Sharing the Planet - Let's go green!
Staff Writer, November 22, 2008

Our Earth's ecological system is under threat due to increased level of greenhouse gases. Having some amount of greenhouse gas is beneficial since they keep our earth warm otherwise the earth's surface would be right around 0F -- not a very nice place to live. However, due to human-caused carbon dioxide emission and other greenhouse gases, we are raising the earth's average temperature and creating the dangerous changes in climate we all see around us.

For this we need to rethink and reevaluate how we have to do things in order to minimize the carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

Where does it all start? It starts from home.

Heating and cooling your house can be a major energy drain, typically accounting for about 45% of a household's total energy use. Lowering your heat by just a few degrees (68F) in winter and setting your air conditioner a couple of degrees higher (78F) in summer can add up to real energy savings over time. Shut off the heating and cooling systems when nobody is going to be at home.

Lighting accounts for one-fifth of all electricity consumed in the United States. One of the easiest and cost-effective ways to reduce your energy use, energy costs, and greenhouse-gas emissions is to replace the regular incandescent light bulbs in your home with super-efficient Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs). CFLs fit right into most household fixtures and give off the same warm light, but they are much more energy efficient.

Why should televisions, radios and stereos perform to an empty room? Turn off the microwave in the kitchen when it is not needed; energy used to keep display clocks lit accounts for 5% of total domestic energy and spews 18 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere every year! The only way to be sure that your appliance is not using power is to unplug it.

Next, what can you do at your workplace?

Paper, Paper, Paper Everywhere! Paper manufacturing is the fourth most energy-intensive industry, not to mention one of the most polluting and destructive to our forests. It takes an entire forest, more than 500,000 trees - to supply Americans with their Sunday newspapers each week. Hence print only what is needed, increase double-sided copying, keep records electronically as much as you can and put the used papers in the recycling bins.

Turn off the computers before leaving work.

Keep your cars tuned up. When just 1% of the car owners properly maintain their cars, nearly a billion pounds of carbon dioxide are kept out of the atmosphere. Consider taking public transportation, carpooling, biking and telecommuting from home.

Finally, how can you keep your city clean and healthy?

Properly disposing of unwanted residential hazardous waste ensures the safety and cleanliness of our environment, water resources and neighborhoods. It is illegal to improperly dispose of unwanted residential hazardous waste.

S.A.F.E Centers can help us.

Solvents, Automotives, Flammables, and Electronics (S.A.F.E.) Center is a permanent collection facility that accepts residential hazardous waste such as: paint solvents, motor oil and filters, all unused medicine, computers, cell phones; home generated SHARPS (needles, syringes, lancets, etc.)

Items NOT Accepted at S.A.F.E. Centers are business waste; ammunition, explosives; radioactive material; paper; computer software; biological waste or tires. And bulky items such as furniture, refrigerators, washing machines, dryers, or conventional ovens are not accepted either.

Where are S.A.F.E. Centers LOCATED?

The S.A.F.E. Centers are located throughout Los Angeles. For more information call 1-800-98-TOXIC or visit www.lacity.org/san.

"Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3Rs)" has become the motto of a growing movement dedicated to producing low waste and reducing emissions by buying less, choosing durable items over disposable ones, and passing on items that are no longer needed to someone who can make use of them.

When we pray to God, we often pray for the well-being of ourselves, our family, children and friends, and there seems to be some kind of exclusiveness or rather selfishness in our part since we are concerned more about our close circle only. But when you are talking about environmental issues, you are concerned about the humanity at large who share this planet, which goes beyond race, color, religion, ethnicity and nationality. Also, you are concerned about the rights of our future generations whom you do not even know but who will be using the resources of our planet. I think that's the wisdom behind being environmentally conscious.

Learn more about climate change. Educating children is quite important since they are our next generation and it is interesting to know that the children these days are educating their parents from what they learn in their schools about the climate change. And help spread the word!

Let us all be part of the solution to address this environmental issue and make our planet a better place to live, both for us and for our generations to come.