Five Ways to Help Save the Planet in 30 Minutes or Less

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Invest half an hour to protect the environment by changing how you live each day

By Larry West, About.com Guide

You may not be able to reduce global warming, end pollution and save endangered species single-handed, but by choosing to live an earth-friendly lifestyle you can do a lot every day to help achieve those goals.

And by making wise choices about how you live, and the amount of energy and natural resources you consume, you send a clear message to businesses, politicians and government agencies that value you as a customer, constituent and citizen.

Here are five simple things you can do—in 30 minutes or less—to help protect the environment and save Planet Earth.

Drive Less, Drive Smart
Every time you leave your car at home you reduce air pollution, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve your health and save money.

Walk or ride a bicycle for short trips, or take public transportation for longer ones. In 30 minutes, most people can easily walk a mile or more, and you can cover even more ground on a bicycle, bus, subway or commuter train. Research has shown that people who use public transportation are healthier than those who don’t. Families that use public transportation can save enough money annually to cover their food costs for the year.

When you do drive, take the few minutes needed to make sure your engine is well maintained and your tires properly inflated.

Eat Your Vegetables
Eating less meat and more fruits, grains and vegetables can help the environment more than you may realize. Eating meat, eggs and dairy products contributes heavily to global warming, because raising animals for food produces many more greenhouse gas emissions than growing plants. A 2006 report by the University of Chicago found that adopting a vegan diet does more to reduce global warming than switching to a hybrid car.

Raising animals for food also uses enormous amounts of land, water, grain and fuel. Every year in the United States alone, 80 percent of all agricultural land, half of all water resources, 70 percent of all grain, and one-third of all fossil fuels are used to raise animals for food.

Making a salad doesn’t take any more time than cooking a hamburger and it’s better for you—and for the environment.



Five Easy Things You Can Do to Destroy the Environment

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Edit Article | Posted: Apr 17, 2008

With Earth Day nearly upon us, and all of the talk about the damage that humans are doing to the environment, maybe you feel as though you aren’t doing your part. Fear not, I’ve compiled a list of some very easy things that you can do to have the greatest impact on the environment in the shortest amount of time. So, without further adeiu, here they are:

Eat strawberries

I mean non-organic strawberries here. Strawberry production, as well as some grape, tomato, and other fruit production still uses Methyl Bromide as a pesticide and fungicide. Methyl Bromide (MB) is one of the most damaging chemicals to the ozone layer destroying ozone molecules 50 times faster than other ozone depleting compounds. While outlawed in 1987 as a part of the Montreal Protocol, a loophole called the “critical-use exemption” allows countries to continue to use the chemical if they decide that there is no suitable replacement. That exemption has prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to approve the use of 4,813.5 metric tonnes of the stuff for 2008. As an added benefit, the fruits and vegetables that are often produced using consistently rank at the top of the “most contaminated” list each year. http://www.foodnews.org/methodology.php

Drink Your Water

You should know this one already. The government suggests that you drink eight glasses of water per day, but why not drink those eight glasses out of a convenient plastic bottle? Everyone else is! Each hour, 2.5 million individual water bottles are thrown away in the United States alone. By using a plastic bottle, you get the added benefit of potentially consuming a chemical called bisphenol A (BPA) that comes from plastic which mimics natural estrogen. Too much estrogen can result in certain kinds of cancer as well as hampering fertility in some people.

Fill’er up With Biofuel

Two recent studies published in the journal Science provide an economist’s view of the biofuel industry. Because biofuels are currently the subject of much venture speculation as well as government promotion, more and more farmers are jumping on the bandwagon. That means that the crops they used to produce that can’t be turned into fuel are being farmed elsewhere, and more often than not, environmentally valuable lands are converted to agricultural lands instead. Time Magazine recently published an article illustrating how this macroeconomic phenomenon is played out in one of the more valuable carbon stores, the Amazon rainforest. In one photo, a tiny sliver of forest is seen against a sea of newly converted agricultural land.

(see: http://img.timeinc.net/time/daily/2008/0803/a_wbiofuels_0407.jpg )

Eat Meat – Lots of Factory-Raised, Grain-Fed Meat

Those vegetarians have it all wrong. A great way to stick it to Mother Nature is to treat yourself to an extra helping of beef. If you, along with everyone else in America heeds the advice, it will have the same impact as putting an additional half million cars on the road. Imported meat is better because of the gas used to get it to you, but at very least, try to find some locally grown animal to eat. All the better if it was raised in a factory farm. The runoff created could have the added benefit of introducing bacteria into waterways and killing fish along the way.

Keep a Well-Fed, Well Watered Lawn

With water shortages looming all over the western US this summer, it would only be right if you had a nice looking lawn. A green lawn means using a lot of water and a lot of fertilizer. Water often, but especially during the hottest part of the day or whenever it is windy. Also, make sure to use lots of high nitrogen fertilizer to keep the lawn green. If you’re really doing it right, you’ll want to water heavily right after fertilizing heavily. Maybe the runoff created will take out any fish that are left.