We Need to Pass Strong Climate Change Legislation in 2009
1. The environment of our cities, counties, state, nation and world is negatively impacted by the way we extract, manufacture, use and dispose of the stuff we enjoy, including the energy that moves us around and powers our lives. See http://www.storyofstuff.com/ and http://www.storyofstuff.com/resources.html
2. Since the environment provides more than stuff and energy – including many ‘ecosystem services’ like clean water & air, soil and pollination for growing food, habitats for us and other creatures, and more – we destroy it at our peril. Short term gain could be long term pain. http://www.umac.org/ocp/videos/ecosystemServices.html and for more information - http://www.actionbioscience.org/environment/esa.html
3. A crucial and pressing issue that impacts almost everything in the environment is global warming – temperature increase as a result of burning fossil fuels and releasing other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere – and the changes in climate and ocean acidification that result. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification
4. Although the large majority of scientists and very many political leaders think that the situation is extremely serious, there are things that we can do to prevent the worst impacts of climate change by shifting our production and consumption patterns to slow the dangerous buildup of greenhouse gases that threaten the planetary systems we leave to future generations. We must also learn to help ourselves and others adapt to the changes we can’t avoid. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/wycd/index.html http://www.grida.no/_res/site/file/publications/ClimateInPeril.pdf
5. Current analyses of our economic crisis are also seeing economic opportunities by connecting jobs and financial recovery to energy and environmental changes in a push to create a new green economy. http://www.worldwildlife.org/who/media/press/2009/WWFPresitem11336.html
6. Pricing carbon to account for the full cost of emitting it is now being debated in Congress along with clean energy, energy efficiency and transitioning to jobs in a low-carbon economy . Strong climate legislation is urgently needed – see the links below for commentary and analyses of the American Climate and Energy Security bill at http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?contentID=9854 and go to http://www.1sky.org/act-now to contact your legislators. The world faces a deadline in December, 2009 as parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (including the US) meet in Copenhagen to agree on international targets for reducing carbon emissions to take effect in 2012.
Some other references to and analyses of the ACES bill - note especially the stance of your congressperson and his or her contact information:
Individual Actions Count Too – and can save you $$
Each of us can take action now - continue or start one of the steps below.
ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP ACTION ITEMS adapted from Ten Things You Can Do to Help Save the Earth by Katie Lambert at http://science.howstuffworks.com/save-earth-top-ten.htm/printable
Going green is easier than you think. There are little things you can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and make a less harmful impact on the environment. Taking care of the Earth is not just a responsibility -- it's a privilege. In that spirit, HowStuffWorks came up with 10 things you can do to help save the Earth. Note that links to web pages are underlined or shown in color.
1. Pay attention to how you use water. The little things can make a big difference. Every time you turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth, you're doing something good. Got a leaky toilet? You might be wasting 200 gallons of water a day [Source: EPA]. Try drinking tap water instead of bottled water, so you aren't wasting all that packaging as well. Wash your clothes in cold water when you can. Run full loads in wash machines and dishwashers. Upgrade to low flow toilets and other water-savers (http://www.epa.gov/watersense/). Run faucet water and water lawn only as needed. Set up sprinkler system moisture sensors. Better yet, replace lawn with drought resistant plants. Use grey water for watering non-edible flowers and plants. Try Alabama River Alliance’s Save and Share Campaign.
2. Leave your car at home. If you can stay off the road just two days a week, you'll reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an average of 1,590 pounds per year [Source: EPA]. Combine your errands -- hit the post office, grocery store and shoe repair place in one trip. It will save you gas and time. If you will be parked and sitting for 10 seconds or longer... turn off your car's engine.
3. Walk or ride your bike to work, school and anywhere you can. You can reduce greenhouse gases while burning some calories and improving your health. If you can't walk or bike, use mass transit or carpool. Every car not on the road makes a difference.
4. Recycle. You can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in a different bin. If you're trying to choose between two products, pick the one with the least packaging. If an office building of 7,000 workers recycled all of its office paper waste for a year, it would be the equivalent of taking almost 400 cars off the road [Source: EPA ]. Bring reusable bags when shopping.
5. Compost. Think about how much trash you make in a year. Reducing the amount of solid waste you produce in a year means taking up less space in landfills, so your tax dollars can work somewhere else. Compost makes a great natural fertilizer. Composting is easier than you think.
6. Change your light bulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) last 10 times longer than a standard bulb and use at least two-thirds less energy. If you're shopping for new appliances or even home electronics, look for ENERGY STAR products, which have met EPA and U.S. Department of Energy guidelines for energy efficiency. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2007 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 27 million cars — all while saving $16 billion on their utility bills. [Source: EPA]. (Learn more about proper disposal of CFLs.)
7. Make your home more energy efficient (and save money). Clean your air filters so your system doesn't have to work overtime. Get a programmable thermostat so you aren't wasting energy when you aren't home. When you go to bed, reduce the thermostat setting -- you won't miss those extra degrees of heat or air conditioning while you're asleep.
8. Maintain your car. Underinflated tires decrease fuel economy by up to three percent and lead to increased pollution and higher greenhouse gas emissions [Source: EPA]. Underinflation also increases tire wear, so it will save you money in the long run if you're good about checking your tire pressure.
9. Drive smarter. Slow down -- driving 60 miles per hour instead of 70 mph on the highway will save you up to 4 miles per gallon. [Source: Consumer Guide Automotive]. Accelerating and braking too hard can actually reduce your fuel economy, so take it easy on the brakes and gas pedal.
10.Turn off lights when you're not in the room and unplug appliances when you're not using them. It only takes a second to be environmentally conscious.