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Slow Global Warming

SLOW GLOBAL WARMING - WHAT GARY IS DOING
AND WHAT WE CAN ALL DO


Composite image demonstrates that Antarctic ice loss is accelerating - it increased by 75% between 1996-2006! Antarctic ice loss between 1996 and 2006, overlaid on a MODIS mosaic image of Antarctica.  It demonstrates that Antarctic ice loss is accelerating - it increased by 75% during this 10 year period!  Colors indicate the speed of ice loss - red and purple are rapid loss; blue is less rapid; green is a slow rate of loss.  Antarctic ice loss is now nearly as great as the loss of ice in Greenland, according to a new, comprehensive study based on 15 years of satellite radar data and conducted by NASA and university scientists.  The ice losses are caused by accelerated movement of glaciers into the sea, when floating sections of glaciers thin or collapse, melted by warmer ocean waters - a direct result of global warming.
Courtesy of NASA/JPL.

Arctic ice cover minimum in 1980 Each year at the end of summer, the Arctic ice cover recedes to its annual minimum and what is left is called the perennial ice cover, consisting of thick, multi-year ice layers.  Compare the minimum perennial ice cover on September 5, 1980 (above) with the minimum in 2007 (below).  The decline is dramatic and irrefutable, an obvious consequence of global warming.  Courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

Arctic ice cover minimum in 2007 and a graph showing the decline in annual ice minimum 1979-2007 The annual minimum, perennial, Arctic ice cover on September 14, 2007 is shown above with an overlaid graph of its decline since its peak in 1980 (shown in the graphic above this one).  The extent of the minimum perennial ice cover has steadily declined since the satellite record began in 1979, at a rate of about 10% per decade.  On September 14, 2007, the Arctic minimum, perennial ice cover reached its lowest extent on record - nearly 25% less than the previous record low in 2005.  Courtesy of NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

McCarty Glacier photographed in 1909 McCarty Glacier disappeared from this scene in 95 years! Global warming caused McCarty Glacier in Alaska to disappear from this scene in just 95 years!  The upper photo was taken on July 30, 1909 but the glacier is completely gone in the lower photo, taken from the same location on August 11, 2004!  Courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, USGS Photo Library.

Muir Glacier photographed in 1941 Photo of Muir Glacier in 2004 showing how it receded from
Glacier Bay to a mere remnant of its former expanse Where did all the ice go?  The upper photo of Muir and Riggs Glaciers in Alaska was taken on August 13, 1941.  These glaciers merged to cover this inlet of Glacier Bay at that time.  During the 63 years since then, global warming has caused both glaciers to retreat to such an extent that Muir is a mere remnant of its former self in the upper right quadrant of the bottom photo, taken August 31, 2004.  Courtesy of the American Geographical Society/World Data Center for Glaciology and USGS.

Phosphate mining pits in central Florida The world's most productive source of phosphate is south of Orlando in central Florida.  Phosphate is a primary constituent of commercial fertilizers.  This is an infrared, satellite image taken of one phosphate mining area by Landsat on April 18, 1986 in which plant life appears red and phosphate mines appear as white, bare earth and blue or black, man-made ponds.  The ponds or pits contain untreated, discarded water used to separate the phosphate from sand and clay, which takes decades to settle.  Courtesy of Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change, U.S. Geological Survey.

2007-2009 electricity consumption in the Brand household Electricity consumption in the Brand household 2007-2009 in kilowatt-hours (KWH on the graph).  Gary began keeping a daily record of electricity consumption in late September 2008, when a new digital meter was installed by the city on their house.  The blue line shows the Brand's consumption from the beginning of October 2007, when they moved into their 1,900 square foot, red-brick house, through May 2008.  This period was before Gary began to track their usage and before they began to curtail their consumption.  The purple line shows their electricity consumption from October 2008, after the new meter was installed, through May 2009 - comparable to the same period before they began to modify their habits.  Gary also began tracking the local weather (the daily high-low-mean and the historical averages) in October 2008 to compare with their electric consumption.  The Brands did well in October and November 2008, which were cooler than normal, but they didn't conserve much in December 2008, which was warmer than usual.  Their conservation efforts paid off in January 2009 (which fit the norm) and they managed to conserve some in February, despite the fact that it was colder than normal (in Tallahassee, Florida).  Their electricity savings were substantial in March and April compared to the previous year but, because the first half of May 2009 was unseasonably hot, they conserved very little compared to the previous May.

