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Quote moderator Replybullet Topic: 10 Ways You Can Improve Earth's Health
    Posted: 23 April 2008 at 11:05am
http://www.livescience.com/environment/080422_earth_day_tips.html

10 Ways You Can Improve Earth's Health
By LiveScience Staff
posted: 22 April 2008 ET

The scientific and political arguments surrounding the health of our planet can make the whole topic seem beyond the grasp of the individual. How fast is the climate changing? Exactly what effect to humans have? And what will the government do about it?

How we treat Earth also involves trillions of little decisions by billions of individuals.

That in mind, on this Earth Day, LiveScience presents 10 ideas for saving energy and otherwise cutting down on your impact on the planet. The list was compiled by the Earth Day Network organization and republished here with permission.

1. Change light bulbs
Highly efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last for years, use a quarter of the energy of regular bulbs and actually produce more light.

Look for the government's ENERGY STAR label, which means the bulb has been tested for quality and efficiency. While each ENERGY STAR qualified bulb will cost more initially­anywhere from $3 to $9 a piece­remember that there are two price tags: what you pay at the register and what you pay in energy costs to over the bulb's lifetime. So you may pay more up front, but you will actually save hundreds of dollars in your household budget over the long term because of their long life.

While CFLs were harder to find a few years ago, they're now widely available and much more affordable. You'll find them at major home improvement and hardware stores­even grocery and some convenience stores.

Here's the impact. If every household in the U.S. replaced a burned-out bulb with an energy-efficient, ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent bulb, the cumulative effect is enormous. It would prevent more than 13 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere­which is like taking more than a million cars off the road for an entire year.

There are other, simple things with household lighting you can do to conserve: turn off unneeded lights, dim lights when you can and bring natural sunlight into your home when it is feasible.

But changing those old light bulbs and replacing them with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescents that can last for a decade or more is by far the best thing you can do.

2. Drive differently, or drive a different vehicle

The sad truth is that your car emits as much carbon dioxide as your entire house. That's the bad news. The good news is that anything you can do to improve the fuel efficiency of your car will have an enormous impact on climate change. In fact, experts say that paying attention to fuel efficiency in your car may be the single biggest thing you can do to prevent global warming

Buying a fuel-efficient car (like a hybrid) is wonderful. In fact, replacing your gas-guzzling car with a fuel-efficient one is by far the best thing you can do, out of all your choices. But not all of us can do that­at least, not right now. Carmakers haven't sold enough hybrids in the U.S. yet to make them as affordable as they should be. That will change, but not for a few years.

So, in the interim, there are things you can do with the car you drive now to conserve energy and be more fuel-efficient.

Drive less. Every year, Americans as a whole drive more miles than they did the year before. Stop this trend, and we drive a stake in that trend. Telecommuting and public transportation are great options­once a week saves a ton of carbon dioxide a year­but even piling multiple errands into one trip helps. If you can walk instead of drive, even better.

Get your car tuned up. Just a simple tune-up often improves fuel efficiency by half. If 100,000 of us went out and got a tune up, we save 124,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

Slow down, don't race your car's engine, and watch your idling. All of these save on gas (saving you money) and have a big impact on burning gasoline.

Horribly inefficient SUVs, minivans and pickup trucks now make up more than half of the cars on American roads. The real tragedy is that automakers could double the current average fuel efficiency of SUVs if they wanted to, which would save 70 tons of carbon dioxide per car. The technology exists. Unfortunately, consumer demand does not.

3. Control your temperature

The bad news is that half of your household energy costs go towards just two things­heating and cooling. The good news is that means you have lots of room for improvement, and even small changes make dramatic improvements in household fuel efficiency.

Older heating and cooling systems are a third less efficient than the new systems. So replacing the old with the new is a wonderful idea, but not very practical for most of us. Things you can do right now to make sure you're setting the right temperature in your house include:

Tune up your heating system. This one thing every couple of years can reduce your heating costs by 10 percent a year.

Clean vents, close unused vents, and change filters in the vents. Again, just these simple things will save you 10 percent.

Buy a programmable thermostat, which can regulate different temperatures at different times of the day. And if you have one, use it! Right now, three-quarters of people who have programmable thermostats don't use them at all.

Add two degrees to the AC thermostat in summer, and two degrees in winter. If everyone did this, the cumulative impact is significant.

Make sure windows and doors are sealed. Again, this will dramatically improve your household fuel efficiency.

Of course, if you can stand it, by far the best approach is to avoid air conditioners at all. Ceiling fans, instead of AC, can reduce your cooling costs by more than half.

4. Tame the refrigerator monster

Did you know that your friendly refrigerator has a voracious energy appetite? It is, by far, the single biggest consumer of electricity in the average household, responsible for 10-15 percent of the electricity you use each month.

