You knew it was coming, it was just a matter of when. That's right, how could I resist posting something substantial on EARTH DAY!!!
Yesterday I received a great book in the mail from Scholastic, entitled The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming. This informative children's book by environmentalist and An Inconvenient Truth producer Laurie David, and her partner in crime, Cambria Gordon, is a to-the-point, down to the nitty gritty, fact-stuffed introduction to global warming: the causes, the effects, and how to make a change.
While you can expect a full review in the May issue of Estella's Revenge, I wanted to share some initial thoughts and some facts from this wonderful book. I have to say, as an adult, I felt I got just as much (if not more) out of this book than a kid would. The facts are staggering, and the format--full of pictures, diagrams, and factoid asides--helps bring the immensity and cycle of global warming into focus. But more on that on May 1st...
Facts I found astounding, troubling, and ultimately affecting:
- The Earth's average temperature is rising. As little as a one-degree rise in temperature could make a huge difference in the way our ecosystems operate. Glaciers will melt (already begun), oceans will get too warm (already begun), animals and plants begin to die because they can't acclimate to the rapidly changing environment (already begun). As the authors point out, a popsicle in your freezer is solidly frozen at 32 degrees fahrenheit, but at 33 it falls off the stick.
- Carbon dioxide--the culprit in global warming--comes from transportation (33%), industry (29%), residential electricity use (21%), and commercial electricity use (17%).
- If you're not convinced that you can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions in your everyday life, try this fact on for size: If every kid in America swapped one regular lightbulb for a compact fluorescent we could prevent more than 30 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions and save enough energy to light more than 15 million homes for an entire year. It would be like taking 14 million cars off the road. Andi says: go to the dollar store, buy some compact fluorescent bulbs, and start changing over gradually. If you replace all of the regular bulbs in your home, you may see up to as much as $50 of savings on your electric bill. SERIOUSLY! Been there, done that!
- "Phantom power" is one of the biggest energy wastes in the United States. 10% of your monthly power bill is a result of phantom power. When you leave a phone charger plugged up, a laptop on standby, a DVD player plugged in, etc. it still draws power (feel the charger, it's warm). By plugging your things into a surge protecting power strip and turning it off when you leave, you cut out phantom power usage.
- Deforestation is the second-largest contributor to global warming--right behind the burning of fossil fuels. Trees are important. When you buy bathroom tissue, kleenex, and other paper products, look to see that they're made of at least 30% post-consumer waste. Most household paper products like toilet paper, paper towels, and other tissues are made of virgin wood. 80% of the earth's original forests are gone.
Cool and Encouraging:
- New York City has the largest fleet of hybrid buses in America.
- 20% of the world's electricity comes from water power
- The band Coldplay bought 10,000 mango trees to be planted in India to offset the carbon emissions that resulted from the creation of their album A Rush of Blood to the Head, including manufacturing, shipping, and other harmful processes.
- In Ireland, customers must pay for paper or plastic bags. The use of reusable shopping bags has skyrocketed as a result!
- And many more!
Join the virtual march against global warming at http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/
Calculate your carbon footprint at http://www.conservation.org/
Learn to offset your carbon footprint at http://www.carbonfund.org/
Plant a tree for every book you read at http://www.ecolibris.net/
Happy Earth Day! Remember, the little things make a difference, so help protect Earth today!