Writing to Your Leaders

Believe it or not, letters to your elected representatives make a difference. Postcards might catch someone's attention, and petitions sometimes get noticed, but letters are by far the most effective. Politicians are eager to know what the people think. Don't worry about composing a long or deeply profound letter. Use the letter to express your concerns and ideas as simply as possible, then send it in. To get more bang for your letter-writing buck, copy the letter and mail it to other local,...

Going Vegetarian or Vegan Sort Of

Eating fewer meat products can really help reduce your carbon footprint. Over the course of one year, the impact of going vegetarian is similar to trading in your regular car for a hybrid car. Taking that a step further, going vegan is like trading in your regular car for . . . well, no car at all. You don't need to go full-out vegetarian. Try starting with going one or two days per week without meat. The next best solution is to try to buy locally raised or wild meat, which usually comes from...

Bringing Climate Change to Work

The changes you make at home are important, no question. But most folks spend the majority of their waking hours at work. Your employer's building and transportation fleet (if your company has one) presents two major projects that are just waiting to be tackled. If you nose around, you may find that your colleagues also want to turn your office green. Here are a few suggestions that you can make to your boss, building manager, or other decision-makers at work to get started I Establish an...

Buttoning Up Your House

The key to creating an energy-efficient house (whether you want to keep the heat in or out) is insulation, insulation, insulation. Heating and cooling costs make up a whopping 80 percent of your energy bill, so seal up your doorways and windows, and make sure that you have the proper insulation for your crawl space, attic, and walls. Some of these changes might take a bit of time and effort, but they last for decades and save you significantly in energy costs, all while cutting back on...

Supporting Clean Renewable Energy

You can support the development of clean, renewable energy in a number of ways, depending on where you live. Here are the two most common ways to make a significant impact I Make the energy. You can make energy yourself by using options such as solar energy to produce hot water and generate electricity. Chapter 13 covers other options that you can use to make energy. I Buy the energy. You can purchase energy from a company that uses low-emission energy sources. Green power can be purchased in...

Creating a Green Workplace

Most of the changes that you can make at home you can make at work, too. Your boss or manager may be more receptive than you think to your thoughts about energy-saving changes. Be sure you know your stuff (you're already one step ahead by picking up this book). Explain that taking these kinds of measures can be great for the company's environmental stewardship and can help save money. Here are a few extra ideas that can help reduce the energy impact of your workplace I Go for energy-efficient...

Chewing on Food Choices

It's time to choose a low-carb low-carbon, that is diet. Your food choices have a surprisingly large impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers have estimated that the average American creates 2.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year by eating, which is actually more than the 2 metric tons each U.S. citizen generates by driving. The fewer cooled or frozen foods you buy, the less you contribute to the energy needed to keep all those fridges, freezers, and refrigerated trucks...

Powerful Changes Renewable Energy

Cutting back on energy consumption in your home is great, but chances are very good that the energy you're still using isn't renewable and is producing greenhouse gases. Although people need to encourage their governments to explore sustainable energy sources (which we discuss in Chapter 13), you don't need to wait to use cleaner power. You can benefit from renewable energy in your home today l Generate the energy yourself. How much generating your own energy costs depends on where you live and...

Green Developments Building or Renovating

Whether you're starting from scratch or renovating, major construction offers you the chance to really make your home energy efficient and carbon friendly. Keep the following elements in mind when working towards a low-energy and climate-friendly home (and check out Green Building & Remodeling For Dummies, by Eric Corey Freed Wiley for a whole book's worth of information on this subject) I Hire an eco-friendly architect. If you're planning to use an architect, look for one who's LEED...

Table of Contents

1 About This Foolish How This Book Is Part I Understanding Global Part II Tracking Down the Part III Examining the Effects of Global Part IV Political Progress Fighting Global Warming Nationally and Part V Solving the Part VI The Part of Icons Used in This Where to Go from Part I Understanding Global Warming 7 Chapter 1 Global Warming Global Warming Heating things up with greenhouse Investigating other causes of global The Roots of Global Fueling global Heating up over Examining the Effects of...

Farming

Farming isn't an obvious culprit when it comes to carbon emissions, but it's a considerable contributor. Humanity's ever-growing food needs and desires have pushed the farming industry to deforest valuable land and use emission-heavy methods of farming. Fortunately, greener options are possible. As we discuss in Chapter 5, farmers are clearing large portions of the Amazon rainforest to make way for more farmland. This deforestation is disastrous for the climate. The most climate-friendly farms...

Whats a fossil fuel company to do

Oil companies face huge opportunities. Consider British Petroleum (BP), which now markets itself as Beyond Petroleum. Responding to climate change, BP has taken social and environmental leadership to minimize its emissions and overall environmental impact. These changes were sparked under the leadership of former Chief Executive Lord John Brown. What was once strictly a petroleum business has morphed into an energy business that raises public awareness about climate change and big technology...

Examining the Different Types of Fossil Fuels

Coal, oil, and natural gas are all fossil fuels, but they're not all the same. They differ in how they're used, how much they're used, the greenhouse gases that they release when they're burned, and even where they come from. When land plants, such as trees, decomposed hundreds of millions of years ago, they pressed together into a solid form known as coal. Plants and animals in the oceans decomposed in a similar way sinking to the bottom of the ocean, getting buried under sediments, forming...

Living in the Dark Ages of Fossil Fuels

Investigating where our energy comes from Recognizing the differences between coal, oil, and natural gas Connecting the dots between population growth, economic expansion, and climate change MMjherever you live, however you heat your home, and however you get around, you probably meet most of your energy needs by burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Burning these fossil fuels releases large amounts of greenhouse gases (we talk about those gases in Chapter 2). In fact, just...

Forest Fires If a Tree Dries Out in the Forest

As we discuss in Chapter 2, forests are critical in keeping excess carbon dioxide out of our atmosphere. Unfortunately, the number of forest fires is greatly increasing, and global warming is the cause. The increase in hot, dry weather means dryer forests, ideal fodder for fire. Forest fires around the world last longer and burn with more intensity than previously recorded. The area of land burned by wildfires has surged in the past 30 years across North America. The IPCC reports that a...