Happy Earth Day, Alameda!
As part of The Island’s continuing Earth Week coverage, I checked in with Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda’s David Burton, who worked with Joyce Mercado to offer up 10 Earth-saving tips. Take it away, David and Joyce!
Top 10 list for Earth Week
Top 10 list for Earth Week
1. Figure out how to drive less. Each gallon of gas burned leads to 19.4 pounds of carbon dioxide (see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website). So if your vehicle’s tank is 15 gallons, that’s almost 300 pounds worth of carbon dioxide every fill-up! Try this approach: For one week, keep a notepad in your vehicle and write down EVERY trip. At the end of the week, review your trip list and figure out how to cut back. Basic options to consider:
*Sharing rides with friends and coworkers
*Organizing carpools for regular meetings, kid events, etc.
*Bicycling, walking and telecommuting
2. Call Alameda Municipal Power to schedule a FREE home energy audit at 748-3947. Investing about an hour of time with an AMP energy audit can help you find ways to cut home energy bills considerably.
3. Free yourself from junk mail once and for all while helping schools. Did you know that the average person receives 41 POUNDS of junk mail each year? Go to the Alameda Education Foundation’s website, click on the 41 Pounds.org green box, then sign up to eliminate junk mail. You’ll be helping reduce waste and a portion of your payment goes to AEF to help our schools.
4. Embrace the first two “R’s” in the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (Compost) mantra. All the stuff we buy takes energy to obtain raw materials, make and transport and, after we use it, ultimately recycle or dispose of it. Limited resources are consumed and emissions created each step of the way. Buying less stuff in the first place and reusing items instead of buying new or disposable items, is not only good for your budget, it’s good for the planet.
5. Use the green bin! Time to get over the ickyness of putting food scraps in the green bin. Food scraps in the landfill not only take up valuable space, they create methane gas, a greenhouse gas over 20 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. So let’s make compost instead! Put it in the green bin or start composting at home for your own garden.
6. Did you know that half of all of California’s water is used to water lawns? Replace part, or all, of your lawn with native, drought tolerant plantings. For even more fun, grow your food in a backyard victory garden! For help, ideas, and maybe even some rebates, check with the East Bay Municipal Utility District and Ploughshares Nursery.
7. Install a new low-flow or dual-flush toilet and save hundreds of gallons of water (and some money) each month. Check with East Bay MUD and you may be eligible for a rebate.
8. Enjoy all the Earth Day festivities in Washington Park, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 25th. While you are there, stop by the Sustainable Living Symposium, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 25th.
9. Download this handy Alameda Global Warming Checklist, post it on your refrigerator (Energy Star-rated, right?) or that cork bulletin board (sustainable materials!) and check off items as you complete them and make changes in your household. The second page has tons of great resources to help you.
10. Get involved! Take something you love to do, and apply it to helping the environment. Enjoy gardening? Teach others how to grow their own vegetables or start a garden at your child’s school. Love bicycling? Volunteer with BikeAlameda. For ideas and ways to get involved, check out Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda. Join this enthusiastic group and find your own way to help Alameda become more environmentally friendly.