"We have met the enemy and he is us." ... Pogo
"Many hands make light work" ... John Heywood
Science tells us the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased dramatically over the past 100 years, leading to a warming trend to the Earth's climate.
There are countless ways each of us can reduce our carbon footprints (a measurement of the amount of carbon our lifestyles generate), some absolutely simple, some requiring some radical changes to life as we know it.
With more than 300 million people living in the United States, another three-quarters of a billion residing in Europe, and more than 6.6 billion people calling the planet Earth "home," if each individual simply improves his or her lifestyle - in terms of emission of carbon dioxide - we can push into the gear the kind of progress scientists say the planet needs.
LIST OF SIMPLE TIPS
Below are some simple tips that, in the big picture, can help reduce carbon emissions if they are implemented by enough individuals.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." ... Margaret Meade
Common household cleaning products do more than clean your home. The chemicals in widely used products can fill your home with toxins resulting in indoor air pollution, headaches, respiratory problems and other long term effects. All products are not created equal so it's important to read labels carefully.
Look for all-purpose cleaners and other items that don't contain the sudsing agents known as triethanolamine (TEA) and diethanolamine (DEA). 1,4-dioxane and Butyl cellosolve or ethylene glycol monobutyl ether are also dangerous carcinogens. Other potentially harmful ingredients are alkylphenol ethoxylates such as p-nonylphenol and one APE.
It's important to note that any item claiming to destroy bacteria and kill germs is probably effective, but at the expense of being highly toxic.
Fragrances can be irritating and cause more severe problems, especially for people with asthma. It's always best to purchase fragrance free products if possible.
The good news is that there are greener, cleaner, household products that pose no serious threats to people, their pets, and the environment. You probably even have some of these alternative items in your kitchen pantry at this moment!
An increasing number of dry cleaners are advertising "Earth-friendly" alternatives. This is in response to backlash over the traditional solvent used, perchloroethylene (aka "perc"). According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the chemical compound has been linked to several health issues, including dizziness, fatigue, headaches and possibly even cancer (the EPA calls this a "potential" link; studies are under review).
As businesses move away from perc, what are they moving to? If a shop touts "Earth-friendly alternatives," ask what solvents are used instead. The answer likely will be one of the following:
Water needs to be treated in order to produce potable water fit for human consumption and the water treatment process does have an environmental impact. Consequently, conserving water helps to reduce the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere.
In The Kitchen:
Outside The House - Yard & Garden Conservation:
Yard & Garden Conservation - aka Greenscaping