Conservation Corner: Global warming III

Global warming III

Pauline Lee

The industrial revolution has brought amazing developments in our civilization. Unfortunately, these advances depend on the use of fossil fuels which has increased the production of greenhouse gases (particularly CO2) that trap heat from the sun. Since 1880, our global temperature has increased by an average of 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit and the sea level has risen by half a foot. Living beings that can’t adapt fast enough to the global climate change are becoming extinct. Weather patterns are changing resulting in increasingly intense hurricanes, tornadoes and more floods, droughts and wild fires. Our crop production has become erratic and some people are developing health problems due to the associated environmental changes.

The average American causes more than 20 tons of CO2 emission per year, four times greater than the global average. The sources of CO2 emission are transportation (28 percent), stuff you buy (26 percent), home heating and cooling (17 percent), other home energy use (15 percent) and food (14 percent). Consumers should consider the following possibilities to reduce their carbon emission, also known as their carbon footprint.

1. Drive less. Use a car with greater fuel efficiency. Reduce idling to cut emission by 10 percent. Carpool or use mass transportation. Walking and biking improve your health and require no gasoline. Don’t let low gas prices blind you to the negative environmental impact of driving.

2. Conserve energy at home. Reduce heating and cooling costs by more than 25 percent by improving your house insulation. Save about 1 ton of CO2 annually by setting the thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter or higher in summer. Wear thin long johns to stay warm while lowering the thermostat by five degrees or more. Get SRP rebates for replacing your old appliances with improved, energy-efficient appliances and for having sun shades installed on your windows. Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent and LED bulbs to get 75 percent and 80 percent energy savings respectively.

3. Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Every manufactured item has its carbon footprint. Reduce collecting or buying more stuff which you really don’t need. Reuse and recycle things whenever possible. A household which recycles at least half of its household waste will produce 1.2 tons less CO2 annually.

4. Buy different foods. Eat fewer high carbon footprint foods such as animal sources of protein (especially red meat), heavily processed and packaged foods and highly perishable produce shipped by air freight. Buy locally produced fresh food, for example at the Chandler Farmer’s Market every Thursday from 3:00-7:00 p.m. at Three S. Arizona Ave., northwest of City Hall.

5. Plant more vegetation. Plants and trees absorb CO2 as they grow. Get two free trees from SRP to shade your house and reduce your cooling cost as an added bonus.

Take a moment to reflect on ways you might adjust your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint. Though the changes you make may be small, when you join with others in making environmentally responsible choices, the impact is multiplied. Your help is needed – your grandchildren will thank you!