Written by: with Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz.
Did You Know?
The burning of coal generates over half of our electricity, and is the single biggest air polluter in the U.S. There are over 600 dirty coal plants in the country. In a typical year, just one average-sized coal plant emits:
- 3,700,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), the primary human cause of global warming: as much carbon dioxide as cutting down 161 million trees.
- 10,000 tons of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain that damages forests, lakes, and buildings, and forms small airborne particles that can penetrate deep into lungs.
- 500 tons of small airborne particles, which can cause chronic bronchitis, aggravated asthma, and premature death, as well as haze that obstructs visibility.
- 10,200 tons of nitrogen oxide (NOx), as much as would be emitted by half a million late-model cars. NOx leads to formation of ozone (smog) which inflames the lungs, burning through lung tissue making people more susceptible to respiratory illness.
- Air pollution from dirty power plants cause nearly 30,000 early deaths in the United States each year.
- Just 2% of our nation's electricity comes from clean, sustainable sources like wind, solar and other renewable technologies. Yet, our nation is blessed with enough renewable resources to meet more than 4.5 times our current electricity needs.
- If our nation increased its use of renewable energy to 20 percent of our electricity generation by 2020, it would be the same as taking 77 million cars off the road, or planting nearly 130 million acres of trees, an area the size of the Colorado and Wyoming.
Green Tips on Energy
Traditional incandescent bulbs waste 90% of the energy they use. Replace your ordinary lightbulbs with compact fluorescent lightbulbs. This will lower your energy use and save you money. When it comes time to replace a large appliance like a refrigerator, freezer, air conditioner, washer/dryer, or water heater, look for Energy Star label products. They may cost a bit more initially, but the energy savings will pay back the extra investment in just a couple of years. Replace your old dial thermostat with a programmable clock one. Check to see if your water heater has an insulating blanket. Installing one will pay for itself in one year. Schedule a home energy audit. Many utilities offer them for free and the expert advice can result in big energy savings. Choose renewable energy like wind and solar for your home or business. In many states, you can now choose your electricity provider, just like you select your long-distance phone company, other states offer options to select green energy for all or a portion of the energy you use. For more information on Green-e options in your state.
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