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July 10th, 2006

What To Do?

Some suggestions on how you can help fight the global climate crisis

 
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Caring for the environment is not just for tree-huggers and hippies. It is not just for certain congressional committees. It is not just for the
church, synagogue, and mosque-goers. It is an issue we all need to be concerned about. Through the actions we take and the choices we make the greatest resource we have to combat this catastrophe is ourselves.

Here are some suggestions (slightly modified) from An Inconvenient Truth’s website, as well as links to both religious and scientific sites that cover the issue of global warming in great detail.

11 Things You Can Do (Individually and as Communities)

1. Spend some time in nature. Oftentimes we don’t spend time to appreciate the beauty around us. This cultivates our sense of gratitude and sensitizes us to the need to do the things below.

2. Speak up in your communities. Vote for politicians who will effect environmental change. If there aren’t any, run yourself! Write to your elected officials to tell them to support policies that protect the environment.

3. Change a light. Replacing one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescence light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

4. Drive less. Walk, bike or take mass transit more often. You’ll save one pound of carbon dioxide for every mile you don’t drive.

5. Recycle more. You can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year by recycling just half of your household waste.

Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

6. Check your tires – Keeping your tires inflated properly can improve gas mileage by more than 3%. Every gallon of gasoline saved keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

7. Use less hot water. It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Use less hot water by installing a low flow showerhead 350 pounds of CO2

saves per year) and washing your clothes in cold or warm water (500 pounds saved per year).

8. Avoid products with a lot of packaging. You can save 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide if you cut down your garbage by 10%.

9. Adjust your thermostat. Move your thermostat down just 2 degrees in winter and up 2 degrees in summer. You could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide a year with this simple adjustment.

10. Plant a tree. A single tree will absorb one ton of carbon dioxide over its lifetime.

11. Turn off electronic devices. Simply turning off your television, DVD player, stereo, and computer when you’re not using them will save you thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide a year.

Links

Catholic Resources

The Ecological Crisis: A Common Responsibility, Pope John Paul II, 1990

Renewing the Earth: An Invitation to Reflection and Action on Environment
in Light of Catholic Social Teaching, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1991

Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good, U.S. Catholic Bishops, 1991

The Environmental Justice Program, U.S. Catholic Bishops

Ecumenical/Interfaith Resources

National Council of Churches Eco-Justice Programs

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Faith

Environmental Protection in Islam

Global Warming

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

An Inconvenient Truth – movie website

Real Climate science blog

Environmental Ethics links from Marquette

 
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The Author : Beth Ford
Beth Ford is a recent graduate of the Washington Theological Union. She works in campus ministry at St. Joseph's University.
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