Saturday, February 19, 2011



Make a Big Green Difference

Want to really make a positive impact on climate change? Go for the Green with these five “big” acts.
You’ve installed the compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and you turn them off every time you leave the room. You’re recycling everything you can possibly recycle at home and you’ve kicked your bottled water habit and now carry an eco-conscious reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. In short, you’re doing your green part, but it still doesn’t feel like enough.

Have no fear! If you’re ready to take on a big green challenge and really make a dent in your carbon footprint, we’ve got some ideas.

1. Get rid of your car.
Our cars, and our habit of riding around in them all the time, are a significant contributor to global warming. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average passenger car is responsible for dumping nearly 20 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of carbon. The answer? Get rid of your car. Ride a bike, take public transportation, or walk!
2. Stop eating beef.
Meat is hard on the planet. If you doubt it, consider this: A little while ago, former managing editor at and current proprietor of Open the Future, decided to calculate the carbon footprint of the humble cheeseburger. While not verifiably scientific, his methodology looks pretty sound, and his results were astonishing. That burger you’re craving? Puts anywhere between 766 and 3000 grams of CO2 into the atmosphere. And that doesn’t even count the methane produced by cattle—another major contributor to global warming.More info at

3. Take a train, not a plane.
Commercial aviation is hard on the planet. Airplanes produce approximately 2% of the worldwide total of CO2 resulting from human activity, according to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). So the next time you’re planning a trip, take the train instead. By contrast, according to U.S. Department of Energy data, rail travel almost 20 percent more efficient than domestic airline travel and 28 percent more efficient than auto travel on a per-passenger-mile basis.

4. Invest in solar for your home.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, about a fifth of all energy consumed is used to heat or cool our homes, and according to the EPA, approximately 4 metric tons (that’s almost 9000 pounds) of CO2 are emitted per person per year are emitted from our houses alone. That adds up to a massive 17% of the nation’s total emissions. But these days, if you’ve got the cash for the upfront investment, getting off the grid is easier, and less expensive, than you might think. SunPower, one of the oldest solar energy companies in the world, offers an online calculator that can give you a good idea of both the money you’ll save and the carbon you’ll refrain from emitting right on its website.More info at

5. Small family, small footprint.
For some readers, this advice may come too late. After all, now that you’ve had the cute little tyke, you’re attached and it’s not like you can give him back. But limiting the size of your family is one of the most effective ways to limit the harm you’re doing to Mother Earth. According to a recent study by researchers at Oregon State University, “the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environmentally sensitive practices people might employ their entire lives – things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.”


Željko Serdar
Head of association

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