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Personal Changes Can Cut Emissions


Inexpensive personal actions can reduce total U.S. carbon emissions by 15 percent according to a recent analysis.  The analysis was presented at a symposium on “Climate, Mind, and Behavior” in New York City this past week. The new study reveals that Americans can reduce the country’s carbon pollution by 15 percent – roughly one billion tons of global warming pollution- through personal actions that require little or no cost to consumers.  The National Resources Defense Council and the Garrison Institute’s Climate Mind Behavior Project presented the analysis.  Most of the focus by government and the media has been on large-scale projects to reduce the U.S. contribution in carbon emission reductions.  Even as the country struggles with meeting lower carbon emissions, personal contributions by consumers could have an immediate impact by making a few changes in their daily lives.  The analysis suggests certain behavioral changes by people to reach these goals.  Quite frankly the suggested behavior modifications are effortless and painless for consumers.  Some of the steps suggested include: reducing unwanted catalog subscriptions, decreasing vehicle idling, using a programmable thermostat, replacing seven light bulbs with CFLs, setting computers to hibernate mode, shutting off unused lights, and eating poultry in place of red meat two days per week. All of the recommendations offered in the study are available to be adopted immediately, at little or no cost, and will reduce not only emissions, but home energy, transportation and food costs as well.  If we all took to heart the above-mentioned steps, imagine what we the people could do, in lowering our carbon emissions.  Just to put things into perspective, if we lowered our emissions by 15 percent through these personal efforts that would be like eliminating all of the global emissions of the UK and Saudi Arabia combined.  Think about that.


  1. Given the photo I think I am “on topic”. There might be additional required information you must know before converting incandescent bulbs to CFL (compact fluorescent bulb). It is in the use & disposal of a CFL. I am here to admit that I “recklessly” installed CFL bulbs inside and outside my apartment fixtures. I fear I have to reconsider this well-intentioned (but initially costly) replacement of some of the incandescent light bulbs. Having read the super fine caution print (too small in my opinion) warnings on the box of my CFL bulbs manufactured by Greenlite™ in China. Use is not recommended in three way sockets (I am guilty of doing this). Use is not recommended outside unless enclosed and not exposed to weather (I violated this as well). There are other warnings you must investigate before proudly bringing up in conversation that you replaced every incandescent lightbulb with a CFL (you don’t want to do this, believe me). When you dispose or “trash” a CFL five years from now keep in mind http://www.lamprecycle.org (there is a tiny bit of mercury contained in the CFL). I have researched because just the mention of mercury scares me. It is claimed not to be enough to fret about but casual trashing should be avoided if possible and if not broken, I believe. And, make sure you actually “enjoy” the light emitted from a CFL conversion. You may want to accomplish all the personal and global benefits of a CFL but consider whether what percentage of change you honestly enjoy before making the possibly high initial investment.

  2. I too am now re-considering my well intentioned CFL replacement. I have had a number broken by my children and had one explode inches from my head when it burnt out.
    They are very costly-and since conversion, our energy bills climb highr and higher.


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