“5 things you can do about climate change” – CNN, 6 May 2014

We here at Phinix are huge proponents of doing what you can at home to prevent any further impacts of climate change. The disastrous effects of global warming are stacking up, leading to higher temperatures and rising sea levels. More flooding, wildfires, and droughts are to be expected. Here are five things you can do to lend a helping hand to the environment.

Become Informed

Staying informed about what policy makers are doing and saying is paramount. If you stay educated on climate change, then you can make knowledgeable decisions when voting and electing politicians into office. It also wouldn’t hurt to know what the policy makers are discussing:

  • Lowering carbon dioxide levels—for example, establishing carbon taxes and carbon caps;
  • Changing the Earth’s response to the effects of climate change—for example, building seawalls to combat the rising sea levels; and
  • Adapting the Earth to counteract climate change—for example, changing our oceans to absorb more CO2.

Make Changes at Home

The EPA suggests you do the following to curb your greenhouse gas emissions, which will also save you money:

  • Change your five most-used light bulbs to products that have the EPA’s Energy Star label;
  • Heat and cool more efficiently, such as by using a programmable thermostat, changing air filters, and replacing old equipment with Energy Star products;
  • Seal and insulate your home;
  • Make use of recycling programs, and compost food and yard waste;
  • Reduce water waste;
  • Use green power, such as solar panels; and
  • Estimate how much greenhouse gas you emit with the EPA’s calculator.

Be Greener at the Office

You can also help out at the office. Here’s how:

  • Set computers and other office equipment to power down during periods when you’re not using them;
  • Use Energy Star equipment; and
  • Recycle and reuse whenever possible.

Reduce Emissions in Transit

You can reduce your emissions both in your daily and cross-country commutes:

  • Rely on public transportation, biking, walking, carpooling, or telecommuting instead of driving;
  • Use the EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide to help you make an informed choice about buying a car;
  • While driving, try to avoid hard accelerations, don’t spend more than 30 seconds idling, and go easy on the gas pedal and brakes; and
  • Make sure to regularly check your tire pressure.

When you’re traveling by plane, try these tricks:

  • Consider packing lighter because less fuel is consumed with less weight on the plane;
  • Fly during the day because night flights have a bigger impact on the climate; and
  • Buy carbon credits to compensate for the emissions on your flight.

Get Involved and Educate Others About the Bigger Picture

Though one person’s efforts might only have a small influence, involving and educating others will allow our impact to grow. Together, we can help to prevent any further damaging effects of climate change.

Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Tara Mahadevan

May 13, 2014

Phinix LLC

Copyright 2014. All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC.

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

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U.S. Post Office “Go Green” Initiative: Tip #9: Compost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week we blogged on Tip #8: Share Rides. As part of our ongoing 15-week blog series promoting the United States Post Office “Go Green” Stamp Collection, this week we are blogging Tip #9: Compost.

What is Compost?

How many times have you finished an apple, banana, orange—whatever, only to chuck the core or peel in the trash? Trash that is bagged in a non-biodegradable bag and buried away in a landfill. Composting allows individuals to transform their organic household waste into nutrient-rich, organic fertilizer. Composting101.com defines composting as “mixing yard and household organic waste in a pile or bin and providing conditions that encourage decomposition. The decomposition process is fueled by millions of microscopic organisms (bacteria, fungi) that take up residence inside your compost pile, continuously devouring and recycling it to produce a rich organic fertilizer and valuable soil amendment.”

Getting Started

Composting 101 notes several important factors to consider when building your own compost:

Location: In terms of appearances and good relations with your neighbors, you probably don’t want to place your bin on your front lawn next to the mail box. (Your neighbors, and not to mention your mail man, will also appreciate a more behind-the-scenes location.)

  • Size: Make your pile no smaller than 3′ x 3′ x 3′. In fact, this is probably the perfect size. It’s sufficient enough to “cook” your waste and transform it into compost, but not so large that it will become unmanageable and hard to turn.
  • Moisture: One rule of thumb: the more green material (cut grass, weeds, leaves) you put in, the less water you’ll need to add. In fact, if you need to add dry ingredients such as straw or hay, soak the material first in water so it won’t dry out your compost pile. In general your compost should be moist, but not sopping wet.
  • Aeration: Oxygen is also required by many of the microorganisms responsible for successful composting. Give them adequate ventilation and they will take care of the rest.
  • Temperature: As they eat, the organisms responsible for composting generate large amounts of heat, which raise the temperature of the pile or compost bin and speeds up decomposition. A compost pile that is working well will produce temperatures of 140-160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Adding Materials: When adding organic waste to your compost, don’t squash the materials down to make more space. Squashing the contents will squeeze out the air that microbes in the compost pile need to turn your garbage into gold. (Instead you’ll be promoting the anaerobic microbes, which also do a good job converting carrot peels and other organic matter into compost but tend to be a lot smellier.)

Building Your Own Compost Bin

While there are several compost bins available on the market, many people enjoy building their own. If you’re interested in building your own custom compost bin, check out this great video from UrbanFarmOnline.com:

Conclusion

Composting allows you to recycle organic household waste into an effective, usable product. Through composting we can divert material away landfills, transforming it into a powerful organic fertilizer.

Next week we will be blogging on Tip #10: Plant Trees. Stay tuned.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Austin McKinney on January 8, 2012

All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net

 

 

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