Earth Day: A Call for Action on Climate Change

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Today is the 38th annual Earth Day. This year, the Earth Day Network has called on lighting manufactuers and policy makers to encourage the transition to energy efficient lighting by 2016.

Earth Day Network Project Switch is dedicated to switching out inefficient incandescent light bulbs [1]. Today, the project will reach out to over 500 million people worldwide who participate in Earth Day civic activities, and challenge them to pledge to do:

  • Switch out old incandescent bulbs for high-efficiency bulbs.
  • Call on elected officials to support a mandatory 2016 phase-out of low efficiency incandescent lighting.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) projects an electric bill savings of $18 billion annually if energy-efficient lighting was adopted across the U.S. [2]. Annual energy demand would be reduced by the equivalent of 80 coal burning power plants, eliminating more than 158 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2016.

Climate change solutions – what you can do today

The Earth Day Network has compiled a list of the top 10 actions for individuals, orgnaizations and businesses to take as an initial step in reducing your contribution to global warming.

  1. Project Switch – replace your incadesent light bulbs with energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).Turn off unneeded lights, dim lights when possible and let natural sunlight into your home.
  2. Drive your car differently or replace it with a fuel-efficient car.Drive less, keep your car tuned up to improve fuel efficiency and slow down.
  3. Manage household heating and cooling costs.Replace older heating and cooling systems with new efficient models (or tune up your existing system), buy a programmable thermostat, add two degrees to the AC thermostat in the summer and two degrees in the winter, make sure windows and doors are sealed, and avoid air conditioners and use ceiling fans whenever possible.
  4. Make your refrigerator efficient.Replace older refridgerators with new energy efficient models, don’t set the thermostat too high, clean the condensor coil, and make sure the doors seal properly.
  5. Manage other household appliances.Set your hot water heater at 120 degrees, insulate your hot water heater and pipes, install a timer on your water heater to turn off at night and on just before you wake in the morning, wash more dishes by hand, wait until you have a full load of dishes to run the dishwasher, wash clothes in warm, not hot water, and don’t over-dry your clothes.
  6. Green plants with less water, more trees to provide shade.Plant trees to provide shade, choose hardier plants in your yard that require less water, and water your lawn sparingly.
  7. Buy Green Energy and invest in green energy stocks.

Many utilities give consumers the option to buy “green power”, producing electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal and wind. Ask for it! Invest in socially responsible funds.

  1. Go organic.Eat locally grown food, eat fruits and vegetables in season, and plant your own vegetable garden.
  2. Buy recycled products.Manufacturers use recycle products, including aluminum and tin cans, glass containers and pulp cardboard.
  3. Be a minimalist. Simply use and buy less.Buy in bulk and buy quality products that last longer.

Earth Day was created in 1970 to spark a revolution against environmental abuse. The Earth Day Network seeks to grow and diversify the environmental movement worldwide, pursuing it’s goals for a healthy and sustainable planet through education, politics, cultural events and consumer activism. More than 500 million people participate in Earth Day civic activities, making it the largest secular civic event in the world.

References

  1. Earth Day Network Launches 2007 Campaign to Phase-out the Inefficient Incandescent Light Bulb. Earth Day Network. March 14, 2007.
  2. Four Billion Points of Light: ACEEE Joins Lighting Market Transformation Initiative. ACEEE. March 14, 2007.
About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.