Global warming is an extremely urgent and serious problem. People should not wait for the government to solve this problem. Each individual should adopt a more responsible lifestyle, starting with little everyday things. If you do not have the authority to do this, (for example a child) influence those who do (for example a parent).
1) Replace regular incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (cfl)
CFL's use 60% less energy than a regular light bulb. This will result in an extra 300 pounds of carbon dioxide a year being saved.
2) Clean or replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioner
Cleaning of dirty air filters can result in 350 pounds of carbon dioxide being saved each year.
3) Do not leave appliances on standby
Use the "on/off" function on the machine itself. A TV set that is in use (switched on) for 3 hours a day and in standby mode for the rest of the day uses about 40% of its total energy usage when in standby mode.
4) Move your fridge or freezer
Placing your fridge or freezer next to a cooker or a boiler uses more energy than if it was standing alone e.g. if you put either in a hot cellar room where the temperature is 30-35 degrees Celsius, energy usage is almost double and this causes an extra 160kg of CO2 emissions for fridges per year and 320kg for freezers.
5) Defrost old fridges and freezers regularly
You can even replace them with newer models, which all have an automatic defrost cycle and are two times more energy efficient than older models.
6) Cover your pots while cooking
This saves a lot of energy when preparing a dish. Pressure cookers and steamers can also be used: saving approximately 70% energy.
7) Use the washing machine or dishwasher only when they are full
If you have to use it when it is not full then use the half-load or economy settings. There is also no need to set the temperature too high.
8) Take a shower instead of a bath
A shower uses 4 times less energy than a bath. To maximize the energy saving, avoid power showers and use low flow showerheads.
9) Use less hot water
A lot of energy is used to heat water. You can decrease hot water usage by installing a low flow showerhead (350 pounds of carbon dioxide saved per year) and by washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year) instead of hot.
10) Use a clothesline instead of a dryer whenever possible
You can save 700 pounds of carbon dioxide when you air dry your clothes for 6 months out of the year.
11) Insulate and weatherize your home
Properly insulating your walls and ceiling can save 25% of your homes heating bill and 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
12) Be sure you are recycling at home
You can save 2400 pounds of carbon dioxide a year by recycling half of your household waste.
13) Recycle your organic waste
Around 3% of the greenhouse gas emissions through methane is released by decomposing bio-degradable waste. By recycling organic waste or composting it, if you have a garden, you can help eliminate the problem.
14) Reuse your shopping bags
When shopping, it saves energy and waste to use a reusable bag instead of accepting a disposable one in each shop. Waste not only discharges CO2 and methane into the atmosphere, it can also pollute the air, groundwater and soil.
15) Reduce waste
Most products we buy release greenhouse gasses in one way or another, e.g. during both production and distribution. By using a reusable lunchbox instead of a disposable one, you can save the energy used to produce new lunch boxes.
16) Plant a tree
A single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. Also shade provided by trees can also lower your air conditioning bill by 10 to 15%.
17) Buy fresh food instead of frozen
Frozen food uses 10 times more energy to produce.
18) Seek out and support local farmers markets
They reduce the amount of energy required to grow and transport the food to you by one fifth. Seek farmers markets in your area and go to them.
19) Buy organic foods as much as possible
Organic soil captures and stores carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms. If we grew all our corn and soybeans organically, we would remove 580 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
20) Eat less meat
Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas and cows are one of the greatest methane emitters. Their grassy diet and multiple stomachs cause them to produce methane, which the exhale with every breath.
21) Reduce the number of miles you drive by walking, biking, carpooling or taking mass transit whenever possible
Avoiding 10 miles of driving every week would eliminate about 500 pounds of carbon emissions a year. Look for transit options in your area.
22) Start a carpool with your coworkers or classmates.
Sharing a ride with someone just 2 days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1590 pounds a year.
23) Keep your car tuned up
Regular maintenance helps improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. When just 1% of car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere.
24) Check your tires weekly to make sure they are properly inflated
Proper tire inflation can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Since every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, every increase in fuel efficiency makes a difference.
25) Protect and conserve forests worldwide
Forests play a critical role in global warming: they store carbon. When forests are burned or cut down, their stored carbon is released into the atmosphere, deforestation now accounts for about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
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Sierra Club (2008) Ten Things You can do to Help Curb Global Warming [online] (Date of update unknown)
Available at: http://www.sierraclub.org/energy/tenthings
[Accessed 13 March 2009]
Global Warming facts (2009) How To Stop Global Warming [online] (5 February 2009)
Available at: http://globalwarming-facts.info/50-tips.html
[Accessed 13 March 2009]
James Balog, 2007, Mer De Glace Glacier[electronic image]
Available at: environment.nationalgeographic.com
Accessed 27 February 2009