I recently did an interview with a local radio station. I’d been invited on to talk about Earth Month and what we can do in our homes to reduce our carbon footprint.
I offered up my usual advice — neither new nor glamorous, but nonetheless worth repeating. We must, I said, remember that the three Rs start with “reduce.” We absolutely must reduce our consumption of fossil-fuel-burning energy. And then I outlined how incredibly simple — as well as economically sound — this is. If you’re doing it right, I said, living green should, overall, save you money.
The radio interviewer interrupted. “Hasn’t Earth Day lost its appeal?” he asked. “Didn’t it used to be trendy? Don’t you worry now that no one cares?”
One of the biggest things you can do to support and encourage responsibly raised food is to vote with your wallet. You may be patronizing CSAs and farmers’ markets for local produce, buying organic brands from your supermarket and studying nutrition labels for evils like high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives, but if you’re eating in restaurants blissfully ignorant of where the food on your plate comes from, then you might be undermining your efforts.
Smart grids. Everyone’s talking about them. President Obama wants to include the beginnings of a new smart grid in the economic recovery package. Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens started calling for an overhaul of the power grid last year as he touted his wind energy plan. And GE even laid down a serious chunk of change to run ads during the Super Bowl (featuring the Wizard of Oz’s hapless scarecrow) simply to convince folks a smart grid might be quite a nice thing to have — and perchance also that GE would be a dandy company to help build it. (See the ad on Earth2Tech.)
Tankless water heaters are getting a lot of buzz these days. After all, they can reduce a household’s water-heating energy use by 20-50 percent. And that’s no chump change: Water heating counts for about a third of a house’s total energy usage.
By now we all know that hucking your old stuff into the landfill and buying shiny new “green” stuff is not the way to solve any of the planet’s perils. With clothes dryers this is especially true because the technology in new machines hasn’t improved enough for substantial energy savings. Even the EPA seems to have thrown up its hands by not including clothes dryers in its Energy Star program that certifies energy-saving products. After the refrigerator, which is on all the time, clothes dryers are the second biggest energy drain among household appliances.
You’ve chosen your eco-fashion line-up for the coming season — and that’s no small investment. Now it’s time to keep those clothes looking bright and clean for as long as possible without harming the environment. No, that doesn’t mean we should all meet at the river with our washboards. But, if we really want to reduce our impact, we do need to do things a little differently