|← Patrick J. Michaels||Hazardous Waste Management →|
In the United States of America, some states are in search of renewable energy sources - wind, water, and solar energy - for energy. Recently twenty-three States and the Columbian District have set principles for how much of their energy must be produced by renewable sources. Conservationists have always spent thousands of hours striving to save the world. They have written columns, demonstrated, protested, and even celebrated the pursuit of this particular cause. The expression "think big, act small" describes a priceless approach to conservation, but it could be improved if we include our own personal routine activities to live more lightly on the earth. To me, acting locally to preserve the environment means neighborhood cleanup projects, recycling activities, and community gardens. This personal assessment guides readers to the next step of making their lives more environment-friendly. I shall describe here more of my everyday actions that everyone can judge to preserve our planet and its amazing natural resources. Thus people need to visualize a greener world, participate in 'greening' activities, and make their own lives compatible with a healthy environment.
Built upon the global understanding of the necessity for reduction in environmental impact and the current paradigm of the threefold model, the Kyoto Protocol was designed as an international agreement which would require the most advanced capitalist countries to take responsibility for global warming and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The targeted reductions were to reach approximately 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The Protocol, however, met enormous resistance from these countries, especially China and the United States. Yet environmental problems such as global warming ultimately threaten all of humanity and life on earth.
Other parts of human life, such as health and survival, also become commoditized so that human life and dignity become second to profit and the accumulation of riches. When this happens, not only do humans need to fear the environmental impact of consumption of natural resources, the pollution of the earth, and environmental degradation as represented by global warming, but they must fear that their own services no longer represent their best interests.
Watching these impacts of our choices and seeing the earth wearing down, I could not help but think of how and what I could do to change and start leaving a positive imprint on earth. Conserving energy seems to me is to stick out most, but still what can I do, just one person make a change that would really have an impact on earth? If we all take time and look what is happening around us, we can easily judge and manage. Whether good or bad, we can manage it quite easily, and we could change the impact. Then I conducted research that could help me become more knowledgeable about energy conservation. After this research I have learned how to save energy instantly.
Since I'm environment conscious, my green radar has constantly been disturbing me that buying local and organic isn't enough. I suspected that, as a cook, and as a home owner, or as a civilized citizen, I could do more to combat climate change. Lots more... The result: a treasury of practices that are as simple as to incorporate them into my routine life as changing light bulbs, yet concentration on every step of the eating process. Some techniques are old, some new, some I tweaked, and all are planned and worked out with good green payback in my mind. Together, they're entirely a new approach to cooking the basics.
Almost 85 percent of the energy consumption comes from fossil fuels-coal, oil, and natural gas supply. Although the supplies of these are vast, they are not infinite. Moreover, more significant to it, the earth's atmosphere and biosphere may not survive the environmental impact of burning such enormous amounts of these fuels. Carbon stored over millions of years is being released in a matter of decades, disrupting the earth's carbon cycle in unpredictable ways. But fossil fuels are not the only source of energy, and burning fuel is not the only way to produce heat and motion. Renewable energy offers us a better way to survive. Some energy sources are "renewable" because they are naturally stocked up, because they can be managed so that they last forever, or because their supply is so enormous that they can never be meaningfully used up by humans. Moreover, renewable energy sources have much smaller environmental impacts than fossils and nuclear fuels.
For reducing my energy usage, I planned my driving schedule by the week to cut down my vehicle as much as possible. I drive my children to and from school; do my shopping on the way home or on the way to pick them up. For the shortest journeys I left my vehicle in the garage to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. My style of driving is smooth and that is less damaging for the environment. I kept my tires properly inflated, and don't let the engine idle when I turn it off.
I'm frequent with these things at home:
With the increase in environmental awareness, I picked out cleansers for my home and avoid unnecessary dyes, fragrances and packaging. I would be really careful with concentrates. By using a cleanser that comes in concentrated form does save on packaging, and I mixed it up and diluted it at my home.
I conserve natural resources by cutting back on utilities such as power and water. To me, wasting electricity, for example, wastes money as well as the natural resources that produce the power. I used compact fluorescent lights in my home because these lights are more efficient and operate at a lower wattage, rather than using bulbs because they waste upward of 95 percent of the energy as heat.
Rising populations and intensifying agriculture are creating ever greater needs for water, and in many areas of the country there is not enough infrastructure, or simply not enough water, to keep up with this demand. Since the price of water is normally negligible, no one cares about potentials to use water rationally and thus it is wasted. What do we need to save water?
Just as people quickly became accustomed to water magically emerging from the tap, they grew to depend upon sanitary systems that made waste vanish, to be carried far away in a vast subterranean system, out of the body, out of the house, and out of mind, with the effects emerging somewhere else. We need to understand that in many areas of our country, water is becoming scarce. I disposed of all the water that is being used at my home. I know that the majority of water from residential and commercial toilets, sinks, washing machines, and dishwaters goes to the sanitary sewer and t hen on to the waste water treatment plant.
