Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Go Green This Earth Day

Earth Day, April 22, marks the anniversary of the birth of the environmental movement in 1970, leading to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clear Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. The concern for a clean environment is still strong, almost mainstream, 42 years later. The electric car is making a comeback, plastic grocery bags are banned in cities in California and Texas, and corporate sustainability programs are as common as wellness programs.

Unlike the first EarthDay, grassroots demonstrations in the streets and parks, today, companies are pioneering ways to go green and conserve the environment. Coca-Cola has a billboard in the Phillippines made of plants contained in old Coca-Cola bottles that reduces air pollution by 13lbs of carbon dioxide a year.  UPS operates the largest private alternative-fuel fleet in the transportation industry, including more than 1,600 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas, hybrid electric, electric and propane-powered vehicles and began testing an all-electric, zero-emission package car in London.
Cox Enterprises has a national sustainability program that is designed to reduce its carbon footprint by 20 percent, reducing its energy consumption by embracing alternative energy methods, conserving natural resources and inspiring eco-friendly behavior.  90% of thier network  operations vehicles at Cox Communications use a new hybrid operating system and are zero emissions vehicles during aerial operations. And Cox Business encourages customers to go paperless with an electronic ordering system. In one quarter alone, more than 50,000 pieces of paper were saved due to electronic ordering.
In addition, Cox Media Group just completed a studio lighting upgrade in Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando and Seattle by replacing incandescent lighting with modern fluorescent lights at a number of its television locations. The upgrade reduces studio energy consumption by up to 45 percent and prevents more than 780 tons of carbon from entering the environment. Cox Communications is posting tips all month on their social media pages, including FacebookYouTube and Twitter.
You don’t have to buy an electric car or install solar panels (but if you do, that’s good!) to make a difference this Earth Day.
Here are ways you can go green:
  • Check your tire pressure. Having your tire pressure at the appropriate psi can reduce strain on your engine and significantly increase your gas mileage.
  • Use a reusable water container or bottle. The average time for a plastic bottle to biodegrade fully is approximately 450-1000 years. Hard and reusable bottles take a longer time, and the soft and non-reusable ones take a shorter time. Time also varies with the size of the bottle. If they are sitting in landfills sealed and compacted with all of the other trash and bottles with no air moving, they won't decompose at all.
  • Replace your light bulbs. If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an Energy Star-rated light bulb, we would save enough energy to light 3 million homes for a year, save about $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent 9 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year, equivalent to those from about 800,000 cars. Earth Day marks the launch of a new 20-year life bulb that uses 85% less energy.
  • Turn off your power strips or use smart power strips. Putting your appliances and computers on power strips that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically); many appliances and computers continue to draw a small amount of power even when they are switched off.
  • Wash a full load in cold. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, the cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Even switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
(Note to readers: I was compensated by Cox Communications to share their message.  However, the editorial, tips and my opinions remain my own).