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How You can
Make a difference!

Suggestions on what you can do to promote a sustainable life while reducing greenhouse gasses and the impact of Peak oil.

From the

Become educated about sustainability, then become an educator: teach your children, and talk to your friends, neighbors and total strangers about it at every opportunity.

Develop an “Energy Awareness Mind set” that understands that everything we do requires energy, and that energy waste is a crime against the planet and human societies.

With an Energy Awareness Mindset you will be constantly aware of how your life activities consume energy in many forms, and you will become attuned to the moral need to conserve energy as often as possible.

Learn what energy is and where it comes from. Learn that everything that happens on earth requires energy, and that energy use always gives off heat and produces some form of byproduct (CO2, sweat, etc.). Making something, using it, and disposing of it all require energy and produce heat and possible harmful byproducts.
Learn how energy flows and how it works in a modern urban environment. Learn to think in a broad context about energy; for example, learn to think about how much energy was used to make something you are about to use or throw away, and how much energy is used to replace it.
Seek the most effective way of reaching your goals while using the least amount of energy. When possible, use your own muscle energy rather than machine energy

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Figure out how sustainable your own behavior is.

Determine your personal and family “carbon footprint,” (see below) and resolve to reduce it as much as possible. Encourage others to do so. Support the reduction of population growth globally. Resolve to work to create a better life for those who are alive, but to limit births to a global level at which human consumption patterns do minimal harm to the biosphere on which we all depend. Reduce your per capita consumption
Think globally (with a broad, global perspective), but buy and work locally.

Be vocal in your support of conservation of all kinds.
Be vocal in our opposition to waste in any form.
Be vocal in your support of a new social paradigm that promotes conservation and sustainability.
Be vocal in your support of a new economic model that doesn’t reward growth for growth’s sake, but rather rewards sustainability and respect for both the earth and the rights of others to enjoy a full life.
Develop a mind set that looks for the real value in the things you own and the way you spend your time. Avoid being tempted to “upgrade” your lifestyle or belongings simply because they are older or out of style.

One third of the CO2 we produce results from the transportation of people or goods. The average car produces 1 lb of CO2 per mile, or roughly 20 lbs for each gallon of gas.
10% of the fuel we produce from petroleum is used to create jet fuel to power airliners.

Move out of the suburbs and nearer the urban core, where you will have those commodities you need closer at hand, and where, when you need it, you can take advantage of whatever mass transportation is available.
Live where you can drive less, as close as possible to where you work, shop, play and where your kids go to school
Car pool when ever possible. See this site for more.
Resolve to remain as aware as possible of new forms of transportation and vehicle fuels as they become available, and to, when possible, select the most energy efficient form as your primary mode of transport. This includes newly emerging vehicle technologies such as hybrid cars, (Toyota, was first, but most other car manufacturers now off extensive lines of Hybrids), motor scooters, electric cars, Segway personal mobility vehicles (check out Segway’s new “Centaur Concept” vehicle), very small cars (Smart4Two), vehicles that run on compressed air (Tata’s air car), extremely low-drag vehicles (Aptera), etc.

Walk or ride a bike when practical, carpool as often as possible (at least once a week), or use mass transit.
Try to observe one or two “no car use” days each week.
Intentionally plan trips in your car or on public transportation to get as much done as possible on each trip.
Think twice before purchasing a new car: Before it’s bought, a new car adds 4 tons of carbon & 700 lbs. of air pollution.
Choose a fuel efficient, low emission car. Keep your car’s tires properly inflated to maximize fuel economy. 2 million gallons of gas is wasted each day due to people driving on under-inflated tires. Look into transitioning to new wheel technologies, such as Michelin’s soon to be available “Tweel,” which requires no air at all.

Keep your car properly tuned up.
Replace your car’s air and fuel filters at recommended intervals
Remove roof racks, excess weight from the trunk, or heavy wheels, driving slower and avoiding quick starts and stops can increase fuel efficiency as much as 25%. Drive the speed limit, or less. Avoid idling as much as possible. Idling just ten minutes a day pumps 500 lbs of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Count how many stop lights, train tracks, school lines and drive thru’s you sit at during a normal day. Calculate your average weekly idle time, then try to reduce it by driving a different route, park, avoid rush hour, or shutting off the engine when you think you’ll need to idle more than a minute (be prepared to buy a new starter more frequently, however)
Try to stop at traffic lights as seldom as possible by slowing down well in advance when a light ahead is red.
Try to never let your car come to a complete stop (except at stop signs, of course). Of course, if you own a hybrid, most of the forgoing does not apply, as the vehicle will automatically use the most efficient functions. More car efficiency tips here (AD)

You may also want to check out our home energy page Here.

