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by Larry

January, 2008

Becoming Green

Did you know a single tree over its lifetime will absorb one ton of atmospheric carbon dioxide (yes, that's 2000 pounds!)?

Half Price Books is sponsoring a nifty little environmental site, B(eco)me, where one can learn why it is best that we all pollute less and convert to a "greener" approach to life in the modern world. Here one may find numerous other interesting environmental facts and many ideas on how to "become green" or why it really makes sense. The site is an excellent one for adults seeking ways to save energy, money, or our surroundings while also limiting the threat of global warming. It is a great place too for kids looking for green project ideas, environmentally friendly home school topics, or other green essay and report suggestions. There are as well little publicized dates of significance for the green-conscious citizen, like (just in one month) April 6-12 (National Week of the Ocean), April 13 (International Plant Appreciation Day), and April 25 (Arbor Day). Here is a sampling of further tips from the B(eco)me site:

  1. The average car emits twice its weight in carbon dioxide each year it is in operation. Buy and maintain a smaller vehicle, just big enough for one's needs, to help the environment and, incidentally, save hundreds or thousands of dollars a year at the pump.

  2. Use recycled toilet paper. It often costs less and saves both trees and energy. If each U.S. household would use 1 recycled post-consumer waste roll of toilet paper instead of a regular toilet paper roll, 424,000 trees would be saved.

  3. Adding lids to pots or sauce pans when cooking greatly increases the heating efficiency. Just a 1% increase in kitchen lid usage by U.S. consumers would save billions of kilowatts daily.

  4. Poor auto tire inflation makes for inefficient and unsafe driving and a much shorter tire life. Keep tires properly inflated and save hundreds of dollars annually due to lower fuel purchases and reduced tire replacements. Better tire inflation can also help prevent accidents from poor vehicle control. Obtaining, refining, transporting, and burning extra gasoline is hazardous to the environment. So is making and transporting new tires, not to mention disposing of old ones. Taking into account tire and gasoline production or use, by simply keeping one's tires well inflated one can prevent an average of 250 pounds of carbon dioxide, a major contributor to global warming, from being added to the atmosphere.

  5. Plant ten trees and you may offset the carbon dioxide from 4 months of an average U.S. citizen's normal living. Five would absorb a car's carbon dioxide emissions for a year. So, let's get out the shovels and start planting!

  6. It takes a tree-packed forest equivalent to the area of 500 soccer fields to compensate for the extra carbon dioxide produced by leaving mobile phone chargers plugged in when not needed. Most people use their chargers only 5% of the time they have them plugged in.

  7. Recycle old newspapers and other paper products! If just 10% of U.S. newspapers were recycled, about 25 million trees could be saved annually. And paper represents 40% of solid waste in this country.

  8. Buy products (from cars to books, phones, eyeglasses, clothing, etc.) secondhand and save big for the environment as well as the family budget. And when ready to discard, do not just throw out, but donate useable items to Goodwill or other nonprofit thrift retailers.

  9. Fluorescent bulbs are more expensive than incandescent ones and they frequently contain mercury, requiring proper disposal. But they last an average of 10 times longer than their incandescent cousins and can over their lifetimes save the homeowner or business at least $30 per bulb in reduced energy use. If each U.S. household replaced the regular bulbs of just one room with fluorescent ones, the energy savings would be equal to taking 8 million polluting cars off the road.

  10. Tote your groceries in bags brought from home and help save billions. If each household used just two of their own tote bags instead of new supermarket paper or plastic bags at the checkout, literally billions of dollars in production costs would be saved, toxic air pollution and landfill would be reduced, and millions of trees annually could be preserved.

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