Phantom power: Also known as “vampire power” or “phantom load”; refers to the power drawn by appliances and electronics even when they’re switched off or not in use. By one estimate, U.S. residents spend $1 billion per year on it.
The most likely culprits are appliances that can be operated with a remote control, or have power clocks or timers with miscellaneous LED status lights. Common phantom energy wasters include TVs, microwave clocks, DVD displays, telephones, and computers. Continue reading
Carbon footprint: A measure of the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse-gas emissions that a product, service or lifestyle produces, all of which contribute to global warming.
Want to know how much carbon you and/or your household is emitting? Click on The Nature Conservancy’s carbon footprint calculator to measure your impact on our climate.
The carbon footprint calculator estimates how many tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases your choices create each year. Continue reading
Food Miles estimate certain aspects of the environmental costs directly associated with a food’s transport from farmer to consumer. Food miles are one factor considered when measuring the impact of global warming.
How your food is grown, stored, transported, processed and cooked can all influence how it impacts climate change and the environment.
Buying food that is produced locally is good for several reasons. Buying directly from family farmers in your area helps them stay in business. And by buying local, it means that your food isn’t traveling long distances by planes, trains, trucks, and ships, which all consume energy and spew pollution that contributes to global warming and unhealthy air quality. Plus, you get the added benefit of what many chefs say is better tasting food on your table. Continue reading
Fracking: Hydraulic fracturing is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside. The problem with fracking is that it has the potential to contaminate ground water, as well as add tons of pollutants to the air.
Also, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports that earthquakes induced by human activity have been documented in the United States, Japan, and Canada.
Read more about fracking here. And here.
GMO: Genetically modified organisms (GMO) have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques.
Genetically modified foods (GM) are food sources that have been genetically altered for a number of different reasons. Those reasons include making fruit and veggies larger and seedless as well as making them resistant to certain kinds of pesticides.
Genetically modified foods were first put on the market in 1996. The most common genetically modified foods include soybeans, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and papaya. Continue reading
To recycle by giving away an item for free. This includes anything from books and magazines to clothes, furniture, appliances, bicycles, tools, and anything in between.
Join the online movement to keep perfectly good stuff out of landfills and share goods with people. Go to freecycle.org.
A superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is usually shown through the marketing of a consumer good. The term is generally used when significantly more money or time has been spent advertising being green, (operating with consideration for the environment) than spending resources on actual environmentally sound practices.
upcycle – uhp-sahy-kuhl
The process of converting useless products into new materials or products of better quality or higher value.
According to Wikipedia, upcycling has shown significant growth across the United States. For example, the number of products on Etsy tagged with the word “upcycled” increased from about 7,900 in January 2010 to nearly 30,000 a year later — an increase of 275%!
Upcycling is different than recycling in that when we recycle a product, that product is reduced back down to its raw materials (plastic, paper, glass, etc.), and then re-used to manufacture other products made of those materials.
Upcycling involves taking old things and repurposing them as crafty new things.
What have you upcycled around your house?