Choose your home carefully: is it energy efficient and the right size for your needs? If possible, choose an electrical supplier who offers renewable energy like wind, solar or water.
If you’re building a new home, try to site it where the shade of evergreen trees (Southern Live Oak, for example) will help keep it cool in summer. If possible, orient the home for minimal exposure to the direct sun. If you’re building a new home, research energy-conserving building technologies that might be appropriate before you start designing it, and incorporate as many of these as you can afford. Consider incorporating wind-solar-water-based energy sources where you can. Work with architects and engineers who know and are appreciative of energy conservation practices.
Don’t build in a flood zone. Rebuilding flooded structures wastes an incredible amount of energy.
Participate in your electric company’s renewable energy program, or ask why they don’t have one.
Raise your air conditioning temp; lower your heating temp
Heating and cooling your home accounts for 45% of your home’s energy use. You save about 7% in costs for each degree F you lower temps in winter or raise in summer.
Install and use “Energy Star” ceiling fans in rooms where you spend most of your time Clean or replace your air conditioner’s filters monthly.

Conserve energy by monthly cleaning the coils on your refrigerator and freezer with a specially designed coil brush.
Reduce the temperature setting on your hot water heater and turn it off when it’s not needed. Use hot water sparingly. Alternatively, tankless heaters supply water on demand and are much more efficient.
Install “Low Flow” shower heads to conserve both water and the energy to heat it. Take “Navy” showers: turn the water on only to get wet and to rinse off. Try to limit showers to no longer than 5 minutes.
Wash clothes in full loads only, at temperatures of cold or warm, not hot. Use “Cold Water All” or similar detergents.
Don’t use your clothes dryer often; hang clothes on a clothes line where possible. Use the least amount of time to wash and dry clothes. Select the water level setting appropriate to the amount of clothing you’re washing.
Wash dishes only when you have a full load. Conserve energy by hand-drying dishes once they’re clean. Install energy-efficient lighting and appliances.
Use LED's, CFL's or fluorescent tubes instead of incandescent. Use low wattage high "lumen" bulbs. Don’t spend money and waste energy lighting a room with no one in it. Develop a mind set to avoid turning on lights when you enter or work in a room that already has adequate ambient lighting for your task.
Decrease “standby” electrical use by unplugging your computer, peripherals, TV, printers, electronic gadgets, digital clocks, etc., when not in use. But remember, some settings may dissappear after a certain time without power.
Reduce waste. We throw out 4.5 lbs of trash per person every day! How many garbage cans does your family fill up each week? 27% of America’s garbage is food. Recycle everything you can. Be as inventive in finding uses for “discardable” items as you can. It’s fun!
Recycling 1 plastic bottle saves the energy of lighting a 100 watt bulb for 4 hours, 1 aluminum can powers a TV
for 3 hours. If your municipality doesn’t recycle - pester till they do. Ask your boss and your child’s school to recycle.
4 million tons of office paper is discarded every year. If it had been recycled paper, 1.25 million fewer tons of CO2 would have clogged the atmosphere last year. Buy recycled. Help create an increasing demand for recycled goods: paper, towels, napkins, toilet paper, paper plates, etc. Use washable rags instead of paper towels. Use organic cleaners, such as vinegar or baking soda. Use fallen leaves rather than commercial mulch. Reduce the amount of lawn area in your home landscaping. Instead, use ground cover plants that are drought tolerant and require little fertilizing.
Plant native Florida species rather than cultivated varieties. All cultivated plants were weeds at one time; think about it!
Reserve part of your yard to grow vegetables. Use as little fertilizer and pesticide as possible.

Eat lower on the food chain so less energy is wasted in growing the food you eat.
Eat your own, or locally grown fruits and vegetables frequently
Eat less meat. The average household of 2.7 people consumes 8.9 lbs. of meat, pork and chicken each month.
Eating less beef also saves one of our most precious resource, trees that turn CO2 into the oxygen we breathe. In South America, rain forests are being cut down at a horrendous rate to create grazing pastures. The meat of the cows is sold in the U.S. to make hamburgers at McDonalds, Burger King, etc.
Raising cattle uses a lot of water. If you cut down your red meat intake to just two 5 oz. portions each week, your contribution will save 5,283 gallons of fresh water every year.
Write your congressman and business leaders to press for conservation and sustainability.