The 2005 hole in ozone layer over Antartica Although the huge hole in the ozone layer high in the atmosphere (the stratosphere) that occurs each spring over Antarctica is not a result of global warming, it is a result of human impact on our planet.  The hole is caused by chlorine and bromine gases resulting from human-produced chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used in air-conditioners, heat pumps and refrigerators.  This image shows the hole in the ozone layer on September 11, 2005, the date it reached its maximum extent for that year.  The ozone layer blocks 90-99% of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, which causes skin cancer, genetic damage, and eye damage, and is harmful to marine life.  Though the efforts to curb release of CFCs into the atmosphere will slowly allow the ozone layer to recover over Antarctica, a 2006 NASA study revealed that the full return of the protective ozone over the South Pole will take nearly 20 years longer than scientists previously expected.  Courtesy of NASA.

This is a list of what Gary is doing and what any of us can do to reduce global warming, the worldwide environmental crisis of our time that we all play a part in every day of our lives.  Although many of the following practices save Gary money, his primary motivation is to be a responsible world citizen and a steward of our planet.  These practices also help ease his conscience about purchasing products that are not built to last for years but repairing them is prohibitively expensive so they end up in his trash or at Good Will when they no longer work because there are no systems in place to recycle them.  The primary causes of greenhouse gases that are creating global warming are the hundreds of millions of cars driven every day on the planet, electricity generating plants, and industrial pollution sources.  Since most of us drive a car, consume electricity, and buy manufactured goods, we are all part of the problem.  However, the more important fact is that we can all be part of the solution as well.  Multiply any of the following small savings by millions of people and the impact becomes tremendous!  See what your contribution to global warming is by using the free carbon footprint calculator at the bottom of this page.  Please save this page (using the "Save As" or "Save Page As" option in your browser), e-mail to others a link to this page, bookmark, copy, or print it (without graphics or the carbon footprint calculator).  This article was last updated August 5, 2009.

WHAT WE CAN DO EVERY DAY
What Gary does daily or frequently to help reduce his impact on global warming (by conserving consumable products, he is not just using less resources but less energy – fossil fuels – that are used to manufacture, package and transport them):
  • He recycles everything possible.  Charlottesville, Virginia has an excellent recycling program where Gary recycled junk mail, newspapers (his wife only bought the daily paper once a week), magazines and catalogs (he doesn't subscribe to any so these are all unsolicited), all cardboard packaging (this is called "boxboard" by the packaging industry and it doesn’t matter if it is coated with shiny plastic), cardboard boxes, toilet paper and paper towel cardboard tubes, all paper that is recyclable, all glass bottles, anything metal (including bottle caps, cans, tins, etc.), paper grocery bags (occasionally he forgets to take his cloth bags into the store), phone books, books he no longer wants (he gives them to local libraries for the Festival of the Book where they are sold cheaply to people who want them), plastic bags (when he buys only a few items that he can easily carry, he doesn’t accept the plastic bag the salesperson wants to put them in), and he recycles old towels as rags.  In Charlottesville, all plastic containers labeled 1 or 2 in the triangular recycle symbol but, unfortunately, not all 1- or 2-labeled plastics are recyclable.  The plastics industry has duped us into believing that all 1- or 2-labeled plastics are the same.  The revelation that they are NOT all the same came from the former head of the recycling program at the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority in Charlottesville.  Gary let the recycling facility determine which of his 1- and 2-labeled plastic containers were recyclable and which were not.

    Tallahassee, Florida (where Gary now lives) also has an excellent recycling program where all of the above can be recycled and it is better than Charlottesville, Virginia because, in Tallahassee, all of the above items are picked up curbside in the surrounding county as well as in the city (in Charlottesville, only some items are picked up curbside and there is no curbside collection in surrounding Albemarle County).  All plastic containers with a "neck" and that have a cap can be recycled, regardless of the recycle number imprinted on them.  If you live in the Southeastern U.S. like Gary, Publix Supermarkets recycle plastic bags, paper bags, and Styrofoam trays in which vegetables, fruits, and eggs are packaged.

    The recycling program in Albany, Georgia (where Gary briefly stayed) is limited to newspapers, magazines, cardboard boxes, aluminum cans, plastic beverage bottles (milk, soft drink, water or juice), and glass bottles.  At least they have a recycling program!

