Assuming your family has changed the light bulbs, 

and brought a hybrid or electric car - if affordable -
what can you as an individual do now?        _

New: Why are batteries a problem? By September 2016, EU countries must be collecting and recycling 45% of the batteries sold on their markets, with producers such as Duracell and Energizer footing the bill. Chemicals from batteries which are incinerated or go to landfill may pollute lakes and streams, vaporise into the air, or leach into groundwater, exposing the environment to highly corrosive acids and bases, warned an EU impact assessment produced when the legislation was first proposed.  link

TEN SIMPLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO SAVE THE PLANET: Laurie David, who produced Al Gore's documentary about global warming, "An Inconvenient Truth," says saving the planet isn't about everyone doing everything. "It's about everyone doing something."   More

(June 2015) How young people are tackling climate change. The Guardian spoke with young people from around the world about why it’s hard for their peers to care about the environment, how they reconcile their fears about the future, what made them start caring, and the little things that give them hope. link

Ten things you didn't know you could recycle, from Green America   


Plastic Pollution Coalition is a global alliance of individuals, organizations, businesses and policymakers working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, the ocean and the environmentlink

What you can do to reduce plastic usesource

India’s biggest clean-up effort to fight the war against plastic. India’s largest socially-led cleaning initiative is happening in Chennai. The city is waging a war against plastic. 6 years ago an environmental awareness movement was born. Now in its 6th year, their ambitious target for June 7th was to collect 50+ tons of garbage from 20+ km of the Chennai sea shore with 8000+ volunteers - folomojo

Tweaking thermostats just one degree could result in huge savings. A Boston study found that adjusting up thermostats one degree in summer and down one degree in winter would save the city $20 million, and cut CO2 emissions by over 81,000 metric tons – equivalent to taking 17,000 cars off the road. link  

Learn about PHANTOM LOADS / GHOST POWER. (See Conservation page) Eliminating ghost power could close 18 conventional power stations in the USA. With more than 1.5 billion people online around the world, scientists estimate that the energy footprint of the net is growing by more than 10% each year -so, don't leave your computer on 24/7 - shut down overnight or when at school/work.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Divestment Campaigns: actions that all can take now to help keep fossil fuels in the ground. Pressure on world leaders and institutions are now under way. Maintaining momentum is the surest way to halt the further increases in greenhouse gas emissions. 

One Small Step - Each year, it is estimated that 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year.  That comes out to over one million per minute!  It is also estimated that one plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.   

In the USA 56 billion aluminum cans were recycled in 2010 - more

Which countries lead in recycling?  source

Greening your daily routine "do something tips" from World Environment Day -  link

AVOID BOTTLED WATER: The average American consumed 26 gallons of bottled water (2006). 40% of that is bottled tap water. It takes 3 liters of water to produce 1 liter of bottled water. Only 20% of that plastic is recycled. This is waste. link  According to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) , FDA rules allow bottlers to call their product "spring water" even though it may be brought to the surface using a pumped well, and it may be treated with chemicals. From the Pacific Institute comes this fact: Producing the bottles for American consumption (2006) required the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil, not including the energy for transportation. link  National Geographic estimates that 17 million gallons of crude oil is used on an annual basis to produce plastic bottles and that only 1 in 6 plastic bottles makes it to the recycling bin! (Video on bottled water)

FLUORESCENT BULBS: Home Depot announced that by late 2008 light fixture showrooms in its US stores would be switched from incandescent bulbs to CFLs. The measure will save the company $16 million annually in energy costs. RECYCLED FLUORESCENTS: Home Depot also accepts all CFLs and tube fluorescents for recycling. Note: If you break a CFL bulb, you can do the cleanup yourself, without renting a moon suit or contacting authorities. EPA Advice 
A good site about recycling  - http://earth911.com/
How much mercury content in the home - see at botom.
February 2016: US Department of Energy issues a proposed rule for light bulbs that would likely lead to the phaseout of compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) - link

