What do you do?

Do YOU do anything to reduce your "ecological footprint"—the amount of energy and resources you use and waste you produce?

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Joe's picture
Joe says:

I recycle everything I possibly can, and try to avoid buying things that are not recyclable. One small thing I do, that I wish more people would do, is I set the preferences on my computer and printer so that I print double sided. That saves a lot of paper, especially at work. I save energy at home by turning down the thermostat at night and while I am away at work.

posted on Mon, 10/17/2005 - 5:18pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I recycle. I don't drive much, I drive the speed limit, and I drive a fuel-efficient and low-emissions vehicle. We have a small-capacity dishwasher; we fill it completely, and run it before bed; that means the energy for our hot water heater gets used at an off-peak time, and we can let the dishes air dry overnight. We have a front-loading washing machine that doesn't use a lot of hot water, and it spins the clothes almost dry so we don't waste as much energy in the clothes dryer. But I feel like I don't have enough information to make really informed decisions about the resources I use.

For example, we use a programmable thermostat and turn our heat down really low at night and when we're not home during the day. We use a highly-efficient wood stove to heat most of our house in the evenings. But we're responsible for the cutting of trees to fuel that stove, and we're sending pollutants up our chimney just as surely as the High Bridge power plant just a few miles away. And I don't know which is preferable, ecologically speaking.

If I sign up to use "renewable" energy through Xcel, then I may be getting hydropower, which is good in terms of greenhouse gases, but may have other environmental consequences.

Everything is a trade-off, and I don't know how to evaluate and weigh the pros and cons.

posted on Mon, 10/17/2005 - 10:42pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

We are foolish regarding our natural resources. (Think Easter Island and Nubia.)We still know very little about climate change's cause. Nevertheless, we must try to conserve what we have for future generations. We have been very selfish.

posted on Mon, 10/24/2005 - 2:58pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I was sitting in the doctor's waiting room last week, flipping through a copy of The Economist. An ad for Chevron caught my eye.

"The good news is we've got a huge source of alternative energy all around us. It's called conservation, and it's the lowest cost new source of energy we have at hand. Since 1973 alone, improvements in energy efficiency have resulted in a 50% reduction of our daily energy use, which is the same as discovering 25 million extra barrels of oil equivalent every single day. Clearly, saving energy is like finding it. But we all need to do more.

For developed and emerging economies alike, incorporating energy efficient technology into construction projects can reduce consumption by 40%. The use of more fuel efficent vehicles - including hybrids - is encouraging, and if automakers improved fuel economy across the board by just 5 mpg, we'd save over 22 billion gallons of gasoline a year. Governments and businesses need to reduce their own energy use and promote conservation to their citizens and employees. And the average person wields incredible power when it comes to conserving energy; if everyone lowered their heating temperature 6 degrees, we'd save 570,000 barrels of oil every day.

Of course, not only does using less energy mean there's more fuel to go around, it also means fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The fact is, if everyone began conserving today, we'd see results immediately."

Not what I was expecting from an oil company, only I see that BP and a few others are running similar ads.

Here are a few more facts from the two-page spread:

  • The U.S. consumes a million dollars' worth of energy every minute.
  • Replacing just one incandescent lightbulb with a compact fluorescent lamp would save 500 pounds of coal and over a half-ton of CO2 emissions.
  • If just one in 10 homes used ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances, the environmental benefit would be like planting 1.7 million new acres of trees.
  • posted on Fri, 12/02/2005 - 3:40pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

My family buys Blue Planet gasoline from Holiday, and we car pool a ton.

posted on Tue, 12/13/2005 - 4:11pm
Jean's picture
Jean says:

I hang my clothes to dry always; outdoors in the summer and indoors in the winter. This is for a family of 5. It's not hard, and actually saves a lot of wear and tear on your clothing. If you tumble them in the dryer for a couple minutes, it takes most of the wrinkles out. I rarely iron anything. In the winter, there is the added benefit of putting moist air into the house.

posted on Sun, 09/09/2007 - 9:09pm

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