    If you live in a rural area where there are no recycling facilities and you have the space at home, collect items that are recyclable in the nearest town or city.  Then when you next go there, fill your car trunk with your recyclables.  When we accumulate recyclables (as Gary did when he lived in a rural setting outside of Charlottesville, Virginia), it makes us think more about our consumption of the products in which they are contained.
  • When he leaves a room that he will not return to in less than ten minutes, he turns off the light.  He leaves the light on if he will be returning within ten minutes because frequently turning light bulbs on and off causes them to burn out sooner (the surge of electricity when a light bulb is first turned on is what causes most bulbs to burn out).

  • After he washes his clothes, he hangs his underwear and socks on a clothes rack instead of drying them in the drier (the elastic in them lasts longer as a result).  He dries his shirts, pants, shorts and other clothes in the drier for only about two minutes – enough time to get most of the wrinkles out – and then he hangs them on plastic hangers to dry.  They don’t need ironing, the colors in them remain brighter longer because drying them in the drier causes colors to fade and removes fibers (the lint you remove from the filter) so they last a lot longer.  The clothes drier is one of the biggest electricity hogs in today’s homes so using it very little reduces greenhouse gas emissions and saves money too.  Towels and sheets can be hung on an old-fashioned clothesline outside to dry (except in the perpetually humid climate of the southeastern U.S.) or inside, if you have room.  Gary and his wife own a front-loading washer, which uses less water, is more energy efficient, and is easier on their clothes (they last longer) than top-loading washers.

  • He uses low-wattage or energy-efficient light bulbs, like compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) in his home and at work.  However, be very careful not to break a compact fluorescent light because they contain Mercury, which is very toxic.  CLFs must be recycled and should not be thrown in your trash because the Mercury they contain will leach into the ground water around the landfill where your trash finally resides.  To find out how to recycle them, go to Sylvania's bulb recycling or take burned out CFLs to your local Home Depot or your local landfill may recycle them.

  • When he goes to bed, he turns off the surge protector that his TV, satellite dish receiver, and DVD player are plugged into.  This saves electricity because, even when modern electronic equipment is off, little LED lights remain lit.  Gary also turns off his computer monitor and the Internet modem.  The only reason he doesn't turn off his computer overnight is because he has been told by his computer repair technician that hard drives last longer if they are left on (and spinning) 24 hours/day.  When Gary leaves town or is away from the house all day, he turns off his computer.

  • He only plugs in an electronic device when he is using it (i.e. his credit card processor, printer, scanner, speakers, cell phone charger, back-up hard drive, tape recorder, fax machine, etc.) because most modern electronic devices have adapter plugs, which use electricity even when the device they supply is turned off, and some have little LED or "on" button lights that also draw electricity when the equipment is turned off or not in use.  The electricity that adapter plugs and lights on electronic devices may seem insignificant individually but when added together over the course of a year, they create hundreds of pounds of carbon dioxide.

  • Gary's household buys as much organic or local, no-spray vegetables and fruits as they can afford because these foods are healthier and because commercial fertilizers and pesticides are used to grow conventional produce.  Fertilizers and pesticides are made from fossil fuels and greenhouse gases are emitted during their production.  In addition, the companies that strip-mine phosphate (a primary fertilizer ingredient) create huge quantities of greenhouse gases in the process and leave scars on the face of the earth that take decades to heal (the water used to wash the phosphate is dumped, untreated, in diked ponds where it takes decades for the suspended clay to settle - see the satellite photo on the right).

  • He uses a rag instead of paper towels when he wipes up a liquid on the floor or elsewhere.  He wishes he could convince his wife to do the same.

  • He uses paper products that contain recycled fibers whenever possible, which means that fewer trees were harvested to make them.  The higher the percentage of recycled fibers, the better.  Despite the recycling of paper products, millions of trees are killed annually to produce the millions of tons of paper products we consume.

  • In the average U.S. home, the electric water heater is a major energy consumer and is responsible for adding 3,586 pounds of carbon dioxide per year to Earth's atmosphere because of the electricity it consumes (P.M., p. 69 (Mar. 2009)).  Gary turns it off (the circuit breaker to it) after the dinner dishes are washed.  His wife turns it on in the morning because she awakens before him and then turns it off when she leaves for work.  Despite the fact that it remains off all day, Gary has plenty of hot water, even if he showers late in the afternoon.  He turns the circuit breaker to the water heater on shortly before his wife returns home from work.  Since October 2008, when they began this routine and their other electricity saving measures, the Brands have noticed their monthly electricity bill drop by an average of $32 because of the average 181 kilowatt-hours (KWH) savings (see the graph on the right).  Because every kilowatt-hour of electricity in the U.S. releases 1½ pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Id., p. 67), this equates to a reduction of 271 pounds of carbon dioxide per month entering the atmosphere because of their conservation of electricity.  Just imagine this number multiplied by millions of households, if more of us were willing to make the effort (see the carbon footprint calculator at the end of this page to find out how many pounds of carbon dioxide you produce).

