Earth Day Momentum!

March 19th, 2010 | Simcha Weinstein | Comments Off on Earth Day Momentum!

In 34 days we will celebrate Earth Day. Between now and then my goal is to keep the focus on our environment through sharing ideas and actions that we can all engage in to make this planet a little healthier. Earth Day is always on April 22nd, and most people probably aren’t aware that the reason this day was chosen is because it is the first official day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, and of Fall in the Southern Hemisphere. Tomorrow, March 20th is the first day of Spring in this country – Happy Equinox! So, check out some fun and interesting facts and activities that are easy to understand; simple to do; and can literally change the world, if we all participate:

Recycling and Reuse
– Most of what we throw away can be recycled. Each person throws away approximately 4 pounds of garbage everyday.
– The energy we save when we recycle one glass bottle is enough to light a traditional light bulb for 4 hours.
– For every 2000 pounds of paper (1 ton) recycled, we save 7,000 gallons of water, free from chemicals. Recycled paper requires 64% less energy than making paper from virgin wood pulp. Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees.
– If every newspaper was recycled, we could save about 250,000,000 trees each year. Unfortunately, only 27% of all American newspapers are recycled.
– It takes 90% less energy to recycle aluminum cans than to make new ones. 5 billion aluminum cans are used each year. 84 percent of all household waste can be recycled. Aluminum cans take 500 years to break down.
– More than 20,000,000 Hershey’s Kisses are wrapped each day, using 133 square miles of tinfoil. All that foil is recyclable, but not many people realize it.
– Paper or Plastic? Neither is a good choice. Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. And it takes four times more energy to make paper bags. The best choice is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic.

Water
– We each use about 12,000 gallons of water every year. 1/3 of all water used is to flush the toilet.
– It takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater. Buying bottled water is a problem. Use reusable water bottles instead made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum that are not likely to degrade over time. If you choose a plastic water bottle, check the number on the bottom first: Plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7 could pose a health threat to you, so look for plastics numbered 1, 2, 4 or 5.
– Only 10 percent of the energy used by a typical washing machine powers the motor. About 90 percent of the energy is used to heat the water, and most clothes will come clean in cold water. So switch your washing machine’s temperature setting. For heavily soiled clothing, change it from hot to warm, but otherwise try to wash and rinse most of your clothing in cold water.
– Most of us would be surprised to find out that one in every five toilets leak, and since the leaks are usually silent, you probably have no idea if your toilet is leaking. A leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can easily be replaced.
– If you have a dishwasher, use it. Running a fully loaded dishwasher — without pre-rinsing the dishes — can use a third less water than washing the dishes by hand, saving up to 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. Simply scrape large pieces of food off your dishes and let the dishwasher handle the rest. And by using the air-dry setting (instead of heat-dry), you will consume half the amount of electricity.

Cars
– Increase your gas mileage by checking your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have under-inflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. If every American kept his or her tires properly inflated, we could save 2.8 billion gallons (10.6 billion liters) of gasoline a year.

And a rather stunning statistic in the world of agriculture – Only 11% of the earth’s surface is used to grow food.