Planet Earth is blue and there is something you can do

blue_goals_spotHere’s a short list of things you can do to live a greenier life and reduce your CO2 footprint.

  1. If you don’t have allergies try to hang your clothes outside on a line.  And if that is for some reason banned in your community you can get help here…Project Laundry List’s-Stop the Ban!
  2. Use CFL’s, compact fluorescent light bulbs.
  3. Adjust your AC.  Try a setting 10 degrees cooler than the day’s high temperature.  You’ll save 3 percent on your energy costs for every degree raised over 72 degrees. Or raise the temperature and use a fan to save even more.  
  4. Draw the blinds and curtains during the sunniest and warmest times of day. 
  5. Cut back on single-serving foods and beverages.  Buy items in bulk and portion them out into reusable containers.
  6. Buy concentrated household items, like detergent and cleaning supplies, so you get more product per package.
  7. Look for packing made from recycled materials.  The higher the percentage of recycled content the better.
  8. Plug your entertainment electronics and more into power strips so you can cut their power drain in standby mode. Miscellaneous appliances are just as guilty of pumping out greenhouse carbon dioxide when not in use.  So plugging them into a strip that you can cut off will save you money on your electric bill while and prevent the CO2 from being added to the atomosphere.
  9. If you water your lawn, set the sprinkler to a setting that gives off large drops low and close to the ground.  Water early in the morning, which will ensure the water soaks into the soil instead of evaporating.  Position the sprinkler so that all water falls on the lawn and not the sidewalk or driveway.
  10. Stop charging your cell phone overnight. The longer a battery is charging, the longer it’s exposed to heat, which can wear it down. Most cell phone batteries fully charge in under two hours, so as soon as all bars have been restored, unplug your phone. And while you’re at it, unplug the charger, which constantly drains power even when it’s not juicing up your phone.

In one word – Grain

blue_goals_spotGrain prices are increasing and reaching historical highs. International food aid flows are being slashed because of it. Added to that fact, there is water and land scarcity, so higher crop yields are getting harder and harder to achieve. The number of hungry people will possibly soar, if something isn’t done. The responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture was food security, but it has lost its power to control grain supplies as the United States has discontinued setting aside cropland since 1996. In a world where cropland is scarce decisions are more important. Decisions made by governments on the production of crop-based automotive fuels are already affecting grain supplies and prices. What other decisions will be made in developing or developed countries that will affect the hungry and poverty stricken?

Everything is really a decision, when the size of car you drive to the supermarket is starting to effect the size of your grocery bill.

Don’t keep me on standby…

blue_goals_spotIs it time to get a more energy efficient TV, stereo, or computer?

As of 2007 the estimated share of electricity used by appliances in standby mode worldwide is up to 10 percent of total electricity consumption.  

Some governments are capping the amount of standby power used by products at 1 watt per appliance.  Is yours?

excerpts taken from Plan B 3.0 by Lester R. Brown

Energy Efficiency

blue_goals_spotMany people know that CFLs (those wonderful new light bulbs) use only one fourth as much electricity as incandescent light bulbs, but did you know other household appliances have a similar range of efficiencies?

Among industrial countries, Japan’s Top Runner Program is the most dynamic system for upgrading appliance efficiency standards. In Japan’s system, the most efficient appliances today set the standard for those sold tomorrow. With this program Japan planned to raise efficiency standards between the late 1990s and the end of 2007 for individual appliances by anywhere from 15 to 83 percent, depending on the appliance. This is an ongoing process that continually exploits advances in efficiency technologies.

excerpts taken from Plan B 3.0 by Lester R. Brown

Moving Down the Food Chain or Up

blue_goals_spot“How many of us can the world support?” It depends on what level of food consumption. Right now the world produces about 2 billion tons of grain per year. Diets heavy in livestock products like the U.S., which consumes about 800 kilograms per person annually could support only 2.5 billion people if the whole world took up the U.S. way of consumption. The Italians fair better at 400 kilograms per person annually. And at the 200 kilogram level consumed by the average Indian the world grain harvest could support 10 billion.

In every society where incomes raise, people move up the food chain. They eat more animal protein. Beef, pork, poultry, milk, eggs, and seafood are mixed at different levels depending on geography and culture, but the raise in more livestock laden diets appears to be universal with a raise in purchasing power.

The worlds grain production that feeds us and all this livestock must raise along with this trend as more nations become developed and nothing is done in the way of consumption.

But, there is something you can do. What do the Italians do that they consume about half as much as Americans? What sets them apart?

They consume most of their annual consumption per person directly as either pasta, bread, rice, or breakfast cereal. But in moderation.

And even better than that the Italians live longer, too! The average life expectancy in Italy is higher than in the U.S. It turns out that people living too high or too low on the food chain don’t live as long as those in the middle. The Indians could improve their health by consuming more animal protein.

Consuming a more Mediterranean type diet that includes meat, cheese, and seafood, but all in moderation is healthier for you.

So moving down the food chain can improve your health if you eat too much food from livestock while at the same time lowering your annual grain intake. Or, if you need to eat more animal protein it could improve your health.

Also moving down the food chain has many other positive benefits for the environment. Eating lower on the food chain means you consume less energy and water per kilogram of food you eat. Helping reduce energy consumption and pollution.

Modern agriculture depends heavily on the use of gasoline and diesel fuel in tractors for plowing, planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Irrigation pumps use diesel fuel, natural gas, and coal-fired electricity. Fertilizer production is also energy-intensive: the mining, manufacture, and international transport of phosphates and potash all depend on oil. Natural gas, however, is used to synthesize the basic ammonia building block in nitrogen fertilizers.

Moving down the food chain means less energy is need to produce the food you eat. A cow takes about twice as much energy to produce a kilogram of meat than that of a pig and about 6 times as much for fish and poultry. Fish is the less energy intensive with chicken coming in at a close second.

So with this in mind we will be including recipes and diet suggestions in this section to help you explore more what you can eat to help yourself live longer and save the impact you have on the environment at the same time.