Monday, April 21, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

In celebration of Earth Day, I thought I would share some photos of the fig tree in our yard. I've been documenting its growth since the first sign of of budding leaves by photographing it once a week (yes, you can call me a dork, but this tree just really makes me happy, especially when it's full of leaves). Six weeks later, it's really getting there!

I would consider us to be a fairly eco-friendly minded bunch here, but personally speaking, I always strive to do more. I wish I could say I was ready to live plastic-free like someone I know, but alas, I'm not quite there yet. However, B and I have made some changes that were really easy to incorporate into our day to day lives. I thought I'd share these with you (courtesy of the April issue of Real Simple magazine*), just in case you are also looking for ways to be more eco-minded. A little really does go a long way- if we all did our small part, think of the big impact we could make!

Recycle Aluminum and steel cans.
Because recycling these cans directs valuable metal into new products, saving 95% of the energy required to manufacture aluminum from scratch and 74% of the energy needed to make steel. If everyone in the U.S. did this for 1 year it would be the equivalent of 3,934,118 cars taken off the road for 1 year.

Recycle newspapers and magazines.
Because Americans throw away more paper than any other kind of trash. Recycling paper would not only save trees but also reduce contributions to air pollution by 95%. If everyone in the U.S. did this for 1 year it would be the equivalent of 5,511,566 cars taken off the road for 1 year.

Wash laundry on a cooler setting.
Because about 90% of the energy used to wash clothes goes to heating the water. If everyone in the U.S. did this for 1 year it would be the equivalent of 3,316,442 cars taken off the road for 1 year.

Switch five lightbulbs to compact flourescent lightbulbs (CFLs).
Because a 25-watt CFL provides the same amount of light as a 75-watt incandescent. CFLs use 1/3 of the energy and last 10 times longer. Switching 5 bulbs could save about $400 over the CFL's lifetime. If everyone in the U.S. did this for 1 year it would be the equivalent of 4,751,350 cars taken off the road for 1 year.

Modify the temperature on your thermostat.
Because modifying the temperature just 4 degrees will save energy, and because there's no reason your house needs to be the perfect temperature even when you're not at home. If everyone in the U.S. did this for 1 year it would be the equivalent of 12,353,510 cars taken off the road for 1 year.

Follow the speed limit.
Because sticking to the 65 MPH speed limit improves fuel economy by almost 15%. That will reduce your car's emissions and help you save $ at the pump. If everyone in the U.S. did this for 1 year it would be the equivalent of 28,121,158 cars taken off the road for 1 year.

Have a great day, everyone! Are you doing anything special in honor of Earth Day today?

* You can get even more ideas and read the article in it's entirety here.

9 comments:

tentenknits said...

awesome! great tips and ideas!! :-)

Mouse said...

nice photos! there are some great eco blogs out there that are doing some AWESOME things - such as the "buy nothing" and the folks who ask people to make a serious commitment to becoming green.

Jennifer said...

We do a lot of these things too. Our garbage company uses large recycling bins as part of our service. They're as big as the trash bins, and we try to recycle as much as we can and fill it. I consider it a good week when the recycling bin is more full than the garbage.

LotusKnits said...

Thanks for the tips link! I *love* Real Simple.

p.s. your fig tree rocks. i can see why it would make you so happy!

Julia (MindofWinter) said...

We've done all of those except the lightbulbs for many years now (we lived in Chicago, which was great for recycling). I definitely want to do more and am always looking for little ways to make a difference. Here's another one - unplug small appliances, cell phone chargers, etc. when not in use.
xox, J

Madge said...

Whoa. I thought I left a comment here on Monday, but I guess I didn't. Oops. Well, every day should be Earth Day, right? So happy, happy!

And that's what your fig tree makes me.

kim•ber•ly said...

I like your tree pictures. I always used to think that the mulberry in our yard burst into leaves practically overnight. This year I did like you - take pictures of its growth and I was surprised that it took more than a bit longer than I had originally thought!

dee said...

Happy Happy Earth Day to you!! And thanks for the shout out - the 'no plastic' pledge has actually super helped in the trash department - yay!
Now that I am nausea free today(that was a blast), i will celebrate with a happy face :)

Disentangled said...

Its funny because those things now seem like second nature, so I guess all those 'little bits' are helping even more than I thought!