makes a beautiful fence, and because it grows so quickly (as much as 1 ft. a day or more, depending on the species), it absorbs more CO2 than, say, a rosebush.
No house, no yard, no bamboo fence. I do have a small bamboo plant inside though. I should water it sometime this month.
28. Have a green wedding - For example, if your guests are traveling long distances, offset the carbon emissions from their trips with a donation to renewable—energy projects.
Isn't that nice? Not sure why this is a separate item, since carbon-offsets are already addressed.
29. Remove the tie - If U.S. businesses eased off on their arctic-level air-conditioning, the gains could be significant. Time to make every summer day casual Friday?
Women in the office would appreciate that as well, as they wear those hideous dresses and open-toed shoes and maybe have poor circulation to their hands. But then, nobody cares about women who work.
30. Shut off your computer - A screen saver is not an energy saver.
I usually shut my laptop off, but if I forget its okay. I participate in SETI@home, currently residing at http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ which also lets you help with various projects for universities, corporations, or individuals.
31. Wear green eye shadow - Cargo Cosmetics launched PlantLove, a botanical lipstick packaged in a 100% biodegradable tube made of...a corn-based renewable resource. When the tube is empty, plant it in the ground, and it sprouts flowers.
First, that's neat. Second, no amount of neat will get me to wear makeup.
32. Kill the Lights At Quitting Time - could cut carbon emissions by reducing electricity use, not to mention extending equipment life and lowering maintenance costs.
I used to do this at work, but now I don't work so nanananana! *ahem*
34. Rake in the Fall Colors - using that motorized hurricane for just an hour still sucks down 1 pt. of gas and oil. With more than 30 million acres of lawn in the U.S., it's a high price to pay for a job that can be done almost as well, if somewhat more slowly, with a rake.
The apartment maintenance uses these damn things for clearing the walkways, presumably. To me they just make noise when I want to sleep in and blow debris onto my car window.
35. End the Paper Chase - It [recycled paper] uses 60% less energy than virgin paper. Each ton purchased saves 4,000 kW-h of energy, 7,000 gal. of water and 17 trees, and a tree has the capacity to filter up to 60 lbs. of pollutants from the air.
I use lots of paper because I'm a student and I screw up lots of print jobs and take lots of notes. I don't recycle paper. I know, I know...
37. Think Outside the Packaging - You can reduce the amount of packaging with a little consumer vigilance. Give back the extra napkins or unwanted sugar packets; carry that gallon of milk by its handle
I feel like I throw away so much excessive crap even when I buy from the grocery store. But then I bought Steak Express meals the other day and I swear 3/4 of it was packaging for the food and condiments and it was sooo incredibly wasteful. Never ordering there again.
39. Make Your Garden Grow - Use non-fossil-fuel-derived fertilizers in home gardens.
No yard, no garden. I'm not very good at growing things anyway.
41. Fill'er Up With Passengers - carpool, ride the bus, walk or bike to work, or work a compressed workweek.
Not exactly practical for me. Have I ever mentioned how I tried riding a bike to work. 1 mile, and I couldn't sit right for a week. Also, I have no friends to ride to school with, and I have a problem trusting people to carpool with. So I'm hoping to buy a smaller, more efficient car someday.
42. Pay For Your Carbon Sins - Unlike mandatory allowances, offsets allow consumers to pay voluntarily to reduce carbon emissions by a quantity equal to their estimated contribution.
Its iffy on whether these offsets actually go to a good cause, and it just shifts the problem without solving it.
43. Move to London's New Green Zone
Inviting, but impossible at this time.
44. Check Your Tires - Just giving your engine a tune-up can improve gas mileage 4% and often much more.
My car is serviced on a regular basis. However, I don't check my own tires' air pressure. I'm never sure if I'm doing it right, and it doesn't seem worth the hassle, despite the fact that all my uncles have been mechanics at some point.
45. Make One Right Turn After Another - The time spent idling while waiting to turn against oncoming traffic burns fuel and costs millions each year. A software program maps a customized route for every (UPS) driver to minimize lefts.
Doing this would require that I drive even more, and I don't drive much. My daily route has me waiting for a left turn once each way.
46. Plant a Tree in the Tropics - Recent studies have shown that trees in temperate latitudes...actually have a net warming effect on the climate. The heat that dark leaves absorb outweighs the carbon they soak up.
Well that's more of a negative than helpful advice. I guess they mean give to charities that plant trees in the tropics, because otherwise we would dump CO2 in the air by flying down there to do it ourselves.
48. Drive Green on the Scenic Route - rent hybrids and bio-fuel cars when on vacation
Only really available in major major cities like London and LA. I've never been there but it sounds good for frequent travellers. I've gone on vacation once in my adult life, so...
50. Be aggressive about passive - Extra insulation and state-of-the-art ventilation recycle the energy from passive sources such as body heat, the sun and household appliances to warm the air.
The day I have the money to build my own home. Besides, didn't they say we're all supposed to live in New York high-rises?