- Green Building
- Natural Features
- Planning, Policy & Assessment
About the Challenge
Research and public polls indicate over 90% of American adults are aware of human induced climate change, and over 70% of Americans believe that already happening (Leiserowitz, A. 2007). Despite widespread knowledge about how carbon emissions affects the earth's climate, awareness has yet to lead to widespread action.
So Lets Do Something! Pledge to change three behaviors related to reducing carbon emissions for one month.
(The first survey for tracking pledges is open March 28th-April 8th.)
The Challenge: Make personal changes from April 1st-April 30th
Most of the behaviors we can change to reduce our impact are SO SIMPLE. Making them habits however is a little more difficult. These actions are also usually low or no cost. From riding a bicycle to campus to purchasing local foods you can reduce your carbon footprint tremendously.
At the end of April a second survey will be sent to see how you did, what the obstacles were, and if you would consider making more long-term changes. This survey will also illustrate the amount of carbon emissions you saved over the month.
The Goals: Conservation and Efficiency
It is important to recognize that sheer reductions in energy consumption are most effective at reducing one's overall carbon footprint. This results in big savings accounts for those who buy used items more than new, live in smaller homes, and drive to work or school less. Beyond that, focus on reducing time computers spend left on and plugged in, use task lighting, set themostat temperatures below 68 degrees in winter, and recycle all paper, cardboard, class, and metal. If you have a little money to spend, invest in more energy efficient CFL lights and low flow faucets and showheads, buy locally made products, and decide that your next retail purchase will be of a previously used item.
Here are the top 10 things you can do:
1. Unplug electronics when you aren’t using them (e.g., printer, stereo, TV).
2. Bike or walk instead of driving (at least once per week).
3. Eat a vegetarian and/or local meal
4. Replace incandescent light bulbs (and halogen lamps) with compact fluorescent bulbs
5. Install aerating, low-flow faucets and showerheads.
6. Borrow instead of buying (2 items this month).
7. Set your thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and as high as is comfortable in summer.
8. Seal holes or cracks throughout your home.
9. Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever
10. Limit your showers to five minutes