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How to go green

Written By Gopal Krishna on Monday, November 24, 2008 | 10:13 PM

"Going Green" doesn't have to be a daunting task that means sweeping life changes. Start by planting a tree in your backyard or neighbourhood. It's good for the air, the land, can shade your house and save on cooling and they can also improve the value of your property.

When taking a short trip, choose to walk or cycle. This reduces carbon emissions considerably.

Staying within the speed limit and smoothly accelerating can save upto 25 per cent of a vehicle's typical gasoline use.

Switching off one bulb for one hour saves upto 22,000 watts per year.

Lighting an empty office wastes enough energy to boil water for a 1000 cups of coffee and doubles a company's annual electric bill

Plug your computer, monitor and other home appliances into a power strip and turn them off when not in use- don't leave them in sleep mode. Sleep mode adds immensely to the electricity bill and unnecessary greenhouse gases.

Recharge your batteries. Batteries contain heavy metals, such as mercury and cadmium, which have become a major source of contamination in dump sites. They either break apart and are released into the soil or are incinerated and the deadly heavy metals are released into the air.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable. Even if they say they are, they do not decompose fully. Also the ink is made up of cadmium, and is highly toxic when it is released. Whereas paper bags are reusable and biodegradable. If your purchase is small don't take any bag, this alone could save hundreds of millions of bags. Bring a cloth bag when you shop, or use string bags.

Our oceans provide the earth with most of our oxygen, moisture, and weather patterns. To keep our oceans clean we have to start with our beaches. When you go to the beach you can help by bringing a trash bag and spend a little while picking up litter, or you can join a beach clean-up crew.

As little as ten years ago there were over 1.5 million elephants on the earth. Today there are only 750,000. By the year 2,000 they may become extinct. Over 80% of the ivory that is taken, is from elephants- Americans buy 30% of it. Over 6.5 million dolphins have been killed by tuna fisherman. To help you can: not buy endangered animal products.

Do not dump oil, grease, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, paints, cleaners, and other toxic household products down the storm drain. These drains, found in the gutters on the sidewalk, are not treated by the sewage treatment plant--they go straight into rivers, lakes, and maybe even the ocean! By putting these toxic chemicals down the drain, there is a great biological threat to marine life.

Use CFC free products. ChloroFluoroCarbons destroy the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful UV rays.

One less meat-based meal a week helps the planet and your diet. For each hamburger that originated from animals raised on rainforest land, approximately 55 square feet of forest have been destroyed.

Recycling just the Sunday papers would save more than half a million trees every week.

You can reuse gift bags, bows and event paper, but you can also make something unique by using old maps, cloth or even newspaper. Flip a paper grocery bag inside out and give your child stamps or markers to create their own wrapping paper that's environmentally friendly and extra special for the recipient.

Nearly 90% of plastic water bottles are not recycled, instead taking thousands of years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment, your wallet, and possibly your health.

Brush without running your tap dry. You'll conserve up to five gallons per day if you stop.

Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree cooler in the winter. Each degree celsius less will save about 10% on your energy use!

If you must water your lawn, do it early in the morning before any moisture is lost to evaporation. Have a few weeds? Spot treat them with vinegar. Not sure if you should rake? Normal clippings act as a natural fertilizer, let them be. If you've waited too long, rake by hand — it's excellent exercise.

Most lighters are made out of plastic and filled with butane fuel, both petroleum products. Since most lighters are considered "disposable," over 1.5 billion end up in landfills each year. When choosing matches, pick cardboard over wood. Wood matches come from trees, whereas most cardboard matches are made from recycled paper.

Source: NDTV
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