Negotiate with your employer to allow you to work from home as often as practicable, if your job allows it. Within your company, develop an active sustainability persona. Encourage fellow workers to learn more about sustainability.
Within your company, lobby for a real reduction in corporate travel. Ask management to investigate and use emerging technologies that allow for real-time conferencing from wide-spread locations, such as Cisco’s “Telepresence” system, or the less expensive “Yugma” system.
Lobby within your company to conserve energy; at work, promote the formation of a Sustainability Department, and actively look for ways your company can become more sustainable and thus remain a viable enterprise.
Put up Sustainability Suggestion Boxes around the office. Don’t waste paper. Set narrow margins on all documents that are not intended to be sent out to others.
Use the backs of all sheets to take notes, print rough drafts, etc.
Use the economy ink setting on your printer to print draft copies.
Shut down your computer when it’s not in use: when you go to lunch, and when you go home in the evening.
Use the Energy Star setting on your computer to blank out your monitor when you’re not actually working on it.
Archive documents as PDFs instead of printing them.
Send emailed PDFs to fellow workers, rather than sending print copies of correspondence.
Carpool with others when you go to lunch together. Brown bag your lunch rather than buying from vending machines.
Bring your own washable utensils rather than using plastic utensils available in your company cafeteria.
Share ideas for conservation with your bosses and fellow workers. Ask your boss to install window blinds or insulated windows in your work space so you don’t need to turn the thermostat down so much.
Install automatic faucets in lavatories so users can’t inadvertently leave them on. Get the company to buy recycling bins for employee use. Get the company to use energy efficient lighting. Get the company to install a bike rack so people feel safer about riding their bikes to work.

Meagan's Green To-Do List

Getting Started with Green Living
Shopping Green for Your Pet
Guide to Green Parenting
Finding and Organizing Green Storage
Guide to Green Modifications for the Home
Added 2-2017

For more information, contact:
Tampa Bay Post Carbon Council
6814 Charlotte Harbor Way
Tampa, Florida 33625

     Or, E-mail us Here.

Public Policy Initiatives

Home owner associations, typically for condos, town homes, and some residential "deed restricted" developments, should be encouraged and legally enabled to change the requirements of their governing documents to allow for greater flexibility in adopting efficient standards of maintenance, landscaping, lighting etc.
Many such documents were originally created by builders and are rooted in meeting decades old expectations they believed would promote sales of their developments. However, continued adherence to those specifications are not only contrary to sustainability goals, but are often enormously expensive, compared to the "green" approaches recommended to replace them.

Consistently educate the public regarding all aspects of sustainability.
Foster a “Manhattan Project” mind set that sets the understanding and resolution of climate and energy uncertainties as top societal priorities, and rewards workable innovation.
Individuals can influence their governments to regulate things they cannot affect as individuals. Communicate your opinions by writing or e-mailing your state and federal elected officials. Make a point to know their environmental voting record and cast your ballot appropriately.

( Comments below are predicated on the exitance of a rational and responsive government. Consider replacing if not meeting standards.)

Stop giving tax breaks and deductions to oil companies, subsidizing the cost of water to farmers and government land leases to ranchers.
Tax pollution and offer incentives for conservation and modernization.
Create programs similar to those that exist in other countries: Germany makes producers responsible for the packaging they generate; Ireland’s 15 cent tax on plastic bags has cut consumption by 90% and raised millions for environmental projects
Set limits on emissions and allow pollution permit trading between companies.
Require deposits on items that should be returned - bottles, cans, lead-based batteries. Germany has deposits on paint cans to ensure safe recycling; Norway gets 90% of it’s junk cars back to approved sites.
Require efficiency standards for appliances and car mileage - set them high. Certify their validity and label to educate and protect consumers.
Make renewable energy a standard - solar, water, wind.
Encourage and adequately fund research and development.
Buy green. When local, state and federal governments commit to using recycled paper goods and renewable energy, they set an example for the public and help bring down costs.
Stop urban sprawl.
Assist those who want to preserve lands.
Develop strong laws that promote the planting and preservation of trees, and levy significant penalties for unwarranted cutting of trees.
Provide incentives for developers to rejuvenate old neighborhoods and existing communities, shopping centers and commercial buildings before new ones are built.
Provide incentives for builders who adhere to green architectural guidelines and build energy-efficient structures.
Improve and update mass transit, promote low impact transportation by adding bike lanes, sidewalks, crosswalks with signals for pedestrians, and street lights. Actively educate the public concerning alternatives to driving

In general...

The solutions we have discussed arise from problems we the people have created. We are happy to note that some media outlets have begun to greatly increase the programming devoted to supplying important information on these problems.

But it has been our indifference and lack of responsibility that is ultimately the source of so much of the bad habits and pernicious processes that have brought us here in the first place. Many of these problems have been the subject of critical discussion for many years, but have until now, been ignored by news and media organizations.

Americans must become better educated, especially in science and the scientific method. The tools of rhetoric and logic must be better understood. Common logical fallacies should be widely appreciated and avoided. Critical thinking about these, and all serious issues is essential if we are to meet the crises successfully, and avoid calamitous social unrest.

We must find ways of preserving our democracy in the face of stressful times. Improving our electoral process will contribute immeasurably to raising the level of confidence in our government and in ourselves. This is of course easier said then done, but nevertheless, bright young minds should be encouraged to find a way to get there. Having healthy habits of thinking is a good start.


L.M. & J. P.

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