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HOT FLASH
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!
 determined
mood: determined
music: Joe Jackson—Sunday Papers


Comments

Thanks for getting that info out there!
Did you see the film then? I saw previews but haven't made it to the film yet. Some friends went and came back with good reviews.

No, haven't seen the film, just the trailer and read quite a bit of info about it. They haven't posted international opening dates yet, just the US ones.

Finally just saw the movie today. It is a must see for everybody. Oh how different things might be if the Florida election had been above board.

Anyhow, your post got me studying light bulbs. Although many of my friends have gone with compact fluorescent I have always been resistant because of the old big blinky fluorescent tube. Yuk. I truly dislike those things. It gives me a headache to sit under them. But I have been looking online at compacts for my bedside lamp and a few other fixtures. Monday I will go check them out at our local store that sells that sort of thing. Thanks for the kick.

I have always had the same resistance to flourescent bulbs for the same reasons but from what I understand they are greatly improved these days. :)

I have heard that too. And that the compact ones are different. I saw some full spectrum compact bulbs, which is probably what I will go with but haven't gotten any yet.

I was just thinking yesterday about the Swedish weather whining phenomenon. These people are never happy! Ha ha! I for one, do not bitch about the hot weather, except in our lab where I'm forced to wear a lab coat and there is hardly any airconditioning. And then I bitch about the stupid building and not the weather. I'm enjoying being able to wear whatever and not have my feet freezing or having to bring extra clothing.

Our dishwasher using incredibly low amounts of water on the economy wash and washes really well, too. We turn it off after the wash cycle and let them dry naturally. I think actually we end up using less water than handwashing the same amount (we have a little table top one).

The Dutch are the same. They stop complaining about the cold and rain to complain about the heat. Personally, I'm with them on the rain factor, but let's be thankful when the sun is shining.

Did you notice in my LJ the other day, my dear friend sabeine and her sambo had decided, after discussions about their part in the larger world, to trade in their SUV (only a year old) and were looking for a smaller ethanol-burning car or, in a pinch, a Honda hybrid. I love people who walk the walk.

I did see that :) I'm glad! We are considering selling our old Volvo soon and were talking about more fuel-efficient alternatives as well.

Remarkable how many of the things on that list I'm now doing just by virtue of living in Sweden.

Yep, I know. And how many of them I hadn't been doing all the time because of laziness. Am turning over a new life, starting yesterday.

I'm already doing most of those things, for me it's sort of natural. I was taught these things in order to save money; these days, saving the planet is more important to me, but most of the time the two go hand in hand. ;-)

And I'm really happy with my new car. I keep thinking the fuel gauge is broken, but it just doesn't use a lot of fuel. In US terms it gets 43 miles per gallon.

saw on tv yesterday that the average african produces greenhouse gases every day just enough to fill ONE balloon, and the average american produces one balloon every three seconds. :-O

Actually that sounds like a modest estimate where the average American is concerned. :(

(Anonymous)

HOLEEEEEE COW! Yikes.

That's all I have to say.

-terrell

Hmm. I love how I come here and find what I've been thinking put more articulately! Your point about how we've collectively caused the damage should act as proof that we can collectively repair it is brilliant. One I will use in arguments, often. I agree, the big thing people are always confronted with is what can one do PERSONALLY. Thanks for the list too--I was pleased to see that I'm already doing most of them--though seeing the effect of using something like lights/tv on the environment was eye opening. I don't think I ever,*embarrassed gasp* really made that connection. Lighting/tv is so removed from the environmental damage it causes... it makes me happy that I don't watch tv (for entirely other reasons!) I've also let many of the "lawns" on our property turn into "meadows": grasses absorb more pollutants and provide more habitat than lawn does! I have yet to see Gore's movie--but I've been thinking about these issues for years.

(Anonymous)

Closing blinds and dress more lightly doesn't help me. It's still hot as a sauna inside. I live on the top floor, only the hot roof above, with direct sunshine from mid-day to sunset. I only have windows in one direction and a balcony working like a real suncatcher. It's impossible to be on it - it's like 45-50 degrees! And inside in my apartment I have over 30 degrees. I would KILL for air conditioning!

I have a fan. But that uses electricity too and I have it day and night. But without it I would not manage! Not to mention how often I need to shower and waste water just to cool off...

But I am 100% with you on the importance of saving resources and do our little part in our every day lives. I have to pick my battles though... :(

/Mia

http://mias.blogg.se

I agree with you completely, we do have to pick our battles. From what I understand a fan at least uses much less energy than A/C. Apartments are hard since heat rises, you get caught from both directions. I suppose blinds don't help enough in some cases.

I wouldn't manage on these hot days without my fan, either. :)

*big smile* yay. i love this post.

Hey, I do almost all those things. *pats self on back* AND, I do overtime on the planting trees thing. :)

(Anonymous)
i learned something today

I pride myself on being environmentally conscious, but I tend to leave the TV on for company during the week. I didn't realize what a waste this is. Thanks so much for the post!

My new neighborhood in Seattle has this great InMotion program where they reward you for not being a single car driver. I signed up to participate and I've been walking so much more lately. I only wish more people would get jazzed up about it. Oh yeah, I also sought out a carpool buddy at work, so I'm trying harder to do my part. I tried busses for a while, but the bus system here sucks hard core, so I only take the bus on the weekends when I'm not actually required to be anywhere.

Hope things cool off for you. It's about 80 here and I'm loving it.

-terrell; aka Darlin T

Thank you! I've had a lovely day of pirates and sushi and ice cream, oh my!

And I do lots of things on that list already, and will attempt to do more of them, thank you for that!

(Anonymous)
smart car in US

The Smart Cars are already available in the US from ZAP www.zapworld.com ZP (NYSE). A California based company who is also planning on brining a Brazilian made car to the US, the Obvio! 828, that is a hybrid that can run on any combination of ethanol and gas. Zap is also the only car company who is selling a Chinese manufactured car in the US the 100% electric Xebra city car.

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