Our individual actions do make a difference on this Earth. Our behavior
does have environmental impact. Each of us leaves an "ecological
footprint" on our planet. Below are 2 ways each of us can make a
substantial difference in our daily lives to minimize the negative
impacts of the footprints we leave when treading on this small planet of
1. Watch your automotive behavior:
Make vehicle mileage a primary buying criteria when purchasing a new
car. Every gallon of gas you burn results in the release of 28 pounds
of CO2 pollution. SUVs available today only achieve an average of 20
miles per gallon. The average car today is 40% more efficient and new
Hybrids, at 48 mpg and up, are 140% more efficient. Because of this, a
2003 SUV releases 2.4 times the CO2 emissions of a hybrid. That is a
global warming difference of 3.8 tons of CO2 per 10,000 miles driven --
one of you can make with a single decision.
2. Speak out in support of improved mileage standards:
Automobile lobbies have frozen CAFE standards (the standards that
regulate US vehicle mileage requirements) at 27.5 mpg since 1986. And
even though they are increasingly being used as a primary source of
transport, light trucks (SUVs, pickups and mini-vans) escape being
classified as cars and are thus allowed to be 25% less efficient. US
CAFE standards instituted in 1975 were achieving results in the late 70s
and 80s -- average fuel efficiency of new automobiles had moved from
19.9mpg in 1978 to 27.6mpg in 1986 (a 39% increase). But since '86,
thanks to aggressive automotive industry lobbying progress has stalled.
Today, because every second new vehicle purchased in the US is an SUV,
our overall automotive mileage efficiency is worsening.
According to Environmental Defense, 1.7 million barrels per day have
been saved by the CAFE improvements of the late 70s and early 80s.
Interestingly, the American Geological Institue estimates that we can
only hope for 4.3 billion barrels of oil from Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge (ANWR) with 95% certainty. In other words, the savings made with
technologies 20 years ago would have compensated for ANWR drilling
yields, at this 95% certainty level, in less than 7 years. Further,
according to NRDC, we could save 15 times the projected oil output of
ANWR by raising average gas mileage standards in the US to 40 mpg by
2012 (40 mpg is a number considered economically achievable today by the
National Academy of Sciences). Make a difference; make your voice heard
on this issue and help save one of the Earth's pristine ecosystems!
Other ways you can make a difference today:
Take online action!
National Academy of Sciences
American Geological Institue
Office of Transportation Technologies
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