Older refrigerators, as a rule, are far less efficient than the newest ones­as much as 50 percent more efficient in many cases. But buying a brand-new, energy-efficient refrigerator is almost certainly not in the cards for most of us. Fortunately, other things will help.

Don't set the thermostat too high. Even 1 degree will make a big difference.

If your refrigerator is near a heating vent, or always in the sun, then change the location, cover up the heat vent near it or drape the window.

Turn on your "energy saver" switch near the thermostat.

Clean the condenser coil. This one, very simple thing can improve the efficiency of your refrigerator by a third!

Get rid of your second refrigerator. If you don't need it, don't waste the energy.

Make sure the doors seal properly, and keep the cool in.

5. Twist some knobs

The other big users of energy in your household are your hot water heater, your washer and dryer, and your dishwasher. Each, in its own way, can be inefficient. Here are some things to try:

Either turn the hot water heater down a couple of degrees, or turn on the "energy conservation" setting.

Buy insulation for your hot water heater at a local store and insulate the pipes as well.

Install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and just before you wake up in the morning.

When possible, wash a few dishes by hand. Over time, that will save a few loads in the dishwasher, conserving energy.

Don't pre-rinse dishes. Today's detergents are powerful enough to do the job.

Wait until you have a full load to run the dishwasher.

Wash clothes in warm water, not hot. The clothes will be just as clean, and you'll cut energy use by 50 percent.

Don't over-dry your clothes. That will save 15 percent.

6. Plant smartly

While it is true that planting more trees will help in the short term because they essentially soak up carbon, they also release carbon dioxide when they die. So it just postpones the problem. But there are other reasons to plant trees­as wind breaks to save energy, and as shade to lower cooling costs. And even the short-term help while we get our act together is a good thing.

As for plants, do everything you can in your yard and garden to create ways in which plants use less water. Choose hardier plants, plant things in groups that need more water and put in mulch to help keep moisture in. When you mow your grass, make sure you do it smartly­with sharp blades, and only when the grass needs cutting. Finally, make sure you water your lawn sparingly. All of these will conserve energy.

7. Invest in green energy

Imagine if we ran out of fossil fuels tomorrow, what would we do? Well, we'd get our electricity from renewable sources­solar panels, geothermal and wind power sources. Many utilities now give consumers the option to buy "green power." Ask for it!

Learn the truth about nuclear power and natural gas as viable "green" options. They aren't. Radioactive waste will be a problem for tens of thousands of years into the future, and natural gas kicks out almost as much carbon dioxide as coal and oil. Natural gas can help us make a transition, but it isn't the solution.

Finally, if you invest, invest in green stocks and renewable energy companies through socially responsible funds. They perform just as well (if not better) than all of the unfiltered funds.

8. Go organic

Even with our vast reservoir of scientific knowledge about farming, most American farmers still spray a billion pounds of pesticides to protect crops each year.

Now here's the kicker: when chemical pesticides are used to kill pests, they also kill off microorganisms that keep carbon contained in the soil. When the microorganisms are gone, the carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. And when those organisms are gone, the soil is no longer naturally fertile and chemical fertilizers become a necessity, not a luxury.

But besides going organic­thereby saving the carbon release from soil­there are other simple things you can do with food that will also make a difference:

Eat locally grown food. If the food doesn't have to travel far, there's less carbon dioxide from the trucks that ship it.

Eat fruits and vegetables in season. Again, that saves the enormous transportation costs.

Plant your own vegetable garden. It's not as hard as you might think.

9. Buy recycled

This may sound simple, but it takes less energy to manufacture a recycled product than a brand new one. So if you and every other consumer buy recycled, you'll help create a market, and conserve energy along the way.

Because many manufacturers don't go out of their way to tout their recycled products, you should know that aluminum and tin cans, glass containers, and pulp cardboard have a fair amount of recycled content. So buy away!

Recycled is often considerably cheaper than non-recycled, so it's cost-effective as well as conservation-minded. For instance, recycled paper can be as much as a third cheaper than non-recycled paper.

Finally, before you buy, check to see if the product or its packaging can be recycled. The recyclable logo (three arrows forming a triangle) is fairly common now.

10. Be a minimalist

We know it's difficult, but in today's consumer economy, an easy way to conserve energy is to simply use­and buy­less. Every time you buy something, energy has gone into getting that product to you. So the less you buy, the more you save energy-wise. It's a simple equation.

This last item on our Top Ten list may, in fact, be the single biggest way to make a dent in the global warming problem. Again, we know it sounds obvious, but buying less things­some of which you just don't need­changes the energy equation across the board, on every single consumer product. If everyone used less, the impact would be large indeed.

So how about some specific things? Here are a few:

Buy in bulk. In short, bulk items use less packaging, which translates into less energy.

Buy one of something, not 21 of something. You don't need 21 pairs of shoes, if one pair works just as well.

Go through your closet. Donate or recycle what you really don't need, then make a pledge not to replace everything you just got rid of.

Buy quality products that will last longer. Over time, you'll obviously buy fewer products that way.

Be creative in what you use for work, play and leisure. You don't always have to buy new products for activities. Re-use in creative ways.

Edited by moderator - 23 April 2008 at 4:37pm
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Quote semar Replybullet Posted: 23 April 2008 at 6:50pm

We may need to add few more things:

1. stop producing 500 hp sport cars and hummers.
2. stop individual to drive F350 and F150 trucks for no reason.

3. all government employees to work without A/C or must be set no less than 80F
4. all government vehicles to have electric cars
5. stop watering golf courts.
6. take shorter showers
7. cook once every three days

However sometimes the automaker lobbyist is so strong, there was a story in Orange County CA, the county had spent $ 800M for mass transportation project for feasibility study etc and for over 5 years and finally they stop it because the council block it (they didn't approve the budget to continue the project).

There were similar stories in Los Angeles County CA for Blue Line, Gold Line, Green Line and Red Line Subway extension projects.
Salam/Peace,
Semar
The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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Quote ejdavid3 Replybullet Posted: 25 April 2008 at 7:57pm
MODERATOR - I agree with almost all your proposisitions, but you have a very very fatal flaw in your thiking.

You wrote: "Learn the truth about nuclear power ... Radioactive waste will be a problem for tens of thousands of years into the future..." The greens killed nuclear 35 years ago, primarily because local storage of waste concerned them. Accordingly, we have had 35 years of direct injection of CO2 into the entire planetary atmosphere. I think tens of thousands of years might be an apporpriate estimate Slick Move, X-Lax.

Even the Green Peace Guy has seen the (obvious) light: Sequestered nuclear waste is better then universal CO2 dispersal into the entire planetary atmospehere.
In addition, it is the ONLY technology ready for immediated deployment over the next several decades. Go blow on a windmill, you blow hard.

In the mean time the replacement cost for a barrel of oil is about $80 per barrel. At that price N. Americans can squeeze a barrel of oil out of coal sands or coal. My very own brother in law is now contracted to build just such a conversion plant, $2 billion, ready for production in two years.

Do you really think the capitolists are not going to squeeze oil from coal if oil is $150 per barrel and nuclear is a boogyman? The capitolists are already two decades ahead of you revanchests.

PS: Aren't you the ones who ranted the US should convert food to gasohol. Now you *** blame us for world famine. Believe you me. You guys are becoming more and more like sand flies then useful consultants.

Just go home, read by the light of your *** fat candle, and leave the heavy lifting to those who know how to heavy lift. Just keep the *** hell out of our way, you lightweights.

Edited by icforumadmin - 26 April 2008 at 12:04am
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Quote moderator Replybullet Posted: 27 April 2008 at 4:45pm

Salam/Peace,

Thanks for your response. Actually the article was not written by me, I copied it from the above website, so I put it as is, because I thought ethically I didn't have authorization to modify it.
 
I agree that nuclear energy should be part of the solutions, however I think we don't need to regret that we didn't start it 35 years ago. Perhaps on that time the safety technology as not good as the current one.
 
With the current technology insha Allah (God will) the probability of Chernobyl accident can be minimized if we can not say can be avoided it.
 
Wasalam/Peace
 
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Edited by icforumadmin - 28 April 2008 at 1:37pm
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Quote Angel Replybullet Posted: 15 May 2008 at 9:57pm
I've always washed clothes in cold water.
I don't use a dryer to dry clothes, I use the sun and wind to dry and in winter when we have the heater on and clothes cannot be outside, then the lounge is an obstacle to get around hehe.

~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~
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Quote semar Replybullet Posted: 16 May 2008 at 2:30pm
Salam/Peace Angel,
 
Woo.. that a good move. I did once here in the US, I hang the clothes on the rope in my back yards, but my wife yell to me that's "uncivilized" .. he..he..he.. Because she is the "manager" in our house so I gave up.
Eventhough our family did it all the time before we moved to US.
Salam/Peace,
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The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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Quote knightrider Replybullet Posted: 01 August 2008 at 4:25am

The  first and farmost important responsability of a humanbeing is to protect environment sourrounding him.All the resources which are present on this earths biosphere are running away, as they got deplenished by its uncontrolled use . I personally go with moderator,who proposed a ten different ways of protecting the earth environment,because unless and untill we protect our sourroundings and use the earth's energy in an effecient way,the earth environment  become miserable for our comming generations.The only challenge infront of us is to use the resourses efficiently.... so at we can expect life in comming years..........

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Quote cadnu Replybullet Posted: 04 August 2008 at 6:17am
Kudos to Green Forum!

The simplest thing that we can do is for our Mother Earth is keeping our surroundings clean.
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