DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Big Green Lies

I saw a program on FLN called Big Green Lies. I missed the very beginning with the intros, so I'm not sure who the guy was but the counterpart was Sara Snow who has a healthful living program. Here's what they covered.

The air quality inside your house is better than the air quality outside.
Using a VOC meter, they measured various parts of LA, CA. The best reading was behind a city bus. (LA has natural gas buses.) The worst reading was a nail salon. The average outdoor area (even with that visible smog) was about half the level in the houses they tested. Clean freaks actually had higher rates than others because of the spray products they use, so look for "no VOCs" on cleaners and avoid using sprays like air deodorants and personal products.

Cloth diapers (reusable cotton) are better for the environment than disposable diapers (DD).
The average kid uses 8,000 diapers. The diaper service they spoke with said "Would you wear paper diapers?" By laundering, save trees, crude oil, and space in landfills. The flip side is that DD account for just over 2% of the trash sent to landfills each year. A home that launders uses 27% more energy than those using DD. By sending out for service, diapers are recycled with others, which some may find distasteful. (Would you wear someone else's underwear?) The verdict on total environmental impact was a tie, depending on the location. Look at the specific area to see if landfills are busting at the seams or drought is the bigger problem.

Everyone should go out right now and buy a hybrid.
Hybrids have gas and electric motors and a nickel plated battery, including a fuse that can kill you if you touch it without proper safety training. The next generation is the electric propulsion car but the only commercially available brand is over $100k sports car, so it's not for everyone. It never sees a gas station and charges 3 hours, able to go up to 250 miles. The verdict was that everyone should use what they have and make it more efficient. If every car got 30-35 mpg (20% better mileage) we allegedly would need no fuel from the Middle East. So drive cars longer and smarter!

Organic food is better than conventional food in every way.
Grass fed cows do not typically receive growth hormones or antibiotics, and unlike factory farms, do not typically stand in their own waste, rather having more area to move around and graze. The verdict was that organic does taste better, but conventional was half the price, so most consumers should consider doing some of both. Produce with thick skins can be conventional--avocados, oranges, bananas.
(Side note: with careful shopping, a lot of organics can be purchased for about the same as conventional--check the ads, buy seasonally, and check out your local farmer's market.)

Shutting off your car's A/C (and rolling down windows) saves gasoline.
Using A/C reduces fuel efficiency about 1 mile per gallon or 4%. The difference is clearer on later model cars, made in the last 10 years. Older cars are less fuel efficient all around and it makes much less of a difference if the windows are up or down and the A/C is used.
(Side note: if you live in Phoenix, please use your A/C in the summer. Your co-workers do not want to be smelling that.)

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