Reduce Carbon Footprint
The Holidays are upon us once again. As green-focused people, the Holidays can present somewhat of a challenge. You want to take part and celebrate with your friends and family, but you also want to make sure that you do not waste or increase your impact on the Earth too much. Some people choose to make their own gifts or buy only used items, which are both great ideas, if you have the time to do so. However, not all of us do.
Luckily, the number of eco friendly gift choices keeps expanding each year. So, if you do not have the time to make something yourself or spend hours hunting for the perfect used item in thrift or antique stores, you can still buy something and feel good that it does not harm the environment too much.
Here are our Green Gift Guide for 2012.
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We have known for a while now that the Earth is warming. Granted, there was still some debate as to whether global warming was caused by human actions or not up until a few years ago. But now, it is generally accepted that mankind has at least contributed somewhat to global warming. That is why it was so shocking to see that in a recent survey in National Geographic, the U.S. ranked last in terms of green lifestyle choices.
With all of the advertised green household products we see in advertisements, and the campaigns for environmental sustainability and the drastic weather changes we have seen over the past few years, you would think that the U.S. would be on its way to becoming one of the leaders in global sustainability. Granted, the 2008 financial shock and lingering recession definitely dampened the ability of some U.S. families to be able to spend a little bit more for greener options. However, as we have noted in some of our other posts, being green sometimes does not have to cost anything. In fact, being green can save you money.
Here are five ways that you can save money and easily go green.
Christmas is a great time of year, filled with joy, friends, family, fun and, of course, shopping and gifts.
All of that shopping, wrapping, driving and mailing takes quite a toll on the environment. Each Christmas season, more than 1.9 billion Christmas cards are sent. Those cards require almost 300,000 trees to be cut down. If you laid the cards end to end, they would stretch around the Earth five times. We use over 8,000 tons of wrapping paper, the equivalent of 50,000 trees. Add in 125,000 tons of plastic packaging too. And all of the toys we buy for the kids? Within three months, 41% of them will be broken and thrown away.
The above statistics do not even take into account all of the oil used to create, package and deliver all of the products. If you start to think about it, it becomes pretty easy to see how huge the environmental impact of Christmas can be.
Your personal environmental impact does not have to be that huge though. Luckily there are many ways to have a green Christmas. Here are our top ten tips for a Green Christmas.
The Holidays are fast-approaching and you may be wondering what you can buy for your friends and family members that will not only make them happy, but also not impact the Earth too much. It is a tough line to walk. In past years, it was very difficult, as there were fewer eco friendly gifts out there. You usually had to resort to doing something nice for the person or perhaps making them something yourself.
Now, however, there are many more eco friendly gift choices out there, so you can still buy something and feel good that it does not harm the environment too much. Here are our favorite eco friendly gifts for 2011. Read more on Eco Friendly Gifts – Our Green Gift Guide for 2011…
It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is right around the corner and most of us are busy making preparations. Although Thanksgiving can be a great time for most of us, as we get to see our families, relax and eat some good food, like most holidays, Thanksgiving can be a nightmare for the Earth.
Carbon emissions grow tremendously as millions of people travel home to see their family and other loved ones. There is also a huge uptick in the amount of local travel people do as the major holiday shopping season kicks into full gear. Most of us also cook huge meals made from ingredients that come from all corners of the earth, which takes extra energy to ship. Finally, we usually overcook and end up throwing a lot of the leftovers out, so our landfills fill up faster.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to make Thanksgiving more green with less impact on the environment. Here are our top 5 easy tips to make your Thanksgiving more green.
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Although there is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise, many people still believe that global warming is a hoax. You cannot blame them. Those whose interests are impacted negatively by global warming being real definitely do their best to try to distract and confuse people and generally keep the global warming debate alive.
They are doing a pretty good job of it too. Just turn on the TV and tune to various news channels and you are likely to see stories on how global warming is real and how global warming is a hoax. All of the different channels are also likely to have pundits with credible backgrounds explaining why their point of view is the truth.
So, if you are a regular person just trying to get the facts straight and make up your mind, who are you supposed to believe?
We propose that, even if you don’t care one bit about the environment and believe that global warming is a hoax, it is still in your best interest to act as if it is real. Here’s why.
