Wednesday, May 28, 2008

10 Tips for a Greener You

You know about changing your incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones. Turning down your air conditioning at night. Driving a fuel efficient vehicle. All the things to help reduce your carbon footprint and feel better about yourself. But did you know there are lots of other little things you can do to make the world a greener place? Here are 10 of them.

1) Take the stairs. Each 10-floor elevator ride produces roughly 35 lbs. of carbon dioxide. Over the course of a year, that adds up to over 25 tons of CO2.

2) Exercise less. All that walking (or running, or benching, or stair climbing) you're doing is polluting the air with 5 lbs of CO2 per half-hour workout. The more oxygen you need, the more CO2 you're putting out. A yearly exercise regimen can easily exceed a ton of greenhouse gas.

3) Eat fewer raw vegetables. Did you know that the average human passes gas equivalent to 1.25 lbs of carbon dioxide per year? Change your diet of fresh vegetables in favor of processed meats and white bread, and you could produce flatus equaling as little as half a pound per year.

4) Clear forests to plant more trees. Wood is an excellent way to "lock in" carbon for long-term storage. If you have forested property, you should clear-cut all the trees, then store them in a cool, dry space for maximum carbon retention. Meanwhile, plant new trees in their place to soak up additional carbon. Wait 20 years. Repeat.

5) Limit your activism. The average American activist event produces 25 tons of carbon dioxide. Regardless of your political affiliation or issue, limit your activity to the walls of your home. Have a big conference call or web chat. Write letters to your senators. No matter the subject, you can be sure that it will be nicely tinged with green.

6) Hold in your sneezes. Surprisingly, a sneeze produces three times the CO2 as a typical breath does. Simply remembering to plug your nose and keeping that sneeze on the inside will significantly reduce your carbon footprint.

7) Wear white. Dark clothes attract the heat of the sun, and act as a super-magnet for heat. While your black turtleneck can help you make that perfect tragically hip statement, think of what it's doing to the environment. Switch to white. Your conscience will thank you.

8) Grow algae. Studies have shown that algae-infested waters capture fifteen times more CO2 than clear waters. If you have water on your property, or own a pool, let the algae take over. The desire for beauty and cleanliness doesn't justify eliminating our green, carbon-friendly ally.

9) Avoid gardening. You might think that back yard gardening is one of the greenest things you can do. But you'd be wrong. Mulching, tilling and plowing all release massive amounts of carbon dioxide. Some of that CO2 is recaptured in the form of grown vegetables, but those vegetables, once consumed, revert to a deplorable CO2 producing state, leaving your carbon deficit greater than it was before. Better to leave the food production to the big farmers that know how to be environmentally friendly.

10) Pass this information along. Just think. If everyone followed these few simple rules, global warming would be a thing of the past. Do your part, and let all your friends know about this simple list of ways to be greener.

No comments: