Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009 and beyond... onward and upward!

Huge thanks to Earth Day LA's Jim Stewart, Ph.D., for these insights for continuing to make positive impacts through our day-to-day activities... and to my inspirational buddy Kacy Palmieri, who has worked with Earth Day LA for the past several years, for passing along Jim's sage advice. Also please enjoy the following spot from Stardust Studios for PG&E's ClimateSmart program.


1. Become carbon neutral: Use this carbon calculator, fill in the form with your energy use at home and on the road, and sign up to fund measures that will neutralize your carbon output.
2. Drive Less, Take Transit or Bike or Walk: A well-tuned car with properly inflated tires burns less gasoline—cutting pollution and saving money at the pump. If you have two cars, drive the one with better gas mileage whenever possible. Better yet, skip the drive and take walk, bike, or ride public transit.
3. Write your leaders now to urge them to use existing technology to raise fuel economy standards to 40 miles per gallon -- the single biggest step we can take to curb global warming. This step can save nearly 4 million barrels of oil a day... and save you personally up to $2,000 at the pump over the life of your car.
4. Sign up for Green Power: Renewable energy solutions, such as wind and solar power, can reduce our reliance on coal-burning power plants, the largest source of global warming pollution in the United States. If you live in Los Angeles, call LADWP (800-473-3652) and sign up for Green Power. Some other municipal utilities offer it as well; ask yours.
5. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, especially those that burn the longest each day. Compact fluorescents produce the same amount of light as normal bulbs, but use 1/4 of the electricity and last 10X as long.
6. Save energy at home: Start with caulking and weather-stripping on doorways and windows, then adjust your thermostat and start saving. For each degree you lower your thermostat in the winter, you can cut your energy bills by 3 percent. To save on heating bills see www.socalgas.com. Finally, ask your utility company to do a free energy audit of your home to show you how to save even more.
7. Become a smart water consumer: Install low-flow showerheads and faucets, then turn your hot water heater down to 120ºF and see hot-water costs go down by as much as 50%.
8. Buy energy-efficient electronics and appliances: Replacing an old refrigerator or an air conditioner with an energy-efficient model saves electricity bills and cuts global warming. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances or visit www.energystar.gov. Get rebates: See www.ladwp.com for details or call 1 800 246 0441 for free pick up service, or check your own utility’s website for home appliance rebates.
9. Plant a Tree / Protect a Forest. Planting shade trees around your house absorbs CO2, and reduces air-conditioning bills. In Los Angeles, call LADWP to have FREE shade trees delivered to your home: 800-473-3652.
10. Reduce + Reuse + Recycle! Producing new paper, glass, and metal products from recycled materials saves 70-90% of the energy and pollution, including CO2, that result when products come from virgin materials. And by all means, buy recycled products!
11. Mount a local campaign against global warming: Educate your community about how it can cut global warming pollution. Support measures at the national, state, and local level that make automobiles go further per gallon of gas; accelerate the use of clean, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power; increase energy efficiency and conservation; and preserve forests around the world.
12. Buy less: Consumerism is a pattern of behavior that helps to destroy our environment, personal financial health, and human institutions. See www.verdant.net for information on how to reduce consumerism.
13. Grow your own food, and buy local produce to save transportation fuel. Also, compost your food scraps....
14. Install solar panels.
15. Get Connected! Sign up for regular updates, such as the Sierra Club's global warming action network: www.sierraclub.org/globalwarming/e-newsletter/
16. Educate your business, church and school about how they can save money and the planet by becoming carbon neutral through the Climate Neutral Network: www.climateneutral.com.