ECO-DRIVE: Besides making driving less stressful (and probably safer) it could easily reduce your gas consumption by 25% or more - eco-driving 
Most people still need to buy gas, so check out this site for the most responsible companies to support, and which to avoid - link 

For every hour spent idling your car, you’re not only wasting a quarter to half a gallon of gas, but also emitting 6 lbs of CO2, by EDF estimates. If every American driver reduced their idling time by ten minutes a day, we’d eliminate 15.48 million metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. The EDF recommends reducing idling to under ten seconds when possible, and warming up your car and engine by driving it rather than letting it run. link

Socially responsible rankings for gas stations

Following the Gulf oil spill in 2010 BP was downgraded to a D. New rankings show no company qualifies for an A rating. Check other companies here.  BP's history in the US includes more than 700 safety and environmental violations between 2005 and 2010 compared to fewer than 10 for other big oil companies. 
Sunoco is still highest ranked at B+  

An up-to-date report from the Sierra Club also ranks Sunoco high and reports on other companies giving BP a "dishonorable mention" based on the Deepwater Horizon leak. Finally you can read "Which is the most ethical oil company?"  here

LIFESTYLE - CUT BACK ON MEAT CONSUMPTION: How much stress does our meat-eating put on our ecological systems? The UN calculates livestock emissions result in 18% of total global greenhouse gases, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together. link  If you check out the page on Methane, you'll realize why more people are cutting back on their consumption of meat.  Eating 1 lb. of meat results in emitting the same amount of greenhouse gases as driving an SUV 40 miles.  link 

June 2014: Going vegetarian halves CO2 emissions from your food. If you stop eating meat, your food-related carbon footprint could plummet to less than half of what it was. That is a much bigger drop than many previous estimates, and it comes from a study of people's real diets.  A University of Oxford study took data on the real diets of more than 50,000 people in the UK, and calculated their diet-related carbon footprints. They found that the benefits could be huge. If those eating more than 100 grams of meat a day, a fairly small rump steak, went vegan, their food-related carbon footprint would shrink by 60%, saving the equivalent of 1.5 tonnes of CO2 a year. Perhaps more realistically, if someone eating more than 100 grams of meat a day simply cut down to less than 50 grams a day, their food-related emissions would fall by a third. That would save almost a tonne of CO2 each year, about as much as an economy return flight between London and New York. link 
(July 2014) A new study suggests that the production of beef is around 10 times more damaging to the environment than any other form of livestock. link

EAT LOCALLY GROWN FOODS: Buying foods that are produced close to your home cuts down on the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during transportation. To find where to purchase locally grown food in your area check out -  localharvest

VOICE YOUR OPINION:  Don't be afraid to contact your local, state, and national leaders and voice your opinion: To contact your elected officials about environmental issues being considered by Congress. start here  Also, you can write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.  For tips check out sierraclub

AIR DRY YOUR LAUNDRY: A clothes dryer accounts for a whopping 12% of electricity use in a typical household. And clothes drying is one of the easiest places to save energy, because you can erase 100% of the cost by simply hanging your clothes up to dry. link  
Typically 5 loads per week in a washing machine will use 7kWh, whereas drying those same 5 loads will use 100kWh

USE CANVAS TOTE BAGS: Across the world some 500 billion plastic bags are used, and only a tiny fraction of them are recycled. In the USA 12 million barrels of oil are used nationally to produce 30 billion plastic bags annually. Environment California reports plastic bags, and other plastic refuse that end up in the ocean, kill up to one million sea creatures every year, such as birds, whales, seals, sea turtles, and others. And the number of marine mammals that die each year because of eating or being entangled in plastic is estimated at 100,000 in the North Pacific Ocean alone. We all need to use canvass tote bags, or simply refuse plastic for the occasional purchase in the drug store or bookshop. Ireland imposed a tax on plastic and use dropped 90% overnight. more on plastic

CANCEL JUNK MAIL: .An average of 41 pounds of junk mail is sent to every adult citizen each year, that's 4 million tons nationally. Approximately 44% of this mail goes into a landfill unopened. Also, $320 million of local taxes are spent to dispose of junk mail each year. Did you know more than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce this junk mail? About 28 billion gallons of water are also wasted. There are organizations that will, for a fee, promise to stop junk mail being sent, but I'd go for the Federal Trade Commission's web site to register - no more than a $1 fee for 6 years.

