Well, my jolly green army, the tour is rounding itself out and we will be home in a few days to bake in the Arizona sun and to prepare for a little jaunt to Spain. The tour with Guster has been an enlightening experience this time around and I’m thankful Spin.com gave me a forum for my “blosts.”
While my mind and fingers have been running the gamut of biodegradable fuels and carbon neutral offsets these past few weeks, one indelible reminder bleeds through:
“Really? It’s not just going to go away?”
Unfortunately this is not something that is “going to work itself out.”
From the simplicity of switching the lights off when you leave the house, to utilizing mass transit systems, to the honorable act of recycling — there are ways we can make an impact.
Here are a few nails to hopefully hammer it home:
Try the Bus: Buses, trains, light rail and ferries generally have dedicated travel paths that are quicker than sitting alone in your car, which can cut down travel times.
– “40% of U.S. reliance on foreign oil would decrease if one in ten Americans used public transportation daily.”
– “If one in five Americans used public transportation daily, the carbon monoxide emissions saved would be greater than the combined emissions from all chemical manufacturing and metal processing industries.”
No Leaks: A dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month. Get out the wrench and change the washers on your sinks and showers, or get new washer-less faucets. Keeping your existing equipment well maintained is probably the easiest and cheapest way to start saving water.
– “Much of the world gets by on 2.5 gallons of water per day. The average American uses 400 gallons per day, 30% of which is for outdoor uses and half for watering lawns, which equals seven billion gallons per day.”
– “An estimated $11.3 billion dollars are required to provide basic levels of service for drinking and waste water in Africa and Asia. Amount spent on bottled water in the First World: $35 billion.”
Buy Recycled: The essence of recycling is the cyclical movement of materials through the system, eliminating waste and the need to extract more virgin materials. Supporting recycling means feeding this loop by not only recycling, but also supporting recycled products. We can now find high recycled content in everything from printer paper to office chairs.
– “544,000 trees would be saved if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of virgin fiber paper towels (70 sheets) with 100% recycled ones.”
– “20 million tons of electronic waste is thrown away each year. One ton of scrap from discarded computers contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tons of gold ore.”
Buy Local: Locally sourced food cuts back on the climate-change impacts of transportation. Local food also generally uses less packaging, is fresher and tastier, and comes in more varieties. It also supports small local growers and lets them get more for their produce by not having to spend so much on packing, processing, refrigeration, marketing, and shipping.
– “The average U.S. meal comes from five different nations.”
– “Shipping a pound of apples from a farm in Iowa to a market in Washington requires 30% more fuel and releases 30% more greenhouse gases than shipping those apples to a local market in Iowa.”
The war is over, if you want it.