  • He uses a rake instead of a gasoline-driven leaf blower and uses hand-powered tools instead of electric or battery-driven tools because it is good exercise.  Battery-driven tools are no better than electric because of the fossil fuels used to manufacture and ship the batteries, which also need continual replacement, or they must be recharged with electricity.  He often uses a broom instead of the vacuum cleaner because it saves electricity (his home has hardwood floors).

  • He treats his belongings with care and respect so they last longer and need to be replaced less frequently (if at all).  Treat them well and they will serve you well.  When they need to be replaced or have ceased functioning as they were meant to, instead of throwing them away give them to Good Will or a similar agency that can repair or sell them to someone who wants them.  We have been duped by this consumerism-based culture into believing that everything must be replaced by the newest version/model or the latest fashion and that bigger or faster is better.  DON'T BUY IT!
OTHER THINGS WE CAN ALL DO TO REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
  • Plant new trees and preserve existing trees because they absorb and need carbon dioxide (a primary greenhouse gas) and they give off oxygen, which we need to breathe.

  • Like his father before him, Gary repairs things that break, if he can.  For example, a few years ago, the fan broke in the cheap, small, window air conditioner he owns.  As you can imagine, an air conditioner without a fan to blow the cold air out of it is worthless.  Gary really dislikes returning things because many big companies don't care if we consumers are dissatisfied with their products and they resist refunding any money.  Rather than try to return the unit and make the company honor their warrantee, Gary took the air conditioner apart (it wasn't that difficult) and discovered that the manufacturer (Goldstar) had put a cheap, flimsy, plastic fan in it (probably made in China) and that the plastic shaft of the fan had broken.  This is a good example of built-in obsolescence!  Undaunted, Gary sawed off the broken end of the shaft, drilled a hole through it, attached a short piece of wooden dowel to it with a metal bolt and the repaired fan has worked perfectly (and noiselessly) for several summers since.  Although the repair took the better part of an afternoon, it was worth it because it was probably easier than returning it and dealing with the big company from which he bought it, which may have been as time consuming as repairing it.  Also, Gary didn't burn up any gasoline to return it.  Another example - when the carrying handle on the Kenmore cannister vacuum cleaner broke, it became very inconvenient to pick it up in both hands to carry it up and down stairs.  Although we don't use it much anymore (we more often use a broom), it was worth Gary's time and effort to saw off the broken part of the handle, cut a piece of thick, wooden dowel to length, drill holes in the ends of the dowel and the remaining handle ends, and secure the new, wooden handle with screws.  The handle is now functionally better than the original because the new handle is round and fits the hand naturally (he bought this machine about 35 years ago).

  • Use paper when cushioning something to be shipped instead of using Styrofoam “peanuts” or bubble plastic wrap, which are made from fossil fuels and take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.  If you receive Styrofoam “peanuts” or bubble plastic wrap in a package, take them to a place where they will be reused, like a UPS, FedEx, or similar store that ships or mails packages.

  • When mailing the recording of a client's session in a padded mailer, Gary uses one made with paper fibers as padding that can be recycled by the receiver.  He puts a label that says, "RECYCLE THIS" on the back of the padded mailer to remind the recipient.  Gary refuses to buy bubble mailers because they are not recyclable and take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills.

  • Purchase products with minimal plastic packaging when possible because fossil fuels and electricity are used to produce this tough, thick packaging, which is not recyclable and doesn’t decompose in the landfill in a thousand years.  When you must buy a product that is excessively packaged in plastic, remove the packaging after your purchase while you are still at the store and give it to customer service (cardboard boxes are OK to take home IF you recycle or reuse them).  If hundreds of thousands of us did this, excessive plastic packaging would disappear.

  • When Gary gives someone a gift, he usually doesn’t wrap it but, instead, holds it behind his back and tells the recipient he has a gift.  He does this to create suspense - as an alternative to the suspense we often feel when unwrapping a gift.  Alternatively, put your gift in a reusable gift bag instead of wrapping it.  This encourages the recipient of the gift to reuse the gift bag (you can even ask them to do so).

