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Red, White, and Green

Red, White, and Green

Helping the Environment

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After the credits roll on Al Gore's Oscar-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, it leaves us asking ourselves, "What can I, an average American, do to slow global warming, decrease our use of carbon dioxide, and help our environment?"

The answers are easier than you think, and you don't have to be rich, political, or an environmental expert in order to do it. All you need is a willingness to learn and openness to minor changes. After all, if we don't take care of our world, our planet, our earth, who's going to? Are we going to leave it for our children and grandchildren? The who is you, the where is right where you live, the what is very do-able, and the when is now.

Consequences of global warming: Stronger hurricanes, hotter climate, rising sea levels "It's really not hard coming up with solutions to help the environment if you just think about it and do a little research," says Dana Skidmore, a hairdresser from Kentucky. "It's common sense things that we've been told to do over the years, like turning down our thermostat, but now it's not a choice anymore. We have to do these things if we're going to have a future at all."

At Home:

Lower your thermostat. Lowering it by just two or three degrees in the winter, and raising it by just two or three in the summer, can save about 2000 pounds in carbon dioxide each year, and approximately $100 on your heating and cooling bill.

Use recycled paper. It saves five pounds of carbon dioxide for each ream.

Use cloth bags for shopping when you can, instead of plastic. Bring your own from home.

Cook organic food. The chemicals used in processed foods pollute our water and use more energy to produce than organic food.

Weatherize your home: This includes everything from using double-pane windows, to insulating your house, to using caulking and weatherstripping where needed.

Use compact fluorescent bulbs. They are a little pricier than regular bulbs, but they will save you on energy and money in the long run.

Fill the dishwasher before using it. Using a half-loaded washer just wastes energy and money.

Take shorter showers.

Buy a hybrid car next time. This will save about 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year.

Use a push mower instead of a riding mower.

Start a petition in your community to push the officials to make environmental-friendly decisions.

Buy food locally. This saves the energy it takes to transport food across the country.

"I didn't think much about the environment as a kid," states Travis Ruggles, a construction worker. "But now I have two little babies, and it makes you wonder what their air and water will be like if we don't do something right now."

At Work:

A lot of the energy-saving ideas in the home can be used at or on the way to work:

Carpool. It saves several hundred dollars for you and 800 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

Again, used recycled paper at work.

Make sure your tires are inflated.

Check the air filter on your car once a month.

Start a group at work to discuss what you can do for the environment in the workplace.

Kids:

You teach your kids about healthy eating and how to stay safe in the neighborhood and on the Internet, now teach them how to make their environment safer. Buy educational but fun environmental videos to watch, and view them as a family.

Have fund raisers in the neighborhood so that your children can learn early the importance of giving financially to environmental organizations.

Help your child plant a tree. It will help clean the air and save about 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

Teach the kids to put on a sweater or hoodie instead of turning the thermostat up in the home.

Encourage them to buy recycled paper for school.

Have your children recycle paper, plastic, and glass with you.

Teach the kids to unplug their electronics when not in use.

Put up a clothesline in the backyard and show your kids how to air dry things like blankets, beach towels, sheets, pillowcases, etc.

Have kids turn off lights when not in use.

… So what are you waiting for? The answer truly lies in your hands and at your literal fingertips.

Tammy Ruggles is a freelance writer based in Kentucky. Her first book, Peace, was published in 2005 by Clear Light Books.
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Joyce Mumbai, India May 24, 2012

PLANT TREES In India we save the seeds of fruits (which can be washed and stored in our window sills - so no mess in the house - for use later on) such as custard apple, chikoos, etc. and carry them on our picnic trips across the countryside. We have a lot of forest area in our country. These seeds are dropped at these places. If even one seed takes root it is worth our effort.

Try this little idea and let each one of us plant a tree in our country. Once children see this, many will think before discarding seeds into the trash, which eventually are wasted.

Happy Planting and enjoy the outing!!! Reply

Anonymous May 5, 2008

a couple more... I think it's great that people are looking at this issue. However, here's something to think about: go to many homes for a Shabbos meal and you will see paper plates and plastic silverware and aluminum cooking pans like crazy. Costco and other places sell cheap plastic plates (that look nice too!) and you can wash and reuse them, saving money and the earth in the long run. Also, if you must use the disposable aluminum for your Shabbos meals, try to use as few as possible....Do ALL of your sides and main courses need to be made in them?....Just think about it. Take a look around your Shabbos table and think how much paper you could save...... Reply

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