And while you're at it, save the penguins!
Dramatic images from NASA show that from 1979 to 2005, more than 20% of the polar ice, which helps regulate the Earth's climate, melted away and polar ice continues to melt at the rate of nine percent per decade. In the Antarctic region, penguins that depend on sea ice to survive and breed are at risk. Researchers have predicted that the population of Emperor penguins, the world's largest penguins, could decline by 95% or more by the year 2100. And Adélies, the classic tuxedo penguins, could disappear from the Antarctic's northwestern peninsula in just a few decades.
View the New York Times slideshow, "Living on Thin Ice."
Everyday choices make a difference. By reducing your consumption of fossil fuel energy, you can help stop this trend. Here are 10 things you can do right now.
1. Turn off lights and computers when you leave the room.
The US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers tips on when to turn things off.
Read it here.
2. Turn off your engine if you idle for more than 10 seconds.
After 10 seconds of idling cars, buses and trucks use more gas or diesel and create more global warming pollution than simply restarting the engine. Surprised? The 10-second rule has been proven by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the EPA and the Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency.
Find out more.
3. Change your light bulbs to compact fluorescents or, better yet, to LED bulbs.
Compact fluorescent (CFL) or LED bulbs now bring energy efficient lighting to incandescent sockets. On average, CFLs use less than a quarter of the energy used by an incandescent bulb for the same amount of light, and LEDs use less than 15%.
Read more on the Energy Star website
Order LED bulbs now from The Wankel's online store.
4. Drink tap water instead of bottled water.
Did you know that bottled water has a carbon footprint 5,000 times that of tap water? The New York Times editorial "In Praise of Tap Water" is still making waves.
Read the editorial
5. Switch to green power from your local utility.
If 10 percent of New York State households chose green power, it would reduce the state's annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by about 3 billion pounds. CO2 makes up 80 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions. Most electrical utilities can provide power from renewable energy sources-- contact your utility to find out more. If you live in New York City, visit Con Edison's Green Power website for information on how to enroll in their Green Power program:
Con Edison's Green Power website.
Don't live in New York? Visit the Department of Energy's page:
"Can I Buy Green Power in My State?"
6. Adjust your thermostat.
In cold weather put on a sweater. In warm weather open the windows. Also, set your thermostats properly: the government's ENERGY STAR program recommends 70 for heat and 78 for cool.
Heat & Cool Efficiently
7. Make energy efficiency an important purchase criterion.
Look for the ENERGY STAR label when purchasing appliances and for the best gas mileage when investing in a vehicle.
Read about appliances on the Energy Star website
8. Ride a bicycle instead of driving.
While bicycling Albert Einstein discovered the theory of relativity. And Ernest Hemingway said that, "It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them."
Read more in "Why Ride More."
9. Wash clothes in cold water.
You can save up to 80% of energy per load by washing in cold water.
Read "11 ways to green your laundry"
10. Conduct a do-it-yourself home energy audit.
With a simple walk-through, you can spot many problems on your own. Reduce your energy use by first tightening up your home. Weatherizing can help cut your heating and cooling costs by 15 to 30 percent and increase your comfort at the same time. Learn how:
Home Energy Checklist
And one more thing you can do to live greener:
Look for more ways to recycle and reduce waste streams in your community. If you live in New York City, join recycling and composting programs run by the Lower East Side Ecology Center, a community-based organization focused on environmental issues and solutions facing New York City.
Don't live in New York? Find a recycling center near you: