Environmental self-helpWednesday, September 14, 2005
Who knows what if anything is going to happen as a result of the Kyoto protocol or the "rival" Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, never mind when. Well, the health of our planet isn't going to wait on politicians - why should we?
New Scientist's 10 September 2005 issue contains a good article by environmental scientist Dave Reay about how each of us can do our bit to combat global warming. Not much, individually, maybe - but it would add up. Here they are.
Ten steps to saving the planet
- Dress for the weather - don't turn up the heating in the winter, wear more layers; vice versa in the summer; and insulate your house.
- Get out of the car - use public transport if you can.
- Get into composting e.g. with composting worms - so your waste doesn't contribute to methane production
- Fly less, especially short haul - take the train, consider Climate Care, hold conferences where less travelling is needed, or conference electronically.
- Change your driving habits or better still, your car - use slower cruising speeds, avoid short unnecessary journeys, share cars, service them regularly; consider smaller cars, and maybe diesel, dual fuel, hybrid or biofuelled ones.
- Remember the appliance of science - consider more energy-efficient appliances, low energy bulbs, but making new equipment costs energy so consider keeping gear that's working and less than 5 years old and run them efficiently e.g. clean seals on fridge coils and doors; turn off rather than put on standby.
- Avoid flatulent and jet-setting food (yep that's how they put it!) - less meat/dairy apparently means fewer methane-belching ruminants; buy local, in-season produce which doesn't cost energy to ship round the world, or grow your own.
- Learn the 3 Rs - reduce, reuse, recycle, particularly packaging, junk mail; buy less stuff ; reusing plastic bags can make a difference
- Improve your ethics at work - turning lights off, using energy-efficient office appliances, using energy-saving settings, printing on both sides of the paper and recyling waste paper
- Go green at the final checkout - cremation or caskets and vaults cost energy, consider natural burial e.g. http://www.naturaldeath.org.uk (and I recall being very interested in an old New Scientist article about freezedrying your body to produce soil enriching powder, believe it or not).
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