Coal-burning power plants are the number one source of green house gases in the United States today. Automobiles are the second-largest source. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the U.S. produces more carbon-dioxide pollution than Japan, India, and China combined. Changing to newer technologies, including wind and solar power, is an important step toward reducing this pollution. But demand for energy continues to grow, and reducing that demand is also important.
Don’t just buy efficient items, use them efficiently too: Turn off lights, the radio, etc. when you leave a room or leave the house, turn on the dishwasher only when it’s full, set the water level in the clothes washer to match the size of your load.
Fine tune your home’s heating and cooling: Keep the windows open in summer whenever possible, instead of running the air conditioning continuously. Window coverings keep direct sunlight from heating up your rooms in summer; they also help keep your home warm overnight in winter.
Use solar power: Hang your clothes to dry (if not outside then maybe in the basement), instead of always using the drier.
Walk around town: Save on gym fees by doing your errands on foot. An “old fashioned” shopping cart can come in handy for bigger shopping trips.
Think about energy-efficiency as well as time and cost: For more distant trips, consider scheduling appointments with the train schedule in mind; make car pooling a priority; if you are traveling to a high-traffic area, consider going at an off-peak time or using mass transit – remember that idling in traffic creates additional air pollution.
Get all the details:
Al Gore’s companion website to his film An Inconvenient Truth, provides practical tips for reducing your impact on the environment.
The NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) web site covers all the bases. Start with their easy energy saving habits.