Sunday, November 12, 2006

Cool the Planet!

Cool the Planet: Tips #3 from Cool Families

The air is crisp and you've probably turned on your heater or furnace
by now. So here's the first Action of the month: Turn down your
thermostat by two degrees in winter. For each degree, you can cut your
energy bills up to 5 percent and keep 315 pounds of planet-heating
carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in a year. Flex Your Power
recommends 68 degrees in winter, and 55 degrees at night and when
you're not home. Consider installing an inexpensive Energy Star
thermostat that you can program (set it to warm the house just before
you get out of bed!).

Second action of the month: Use less gasoline! This is probably one of
the biggest things we can all do to stop global warming. Here are a
few suggestions to get you started:
* Don't idle. Whether you're in the school's drop-off zone or on the
wrong side of road construction, turn off your engine and save gas and
*Spend a few minutes talking with your family about how you can drive
less. Maybe you could set up a carpool for after-school activities.
Maybe you could walk to a nearby shopping center to run a few,
lightweight errands, or if you do drive, park in a central location
and walk to the shops within a quarter of a mile. Ride your bike with
your kids to do your errands or go to school.
*Consider if there's one day in your week or month when you can leave
the car in the driveway, choosing instead to bike to work, take the
bus to the movies, or stay at home relaxing. One less pound of carbon
dioxide is emitted for every mile you bike, walk or take public
transit instead of driving.

To learn more: Last month we talked about how much money and
electricity you can save by installing compact fluorescent bulbs. Old
thermostats and compact fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury.
Please dispose of them at free household hazardous waste days or the
San Carlos Recycling Center, 650-592-2411.

To do more: Consider supporting International Buy Nothing Day, held
the day after Thanksgiving. By staying home from crowded shopping
centers, you'll save gas, save money, and save on the gasoline used to
make products, package them and ship them. We'll give you some great
alternatives to shopping next month in the December issue of Cool the
Planet. In the meantime, check out these great resources on
simplifying the holidays
and buying responsibly

Subscribe to the Cool Families bulletin for future tips and links at
this site: If
you'd like to work with us to inspire positive action, join the group


Anonymous said...

OK, so the "International buy nothing" day, while it will save on air pollution will also cause the economy lasting negative effects. The "buying" that is done that day signals the buying trends for the Holiday shopping season, the most important retail season of the year. This also indicates to retail companies how much they should plan to purchase for future seasons (spring & next Holiday). There are many many many companies who rely on sales from that day/weekend and who provide a lot of jobs throughout the year and especially during the Holiday season (they hire lots of part-time folks during this time). If everyone stayed home, many of those companies would choose to hire less people for the crutial Holiday season and therefore, those folks would have less money to spend on everything including rent & food. Additionally, the stock market takes sales on that day as an indicator of how sales will be throughout the remainder of the year and as an indicator of the health of the economy in general. Shopping on that day actually helps the economy quite a bit. Instead of having a "buy nothing" day, why don't we encourage folks to take public transportation or to park in a centrally located area where they can walk to do their shopping, rather than move the car 100 yards to save on walking. Or they can take the parking spots at the back of the shopping lot instead of idling their cars waiting for that spot that is 20 feet closer.

Linda J

Kathy Schrenk said...

The idea behind Buy Nothing Day is to do more than keep people from polluting when they drive to the mall; it's to keep them out of the mall altogether, and beyond that, to question the whole idea of our consumer culture. It's to question why we feel we have to go to the mall and buy all this stuff in order to make the holidays the holidays. If the day after Thanksgiving is helping our economy so much, it's doing so on the backs of the middle class who max out their credit cards, and the depressed and insecure who believe the advertising that tells them they'll be happier if they go shopping. The holiday shopping season may also create jobs, but they certainly aren't the kind of jobs that will give benefits to the uninsured or pull families out of poverty.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but you posted it under global warming, not "socio-economic issues with capitalism".
:-) LJH

Kathy Schrenk said...

A lot of greenhouse gasses get pumped into the air when those goods are manufactured and transported, too!