  • Install double-paned windows in your house if you live in a temperate or northern climate.  If it is too expensive to replace every window, install them only in the north- and west-facing windows because the prevailing cold winds in the winter are from these directions.  Double-paned windows (or storm windows) reduce your consumption of fuel or electricity for heating in the winter and your consumption of electricity for air conditioning in the summer.

  • Grow some of your own food and buy locally grown food as much as possible because this greatly reduces your impact on global warming – millions of gallons of fossil fuels are consumed in transporting food every day.  Buy food grown in the U.S. before buying food from overseas because of the additional fossil fuels burned to bring it here by ship or plane.  Fill out a comment card at your grocery store requesting that they buy more in-season, locally grown food and ask your friends to do the same.

  • Eat less red meat, which is much more resource-consumptive than raising veggies.  Consuming one less serving of beef each week saves 300 lbs. of carbon dioxide in a year.

  • Ride a bicycle or walk rather than drive whenever you can – it saves fossil fuel and it is healthy (on roads where air pollution from cars is minimal).

  • Buy products made locally and buy used products sold by local people as much as possible because this greatly reduces the impact of your purchase on global warming – millions of gallons of fossil fuels are consumed every day to transport products and most are shipped from overseas.  Purchases of used or locally made products also support the local economy.

  • Use local practitioners and services as much as possible to support your local economy.  The more we use local resources, the less fossil fuels we consume (consultations by phone are exceptions).

  • Look at the energy consumption of electrical products you buy (often expressed in wattage) and, when you have a choice, choose the least consumptive.

  • Reduce, minimize or avoid altogether shopping in big-box chain stores like Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, K-Mart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Office Depot, Staples, etc.  These stores contribute to urban sprawl because they are typically on the fringes of developed areas and they generate a huge number of long car trips by customers each day, each trip adding carbon dioxide to the air.  They are also major contributors to global warming because they import thousands of goods made by poorly-paid foreign workers, shipped from overseas, and then distributed, mostly by truck, all over the country.  Big-box stores are poorly insulated and, with excessively high ceilings and no windows, they use incredible amounts of electricity to keep them well-lighted and at a comfortable temperature for customers.  Because of their extended hours, they must run the heating or air conditioning 24 hours a day, every day of the year.  They also drive smaller, locally-owned stores out of business and much of their cheaply-priced merchandise is poor quality and foreign made.  According to the Associated Press, Wal-Mart is the largest private user of electricity in the world!  Read more about Wal-Mart's negative environmental impact.

  • Buy products from green businesses because they are usually deliberately reducing their "carbon footprint" (hence their impact on global warming) and many are contributing to the preservation of our environment as well.  Buy stocks of publicly traded green companies to support them and protect our planet.

  • Don't believe the nonsense you hear and see on TV commercials about how corporate giants are now suddenly "going green" unless they present valid evidence to support this claim.  Keep in mind that this advertising gimmick is often a thinly disguised attempt to distract the consumer from thinking about the huge quantities of greenhouse gases their business practices produce and the gigantic carbon footprints they leave.

  • Read more and watch less TV – reading uses less electricity and stimulates your mind.  If you are doing something requiring concentration, turn off the TV rather than trying to divide your attention.  According to TV analysts, this is a major reason that TV programs today are "dumbed-down" and oversimplified - don't support this industry trend.

  • Sell stocks of companies that make huge contributions to global warming and aren’t making efforts to be environmentally responsible (such as the big-box stores mentioned above).  Buy stocks of companies that manufacture or sell clean or renewable energy producing systems (like wind, solar, geothermal, tidal).

  • Vote against politicians running for national office who don’t actively work to pass legislation to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and vote for politicians who do.  Vote against local politicians who don’t actively support tax credits to individuals, businesses and organizations who install alternative energy producing systems.
WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR HOMES IN THE SUMMER
What Gary does in the summer in his home to help reduce his impact on global warming (air conditioning is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions because of its high consumption of electricity):
  • If the humidity is high (usually it is in Florida and the southeastern U.S.), he keeps the house windows closed day and night.  In the morning, the house feels cooler longer because the humidity in the house is lower than it is outside (the higher the humidity in the summer, the hotter we feel).  When the humidity level is comfortable outside, he opens the windows in the morning or early afternoon to warm the house or after the Sun sets to cool the house.  If the relative humidity exceeds 50% in the house because the windows are open, he closes the windows and turns on the dehumidifier (which uses less electricity than the central A/C).

  • When he lived in a house with window air conditioners, he waited until the house temperature reached at least 80 degrees (he has an indoor thermometer) before turning on the air conditioners.  He only used two units (one was small) to cool his house and he used fans to distribute the cool air.  He turned them to warmer settings or off when he left the house.

