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Backpacker Magazine – September 2007

Cut Your Carbon in Half

A hiker's guide to fighting climate change

by: Berne Broudy

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

Home and office
1. Use a power strip for your computer, monitor, fax, copier, TV, DVD player, iPod, and cell-phone chargers, and switch it off when those devices aren't in use. Most electronics draw power even when they're off, including empty chargers in standby mode. 2,000, $$$$

2. Change your light bulbs. Swap out incandescents with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). 120 per bulb, $$$$

3. Turn off incandescent lights when leaving a room for even just a few minutes. If you use CFLs, turn them off if you leave for 15 minutes. 89, $$$$

4. Cancel catalogs and remove yourself from junk-mail lists. 15, $$$

5. Telecommute. 5,700, $$

6. Pay bills online and save postage, too. 0.04, $$$$

7. Tell cashiers not to print receipts you don't need. 0.04, $$$

8. Use both sides of the page to print or copy. 6 per household, $$$$

9. Read the newspaper online to save paper, trees, and carbon. 67 (average paper), 300 (NY Times), $$$$

10. Skip the lighter fluid and start your charcoal with an electric igniter or chimney starter. 6, $$$

11. Eat one less serving of meat a week. Substitute a cheese-free alternative each week. Cheese, an animal product, has the same carbon cost as meat. 195, $$$

12. Ride your bike to work. 2,220, $$$$

13. Use recycled paper (100% post-consumer) in your office. 6 per ream, $$

14. Push an electric mower, or even a reel mower—not a gas model. 80, $$$$

15. Replace exterior lights around your home with solar-powered ones. 110, $$$$

16. Rake leaves and shovel snow instead of firing up a leaf blower and snowblower. 20, $$$$

17. Drink tap water instead of bottled, and you'll also extend the life of your local landfill. Plastic bottles require energy to make, fill, and ship, and half-liter sizes generate emissions at twice the rate of gallon jugs. Faucet water needs energy only to pump. 52, or 2 per gallon jug, $$$$

18. Tote your groceries in reusable bags. 5, $$$

19. Plant an organic garden and grow your own vegetables. 5, $$$

20. Collect rainwater from downspouts and use it to water your garden. 30 per gallon, $$$$

21. Support local farmers by buying a community-supported agriculture (CSA) share. You'll receive fresh produce every week and reduce the carbon emissions generated by shipping it thousands of miles. 67, $$$

22. Compost food scraps and yard waste so you can skip synthetic fertilizers, which pollute water and are energy-intensive to produce. 0.7, $$$$

23. Buy local and organic food direct from the farmer whenever possible, and keep dollars in your local economy. The biggest savings are realized in eliminating transportation. 200, $$

24. Use a laptop, not a desktop. Laptops use up to 80% less energy. 400, $$$

25. Water plants with a can or drip-irrigation system instead of a sprinkler, and water only between 6 p.m. and 10 a.m., when less is lost to evaporation. 30 per gallon saved, $$$$


PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6

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READERS COMMENTS

Cate
Aug 21, 2008

Products made in the USA are usually more expensive, due to higher minimum wages and operating costs. And while finding products made in the US is tough, it can be done. Check out the American Craft Movement for gifts and art, and think twice about how much you really need something if you can't find a low-impact alternative. Part of going green is becoming a little less materialistic, I think.

hippydog
Jun 30, 2008

is there any good info about what fuel or stoves are greener? If I need a new stove and want to be green whats the better option?

Orion
Jun 02, 2008

I agree it's something we should pay attention to, but honestly it would be better, since people are ignorant, if companys would just go green and continue to push the limits of ensuring they stay green without the peoples say or input it would be nice.

achmed mucmut the alllllll zhir
May 06, 2008

yes i also agree me brother this is very interesting and more people should pay attention to this

oij
May 06, 2008

khbluhknlyuhnk

achmed mucmut the alllllll zhir
May 06, 2008

yes i also agree me brother this is very interesting and more people should pay attention to this

achmed mucmut the alllllll zhir
May 06, 2008

yes i also agree me brother this is very interesting and more people should pay attention to this

achmed mucmut the alllllll zhir
May 06, 2008

yes i also agree me brother this is very interesting and more people should pay attention to this

achmed mucmut the alllllll zhir
May 06, 2008

yes i also agree me brother this is very interesting and more people should pay attention to this

al zahir Mahmood Al Shareef
May 06, 2008

I agree

al zahir Mahmood Al Shareef
May 06, 2008

I agree

al zahir Mahmood Al Shareef
May 06, 2008

I agree

al zahir Mahmood Al Shareef
May 06, 2008

I agree

muchmud da al sheereff mohammid
May 06, 2008

yes this is very true

Shelly
Apr 27, 2008

I agree with you Zachary. Lately I have been trying to avoid products made in China for several reasons...(safety, their emissions during production, etc.)...and I have found that it is very difficult to find products not made in China. Even harder to find stuff made in the USA. Some of my favorite companies (north face, merrell, etc.) make most of their products in China. Why can't we manufacture these things here?

Zachary
Apr 26, 2008

I have a hard time with companies that clam to be low impact. Most of today’s products are manufactured in China witch is the largest producer of CO2 emissions in the world. Then you take the shipping on boats that run off diesel gas to get the product over here to the US. Then it has to be shipped. So, if a company claims to be green, in most cases that company is harming the environment more by not manufacturing it products locally or with in the country in witch they are based. So please think about all the carbon emitted to get your "Green" product form China to you shopping store, and maybe it won’t be so "Green" Thank you

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