Thursday, March 31, 2005

Ecology: Very Important Point

Every once in a while I get to write about something other than book marketing. This is my turn to do that. Below are two recommendations I read about in National Wildlife magazine. If you do these two things, you could lessen the human contribution to global warming. Personally, I believe much of global warming is simply the workings of natural processes that turn the earth alternately hot and cold, but I also recognize that we humans can also have an impact. Why not lessen that impact if we can.

1. Replace one regular incandescent bulb with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent. I've done that with the two major bulbs I use to light my work space. Not only am I saving money by using less energy, but the light is like natural sunlight. It's great.

If every family in the U.S. replaced just one incandescent bulb with a compact fluorescent, we would decrease heat-trapping emissions by more than 90 billion pounds a year. That's staggering. That's equivalent to taking 7.5 million cars off the road. And you save incredible amount of money and get better light. What a deal.

2. The second action is more expensive. Automobiles account for 1/3 of our country's output of carbon dioxide emissions, the largest source after power plants. Increasing U.S. mileage standards to 40 mpg would prevent as much carbon dioxide from being emitted as is released by the entire country of Mexico. It would also save more oil than we import from the Persian Gulf every year. Not only can we cut down heat-trapping emissions and lower the risk of global warming, but we could cut out our dependence on the Persian Gulf countries (which gets us embroiled in wars over there at a huge cost of people and money).

Plus, personally, we could save a lot of money. If your current car gets 30 mpg and you switched to a car that got 40 mpg, you'd save on gas. If you drive 10,000 miles per year, your cost for gas at $2.00 per gallon would be $666.00 per year at 30 mpg and only $500 per year at 40 mpg. The more you drive, the more you save.

But what really appeals to me is the fact that we could eliminate our dependence on Persian Gulf oil and the compromises we currently make with the despots that rule many of the countries in that region.

My next car will be a hybrid that gets good mileage. Such cars cost about the same, but save a ton on gas and toxic emissions. I can't wait until they make cars that run on water.

We all have a choice on how we impact our planet. Buy the compact fluorescent light bulbs today. That's easy and will save you money right away. Then, when you are ready to buy your next automobile, insist on one that gets good mileage. The cost of gas is only going to go up, not down. You'll save a lot of money over the lifetime of the automobile.
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