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
Courtesy of NASA/JPL.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
(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):
OTHER THINGS WE CAN ALL DO TO REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
- 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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
(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
- 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!
WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR HOMES IN THE SUMMER
- 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
- 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 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
WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR HOMES IN THE WINTER
- 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
- 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
- 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 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):
HOW WE DRIVE CAN REDUCE GLOBAL WARMING
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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!