There is little we can do to stop global warming, the melting of icebergs, rising sea levels and the inevitability of dandelions. But here are some big and small things we can all do to lessen the impact of our carbon footprint on this planet.
1. The biggy for me? I traded in a Mercedes 420 for a cool Camry Hybrid. I enjoy the car's size, client curiosity, long pauses between fill-ups and the nice tax credit that accompanied the purchase. Also fun are the included iPod dock, blue tooth for phone, reliable navigation system, air filtration and having a car that inspires people in parking lots to ask if they can look under the hood of my car. Too see how your car stacks up environmentally, go to the Fuel Economy site.
2. Unplug electronic devices (televisions, DVD players, computers, battery chargers) when not in use. It is estimated that up to 75 percent of the electricity required to power electronics is used when the appliances are turned off, but still plugged in. Power strips with the on-off switch can handily work for multiple electronics.
3. Recycle your e-waste. Resist the temptation to toss old batteries, cell phones, computers and monitors,and the like. Goodwill Industries, Radio Shack, Auto Club and government agencies have recycling programs for these potential environmental hazards.
5. Think local and buy organic. The Rodale Institute estimates that organic farming practices can help farm soils retain 15 to 28 percent more carbon that conventional farming methods. We can all see the benefit of buying locally-produced foods that don't involve carbon-producing long distance transportation. One study suggests that Americans generate more carbon dioxide by eating than by driving.
6. Dandelions? Forget the poisons and eat them. One cup of chopped leaves has more vitamin A (7700 IU) than a carrot, along with 19 mg of Vitamin C, 103 mg of calcium and a long list of other nutrients. Their long roots can be roasted and brewed as a morning coffee (talk about local!) and are touted as a terrific tonic for the liver and kidneys.
And one untested BONUS TIP: Hop onto your modified stationary bike, pedal hard and you can start generating your own electricity. This stroke of practical genius comes from the folks at Windstream Power.