Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day 2008

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!

Great websites:

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!


  1. And don't forget to eat at least one vegetarian meal (or more. . .) per week! :-)

    Another website I like is:


  2. That's something I need to do better at, Lezlie! Thanks for the link. That's a great site. :)

  3. Happy Earth Day! Great links which I need to check out.

  4. Adni, thanks for mentioning Eco-Libris!

    We've posted today on our blog few interesting options for green readers on Earth Day: http://ecolibris.blogspot.com/2008/04/green-reading-options-for-earth-day.html

    Happy Earth Day,

    Raz @ Eco-Libris

  5. Did you watch that great 2 hour show on Alaska on Sunday night on Discovery? It was not only beautiful but showed some potentially frightening global changes. I was both in awe of the beauty and saddened by it as well. They had these black and white photos of various spots taken 100 years ago and they went to those locations and took new photos to compare. It was pretty amazing.

  6. Thanks for the reminders, Andi. Saturday was National Hanging Out Day - as in laundry. Electric dryers use five to ten percent of residential electricity in the United States! Visit laundrylist.org to learn all you want to know about clothesliners!

  7. Thank you for the informative post. I am going to use that information in a post later on tonight.

  8. We are having an Earth Day celebration/clean up this weekend for my husband's class. These tips will be useful. Thanks!

  9. I linked to your post in my post. Thanks again for such great information:

  10. Count me in for the book draw! And my family and i just watched a special on the polar bears and seals in the arctic,and what is happening with the ice loss. My daughter (who's 5) was fascinated but didn't understand why the loss of ice was so bad for the bears. She thought they could just move onto land, and I had to say the seals didn't live there, they both need the ice, and the fish.
    I sure wish Hillary and Obama would bring up the environment, in their preliminaries, which we get coverage up here in Canada. So far I've heard nothing from either candidate.

  11. I watched the Earth Report on NG channel last night. It was a bit depressing :( Count me in and I'll advertise on my blog too.

  12. Thanks, Iliana!

    Thanks for stopping by, Raz!

    Carl, those shows make me SAD! I almost cry every time I watch An Inconvenient Truth!

    I checked out that site when I read your post about it, Terri! Way cool!

    Glad you found it helpful, beastmomma. :)

    Oh, Susan, the whole polar bear/penguin thing just breaks my friggin' heart. That's the reason I bawl when I watch An Inconvenient Truth.

    Will do, Chris. It is really depressing, but at least we can all do little things to help. They all add up in the end.

  13. I started using those surge protecting power strips recently. No more phantom power here!

    About reusable shopping bags, I was thrilled to see that they were so widely used in the UK. Over here, though, they are absolutely unheard of. I still use the ones I bought over there, but I have failed to convince anyone to switch. I wish they'd start making you pay for plastic bags here...I've no doubt that it make a lot of people change their minds.

  14. Thanks for the links. I'm trying to be more green. I'm proud to say that I have replaced all the light bulbs in my house with the compact fluorescent type.


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