Today, there is no single action that will reverse the course of climate change. The main question is whether we want to wait and adapt to a new envirnment, or whether we want to start to do something now?
There is certainty that human activities are rapidly adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and that these gases warm our planet. This is the basis for concern about global warming.
The fundamental scientific uncertainties are these: How much more warming will occur? How fast will this warming occur? And what are the potential adverse effects? These uncertainties will be with us for some time, but many suspect that point of no return is well past us. If we don't change our habits soon, we will be stuck with a warmer world until we find a way to reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
Global warming poses real risks and those risks increase as we continue to change the composition of the atmosphere. Ultimately, this is why we have to use our best judgment—guided by the current state of science—to determine what the most appropriate response to global warming should be.
What difference can I make?
When faced with this question, individuals should recognize that, collectively, they can make a difference. In some cases, it only takes a little change in lifestyle and behavior to make some big changes in greenhouse gas reductions. For other types of actions, the changes are more significant.
When that action is multiplied by the 300 million people in the U.S. or the 7 billion people worldwide, the savings are significant. The actions include being energy efficient in the house, in the yard, in the car, and in the store.
Everyone's contribution counts, so why not do your share?
Energy Efficiency Means Doing the Same (or More) with less Energy. When individual action is multiplied by the 300 million people in the U.S., or the 6 billion people worldwide, the savings can be significant.
How Can I Save the Environment?
Instructions: You can help save the environment by making changes from the top to the bottom of your home. Click on the hot spots below to see how you can make a difference:
To review, these are the things you can do in your home – from top to bottom - to protect from the environment:
- Purchase "Green Power" - electricity that is generated from renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, or biomass - for your home's electricity, if available from your utility company. Although the cost may be slightly higher, you'll know that you are buying power from an environmentally friendly energy source.
- Insulate your home – you’ll learn more about this in Home Activity Three.
- Use low-flow faucets in your showers and sinks.
- Replace toilets with water-saving lavatories.
- Purchase home products—appliances, new home computers, copiers, fax machines, that display the ENERGY STAR® label - You can reduce your energy consumption by up to 30 percent and lower your utility bills! Remember, the average house is responsible for more air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions than is the average car.
- When your lights burn out, replace them with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.
- Lower the temperature on your hot water tank to 120 degrees.
- Tune up your furnace.
- Insulate your water heater and all water pipes to reduce heat loss.
When you remodel, build, or buy a new home, incorporate all of these energy efficiency measures—and others.
Each of us, in the U.S., contributes about 22 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, whereas the world average per capita is about 6 tons.
The good news is that there are many ways you and your family can help reduce carbon dioxide pollution and improve the environment for you and your children.