Environmental Conservation

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

How to reduce your impact on global climate change

Every year the average American pumps out 20 tons of CO2, the leading global warming gas. You can calculate your own impact at www.carbonfund.org or www.americanforests.org. Then take a look at some of the ways you can reduce your contribution:

Temperature Control. Two degrees on your thermostat - turning the AC 2° higher in the summer and the furnace 2° lower in the winter - can save 350 pounds of CO2 a year. Add additional savings by turning down the temperature of your water heater to 120° or lower. Program your Thermostat. Being able to turn down the heat or AC for large chunks of time, such as at night or while at work, can make a difference in your overall energy consumption. You can get a programmable thermostat for most systems. Also consider turning off the heat to rooms that are not heavily used.

Lose Two Tons! Transportation is the largest source of individual CO2 pollution. Replacing a car that gets 20 miles per gallon with one that gets 30 miles per gallon might not seem that significant, but it amounts to two tons difference in carbon dioxide pollution each year.

Travel Smart. If you aren't up for a new car you can still reduce pollution. Organize carpools to get to work or events. Every passenger in your carpool means one fewer car on the road. Plan your driving to reduce the total number of trips. Take public transportation when available, and walk or bike to local stores if you can. When you're traveling longer distances, consider taking a train instead of driving or flying.

Shop Locally and Reuse. Buying locally means less energy is required to drive your products to the market. Look for local fruits and vegetables. Reusing products means not using energy to make a new product from scratch, and cuts waste at the landfill! Check out estate sales, antique stores and thrift shops.

Those Last Few Pounds. There are several innovative ways for you to offset your carbon "footprint." You can invest in renewable energy like wind power, forest restoration, or other carbon offsets through different groups. Visit www.carbonfund.org to find out more.

This article is adapted from tips provided by Earth Share. Earth Share, a federation of America's leading non-profit environmental and conservation charities, promotes environmental education and charitable giving in workplace employee campaigns. For more tips or to find out how your workplace can help the earth, visit www.earthshare.org or call 1-800-875-3863.