  • In his present home, which has central air conditioning, he sets the thermostat at 82 degrees during the day (he turns it to a lower setting at night so he can sleep and so his wife doesn't complain constantly).

  • He closes blinds in east-facing windows in the morning and closes blinds in west-facing windows in the afternoon to reduce the extent to which the Sun heats the house.

  • He uses ceiling and portable fans instead of the air conditioning when the temperature in the house is not unbearably hot.

  • When he lived in a house with a basement, he closed the inside door to the basement because cool air produced by the window air conditioners sank into the basement if that door remained open.

  • An attic fan that cools your attic will have the effect of cooling your house as well.
WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR HOMES IN THE WINTER
What Gary does in the winter in his home to help reduce his impact on global warming (greenhouse gases are produced by all of the fuels we burn to keep us warm in the winter):
  • He sets the thermostat to 60 degrees during the day and wears warm clothes.  Because he presently lives in Florida, he can often open the house windows when the outdoor temperature exceeds 60 degrees and this gradually warms the house.  If you don't have a thermostat, get an indoor thermometer like Gary has and try to keep the room temperature at 65 degrees or lower during the day.  If no one is at home, set the thermostat at 60 degrees (set it lower if you are leaving your house for more than a day).  Gary wears warm shoes or thick socks because, when his feet are warm, the rest of his body will more likely feel warm.  If you like hats, wear a warm one at home and you will be surprised by how cool you want your house in the winter (40% of our heat loss is through our head).

  • He works at home and spends most of the day in one room so he heats that room with an electric space heater.  He can set the heater on low because he wears warm clothes and keeps his feet warm (the heater is under his desk).  He was born with the Sun in Pisces so keeping his feet warm is important in maintaining his comfort.

  • On sunny days, he pulls the blinds up to let full sunlight in but keeps blinds (or curtains if you have them instead) closed in windows against which a cold wind is blowing.  At night, he closes blinds (or curtains), which helps keep cold air that comes in around the windows contained against the windows.

  • He locks all windows during cold weather or on cold nights after the windows have been open during the day.  This causes a tighter seal than when they are unlocked.  When he knows the cold of winter has set in, he applies clear packaging tape over all spaces around windows through which the wind blows in cold air.

  • When he lived in a house with a basement, he placed a rolled-up bath towel at the bottom of the basement door to the outside, which kept cold air from coming in because the base of that door didn't form a good seal.  He also kept the door from the ground level to the basement open because cold air on the ground level gradually sank into the basement.
HOW WE DRIVE CAN REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
  • Gary drives 40 MPH except on the Interstate where he drives 60 MPH just to avoid being run over.  Another exception is that he drives the 55 MPH speed limit on local highways because he doesn't want the driver behind tailgating him.  When the speed limit is less than 40 MPH, he drives the limit or under it.  He does this because it saves gasoline and, even though he drives a 2000 Toyota Camry (not a fuel-efficient model), his average gas mileage is over 30 miles/gallon.  Driving at 40 MPH or less saves gasoline because, at all but the slowest speeds, the slower we drive, the fewer revolutions per minute (RPM) the engine turns and the fewer revolutions, the less gas it consumes.

  • This speed also means that Gary seldom used his brakes on the country roads he drove in Virginia because most curves can be safely made at 40 MPH and when he approached a curve requiring a slower speed, by taking his foot off the accelerator before the turn, his car usually slowed enough on its own to safely make the turn.  Replacing his brakes less often means fewer brake pads consumed (and fewer manufactured if we all did this) and brake pads, just like everything else, require electricity (as well as raw materials) to be manufactured.  If he lived in a city, this savings would not apply.

  • When accelerating from a stop or a slow speed, Gary does so gradually because a gradual acceleration through the gears saves an appreciable amount of gas.  His 2000 Toyota Camry has a tacometer (which registers the revolutions per minute or RPM of the engine) so, during his gradual accelerations, he tries to keep the RPM at about 2200.

  • When he lived near Charlottesville, Virginia and began driving down a big hill, he shifted his car into neutral.  This saved gas because the engine turns fewer RPM when in neutral than in gear and the fewer revolutions, the less gas it consumes.  He waited to shift back into drive until the car's speed declined to 40 MPH.

WITH THE FOLLOWING CARBON FOOTPRINT CALCULATOR, YOU CAN SEE HOW MUCH CARBON DIOXIDE YOU PRODUCE!
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida
850-656-5758