Although I am intrigued by the Branson/Gore plan to reward inventors who come up with devices to remove carbon from the air, I have enough experience as a mom to understand that the most effective way of dealing with a mess is not to make it in the first place. Prevention is worth a pound of cure, or in this case, a ton of carbon.
So while the geeks are tinkering with their gadgets, lets take our cue from those prophetic lyrics of that Mr Rodger's classic and "think of something to do while we're waiting" It wont get me the 25 million dollar prize, but it might provide my son with a planet to grow old on, so here is my plan for eliminating 1,000,000,000 tons of carcinogens and greenhouse gases by the end of 2010.
Over its lifetime, one compact fluorescent bulb prevents 1,000 - 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from heating the atmosphere, they also last far longer than traditional bulbs. My home has about 10 fictures that use light bulbs, so just by switching to compact fluorescents (as I did a few years ago) I am eliminating over 10,000 pounds of carbon from the air annually, or about 30,000 by 2010. If every American home changed just 5 high use light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs, together we'd keep more than one TRILLION pounds of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.
Due to my bum knee, I am cycling a bit less at the moment, but I still get in half a dozen or so miles a day, and use mass transit for the rest. As noted in an earlier post (and the point can not be emphasized enough) replacing just 20 car miles a week (less than 4 each day) eliminates one ton of carbon from the atospere annually per cyclist. One individual, replacing just 4 car miles a day with cycling, will eliminate over 4 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere by 2010, on their own, while running errands and doing daily tasks. In essence, they will save the world in their spare time.
Census data indicates that there are approximately 200,436,329 Americans between the age of 15 and 65, the age range within which most people are operating cars. If each of those Americans were to replace 20 miles of driving with 20 miles of cycling each week, the United states could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 200,000,000 tons annually. 800,000,000 by 2010
If every household in America replaced just one 4-pack of virgin fiber toilet paper with 100% recycled, together we could save 1.22 million trees, 537 million gallons of water, 5.1 million cubic feet of landfill space, and avoid 230,000 pounds of pollution.
Trees are the lungs of the earth, absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and releasing oxygen. I don't have a number for how much C02 per tree, but I have no doubt that it is a good number, which is why all the paper products I use, from printer paper to TP is recycled
So, by using compact fluorescent bulbs, replacing a handful of car miles with cycling,and using recycled paper products, I personally will eliminate some 5 tons of Co2 and other greenhouse pollutants from the atmosphere by 2010. No new gadgets, no million dollar budget, no government program, just me and my choices. If the 200,436,329 Americans between the age of 15 and 65 were to do the same, it would add up to the elimination of over 1,000,000,000 tons of carcinogens and greenhouse gases by 2010.
You personally, on your own, could eliminate over 5 tons in that time, without any major lifestyle changes, without giving up much of anything. That is real, and significant, and perhaps most important, immediately attainable.
We have what we need, right now, to make the difference. You have the power to save the world
Additional Co2 reduction can be acieved by eating and shopping locally, choosing organic foods and foods with minimal packaging, weatherizing your home and conserving energy, and recycling. The average American generates about 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide every year from personal transportation, home energy use and from the energy used to produce all of the products and services we consume, but we are capable of being so much better than average.
for more information on how to reduce you environmental footprint, check out this link