(#263) – It’s time to remind every one that many decisions every day add up when the goal is to reduce pollution and forestall some of the worst environmental disasters that seem to get larger and more frequent each year. Here’s an easy plan to reduce personal contribution to the Co2 emissions that cause so much of the extreme weather and spread of illness in our communities.
Each of us on average is responsible for putting 21 tons – 4,200,000 pounds – of CO2 into our atmosphere every year. This is more than the emissions caused by driving entirely around the earth at the equator every year. Multiply by the people in your home and the number really gets huge.
We have choices and alternatives. Each of us emits more than four times the global per capita average and twice as much as most Europeans who have the same standard of living as we do.
A good place to start reducing pollution is with our transportation. By traveling 12,000 miles per year at 20 miles per gallon, we are responsible for emitting 6 tons of Co2. Many of us travel 2 or 3 times further annually. Transitioning to a more fuel efficient car can reduce emissions 4 tons or more for the same amount of driving and nearly pay for itself in gas savings. My 2002 Honda Civic Hybrid has 240,000 miles on it, averages 42+miles per gallon and shows no signs of becoming less fuel efficient.
Reducing energy use the home also provides opportunity for large reduction of pollution and savings of money. Adding a few rolls of insulation in the attic of every home would save $1.8 billion, reduce pollution by 12 million tons of Co2 pollution. Participating in the locally available home energy audit and home retrofit energy efficiency program which guarantees no up front cost and no out of pocket expense
for the new furnace, air source heat pump, solar thermal, insulation, new doors and windows, etc. would reduce pollution and increase dollars saved by five times more.
Using LED lights, (don’t believe the caution that their higher cost makes them uneconomic) can save $150 a year or more and recoup the purchase price in two years while enjoying efficient lighting for decades without replacement.
Turn the laser printer off when not in use and save $130. Wash the clothes in cold water and produce only 20% of the atmospheric pollution of hot water clothes washing.
There are many more steps that are easily taken that add up to 20 – 50% or more savings of pollution. For more information, check out www.ucsusa.org. This website offers a menu of carbon energy saving programs to fit every appetite for reducing pollution, enjoying better health and saving several hundred dollars a year.
Send us information about what your results are and join the Climate Action Plan that is forming in your town by contacting SASD, P.O. Box 334, Callicoon Center, NY 12724.