What makes behavior-change programs to reduce energy use effective? Four common intervention approaches were shared by the five energy behavior programs reviewed in a new report of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: (1) setting the tone with the support of upper management and its public pledge; (2) building a team with a project committee and peer champions on board; (3) utilizing communication tools such as e-mails, prompts, Web sites, public meetings, and posters to reach target audiences; and (4) engaging building occupants by means of feedback, benign peer pressure, and competition, as well as through performance-linked rewards. Read the report: http://aceee.org/research-report/b121
"Hanging laundry cannot stop global warming. The process that clotheslines - and reel mowers and compost piles - begin, however, is the de-normalizing of fossil-fuel ways of living. They are daily reminders that we urgently need new choices within new systems...They bear witness to our children that we are willing to exert agency, that we are not cynical, that we respect their right to inherit a habitable planet." Sandra Steingraber, Raising Elijah: Protecting our Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis
Brian went quiet again, until finally he said, "This is awful." Then he asked, "What do you think would happen if every University of Kentucky student came to see this?" I pulled the old teacher's trick and turned the question back on him: "What do you think would happen?" Brian paused, and then said, "I think mountaintop removal would end." Read more of Eric Reece's story, The Schools We Need in Orion(September\October, 2011).
New energy-efficient water heating technologies and practices can save residential and commercial buildings on average 37% more energy than conventional technologies. These energy savings could be worth nearly $18 billion, according to a new study of emerging technologies released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
We Americans use much more oil than other people...even people in other industrialized countries. But we have no way to know how much. Amanda Little thinks we can combat "energy obesity" by putting a carbon label on every product and service we consume. Read Making Every Oil Calorie Count at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/09/opinion/09Little.html
Tunisians and Egyptians are aiming to topple the system that has provided cheap oil to the West, and brought climate change to the planet. Read Yosef Gotlieb's analysis of "What Fuels Middle East Repression" on Green Prophet at http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/02/what-fuels-middle-east/
The US military loses one person, killed or wounded, for every 24 fuel convoys it runs in Afghanistan...and a single gallon of gas could cost up to $400, due to the costs of guarding and delivering it. Don't miss Tom Friedman's column on how the US Navy is aggressively pursuing renewable energy options. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/opinion/19friedman.html
Need some green inspiration? Eve Mosher wants to get you involved in her art project, Seeding the City. The idea is to place 1 square foot of green on 1000 roofs. Participate and see how easy green can be. www.seedingthecity.org
The local level is where the action is on sustainability. On October 14, 2010, the New York City Council approved a set of bills that will save the city one billion gallons of water every year. The bills will prohibit the use of certain wasteful equipment, mandate practices that identify water leaks, promote the use of tap water rather than bottled water and strengthen water efficiency standards for toilets and other fixtures. Read more about the Green Codes Task Force at http://www.nylcv.org/ecopoliticsdaily/20101014_nyc_council_votes_to_improve_water_efficiency_standards
"Relatively small changes in human behavior can transform the regional ecology, restoring its biodiversity and productivity." In Niger, farmers have planted 7.4 million acres with trees in the last 20 years -- reducing poverty now, and reducing vulnerability to future dry spells due to climate change.http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/world/africa/11niger.html
A realistic plan for renewable energy? In 5 years Portugal has increased the share of electricity generated by renewables from 17% to 45%. In 2014 Portugal will start closing conventional power plants. Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/10/science/earth/10portugal.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=renewable+energy+portugal&st=nyt
Dry cleaners in the US release some 10,000 tons of perchloroethylene every year. Perc is a probable carcinogen, contributes to smog, and accumulates in water sources. It is easy to avoid contributing to perc pollution. Wear washable clothes and choose a cleaner who uses wet cleaning or liquid CO2 cleaning. For more info: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/4131
Dexter Ford drove a plug-in Prius for one week - powered by solar panels on his roof that provide virtually all the power needed by his 3200 sq ft home. If we all generate a little electricity, we won't need so many big, polluting power plants. Don't listen to naysayers. Distributed energy is viable...today! Read the NYT article at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/09/automobiles/09PLUG.html