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Top 10 Things You Can Do to Reduce Global Warming

Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming.

You can help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely. Here are 10 simple actions you can take to help reduce global warming.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Do your part to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Buying products with minimal packaging (including the economy size when that makes sense for you) will help to reduce waste. And whenever you can, recycle paper, plastic, newspaper, glass and aluminum cans. If there isn’t a recycling program at your workplace, school, or in your community, ask about starting one. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning

Adding insulation to your walls and attic, and installing weather stripping or caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home.Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Setting your thermostat just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide each year.

3. Change a Light Bulb

Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70 percent less heat.If every U.S. family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.

4. Drive Less and Drive Smart

Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking are great forms of exercise. Explore your community’s mass transit system, and check out options for carpooling to work or school.When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example, keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products

When it’s time to buy a new car, choose one that offers good gas mileage. Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models, and compact florescent bulbs are designed to provide more natural-looking light while using far less energy than standard light bulbs.Avoid products that come with excess packaging, especially molded plastic and other packaging that can’t be recycled. If you reduce your household garbage by 10 percent, you can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

6. Use Less Hot Water

Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating blanket if it is more than 5 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in warm or cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most households. Use the energy-saving settings on your dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry.

7. Use the “Off” Switch

Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, video player, stereo and computer when you’re not using them.It’s also a good idea to turn off the water when you’re not using it. While brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it for rinsing. You’ll reduce your water bill and help to conserve a vital resource.

8. Plant a Tree

If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by automobile traffic, manufacturing and other human activities. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.

9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company

Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.

10. Encourage Others to Conserve

Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.These 10 steps will take you a long way toward reducing your energy use and your monthly budget. And less energy use means less dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming.

By Larry West, About.com

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July 1, 2008 Posted by | Environment | Leave a comment

Five Ways to Help Save the Planet in 30 Minutes or Less

You may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution and save endangered species single-handedly, but by choosing to live an earth-friendly lifestyle you can do a lot every day to help achieve those goals.

And by making wise choices about how you live, and the amount of energy and natural resources you consume, you send a clear message to businesses, politicians and government agencies that value you as a customer, constituent and citizen.

Here are five simple things you can do—in 30 minutes or less—to help protect the environment and save Planet Earth.

Drive Less, Drive Smart
Every time you leave your car at home you reduce air pollution, lower , improve your health and save money.

Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips, or take public transportation for longer ones. In 30 minutes, most people can easily walk a mile or more, and you can cover even more ground on a bicycle, bus, subway or commuter train. Research has shown that people who use public transportation are healthier than those who don’t. Families that use public transportation can save enough money annually to cover their food costs for the year.

When you do drive, take the few minutes needed to make sure your engine is well maintained and your tires properly inflated.

Eat Your Vegetables
Eating less meat and more fruits, grains and vegetables can help the environment more than you may realize. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products contributes heavily to global warming, because raising animals for food produces many more greenhouse gas emissions than growing plants. A 2006 report by the University of Chicago found that adopting a vegan diet does more to reduce global warming than switching to a hybrid car.

Raising animals for food also uses enormous amounts of land, water, grain and fuel. Every year in the United States alone, 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, 70 percent of all grain, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food.

Making a salad doesn’t take any more time than cooking a hamburger and it’s better for you—and for the environment.

Switch to Reusable Shopping Bags Producing plastic bags uses a lot of natural resources, and most end up as litter that fouls landscapes, clogs waterways, and kills thousands of marine mammals that mistake the ubiquitous bags for food. Worldwide, up to a trillion plastic bags are used and discarded every year—more than a million per minute. The count for paper bags is lower, but the cost in natural resources is still unacceptably high—especially when there is a better alternative.

Reusable shopping bags, made of materials that don’t harm the environment during production and don’t need to be discarded after each use, reduce pollution and save resources that could be put to better uses than making plastic and paper bags. Reusable bags are convenient and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Some reusable bags can even be rolled or folded small enough to fit into a purse or pocket.

Change Your Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are more energy efficient and less expensive to use than the traditional incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison. For example, compact fluorescent light bulbs use at least two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and they last up to 10 times longer. Compact fluorescent light bulbs also generate 70 percent less heat, so they are safer to operate and can reduce energy costs associated with cooling homes and offices.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, if every U.S. household replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb, it would prevent 90 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. On top of that, for every incandescent bulb you replace with an approved compact fluorescent light bulb, you will save consumers $30 in energy costs over the life of the bulb.

By Larry West, About.com

July 1, 2008 Posted by | Environment | Leave a comment

Robert Valentino Tarigan – Pelindung Bumimu

Hutan – siapa pun tahu – adalah penyangga bumi dari kehancuran. Hutan pun merupakan paru-paru dunia. Kalau air dikatakan sumber kehidupan, hutan dapat dikatakan penyangganya. Mengapa tidak, akar-akar kayu yang ada di hutan berfungsi di samping menyerap juga menyimpan air. Singkatnya, hutan merupakan ‘mesin’ sirkulasi air paling canggih yang tak dapat digantikan dengan apa pun. Lalu, pertanyaannya, apa kaitan hutan dengan uang serta pistol. Jawabnya sederhana saja, dari hutan manusia akan memperoleh uang yang sangat banyak. Cuma ada segelintir orang yang ingin merusaknya karena kebutuhan sesaat. Kemudian, karena ada yang merusak, ada pula yang ingin mempertahankan (melestarikan). Muncullah perlawanan. Seiring dengan itu muncul pula pistol yang di dalamnya berkonspirasi antara kekuasaan, kekuatan dan uang. Membicarakan kelestarian hutan – mau tidak mau – akan berhadapan dengan dua kutub yang saling tarik-menarik kepentingan. Kutub pertama, pembela lingkungan – yang meskipun jadi martir – akan terus berjuang agar satu batang pohon pun jangan ditebang. Kutub yang kedua adalah para maling kayu yang dengan buasnya menghabisi hutan-hutan kita bersama dengan konco-konconya.

Demikianlah sekilas kata dr. Robert Valentino Tarigan, S.Pd yang merupakan seorang tokoh pendidikan sekaligus aktivis lingkungan sejati.

Ini ada beberapa foto ketika investasi langsung ke hutan-hutan di daerah-daerah Sumatera Utara.

Menghadang si “monster besi” yang sedang bersiap untuk menghancurkan hutan.

Inilah sebagian kecil dari kayu-kayu yang telah diambil dari hutan-hutan hasil jepretan dari Bapak Robert Valentino ketika investigasi langsung ke lapangan.

Oh, my Gosh..!! Hutanku Tinggal Sebatang Pohon

Duh, lagi-lagi Illegal Logging!!

Informasi lainnya seputar illegal logging di kawasan Sumatera Utara akan menyusul. Bagi yang ingin tahu lebih banyak lagi tentang Bapak Robert Valentino, silakan buka link berikut: Pelindung Bumimu

June 4, 2008 Posted by | Environment | Leave a comment