July 8th, 2006



Much as I love the sunshine, I wish the temperatures would crank down about 15 degrees. It's been over 90° all week, and I am not a fan of heat and humidity.

When it rains in Sweden, everyone grumbles about the weather. When it's dark and cold here, everyone bitches and moans. When it's unexpectedly hot for an extended period of time, which is normally very, very rare, even in the south of Sweden (which, if you will recall, is on the same latitude as ANCHORAGE, ALASKA for god's sake), everyone in Sweden is fervently wishing it would cool off already because WAH WE ARE HOT AND SWEATY!

Al Gore is on to something, that's for sure. I hope the wake-up call works. :(

What can we do personally? It seems, like with most global threats, that the majority of people don't really know what they can DO. It all seems so vast and out of our control. People think, "I can't do anything myself" and so they DON'T. But if everyone DID do something, collectively, we could, literally, change the world. We've already got the proof that it's possible since we've come this far collectively doing things that damage the planet and jeopardize life and environments everywhere, so there's no excuse.

Except laziness, perceived expense and denial.

Here are 10 simple things YOU can do:
  • When your lights burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent lights (or switch to ENERGY STAR fixtures if you live in the States). Converting to energy-efficient lighting can help you use 67% less energy.

  • Using a push mower instead of a power mower will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 pounds per year.

  • Recycle aluminum cans, glass bottles, plastic, cardboard, and newspapers. Recycling can reduce your home's carbon dioxide emissions by 850 pounds per year.

  • Buy food and other products with reusable or recyclable packaging, or reduced packaging, to save the energy required to manufacture new containers. This simple action could reduce your emissions by 230 pounds a year.

  • Carpool: Leaving your car at home just two days a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1,590 pounds per year.

  • Quit using the TV to "keep you company" when you're not actually watching it. Whenever we use electricity, we help put greenhouse gases into the air. By turning off the television and lights when you are through with them, you can help a lot.

  • Plant trees. Planting trees is fun and a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air. If you don't have a yard or land of your own, join family members, neighbors, or community service groups in planting trees in your yard, along roadways, at schools, and in parks, or consider donating money to a charitable organization that will do it for you somewhere it's really needed.

  • Say no to SUVs. If you're thinking about buy a new or used vehicle, consider a fuel-smart car—one that gets more miles to the gallon than your current vehicle, and match the vehicle to your needs. The potential carbon dioxide reduction for a car that gets 32 miles per gallon is 5,600 pounds per year. DOE's Fuel Economy Site provides gas mileage (MPG), greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings, and safety information for new and used cars and trucks.

  • Save on water use. Don't leave the water running: An open conventional faucet lets about 5 gallons of water flow every 2 minutes. Run the dishwasher only when it is full. Lower the temperature on your hot water tank to 120 degrees. Consider switching to low-flow faucets in your showers and sinks. And while you're at it, take shorter showers.

  • Close the blinds on a hot day if the sun is shining in. Dress more lightly instead of turning up the air conditioning, or use a fan. Roll down the windows in the car. Dress more warmly when it’s cold, instead of turning up the heat.

Okay, I sneaked in more than 10 up there, but still...not so difficult most of them after all, really. I found these and many other ideas after about 10 minutes of googling. No excuses.


Super Duper Birthday Wishes to kejn, ms_hackman (I know, it's after midnight, so technically these 2 are belated. Either way, I hope you both had a great day!), and chimeraesque!