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Top 7 Simple Work Ways to Cool the Earth
By Sue Brenner, PCC, PMP
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You already know that global warming is serious and that we collectively need to do our part to cool it. But that doesn't mean you have to pitch a tent in the woods and drink your water from a stream instead of the water cooler. Here are 7 simple work ways to cool the earth, from carrying your own water bottle to car pooling. Do any or all of these and you'll feel good about doing your part to cherish the environment. And you might inspire your co-workers to do the same.
- Pack your own water.
Rather than buying a plastic bottle every time you need a sip, pack your own H2O. Sturdy, reusable bottles last and are easy to clean. Fill your water bottle up at the office or filter your water at home. You’ll save money while you spare the earth, and you won’t need to find a place to recycle your disposable plastic water bottles.
- Skip the solo drive.
At least one day per week, ditch the lone commute. Ride your bike, carpool, take the Metro or tele-commute. Mexico City has a law that requires each vehicle to be parked—and off the road—one specified day per week. In many places throughout U.S., such as the San Francisco Bay Area in California, find a carpool pal by calling 511. Or, if you'd prefer to find a carpool buddy within your own company, encourage your HR department to look into innovative programs such as ridespring.com. RideSpring, a web-based service, makes carpooling a cinch and even offers cool prizes to give people an extra incentive to curb single-driver commutes.
- Kick the idle off.
Waiting for your carpool buddy outside the house? Cut the engine. When you turn your car off, you reduce the release of carbon dioxide. You save fuel too. Remove just 10 minutes of idling, and avoid putting 550 pounds of carbon dioxide in the air yearly. One woman, Lynn Romanek of Glencoe, Illinois, rallied parents to turn their engines off during kid drop-off and pick-up times. You can lead the way in your community.
- Carry a portable coffee mug.
How many times a day do you dash to the coffee shop and bring a paper cup back to your office? Invest in a ceramic or stainless steel mug to reuse every day. Lots of coffee shops sell them. Your company store probably sells them too. Why not add one to your birthday list? They're easy to carry and easy to clean. Use your mug in your car, on the train or during a walk to work. You can drink your favorite hot beverage in style while treading gently on the earth.
- Keep the plastic off your clothes.
Add these two easy steps to your dry cleaning routine: (1) bring a garment bag to the cleaners; (2) insert your own hangers into the bag. Have the cleaner put your clean clothes on your own hangers in the garment bag instead of using plastic covers. Pop your clothes straight into the closet when you get home, save the dry cleaner money and spare the earth. If you have extra wire hangers in your closet, take them back to the cleaner to be reused. You can also explore the growing trend of green cleaners, such as greenearthcleaning.com, who use non-toxic solvents.
- Don't trash your cell phone.
Or other electronics. Prevent landfills from turning into seas of gadgets. Mobile phones alone pile up 65,000 tons of waste and leak toxins such as mercury and lead into the soil. Sell your equipment on eBay, donate or recycle it. One entrepreneur says, "I'm amazed at how easy it is to sell old electronics on eBay. I sold a slide projector and computers... all stuff I had outgrown." You can also donate your items to non-profits. Try call2recycle.org or collectivegood.com—a company that supports groups like the American Red Cross. If you simply want to pass on something to someone else, use freecycle.com. It’s a resource for people who want to give away their stuff for free.
- Switch light bulbs.
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DeCaprio encourages everyone to switch bulbs. Replace office light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. They cost less than $4 U.S. and are made by major companies. Your company will pay more up front, but will save about $60 U.S. for the full life of the bulb. Why not join in? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that if all American households swapped 5 light bulbs with fluorescent ones it would save the amount of energy equivalent to removing 8 million cars off the road. Another alternative, if you have your own business, is to install dimmers on your lights. Create relaxing lighting while reducing carbon dioxide.
Sue Brenner, Performance Coach and Author, wants you to get the most out of life and work. Thats why she wrote "The Naked Desk: Everything you need to strip away clutter, save time and get things done" - http://x.actionsymphony.com. While youre there, get her free eZine, "Ignite Your Life."
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Article Submitted On: April 30, 2007