I thought this was an interesting article. I read it on CNN's Web site, but I guess it's originally from Oprah.com. I can't say that I'm the most environmentally concerned, though now that I've moved to Tucson and the air is so clean and the landscape so spectacular, I want to keep it that way. I saw "Inconvenient Truth" earlier this year, and after I finished it, I felt like I needed to do something to help. I'm not sure if I do all five of the things listed below, I'll make much of a difference ... but I think if everyone in the United States did, then it could make a difference.
Five ways to go green from Al Gore: Former Vice President Al Gore says easy things can help climate
(Oprah.com) -- You can become a part of the fight against global warming. Former Vice President Al Gore shares the five things you can buy now that will help solve the climate crisis -- and save you a few bucks! Plus, more of his easy going green tips!
Former Vice President Al Gore speaks onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7.
Five things you can buy
1. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs
These energy-efficient bulbs cost less than $4 and are produced by major corporations like GE. If every household in America switched five regular light bulbs for five fluorescent bulbs, it would be the equivalent of taking 1 million cars off the highways for a full year.
2. Outdoor solar lighting
These yard or patio lights cost less than $20, and they don't burn any electricity or produce any CO2.
3. Programmable thermostats
Though these thermostats cost from $50 to $100, they can actually cut your heating and cooling costs. Set the setting so it's a little bit cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer when you're not in the house. A difference of 2 degrees can reduce a home's CO2 emissions by up to 9 percent over the course of a year.
4. Air filters
Changing the air filters in your heating and cooling systems regularly can knock 2 percent off of your CO2 output each year.
5. Electric water heater blanket
Water heaters use a lot of energy and generate a lot of CO2. A blanket costs less than $18 and can cut your home's CO2 emissions by almost 4½ percent.
Keep green in mind!
Gore says that when you're shopping for major home appliances, look for the Energy Star label. "This is a signal that you're getting an environmentally efficient appliance that's going to save you money at the same time," he says.
During a simple trip to the grocery store, you make hundreds of decisions that can have real environmental impacts. With just a few easy changes, you can make a positive difference in the world.
Instead of regular aluminum foil or plastic wrap, buy recycled aluminum foil. It uses just 1/20th of the energy needed to produce regular foil.
Look for items without extensive packaging. Most food packaging material uses some petroleum-based plastic. There are several ways to cut down on the energy and waste this produces. Look for minimally or unpackaged items instead. Experiment with bringing your own packaging or buying in bulk. Purchase brands that use bio-based instead of petroleum-based plastic. Recycle or reuse packaging materials you end up having to buy.
Bring a cloth bag to the grocery store instead of using its plastic bags. An estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. That's 1 million bags used per minute.
And, according to the EPA, more than 380 billion of those are discarded in the United States. Less than 1 percent of those are actually recycled. Instead, these bags will clog landfills, create litter, choke streams and harm marine wildlife, like whales, seals and sea turtles.
Buy local and organic. Buying seasonal, locally produced food helps in a number of ways. Most food travels 1,500 miles from "farm to fork." But buying local food drastically reduces the energy spent on food shipping. Local goods also tend to use minimal packaging, are fresher and come in more varieties.
The best place to track down local food is at your local farmers' markets or through the Community Supported Agriculture Department. Farmers who grow produce organically use less fossil fuel and release fewer greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Organic farming is better for the land, for the farmers and for the consumers.