Easy Steps to Protect the Climate
Focus on energy conservation. It saves you money.
The bonanza of fossil fuels means the average American has the equivalent of fifty slaves working for him. By the standards of all the humans who came before us, this is unimaginable opulence. The era of cheap oil is ending. Now is a good time to start adopting techniques that conserve energy. Negawatts, accomplished by turning things off, give the poor energy slaves a rest. More
Lightbulbs are an easy place to start. Compact fluorescent lightbulbs use 66% less energy and last longer than old-fashioned bulbs. A CFL saves you about $30 over the life of the bulb. More Most discount stores offer 5 bulbs for less than $15. Use a rag to install the bulb. Better CFLs give a more natural light. Burned out bulbs contain a minute amount of mercury and should be recycled at the City of Houston Environmental Service Center.
My old refrigerator was using about $20 a month in electricity. Any new or newer used refrigerator will beat that. But just cleaning the coils or adjusting the thermostat can lower your electricity bill. More
If you insulate or replace old energy leaking windows, you can take 10% of the cost as federal tax credit in 2006 and 2007. Also credits for solar, hybrids. More
Knowing how to get around without your car can come in handy if it breaks down. Peter Wang, a Houston geologist and peak oil prophet, rides 30 miles to work about three times a week. His bicycle safety class taught me that the road is usually safer than the sidewalks.
Once you learn how, riding transit can be less stressful than driving. Take a book and two dollar bills. I like to ride Metro to church. Watch for your bus and signal the driver to stop. System map, schedules and trip planner on RideMetro.org
Live close to work. Keeping a small car costs about $500 per month according to Automobile Association of America. Neighborhoods where you don't have to drive long distances will become more valuable says End of Suburbia. To view that provocative documentary, contact Nan Hildreth.
To eliminate your impact on the climate, offset what's left of your emissions. You can do it by helping others reduce their energy use or by buying renewable energy credits from online retailers such as www.Carbonfund.org ww.NativeEnergy.orgwww.b-e-f.org and, coming soon, Texas Interfaith Power and Light.
Invest in renewable energy. It's growing rapidly.
For 2006 and 2007, there is 30% tax credit up to $2,000 for home solar panels and another for solar hot water systems. More Energy efficiency pays back quicker, but, in case a hurricane brings down the utilities, you would will still have some power.
Houston Renewable Energy Group email list has a wealth of expertise. Join email list They meet every 3 months.
Investor Network on Climate Risk