Now that I've had my champagne, sung "Auld Lang Syne," and figured out how I got home Monday night, it's time to write some New Year's resolutions. Given my track record and tendency to break down by January 3rd, I'm going for the easiest pledges I can come up with this year. Cheers to 2008, and wish me luck!
I Will Reuse My Bag . . . Yeah, Baby.
Few things are sexier than a man carrying a reusable canvas bag to the grocery store. Right ladies? But if the reusable grocery tote--aka man-purse--doesn't quite get your blood flowing, then consider this: four to five trillion plastic bags are manufactured each year (Sources: Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Environmental Protection Agency via Suite101. And plastic bags are made of . . . yes . . . plastic, which doesn't biodegrade, contributes to air pollution and squanders a precious natural resource: petroleum. Now what's sexy?
I Will Turn off the Lights.
Perhaps the greatest eco no-brainer of all time. Yet--and ask my parents--I have trouble with this one.
I Will Buy Less Useless Junk.
Useless junk leaves me broke, guilty, and looking for storage space. I have enough tchotchkes, geegaws and insignificant trinkets. Yes, my purchases fuel a chugging economy, but they also stuff already chock-a-block landfills. This year, I'm putting the whammy kibosh on useless crapola.
I Will Forgo the Bottle--the Tap is Mightier.
In the words of the great Mr. T, I pity the fool who drinks bottled water. Corporate advertising schemes claim bottled water comes from a pristine mountain spring, a magical aquifer or fountain of youth. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) tap water standards, however, are far stricter than the Food and Drug Administration's water bottle standards. I'm no longer playing the fool. This year, I'm giving up the bottle.
I Will Be Not Idle.
Every moment I spend idling my car's engine means needlessly wasting gas, as well as rougher wear on the family vehicle. According to environmental expert Brian Clark Howard of TheDailygreen.com, idling for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than is needed to rev up the engine in the first place. I figure this resolution will be pretty easy to follow through on--whenever I'm waiting in the car, sitting in a line-up, hollerin' at some fine brothers on the street corner, I just need to remember to kill the juice on my ride.
I Will Power Down.
Except during bouts of insomnia, there is no reason for me to leave my computer on all night. The United States Department of Energy guarantees shutting down on the nightly will save the typical computer an average of $90 in electricity. Shutting down would also save wear and tear on my hardware (try saying that ten times). When insomnia hits, however, a powered computer is necessary for freetetris.org and YouTube guilty pleasures.
I Won't Burnout.
Though usually, "blinded by the light--cut loose like a deuce another runner in the night," President Bush has just signed an Energy Bill that will phase-out 100-watt incandescent light bulbs in 2012.
Great, but why wait four years? Let's get a head start by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)--right now! According to Popular Mechanics, CFLs are 70% more efficient than incandescents and can last up to 10 times longer. Energy Star says "if every American home replaced just one regular incandescent light bulb with a CFL, the US would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars." So how many Presidents does it take to screw in a CFL light bulb . . .
Please note, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and should be disposed of properly. For more info click here.
I Will Tune Up.
If not to pimp my ride, then at least get to the shop for a regular maintenance check. According to 10th grade physics, an under-inflated tire creates resistance, which requires more energy to rotate. By keeping tires properly inflated, air filters fresh and my engine in check, I could improve my car's mileage by as much as 40 percent (source: fueleconomy.gov). I'd also have a better chance of avoiding auto accidents . . . and believe me, I need all the help I can get.
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