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Posted on May 4th, 2007

In the wake of all of the global warming debacle, TIME magazine published a “special double issue” to weigh in on the issue. It was released about a month ago (and if it weren’t for exams, I would have written this much sooner), and includes a list of 51 things that we can do to make a difference. Some of them require a bigger wallet than many people my age have, but a lot of them are very doable. The complete list is available here, but I will post some of the ones I’ll try to do:

2. Get blueprints for a green house. If/when I buy a (new) house, chances are that I’ll want to make sure that things are properly insulated and that it is energy efficient. That’s good on the planet and good on my bank book!

3. Change your lightbulbs. Compact fluorescent light bulbs and LEDs are the way to go. Despite costing a few times more, they last a few years longer and use 25% of the electricity compared to conventional bulbs.

13. Let employees work close to home. I’ll keep this one in my back pocket until I become a boss 🙂

14. Ride the bus. At least once a day every weekday starting a week Monday!

15. Move to a high-rise. My dad did this in 2002. In New York, I’ll be on the 8th floor of a huge building. New York was mentioned specifically in the article: “Relatively few New Yorkers own cars – one of the biggest contributors to an individual’s carbon emissions. Most walk, bike or ride public transit to work – all more efficient transport than the best hybrids. And New York has developed up, rather than out, which limits wasteful sprawl. Eight million New Yorkers are squeezed into 301 sq. mi. – less than a fortieth of an acre per person. Even a fairly dense suburb devotes about a third of an acre to each person. Density means that commutes, shopping trips and supply chains are shorter. Plus, New Yorkers tend to live in small spaces, although they’re a little cranky about it. The denser the area you call home, the smaller your personal carbon footprint – not to mention your gas and electricity bill.” Woohoo!

16. Pay your bills online. Done and done.

17. Open a window. Done and done.

24. Just say no to plastic bags. I’ve been using plastic bags since as long as I can remember, so this is one tough habit to kick. Fortunately, trips to the local farmer’s markets (see #25) will make avoiding bags a little bit easier. Good thing that they’re recyclable in Waterloo, too.

25. Support your local farmer. Buying local saves on transportation which, as an industry, is the largest source of carbon. Despite slightly higher prices, the produce somehow tastes better and there is little doubt about the freshness of them. Furthermore, I think I prefer seeing some minor blemishes on my fruits and vegetables; it shows that they were grown the normal way (as opposed to some crazy corporate farms with crazy genetic modification). This particular one will become my reality once I start my term in New York. As I will have relatively easy access to great farmer’s markets, I will be able to really achieve my goal: use local fruits, vegetables, and meats for everything that I cook. And as easy as it sounds, this will really hurt. I mean, I will be foregoing so many delicious things: mangoes, coconuts, pineapples, nacho chips, and so on. It’s time to champ up!

29. Remove the tie. Last time I worked at Bloomberg, I wore a shirt and tie every day except Friday. Hopefully, with an open collar, I’ll be less antsy to turn on the air conditioning.

30. Shut off your computer. For some reason, I was led to believe that leaving my computer on was more energy efficient. It had something to do with the startup energy required or something. Apparently I was wrong.

31. Wear green eye shado………….. errr.. wha?

35. End the paper chase. Recycling + buying recycling = win!

39. Make your garden grow. If/when I ever do get a (green) house, I am looking forward to having a nice little garden of my own. One using compost and no chemical fertilizers. And one with a huge section for fresh herbs. Ohhhhh man.

51. Consume less, share more, live simply. This will also be fairly difficult for me, as I am quick to admit that I like new gadgets and having “things.” But I think this is the key to a more wholesome lifestyle.

And as for the big corporations, I think it’s time that governments start taxing the big polluters. As Michael Bloomberg puts it, “Using economics to influence behaviour is something this country is built in – it’s called capitalism.” He’s the one thinking of imposing a fee for drivers hoping to drive into the heart of Manhattan (which is a slap in the face to one of the best subway systems in the world). No wonder I love his company; he’s thinking green. Are you?

2 Responses to “Green”

  1. Matthew Davidson Says:

    Its great to see you and other people making these committments!
    I hope you have a safe trip to the new home in NYC! See you sometime… im sure…

  2. Jasmine Says:

    Hey kid, I was thinking about you often about a week and a half ago… were you ESPing me?

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