Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Maggy sent me a link to Andrew Postman's article "The Energy Diet." Don't know how soon it will disappear behind the pay-wall so take a look. It's a light hearted narrative describing Postman's motivation, after seeing An Inconvenient Truth, to do something - anything - to help. He rushed out to buy 50 compact fluorescent light bulbs. (Yes, some people have asked why he has 50 lights to put them in.) But he found he didn't like the color of the light from them, so he stashed them in the basement and brooded over his guilt.

Weeks later, after hearing about President Clinton's Global Initiative, Mayor Bloomberg's plans for an Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability and California's legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Postman conceived the Energy Diet. He knew, from having taken the “Calculate Your Impact” survey on, that his household produced nearly 20,000 pounds of carbon dioxide - nearly 5,000 pounds more than average. With the help of information from, and the Natural Resources Defense Council Postman set about trimming his household energy use to achieve a 25% reduction in production of carbon dioxide. He found several simple ideas he could use - involving practically no sacrifice at all. Rinsing laundry in cold water, getting off the mailing list of several catalog companies, putting his computer and entertainment electronics on power strips to save the energy they use in standby mode.

Will this save the world? Probably not. But Postman learned at least one important thing:
“It’s all about attitude,” said Laurie David, the founder of the Stop Global Warming Web site ( and a board member of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Change one or two things, you end up changing four or five things. You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Before you know it, you start influencing people around you.”

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