Preventing carpet waste. Every year, 4 billion pounds of carpet are discarded in the United States, of which only about 1% is recycled. Carpet also poses waste management problems because it consumes enormous amounts of landfill space due to its bulk - 2% of solid waste by volume, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the incineration of discarded carpet, especially products with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) backing,  can release toxic chemicals, including dioxin, into the air. link
Carpet recovery in the USA - link

Recycle old VHS tapes and help the disabled. The outer cases of VHS, Betamax and audio cassette tapes are indeed plastic - at least theoretically recyclable. However the inner tape is made of a phthalate-laden form of the plastic polyethylene, often sold under the trade name Mylar, which is not recyclable. What’s worse, in these magnetic tapes the Mylar is coated with toxic metals, especially chromium. They should not go in the landfill because of leaching. The Alternative Community Training (ACT) organization in Missouri offers a great opening. ACT helps disabled individuals find employment through special programs and services. This is one place where you can recycle video tapes knowing that they will help a worthy cause. ACT works with recycling companies that employ its clients to process donations. The organization recycles donated video tapes and resells them to the public. The revenue helps to give their disabled workers a sense of pride. ACT takes video tapes at almost any length ranging from five to one hundred twenty minutes - more on ACT

                      CANCEL THOSE UNWANTED YELLOW PAGES: link
NEW - How to properly dispose of anything (links are to USA sites) – Fix.com  

January 2011: Coming soon from the Global Wind Energy Council. The first global consumer label identifying products and corporations made with wind energy. WindMade is a global initiative dedicated to increasing corporate investments in wind power by informing consumers about a corporation's use of wind energy, and increasing demand for products that embrace this clean and renewable energy source. An international survey of more than 25,000 consumers shows 92% of respondents believe renewable energy is a good solution to mitigating climate change, and most of them would prefer products made with wind energy, even at a premium.  link.

Mercury. Not a global warming issue, but worth taking note. CFLs contain a very small amount of mercury - an average of 4 milligrams. A standard 4' fluorescent tube contains about 11.6 milligrams (1999 average but it is dropping). However, the mercury is slowly absorbed into glass, phosphor and tube electrodes throughout the lamp's life, where it can no longer function. Newer lamps have just enough mercury to last the expected life of the lamp. Be more careful with home thermostats which contain 3 to 5 grams of mercury - a thousand times more than the CFL; they can cause a significant health risk.

A look back at Britain's 10:10's achievements as 2010 closes - link

September 1 2009 Launch of 10:10. In Britain today begins a new initiative to really make a difference. While waiting on governments and world leaders to make policy, Franny Armstrong, director of the 2009 eco-documentary "The Age of Stupid" began a grassroots movement (working with the Guardian newspaper in Britain) asking individuals and businesses to reduce their carbon footprint by 10% by the end of 2010. Hence 10:10. Considered bold but achievable, this would display the urgency felt by the overwhelming majority in the country to take action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Guardian 10:10 page  
(Sept. 21 - Armstrong declares 10:10 Campaign to go global.)  .
June 2010 update: Since launching in September last year, over 70,000 individuals have signed up to the 10:10 campaign, as well as major companies such as Royal Mail. Shortly after the election, the coalition government committed central government to a 10% emissions cut.  
link    Oct. 14 2010: Mayors of four capital cities, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Paris and Zagreb, pledge 10% cuts in next year. link  
How to reduce your carbon emissions by 10%
Progress so far - October 10 2009

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