Its Easy Being Greener by maclaren1


									    It’s Easy Being Greener

 If you're inspired to do something about
Climate Change then making a few simple
  changes where it counts can have a big
 ABC Science Online's Bernie Hobbs tells us
how, revealing that it is actually easy to be
   For less than a dollar a day you can cut your
   greenhouse gas emissions by one third without
  changing a thing. All it takes is a couple of phone
   calls, and a few simple decisions whenever you
              shop. It really is that easy.

It's all about making change where it counts.
       The big culprits...
- Cars burn petrol which generates
greenhouse gases.
- Making Electricity mostly
involves burning a lot of coal, which
also produces carbon dioxide.
Between them they account for about
28% of CO2 we each produce in a
year, so sorting them out gives great
bang-for-environmental-buck.             Making electricity mostly involves
                                        burning a lot of coal which produces
                                               CO2. Image: Reuters
   A green car for $40 a year?

    The average Aussie drives their car
    15000 km per year and produces 4
 tonnes of CO2 in the process. While an
   electric car may be out of your price
      range, you can offset your cars
  emissions by paying an organisation,
  like Carbon Neutral, to plant trees for
 you. Growing trees soak up CO2 out of      The breakdown of emissions for the

             the atmosphere.                average Australian. Car and electricity
                                            make up 28%. Image: ABC Science
                                            Online. Source: Dr Manfred Lenzen,

That's the car sorted - the next thing to   University of Sydney.

          tackle is your electricity.
 Clean, green power in one
 phone call
     Every time you flick a switch, you're
   effectively shooting another puff of CO2
  A much better option is to pay a bit more
       and sign up for 100% accredited
  This means your electricity company has
     to buy your power from a renewable
  source, such as wind or solar, instead of
        from a coal-fired power station.
                                               By switching to accredited
                                               greenpower, you're forcing
                                                electricity companies to

But we haven't even touched on the biggest
                                                  get more power from
                                                 renewable sources and
                                                 less from burning coal.
  impact we all have- the one that's hardest       Image: iStockphoto

                  to change.
               Money Money Money ...

Whether it's a book, a CD, a plasma TV, a pair of sneakers or a
house, everything took energy to make and deliver. Simply
buying things that are less energy intensive to make, or take
less transport to deliver, or can be re-used so you don't need to
replace them as often helps cut your greenhouse impact.

     How you spend your money has a big effect on your greenhouse impact. Image: iStockphoto
                         For the big buys

If you're in the market for a car, appliance or home insulation - anything
bigger than a dinner plate - try to buy things that last longer and are
more energy efficient.
For every dollar you spend, 1.6kg of CO2 was produced in making and
delivering your goods (Source: Alan Pears, 2003).The best way to do this
is spend an hour or so online to check out how energy efficient your
purchase is and how much cash and CO2 it'll save over its lifetime. There
are two terrific sites for doing this, CHOICE, and the Australian
government's energy rating site

                For every dollar you spend, 1.6kg of CO2 was
                produced in making and delivering your goods
                         (Source: Alan Pears, 2003).
               The small, everyday buys
When it comes to everyday shopping try to make your buying habits good
ones instead of bad ones:
- Buy local produce- less energy went into transporting them
- Look for second hand if possible (except for things you need to plug in;
you're better off buying a new, more efficient version for electrical goods)
- Find things that can be re-used and recycled - they need replacing less
often, and mean less waste which produces greenhouse gases as it breaks
- Go for less packaging, less energy goes into making and delivering it
- Buy products that will last. And don't buy stuff for the sake of it. It's not
rocket science, but it really makes a difference.

                             Image: iStockphoto
            Borrowing money & investing
You're handing over giant slabs of money to financial institutions to
invest - so why not have a say in what they do with it?

If your employer offers Fund Choice for their superannuation
contribution, and if you're not afraid of a little research, you can elect
to have your money put in environmentally sound super funds. The
Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) gives a handy rundown
and tips on making a green super choice.

                    The filthy mortgage
There are a few 'green' mortgages offered in Australia right now, and
they work in a couple of different ways. Some give a lower interest
rate if the house you're buying scores well energy-wise, and others
offer discounts on energy-improving extras, like solar heating and
                    Some final tips...
   If you've done the big things, and want to earn your merit
   badge for green living, there are heaps of really basic, practical
   ways to cut your greenhouse emissions around home. At last
   count there were about 43 kazillion websites listing these tips.
   Here are some of them.
The Australian Greenhouse Office
The South Australian Govt Energy Division
Sustainability Victoria
The Alternative Technology Association

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