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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Easy Steps to Protect the Earth

Easy Steps to Protect the Earth

The debate over whether human-generated climate change is an impeding reality is a fierce one, with loud voices on both sides of the issue. A few years ago, in the 2008 Farmers’ Almanac, we took the position that, even if global warming does turn out to be a myth, we would all benefit from reducing our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels. The rewards will be reaped in the form of cleaner air, less anxiety over the competition for finite resources, and monetary savings. If, however, climate change is a reality, and we continue to consume energy at today’s levels, scientists say the consequences could be dire.

By making just a few small changes in your home and yard, you can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase the nation’s energy independence, and save money. Here are a few simple and painless suggestions, courtesy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to help you get started. A more thorough list is available at www.epa.gov.

Change Five Lights
Replace the conventional bulbs in your five most frequently used light fixtures with bulbs that have the Energy Star label, and you will help the environment while saving money on energy bills. If every household in the United States took this one simple action, we would cut more than a trillion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

Look for Energy Star products
When buying new products for your home, get the features and performance you want while helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Look for Energy Star-qualified products in more than 40 categories, including lighting, home electronics, heating and cooling equipment and appliances.

Heat and Cool Intelligently
Simple steps like regularly cleaning air filters and having your heating and cooling equipment tuned annually by a licensed contractor can save energy, increase comfort at home and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When it’s time to replace your old equipment, choose a high efficiency model, and make sure it is properly sized and installed.

Seal Up Your Home with Better Insulation and Ductwork
Close up any visible cracks and gaps in your house, install adequate insulation, check that ducts are sealed and choose Energy Star-qualified windows when replacing old ones. Not sure where the cracks and gaps are? A home energy auditor can help to identify areas with poor insulation and evaluate the energy efficiency of your home.

Use Green Power
Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, water or the sun. It offers many environmental and economic benefits over conventional electricity, including lower greenhouse gas emissions. There are two ways to use green power: buy it or generate your own.

Buying green power is easy. Just contact your regular power provider and ask whether they offer energy from renewable sources. Many energy companies now provide supplier choice for consumers. If green power isn’t available in your area, you can purchase renewable energy certificates, or green tags, to swap for renewable energy from markets where it is available.
There are also a number of steps you can take to create a greener home, including installing solar panels. Many states offer grants and tax incentives that make renewable energy technology more affordable. Research what incentives are available in your state.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Most people don’t realize that solid waste reduction and recycling help address global climate change. How? The manufacture, distribution and use of products — as well as management of the resulting waste — all result in greenhouse gas emissions.

If there is a recycling program in your community, recycle your newspapers, beverage containers, paper and other goods. Use products in containers that can be recycled and items that can be repaired or reused. In addition, support recycling markets by buying products made from recycled materials.

Be Green in Your Yard
Use a push mower. Unlike a gas or electric mower, manual mowers consume no fossil fuels and emit no greenhouse gases. If you do use a power mower, make sure it is a mulching mower to reduce grass clippings. Composting your food and yard waste reduces the amount of garbage you send to the landfill, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Use Water Efficiently
Municipal water systems require a lot of energy to purify and distribute water to households, and saving water, especially hot water, can lower greenhouse gas emissions. Don’t let the water run while shaving or brushing teeth. Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket for toiletry items; water is wasted with each flush. Repair all toilet and faucet leaks quickly. One leaky toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day!

Drive Smart
Many factors affect the fuel economy of your car. To improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, go easy on the brakes and gas pedal, avoid hard accelerations, reduce time spent idling and unload unnecessary items in your trunk to reduce weight. If you have a removable roof rack and you are not using it, take it off to improve your fuel economy by as much as 5 percent. Use overdrive and cruise control if your car has them.

Get a Tune-up
A well-maintained car is more fuel-efficient, produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is more reliable and safer. Keep your car well tuned, follow the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule and use the recommended grade of motor oil.

Check your Tires
Check your tire pressure regularly. Under-inflation increases tire wear, reduces your fuel economy by up to 3 percent, and leads to higher greenhouse gas emissions and releases of air pollutants. If you don’t know the correct tire pressure for your vehicle, look on the door to the glove compartment or on the driver’s-side door pillar.

4 comments

1 Catherine Victor { 04.21.12 at 9:42 pm }

Easy Steps to Protect the Earth

Owl Moon is a 1987 children’s picture book by Jane Yolen, illustrated by John Schoenherr. The book won many awards, most notably being the Caldecott Medal for its illustrations,[1] and has appeared on the show Reading Rainbow.

The story deals with a father that takes his daughter owling for the first time on a cold winter’s night. Along their way, they encounter a Great Horned Owl. While it is not stated which gender the child is, Schoenherr’s illustrations gave it away. According to Jane Yolen’s website, the daughter is actually Yolen’s child, Heidi Stemple. The “Pa” character is based on her husband, an avid outdoorsman and birdwatcher.[3] “I’ve become aware of nature through my husband”, said Yolen.[

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Owl_Moon

2 Karen { 04.19.12 at 4:42 pm }

I believe in reducing first. Then, reusing, and finally, recycling. I believe that, after seeing a recycling facility, and gaining the knowledge that much of the extra products that came to the facility were sold to a few other countries because we here in the U.S.A. do not have enough resources to process them was a shame and furthermore a waste of other kinds of resources. Therefore, I took to always using a reusable cup and flatware for meals. I try as much as I can to reduce and reuse, after all, those are the first words on the popular symbol with arrows. I concur with what Brenda said in her response. The Indigenous people around the world have lived and continue to live within the ecosystem long before we started the trend.

3 harvey galvez { 04.19.12 at 5:02 am }

i’m a little more worried about the depleted uranium being used in iraq and other non delared war zones around the planet, the nuclear power plants melting down in japan and others that are leaking around the globe, a little more worried about murcury in our shots that were never proven effective in the first place, a bit worried of agenda 21. i!m not at all worried that if i throw a plastic bottle in the wrong waste can, that i have any effect on the bio structure of this planet. that would be like an ant trying to hump my leg.

4 Brenda { 04.18.12 at 1:02 pm }

I agree with most of what is being said in this article, & have done my best to take care of the planet, ever since I was a teenager & saw the commercial with the Native American with the tear rolling down his face at all the pollution, a lot of which is caused by pure laziness.

I do question, however, water saving toilets & shower heads, as they save nothing. They reduce water pressure, causing a person to have to rinse longer to remove soap & shampoo, & a “water saving” toilet has to be flushed more often to keep from getting stopped up, due to the same lack of water pressure. That part of the energy saving thing is a farse, in my opinion.

As far as driving, I try to run errands on the way home from work rather than making an extra trip out, & always double check whether it is truly necessary before I do go out again.

As far as being “green” our Native ancestors had a head start, long before the EPA came along!

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