Whether we understand it or not, we leave a pretty big carbon footprint in our kitchens. The activities that release carbon emissions do not take place just in kitchens, however. Life making the refrigerator I already own more energy-efficient, and keeping fruits and vegetables fresh longer. I understand that refrigerator in the kitchen is the biggest energy hog, so I keep the temperature of my refrigerator between 33 and 37.
The environmental problems of the third world, given the low level of industrialization and wealth, could be explained as the result of population growth rather than technology or affluence. The environmental problems experienced in less developed countries like those of the former Soviet bloc and newly industrialized nations were attributed to inferior technology, because these technologies have lower efficiency in material usage and energy consumption per unit of output which in turn created high toxicity in the local environments. For their part, Western countries' main environmental problem could not be the result of rampant population growth or poor technology, because these problems did not exist to the extent that they did elsewhere. Rather, under this model the West becomes a victim of its affluence and the burden of increasing technological growth and consumption.
I calculated my carbon footprint in carbonfootprint.com, I discovered that my total carbon footprint is 3.98 tones of CO2. I feel astonished because my footprint is much bigger than country average. I reviewed my carbon footprint in different aspects, I found that the highest number of tones of CO2 use is in my car part (1.54 tones of CO2); the second is flight (1.42 tones of CO2). To be honest, in this month, I went to LA by driving my car one round, also I always go to San Francisco for shopping and having dinner there in this weekend; I think that is why my miles of car is high. Besides, in this month, I had my friend's birthday and my uncle's wedding, I went to LA by airline, that is why I produced 1.42 tones of CO2 in flight part. In the normal time, I do not go to LA so frequently; I think I would reduce a large part of CO2 in future. Actually, only 0.33 tones of CO2 in my house part. I think it is not a big number. In my daily life, I would like shopping a lot, and I just care what I buy, I did not think about its package that maybe produces CO2. I either did not look up the food is produce local or not, it is original or not, and so on. As far as I am concerned, my "Greenness" level is more of brownish gravy looking sludge color. For example, when I am at home, if I turn off my lights and the thermostat down, I would turn up the TV and the woodstove. Moreover, I drive a little bit more miles with my car.
I will use my home as an example of how to figure own this. I have a gas range that has two burner sizes. The larger is rated at 10,000 BTUs and the smaller at 6,000. These ratings are usually found on the appliance's serial plate or in the manuals. One hour at full throttle produced 10 or 6 thousand BTUs. My microwave is a 1200 watt model. If operated at high power for one hour, the device is going to consume 1.3 KWh of electricity. In New York City, electricity production creates an average of 1,038 pounds of CO2 per MWh (one megawatt is 1000 kilowatts) or 1.038 pounds per kilowatt-hour. Since 1 BTU of natural gas produces .000117 pounds of CO2, 10,000 produce 1.17 pounds, and 6,000, .067. So 1 hour of microwave use at the highest setting and one hour of natural gas stovetop usage (one again at the highest setting) produce 1.246 and 1.17 pounds of CO2, respectively. In order compare the carbon footprints of gas versus electric cookery one then takes the cooking times and power levels to arrive at a final comparison.
If I boil a cup of water in the microwave (five minutes at high), I will be adding about .109 pounds of CO2 to the atmosphere. If I boil the water on the smaller burner on the stove (ten minutes at half throttle) I will have added .033 pounds of CO2. So from the greenhouse gas emissions perspective it is better to boil water on the stove. I hasten to add that a strict price-cost analysis of this procedure leads to another conclusion. The .105 KWh of electricity consumed by my microwave costs me 2 cents (at .20 cents per KWh) while the ten minutes (500 BUTs) of natural gas combustion costs me 9.5 cents (at .00019 cents per BTU or $19.57 per 1000ft3). I can choose either to pay the extra few cents in order to reduce my carbon footprint or to pay less and pollute more. I choose to pay the extra few cents to lower my footprint. This choice represents in microcosm the choice facing me in many areas of my life.
As I lie in bed with my mind racing, the full idea hits me. I'll lower my carbon footprint as I lower my own footprint. For some clear and obvious reasons, I need to have a lighter footprint. I need to lose at least fifty, if not one hundred pounds. As far as my carbon footprint is concerned, I'm a recycler and I'm thoughtful. Other than what I do not know. As much trouble as I have with my weight, I'm much more cynical about carbon changes. I'm a girl who loves his air-conditioning. But I'll suck this all up! I'll lose lots of weight while becoming ecologically responsible!
Solving these environmental crises for me, then, reduces to altering the factor in the formula that is out of balance. Since the earth's fundamental capacity of natural resources is finite and can only expand so much in order to accommodate the rapidly increasing demands that are being placed on it, somehow, regardless of the type of country, a method for reducing consumption and impact on the earth must be devised in order to reestablish harmony and balance. Mirroring the factors within the formula, I figured this out that the three ways to cause this positive change are: stabilization and/or reduction of population, technological improvements, or radical socioeconomic change. At this point, most demographers agree that the world's population is now slowly stabilizing, but that this is not enough to reestablish balance, because per capita consumption of materials and energies continue to rise exponentially. Usually, then, environmentalists search for a technological solution to reduce environmental impact, thus commoditizing environmentalism itself.