April 22, 2010






Everyone knows that you can reduce your carbon footprint if you go out and buy a hybrid car, or replace all your household appliances with new EnergyStar models. But most people can’t afford to make these kinds of big changes.

Here are three effective actions that cost little or nothing, and you can start TODAY!


1. Consider eating vegetarian one or two nights per week.[1]

Producing one calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as many fossil fuels (generating more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide) as does the production of one calorie of plant protein.

As surprising as it may sound, raising animals for food creates huge amounts of greenhouse gases. A recent report by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concluded that almost a fifth of all greenhouse gas come from livestock production. That’s more emissions than from all of the world’s transportation (cars, buses, trains and planes) combined.


2. Get the best fuel economy out of the car you have.[2]

Not everyone can afford to buy a new hybrid, but fuel consumption is directly related to the amount of CO2 emitted no matter what kind of car you drive.

Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town.

Avoid keeping heavy items in your car. Every 100 pounds reduces your MPG by up to 2 percent.

If you’re stopped for more than 5 minutes, turn your car off. An idling engine gets 0 miles per gallon.


3. Seal and Insulate your Heating and Air Conditioning Ducts.

Sealing the ducts in your home and insulating any portions that pass through unconditioned spaces, such as the attic, basement, or garage, could reduce CO2 emissions and your heating and cooling costs by up to 40 percent.[3]

This is not only good for the Earth, it’s good for you. Average annual savings range from $362 per year for homes heated with natural gas to $811 for homes with electric heat.


[1] H. Steinfeld et al., Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options, Livestock, Environment and Development (2006)

[2] http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/climate.shtm

[3] Consumer Reports: http://www.greenerchoices.org/globalwarmingsavecarbon.cfm




Posted by: Seymour Simon

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