“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 #2: Choose To Walk

Last week we blogged on Tip #1: Using Reusable Shopping Bags. As part of our ongoing 15-week blog series promoting the United States Post Office “Go Green” Stamp Collection, this week we are blogging on the benefits of walking.

It probably comes as no surprise that walking generates significantly fewer carbon emissions than other forms of traveling and commuting, such as planes or automobiles. To put that difference into perspective, we found some interesting statistics demonstrating the environmental and economic impact that choosing to walk can have. BikesBelong.org, a cycling advocacy group, cites several compelling figures:

  • Unnecessary vehicle idling in New York City:
  1. Costs drivers $28 million a year
  2. Causes as much smog-forming pollution as 9 million large trucks driving from the Bronx to Staten Island
  3. Wastes the gasoline equal to 40,000 cars driving from Midtown to JFK
  • Half of U.S. schoolchildren are dropped off at school in the family car. If 20% of those living within two miles of school were to bike or walk instead, it would save 4.3 million miles of driving per day. Over a year, that saved driving would prevent 356,000 tons of CO2 and 21,500 tons of other pollutants from being emitted.
  • Increasing the mode share of all trips made by bicycling and walking from 12% to 15% could lead to fuel savings of 3.8 billion gallons a year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33 million tons per year. This is equivalent to replacing 19 million conventional cars with hybrids.

Clearly, there is a lot to be gained from walking, yet many find that walking isn’t a feasible option for their daily commute. Many people claim they don’t have the time—but statistics say otherwise. According to BBC’s Bloom, the average Brit spends “five weeks a year just commuting.” For those living in urban environments, walking may actually be faster than driving.

Even if you don’t live in an urban locale, there are still ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine. For example, Good Housekeeping’s “The Daily Green” suggests avoiding drive thru lanes whenever possible:

Every time you use a drive through, you burn about 18 cents worth of gas idling your car. According to Quick Service Restaurant Magazine, the average drive through wait time once the order is taken is three minutes. Add the minute or two that it takes to place the order, and that means one billion car-minutes spent idling each year in front of Burger King restaurants alone! Estimates for total fuel costs for idling in front of every drive through in America are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Instead of using the drive-thru, park your vehicle and take a walk inside. Besides saving your money and cutting carbon emissions, this small action allows you a chance to get a little exercise. This exercise requires no equipment and can be practiced throughout your long lifetime. With over 1/3rd (33.8%) of all Americans now classified as obese by the CDC, this isn’t an opportunity to pass on. The citizens of healthy countries such as Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, and The Netherlands have incorporated walking into their everyday personal and professional lives. There is a strong correlation between the health and happiness of countries.

We hope this information will encourage you to walk more often, and limit your automobile use. Choosing to walk is a simple, emission-free alternative that can everyone can incorporate into their daily lives.

Next week we will be blogging on Tip #3: Recycling More. Stay tuned.

Conceived, Developed and Written by Dr. Subodh Das and Austin McKinney on November 10, 2011

All rights Reserved by Phinix, LLC

www.phinix.net    skdas@phinix.net


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