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18 posts from December 2007

December 22, 2007

Saving Santa

Looking for a last-minute gift that shows you care about the environment too? Reader Tom Dusky from Huntington Woods, Michigan, writes:

"This Christmas, I am giving long underwear, with a note from Santa saying: 'Save Santa's home at the North Pole by reducing global warming. If you are good and wear your long underwear, you can turn your thermostat down 3 or 4 degrees and still be comfortable. Don't forget, Santa can't swim!'"

Happy holidays!

December 21, 2007

Daily Tip: Dec 21, 2007

When snow piles up in your driveway, avoid using gasoline-powered removal equipment. Electric alternatives still use some energy but create less pollution. Better yet, get out shovels and brooms to clear the snow -- you'll use absolutely no energy but your own!

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December 20, 2007

The Buzz

"When it comes to rock-star do-gooderism, greenhouse emissions are the new poverty."

--Blender, "The Hot Report 2007"
* * *

"I was asked at a lecture by a young woman about what she could do and I told her stop admiring young men in Ferraris. What I was saying is you have got to admire people who are conserving energy and not those willfully using it."

--Sir David King, chief scientific advisor to the British government

Daily Tip: Dec 20, 2007

Buying a hybrid isn't the only way to reduce your car's impact on the environment. Changing your driving habits can increase your vehicle’s fuel efficiency and reduce its carbon emissions while keeping you safer on the road. Here's how:

  • Take it easy. Aggressive driving, including abrupt starts, extreme acceleration, and hard braking wastes gas and contributes significantly more pollution than normal driving.
  • Travel at the speed limit or lower. Driving at 75 mph instead of 65 mph will decrease your fuel efficiency by about 10 percent, and can dramatically increase tailpipe pollution in many vehicles.

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December 19, 2007

Daily Tip: Dec 19, 2007

Fill 'er up: Next time your shampoo, body wash, or lotion bottle is empty, take it to a store that sells those items in bulk and fill your container. Many co-op and eco-minded grocery stores offer this option. Also look for "refill packs" when available for products such as diaper wipes: They use up to 90 percent less packaging than regular, hard-plastic containers.

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December 18, 2007

Good Eats

In the January/February issue of Sierra magazine, freelancer Wendy Lyons Sunshine exults in the joy of pressure cooking--a time- and energy-efficient way to whip up a meal. This bonus recipe is for a surprisingly thick and hearty soup that has an almost beefy flavor, although it contains no red meat. And the chicken gets so tender you needn't cut it up before cooking. For a lighter, vegetarian version, omit the chicken and use vegetable broth.

Coq-a-Barley Soup
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
4 stalks celery, sliced
2 leeks, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds
7 medium carrots, sliced
1 1/4 cups pitted prunes, quartered
3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
3/4 cup dried lentils
10 cups chicken broth
1/2 bay leaf

Sauté the chicken, using some canola oil, in the pressure cooker with the top off. Once the chicken is lightly browned, add the rest of the ingredients. Seal the lid and turn the heat on high. After the pot starts whistling loudly, lower the heat to get a low, steady hissing. Cook for 55 minutes, then turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let the soup sit in the sealed pot for at least 15 minutes, or until the pressure button drops. Stir and serve. If you prefer a thinner soup, add a little water. Makes approximately three quarts. --Wendy Lyons Sunshine

Daily Tip: Dec 18, 2007

A great alternative to cranking up your home’s radiator is making small, heated bean bags. Simply fill a clean sock with uncooked rice or beans and heat it up in the microwave. You can use them in bed, on the sofa while reading, or directly on your body to relieve an ache or pain. Commercial versions are also available in stores.

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December 17, 2007

Daily Tip: Dec 17, 2007

When your CFLs eventually burn out, don’t forget to dispose of them properly. Since they contain mercury, they should not be tossed in the garbage bin or put out with regular recycling. (This is especially important for the large, tube-like variety used in offices and other business establishments.) Contact waste management and recycling services in your area to find out the best method of disposal.

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December 14, 2007

Daily Tip: Dec 14, 2007

Ditch the disposables and use cloth handchiefs and dish towels instead. At the very least, look for paper products made from recycled content. According to manufacturer Seventh Generation, if every household in the United States replaced just one box of 85 sheet virgin fiber facial tissues with 100 percent recycled ones, we’d save 87,700 trees and 31 million gallons of water.

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December 13, 2007

Daily Tip: Dec 13, 2007

Use the air-dry setting on your dishwasher instead of the heat-dry option. Air drying uses 15 to 50 percent less energy in practically the same amount of time. If your dishwasher does not have an air-dry setting, simply open the door once the final rinse is complete. For more tips on saving water and energy while doing the dishes, check out http://www.flexyourpower.org/res/tools/energy_tips_results.html?tips=dishwasher.

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