Sunday, April 22, 2007

Healing our planet


I am all for "healing." I get my huge recurrent personal dose of it every Monday night from Jerry and the guys. But, I also favor doing effective stuff pertaining to the larger issues of health and "healing." There are now in excess of 6 billion humans on this planet, and we are increasingly fouling our collective nest in ways that bode seriously ill for our children and theirs, and theirs, etc. I know this remains "controversial" to a degree, but I cut my professional teeth in a forensic-level environmental radiation laboratory in Oak Ridge for more than 5 years (I was toothing for quite a while), and know a thing or two about environmental science. I have to agree that we are increasingly experiencing the adverse effects of what many reputable scientists call the "Anthropocene Era." And, we Americans comprise roughly 5% of world population, but consume about 25% of energy resources. While we wait around for the politicians (and the Suits who line their pockets) to change things for the common good at the macro-policy level (LOL!), there are some things we can all do right now that help make a difference. Below are some ideas I took from Sheryl Crow's and Laurie David's website:

"The Stop Global Warming calculator shows you how much carbon dioxide you can prevent from being released into the atmosphere and how much money you can save by making some small changes in your daily life. It’s our hope that the calculator will promote action, awareness and empowerment by showing you that one person can make a difference and help stop global warming.

There are many simple things you can do in your daily life — what you eat, what you drive, how you build your home — that can have an effect on your immediate surrounding, and on places as far away as Antactica. Here is a list of few things that you can do to make a difference."

Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Replace 3 frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. Save 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $60 per year.

Inflate Your Tires
Keep the tires on your car adequately inflated. Check them monthly. Save 250 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $840 per year.

Change Your Air Filter
Check your car's air filter monthly. Save 800 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $130 per year.

Fill the Dishwasher
Run your dishwasher only with a full load. Save 100 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $40 per year.

Use Recycled Paper
Make sure your printer paper is 100% post consumer recycled paper. Save 5 lbs. of carbon dioxide per ream of paper.

Adjust Your Thermostat
Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees in the summer. Save 2000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $98 per year.

Check Your Waterheater
Keep your water heater thermostat no higher than 120°F. Save 550 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $30 per year.

Change the AC Filter
Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended. Save 350 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $150 per year.

Take Shorter Showers
Showers account for 2/3 of all water heating costs. Save 350 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $99 per year.

Install a Low-Flow Showerhead
Using less water in the shower means less energy to heat the water. Save 350 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $150.

Buy Products Locally
Buy locally and reduce the amount of energy required to drive your products to your store.

Buy Energy Certificates
Help spur the renewable energy market and cut global warming pollution by buying wind certificates and green tags.

Buy Minimally Packaged Goods
Less packaging could reduce your garbage by about 10%. Save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide and $1,000 per year.

Buy a Hybrid Car
The average driver could save 16,000 lbs. of CO2 and $3,750 per year driving a hybrid

Buy a Fuel Efficient Car
Getting a few extra miles per gallon makes a big difference. Save thousands of lbs. of CO2 and a lot of money per year.

Carpool When You Can
Own a big vehicle? Carpooling with friends and co-workers saves fuel. Save 790 lbs. of carbon dioxide and hundreds of dollars per year.

Reduce Garbage
Buy products with less packaging and recycle paper, plastic and glass. Save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year.

Plant a Tree
Trees suck up carbon dioxide and make clean air for us to breathe. Save 2,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide per year.

Insulate Your Water Heater
Keep your water heater insulated could save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $40 per year.

Replace Old Appliances
Inefficient appliances waste energy. Save hundreds of lbs. of carbon dioxide and hundreds of dollars per year.

Weatherize Your Home
Caulk and weather strip your doorways and windows. Save 1,700 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $274 per year.

Use a Push Mower
Use your muscles instead of fossil fuels and get some exercise. Save 80 lbs of carbon dioxide per year.

Unplug Un-Used Electronics
Even when electronic devices are turned off, they use energy. Save over 1,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and $256 per year.
Put on a Sweater
Instead of turning up the heat in your home, wear more clothes Save 1,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $250 per year.

Insulate Your Home
Make sure your walls and ceilings are insulated. Save 2,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $245 per year.

Air Dry Your Clothes
Line-dry your clothes in the spring and summer instead of using the dryer. Save 700 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $75 per year.

Switch to a Tankless Water Heater
Your water will be heated as you use it rather than keeping a tank of hot water. Save 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $390 per year.

Switch to Double Pane Windows
Double pane windows keep more heat inside your home so you use less energy. Save 10,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide and $436 per year.

Buy Organic Food
The chemicals used in modern agriculture pollute the water supply, and require energy to produce.

Bring Cloth Bags to the Market

Using your own cloth bag instead of plastic or paper bags reduces waste and requires no additional energy.

Not everyone can do all of this. Cheryl and I are doing some things (we went tankless on the water heater thingy last year, but -- yikes! -- that puppy cost $3,200), but we could be doing more. 'Hmmmm...y'know, doubling up in the shower, baby, that'd save 750 lbs. of CO2 and $198 a year, hmmmm...'


I strongly recommend that you read Tim Flannery's excellent (if scary) book "The Weather Makers."

Triangulate that with other cautionary, thoroughly vetted stuff like the eminent Jared Diamond's "Collapse."

A lot of the objections to addressing "global warming" I hear and read are predictable, tired, lame "yes, but" beg-offs characterized by overlapping obstructive stuff like "Perfectionism Fallacy," ad hominem "Kill-The-Messenger" ('oh, that weenie Al Gore...'), "False Dilemma," "Misplaced Burden of Proof," "Analysis Paralysis" ('we can't act at all unless we are totally certain...') and other Red Herrings. A lot of this obstructionism, though, is simple appeal-to-status-quo resistance to the perceived change in the mix of economic winners and losers. Let's be honest.

Yeah, it's difficult, and we will make policy mistakes. BFD. If Healing were effortless, there'd be no pain, sickness, poverty, mental illness, or tragedy anywhere.


From Joann Tornato:

REMINDER: The Fabulous Bill Fayne, Sunday April 22nd at the Bootlegger, 8 pm.


OK, Mundo will wig out over this. Joscho Stephan. Yikes, the chops!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it would be wise to join a non-profit organization such as Trout Unlimited to help make a difference in this world. While TU raises money to restore or protect salmon and trout habitet through out North America, it by doing so also creates better habitat for humans as well. Join your local chapter of TU and make a difference!