Halloween is becoming a huge holiday. Once the stuff of folklore, witches and Wicca, Halloween has grown in popularity and size every single year and is now a big holiday. If you add up all of the candy sales, costume shopping, and decorations, the industry around the holiday is worth almost $6 billion a year, which equates to about $68 per person in the United States.
Unfortunately, Halloween is also downright scary to the environment. Most of what is bought for Halloween is either cheap plastics, like costumes and decorations, that use massive amounts of oil to be produced and shipped around the world, or individually wrapped candy, which fills our landfills with billions of wrappers each year. Not only that, but the holiday surrounds itself with pumping kids full of candy full of artificial ingredients and sugar.
But, Halloween is fun and there are ways to make your celebration more green. Here are our top five ways to green Halloween.
By now, you most likely have heard about the Nissan LEAF, the first electric car produced by Nissan. I heard about the LEAF in 2010, but they were not available for purchase until 2011. Even then, they were still a rarity, as there was limited production of the cars and they were only sold direct from Nissan corporate and not their dealers. Even though I had been keeping my eyes out for them, I had yet to see one on the road either. So, when I found out that I could have the chance to test drive one recently, I jumped on it.
The test drive took place in Bethesda, MD. It was one of the Nissan LEAF test drive spots in their nationwide campaign to increase exposure of the LEAF and give people a chance to see it up close, drive it and ask questions on it to product specialists. It was quite a cool event and by the time I walked under the entrance tent, I was really psyched to drive the LEAF and learn more about it.
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Pretty much everyone knows nowadays that bottled water has a devastating effect on the planet. But, if you are not convinced or have forgotten how big of an impact bottled water has, let’s recap a bit.
Each year, over 2.7 million tons of plastic is used to make water bottles. To manufacture those bottles, it requires over 17 million gallons of oil, which is enough to fuel 1 million cars for a year. It also takes 3 times the amount of water to manufacture a water bottle than it does to fill it. Finally, only about 20% of water bottles are recycled, which means there is about 3 BILLION pounds of waste generated from bottled water every single year, and that is only in the United States.
Bottled water also costs 10,000 times more than tap water, coming in at about $10.00 per gallon. At least you are getting better quality water right? Wrong. 40% of bottled water is pure tap water. Also, when tested, 22% of bottled water contained chemical contaminants above legal limits, as bottled water is not highly-regulated like tap water is.
OK, so hopefully you get or remember the point by now. Bottled water is pretty awful stuff. But, if you want water on the go, you need some container to hold it. Enter reusable water bottles. They allow you to take nice, clean tap water with you wherever you go. However, not all reusable water bottles are the same. They are made from different materials, are manufactured by many different companies, and range in price.
We took a look at many of the reusable water bottles available on the market today and picked the top 3 bottles that we liked the best.
We love eating out as much as any other family. However, eating out while still trying to be green and eat local foods can be very challenging. Most restaurants depend on the modern food industrial system, where they buy their ingredients from several different suppliers, who buy their ingredients from other suppliers, which are often located all over the United States, if not all over the world. So, when you eat a hamburger with french fries at a fast food restaurant or a regional or national chain restaurant, you are probably eating bread made from wheat that was grown in the middle part of the United States, beef from cows that were fed by corn that was grown in the middle of the United States and that were raised in the Western part of the United States and potatoes that were grown in the Western part of the United States. But that is not all. All of the wheat, corn, and potatoes had to be planted, fertilized and harvested using machines that use oil and gas or coal and the cow from which the beef came from had to be transported and slaughtered by machines that use oil and gas as well. Finally, all of it had to be processed as well, so it is all shipped from point to point around the country until it eventually ends up on your plate at the restaurant.
This process of creating, processing and shipping food emits HUGE amounts of carbon dioxide into the environment, so your simple hamburger and fries ends up having a pretty hefty carbon footprint. A 2000 report from Stockholm University and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, called Energy Use in the Food Sector (PDF), calculated the carbon footprint of the average cheeseburger and found that it is between 3.6-6.1 kg of CO2-equivalent emissions per burger (the difference mainly depends on how much oil and gas was used versus coal in the production of all of the component parts of the burger). If you calculate that the average American eats 3 cheeseburgers per week, the total amount of carbon emissions generated just by the cheeseburgers Americans eat in one year is the same amount emitted by 19.6 million SUVs in one year. Wow.
So, if you want to go out to eat, but you don’t want to generate a huge carbon footprint when you do so, what can you do?
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