Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Reduce your carbon footprint in five simple steps

This is a guest post from the folks at liveclimate.org, an organization we worked with to offset the Google Apps bus tour's carbon footprint. Developing countries will be the hardest hit by effects of climate change, and hundreds of projects around the world are using the growing carbon market to fight poverty in the poorest parts of the world while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving the integrity of our climate. We think these issues are important and would love for you to help.

My name is Jit Bhattacharya, and I'm one of the founders of Live Climate. We are proud to be the carbon offset partner for Google's "App to School" bus tour. The "App to School" bus tour offset their emissions by donating to a small business bringing solar energy to the communities in Nicaragua that need it most.

Climate change and poverty will be the two defining challenges of this millennium. To win at both these challenges requires commitment from government, from business, and from everyday people like you and me. Google has obviously made that commitment. With their RechargeIT program and solar initiative, we are that much closer to driving 100mpg cars and building affordable solar energy.

Now it's time for us all to make the commitment. If you were wondering what you could do, here are 5 simple things you can do to go carbon neutral and stop climate change:

  1. Change the Lights – For how small it is, Compact Fluroescent light bulb makes a big difference. Each CFL installed saves you money and prevents 110 lbs of coal from being burned. If every college student in the U.S. changed just 2 light bulbs, we could prevent over 1 Million metric tons of carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere. If you need any more convincing, Wal-Mart and Costco are offering huge discounts.

  2. Green Your Ride – So maybe you can't afford a Toyota Prius yet. You can still reduce emissions from transportation. Walk or take public transportation whenever possible. If you do drive, fill up your tires to their limit. It makes a 5% difference! When driving play a game of seeing how many miles you can get out of each tank. With $4/gallon gas, it's a game worth playing.

  3. Eat Less Beef –The food we eat is a major source of carbon emissions. Visit http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/ to see the carbon footprint of your diet. Eating less beef, eating organic, and buying from local farmer's markets reduces how much energy has gone into the production and transportation of your food.

  4. Make Your Home Super-Efficient - Seal up doors and windows. Switch to EnergyStar appliances. And when you've done all of that, contact your utility to make sure that the few kilowatt-hours of electricity that you do use is coming from renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

  5. Offset Your Footprint with Live Climate – Through the simple changes above, we can reduce our individual carbon footprints by over 50%. To go fully carbon neutral, offset your footprint through a site like Live Climate. Offsetting lets you account for your own carbon footprint by contributing to a project elsewhere that is reducing emissions. With sites like Live Climate, you can pick exactly what project to contribute to and you are guaranteed that is helping to fight poverty as well.

The biggest thing you can do this year for climate change is Get out and Vote! This year's election is going to determine how we decide to address climate change in the coming decade, and students like you should be part of the solution.

Link - from Google Student Blog
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